Recommended Reading 5/24/19

This week’s featured post comes from my good friend Theo Panagopoulos at, and is a review of a camera at, or near the top of mine, and probably every collector’s wish list.  The Hasselblad XPan.

Built to shoot true panoramic 65mm x 24mm exposures on regular 35mm film without using any type of mask, the XPan isn’t the only panoramic option out there, but it’s certainly one of the best.  Built by Fuji to Hasselblad’s quality standards, this is a mighty camera, and one that I would absolutely love to add to my permanent collection.

With sold prices STARTING at $3000 (with lens) and going up quickly from there, this camera will likely be unobtanium to me for quite a while, so I guess it’s good to have articles like Theo’s so that I may live vicariously through him!

Here are more great posts from some of my favorite sites:

Oh shit!  Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife because things are about to go crazy!  In what will likely be the Internet’s most controversial post in decades, Johnny Martyr takes a stand against nearly unanimous prejudice against using squeegees to remove excess water after developing film.  That’s crazy talk, you say!  Johnny suggests that as long as you keep things clean, scratches can be avoided and are a much better compromise than the hard water spots that can develop on film by letting them drip dry.

Confession Time! I use squeegees too!

If you’ve never heard of SREDA Film Lab in Moscow, you’re not alone as prior to this week, I hadn’t heard of them either, but this upstart coffee shop / cafe / film store looks like a really cool place for people in the area to go and hang out, drink a cup of percolated water and buy some really obscure repackaged film.  Kiersten Miller from EMULSIVE captures her journey trying to find the place, along with what types of sights she encountered on her way and a few words with the shop’s owner, Pavel Kosenko.  What a great way to capture the experience of a cool place that many of us will likely never get to visit!

Last October, I wrote about the Ricoh R1 in my 5th Cameras of the Dead article.  I had come across the R1 for a reasonable price, but sadly it didn’t work.  After handling it, I knew it was a camera worth writing about so I put down my thoughts hoping maybe one day I’d come across a working one.  Well this week, James Tocchio of Casual Photophile one-ups me with his review of a WORKING Rich GR1v, the “super” R1.  This is a fantastic camera that has an impossibly thin body, lots of great features, and an even greater lens.  Damn.  I want one!

Chinon is one of those companies that’s more famous for the products they’ve made for other people, but on occasion, they would release a pretty decent camera using their own name like the Chinon Memotron series.  Back in 1980-something they had a compact point and shoot camera called the Bellami that has a design that has previously caused me to wonder if this was a serious camera.  Looking like a discount Minox 35 but with cheap plastic barn doors and a whole lot of plastic and a stupid looking logo, I never really took the camera seriously, so it’s fortunate that Dale Willets from 35mmc took the time to write about his experience with one.  I must say, I still think the camera looks cheap and unappealing, but at least I now know what it’s capable of!

I’ve always loved the idea of found film.  I’ve heard stories of people finding an undeveloped roll of film in an old Argus camera that turned out to have never before seen photos of Mt. St. Helens erupting, but every time I’ve tried to develop found film, I either got a blank roll or completely uninteresting images.  This week, Michael Nguyen from Japan Camera Hunter proves to be luckier than I am with the third in JCH’s series of Rescued Memories with some really wonderful pics of what looks to be the 1950s United States.  People’s ideas of a photograph has changed much in the past 70 years, but pictures of our children and our cars were still popular subjects (what the hell is with the shower pic?!)  Sadly, Michael was unable to determine what kind of camera this film was found in, but judging by the quality of the images, it had to have been at least a decent rangefinder or SLR.

I like trying new films, and lately there’s been a few of them I’ve wanted to try, but now I can add Silberra Pan 160 to that list.  A black and white panchromatic film, this is the first black and white film I’ve seen rated at 160.  This is a speed usually reserved for color portrait films like Kodak Portra.  This week Alex Luyckx takes a good look at Silberra Pan 160, shooting it in everything from a Contax G2, Nikon F5, and even a Zenit and his results are very intriguing!  Looks like my next film order is going to be larger than originally planned!

In what is perhaps the funnest post of the week, Kosmo Foto found a bunch of record albums that feature cameras on the jackets.  When Stephen Dowling told me he was doing this, he said “cameras on album covers” I literally thought he was going to put some cameras on top of record albums, like as in some type of dual analog photo session.  Alas, he found a good selection of cameras from Hasselblads to the KMZ Start!  Hmm, I wonder if there’s any Norwegian black metal bands with cameras in their artwork…

Most people come to camera blogs to read about how great a particular lens or camera is, but if you’ve ever wanted to read about some really crappy cameras, Alan Duncan from Canny Cameras has a list of 10 Crappy Cameras that Are Just Crap.  Yep, 10 pieces of shit that for one reason or another aren’t worth your time.  As an added bonus, if you read the article all the way to the end, you’ll get to see a contribution by a certain Mike Eckman in what I consider to be a truly crappy camera!  Perhaps more sites should write about bad cameras, that way they can save us all the time and money from accidentally buying them!

I don’t often mention him, but one of my favorite bloggers is Mike Connealy who has been doing this far longer than I have and was an inspiration to me when I first got started.  His original site was a frequent stop of mine and in 2016 when he announced he was taking it down and made it’s contents available to anyone who wanted to download it, I took him up on it and have hosted a mirror of that site on ever since.  Anyway, Mike’s new site generally has short updates about what he’s been up to and what he’s shooting.  This week, he posted some really fantastic images of classic cars that he shot with a Minolta Hi-Matic 7s.  He mentions that he thinks his choice of battery underexposed the images a tad, but I don’t see it at all.  They’re fantastic images, Mike!  Keep up the great work!

In what may be the most highly anticipated, yet completely unnecessary movie of the year, the first trailer for yet another Terminator movie was released this week.  For my money, the original 1984 The Terminator remains my favorite science fiction movie and one of my all-time favorite movies of any genre.  The sequels haven’t treated the franchise too well however, and with the news that a new Terminator trilogy in the mid 2010s was scrapped due to the abysmal failure of Terminator Genisys, it appeared that the franchise was finally dead.  But then James Cameron, who directed the first two movies, announced that he would take a break from making Avatar movies and produce a new installment of the Terminator franchise.  Said to follow the events of only the first two films and ignore everything else, this new movie brings back Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, and of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger in his most iconic role.  The trailer is just a teaser and doesn’t reveal too much, but it looks awesome.  I’ll still probably be disappointed, but damn, I’m gonna see this movie opening night!

Oh man.  First, the return of the Terminator, and now the return of the one, the only, Jean-Luc Picard?!  I had heard rumors that CBS was working with Patrick Stewart in some new type of Picard story, but I didn’t realize it would be a whole new series.  This too, is a teaser trailer that doesn’t reveal too much of what it’ll be about, but it’s obvious that it’s going to take place 15 years after the events in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis.  It feels similar to Stewart’s role as an old man Charles Xavier in 2017’s Logan, but with it being a series, I am sure they’ll explore potential plot lines more in depth than that movie did.  Star Trek: TNG wasn’t perfect, but it’s still one of my favorite TV series ever, and Stewart’s role as Picard was one of the best in any series, in any genre, so it’s great to see him reprising the role.  Please, please, please, let this be good!  Damn, 2019 is shaping up to be a great year for sci-fi!


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