July 2010


Just a quickie.

This afternoon, a passenger bus burst into flames just a block from my office. Ran down for a closer look, armed with my Kodak Playsport and Ricoh Auto Half. Shot in 720p but processing and upload speeds were horrible so I downscaled it. Here’s the video. More to come later tonight. Photos in a week maybe, after I have them developed. With me was my colleague and fellow film enthusiast and poet provocateur Ed Geronia.

News reports say that nobody was hurt, thankfully.

Apologies for the shakycam footage. Was shooting film with my other hand at the same time.

Mental Note: Next time, stick to one medium.

Shot from Ed's Mobile Phone

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Here’s some shots that are a bit overdue for posting, taken last April in New York City with my Nishika N9000 3D lenticular camera.

I like that, with 3D anaglyphs, I can float my Travelomo.com text within the photo’s depths. I’m also loving Kodak’s BW400CN film, though I’ve been told by the local Kodak rep that this has been phased out recently. I only know of one store that still has stocks – pricey, but methinks I shall buy whatever’s on their shelf. Good thing Ilford has a substitute in its XP2 Super.

Ricoh Auto Half E

Sometimes things just fall into place.

I wasn’t even aware of the existence of the Ricoh Auto Half until I came across an intriguing entry on the camera blog Circle Rectangle. The post described these gorgeous digital-analog cameras coming out of the workshop of Japanese photographer Ryu Itsuki. He would take a modern digital camera and shoehorn it painstakingly (and no doubt lovingly) into the shell of a stylish half frame camera from the 1960’s called the Ricoh Auto Half. Forget the digital conversion – I was immediately drawn to the original camera. What it lacked in size – it was really tiny – it made up for with a minimalist design so spartan and simple as to be described as iconic.

I just had to have one. But how?

The blog post provided a link to Ryu Itsuki’s website, where several Auto Half models were available for sale. Though each model on the shelf was gorgeous, most were priced above my monthly budget for hobbies and, ahem, non-essentials. I tried Ebay, which reflected similar prices. I even emailed Ricoh’s Southeast Asian marketing manager on the off-chance he’d have dead stock in a warehouse somewhere. No luck.

Ed, my longtime fellow gadget geek and colleague said he’d spotted one on a local classified ad website, so I checked it out. It was disappointing – the photos were bad and the camera looked ratty, with a crack on the bright frame window. The ad also said: Defective. I don’t think so, I decided.  But, over the weekend the thought nagged me, what if it worked? I called up the seller and made an appointment.

And I bought it. Here’s what I got:

Update: I’ve run my first test roll through it and it seems to work. Waiting for the scans to come back. Will post results asap.