Sunday, January 24, 2021

A Vintage View of Model Trains

The Kansas City Union Station has a pretty amazing model train space with multiple layouts in multiple scales. The hobbyists who build and maintain the layouts pulled out all the stops for the holiday season. I had a lot of fun capturing images with a Panasonic GX8 and an adapted Kodak 63mm f2.7 Cine Ektar lens from a 16mm movie camera.


Given the way 16mm movie cameras were used, a lens like this isn't really built for speedy focusing. The glass is nice and is sharp in the center wide open. The mechanical bits are not smooth, even after stripping it down and removing the original gunked up animal fat lubricant. The built in macro helical and unique rendering makes this lens so fun to work with, anyway.

The old Kodak lenses were not inexpensive. Using an inflation calculator, this one would cost roughly $830 in 2020. A scan of the sales brochure can be found here: Kodak Cine Ektar via Pacific Rim Camera


Due to the pandemic, I didn't do a lot of my normal photography in 2020. I missed track meets, cross country season, county fairs, demo derbies, and countless street festivals. It was nice to have something fun to shoot. BTW, most of the trains in this series were moving. Maintaining anticipatory focus, exposure, and timing skills is important.


I love model train hobbyists. They added lots of fun details throughout.


I'm always happy to nail the focus on a moving object. Stopped down, image clarity is good to the edges of the frame with some vignetting, but where's the fun in that?


In this image, both trains were in motion. Unfortunately, nothing was running on the track where this bench full of HO scale passengers had fallen ;)


I have a particular fondness for the interurban trollies. The Kansas City neighborhood I grew up in had remnant rails from their old system.


This HO locomotive was moving way faster than one would expect for its type. It took me a few tries to get it mostly in focus. I stand firm in my belief that photographic perfection is boring. 


It's always Infrastructure Week in America's subways.


Ironically, this image was transferred from the Panasonic to my phone via WiFi.


That's all for today. I hope you enjoyed the trains. Who knows, I might get more consistent with this blog in 2021. Either way, thanks for visiting!



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