Friday, October 14, 2011

The Day I Became Annoyed With Blogspot

The new slideshow feature is horrible.  If we can't kill it with fire, then Google (Blogger) needs to take it back.  They should not upset their content farm providers.

The typewriters are unhappy as well.  Especially the ones with the itty, bitty typefaces.

I will restate the typecast below so that it shows up on search engines:  today I am as annoyed with Blogspot as I am with Facebook.  The latter is down to 2 visits a week after the last arbitrary feed changes.  Just saying...

UPDATED ALREADY:  I dug around in the user forums and found a way out that did not exist an hour ago.  I went back to the my Blogger Dashboard to the Settings.  Lo and behold, a new pull down had magically appeared that allows me to turn off the Lightbox "feature".  The arbitrary and automatic application of "Yes" was annoying to say the least.

I will still leave this typecast up for posterity. The typewriters appear to be happy again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Olympia!!! SM3 - New Ribbon and Professional Elite Typecast

CLICK to see larger.  Back to photographing the typecast.  The scanner is not very subtle.
In the backyard studio.  We had to take advantage of the Fall weather.  The snow will blow soon enough.
 The above photo is probably the most accurate white balance and overall color.  We did not need another green typewriter.  Olympia's green is somewhere between the shade of the Hermes and that of the Oliver.  I like the color, but not as much as I like the typeface.  The whole family loves this typewriter.

Wait until they hear me banging away on it at midnight  ;-)

Olympia!!!!  All exclamation, all the time.  We may need to meter her espresso intake.
 The extreme shallow depth-of-field is courtesy of the Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro mounted on the Canon 60D.  The saturation and contrast on this lens is really nice.  My walk around is the Canon 50mm f1.4 because I like doing low light, but the Sigma is pretty special.

I may eventually grow to love crinkle finish.  I should have done a before cleaning photo, but yuck.
 I'm getting good at washing Olympia machines.  Fortunately, removing the mechanical system from the housing is easy and each is washed separately.  I have two fans ready to blow the moisture out quickly and spray lube at the ready.  Washing activities will most likely cease mid-winter when the garage is cold in spite of a quartz heater.  We're used to soldering and robot building with gloves on.

Gratuitous Detail.  I love Olympia typewriter's trademark turned metal bits.

Lovely type slugs.  So peppy!  Olympia is not a vary creative name for an Olympia branded typewriter, but in this case it fits the type personality.  Hmm, looks like I need to clean the slugs with mineral spirits and a toothbrush.
 As noted in the typecast, this typeface is known as Professional Elite #41.  I thought it was italic based on the ebay auction photos.  Having seen a sample each, I like this typeface better than the pure italic version.  Thanks to the Munk for making all things typeface available at:

German engineering at its finest.

Welcome to the House Full of Nerds, Olympia.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Master at Work - Pens and Journals

My kids volunteer at a local living history museum, the Mahaffie stagecoach stop along the original Santa Fe trail.  Their last big event, The Wild West Show, drew participants from all over the Midwest.  This display belongs to a gentleman who participated in the two year reenactment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  Along the way, he kept journals with reproduction paper, binding, pens and inks.
Travel writing desk.  The books and paper are made from scratch.  The pressed marbled cover is a period reproduction.
Water reduced carbon black pigment inside.

Travel journal from the Lewis and Clark expedition reenactment.  Notice the compressed paper cover.

Hawk and goose feather quills.  The ends take six precise cuts.

He keeps a separate journal for events.

Reproduction ink and labeling.

So many pens!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Zeiss Ikon/ICA Folding Camera Circa 1926?

Kind of Steampunk and Beautiful, But What am I?

Click me to see larger.

Well, that's the best detective work I can do based on available information.  Disclaimer:  This is the Internet.  I am not an expert on this particular camera and its origins are speculation based on available facts.

Now that we have that over with, lets look at some of the fine details of this machine.  For anyone that is curious, this photo session was done with the Canon 60D outfitted with the unworldly good Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro lens.

Confused Identity 1 on the Leather Strap
Confused Identity 2 Screwed on Side of Case
Confused Identity 3 below Lens Assembly.  This is the tension lock for the rail focal length adjustment.
Lens and Shutter Assembly in Normal Position.  Note ICA, COMPUR and Carl Zeiss Jena Logos.  The lever to the right of the lens cocks the shutter.  The release is the the small lever sticking out the bottom left.  The lens and shutter assembly screw out of the end of the bellows.  The advertisement at the end lists some available lenses.
Normal focal length extension.

Neat Tricks.  The entire assembly slides past the normal focus range to provide macro capability.  The silver thumb screw above and to the left of the lens adjusts the height.  The big knurled knob below the lens allows the entire yoke to slide left or right.  This machine is all about bending light to adjust for whatever is in the field.  The thumb wheel towards the bottom center of the photo runs a geared extension for the rails.

Full height and full length extension.  The bellows are amazingly supple for its age.

This is the standard viewfinder and bubble level.  The level is a nice detail.  The height adjustment screw is on the right.
About this hump:  this is an aftermarket roll film adapter.  I miss having the original plate holder, but this actually makes the camera a bit more functional.  I wonder what brand name would have been on the back?
The adapter includes a simple knife gate to expose the film.

For basic research on vintage cameras, my favorite spot is

The complicated story of the Donata name is explained in part at

The closest make and model I could find good information on is the Zeiss Ikon Ideal 225.  For a phenomenal writeup and photos on this beautiful camera, follow the link...

Jo Lommen's Classic Press Cameras

Original advertising.  Source:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Typing Converts

Gingercat (aka:  Claire) had one of her super smart friends over today.  Cyborg 10051438 (self-assigned designation) took to the typewriters quickly.  She served as a guest on gingercat's first typecast entry for her new blog on the Hermes Media 3 (Cursive).  But at heart, Cyborg is a future engineer and gravitated towards the Olympia SM9 (Senatorial/Robot font) and knocked out two and half pages worth of a new short story before going home.

Choice Cyborg comment on the blog entry:  "I am here today to discuss the unfairity of the fact that these typewriters are being used daily.  They should be used hourly!  GRRRRR!"

That last part I will need to scan after gingercat has a chance to do her own post.  GRRRRR looks really interesting in the Hermes' elaborate cursive.

As soon as she got home, Cyborg 10051438 showed her typing to her mom and gushed about typewriters.  Count her as a convert to the typewriter cause!

Gingercat hard at work on her first typecast and pen blog entry.  She's good with a computer keyboard but tends to hunt and peck with the typewriters.  The Oliver 9 is her favorite with more of a speed hunt and peck.  As noted by other typecasters, cursive looks really bad with errors, so the typing tends to be more methodical.

Cyborg 10051438 jamming on the Olympia SM9.  In the background sits the Oliver, a Zeiss Ikon camera of a slightly later vintage and some new/old paper supplies.  My wife is starting her own blog aptly entitled "House Full of Nerds".

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Tale of Two Cameras - 50ish Years of Technology

The PEN F with a relatively huge 100mm f3.5 lens.  This camera takes standard 35mm film but only uses half of a frame for each exposure.

Many photographers use the manual focus primes for video preferring the shallow depth of field and the wonderful analog lens controls.
Notice the lack of a bulky pentaprism.  The mirror is flipped over to the left where the image bounces to your eye through a relatively small view finder.  Ignore the texture - that's light filtered through a screen door.  Oops.
That's the shutter.  It is a unique rotary titanium design.  Pretty cool for 1963!
And here we have the mirror box for the PEN F and the sensor on the Sony NEX 3.  It is the same size as on the Canon 60D series and does pretty darned well in low light.  The Sony system is encumbered by clunky and slow zooms, but the one currently available prime and wide angle adapter are pretty svelte.
This is the NEX 3 with a PEN F 38mm f1.8 and Chinese adapter.  I was shooting with the Canon 60D, so shown here is the old 30D that gingercat uses equipped with a 50mm 1.4.  This is my favorite walk around combination.  Yes, I love primes.

This isn't an entirely fair comparison.  The Canon is a far more capable body.  I can't shoot fire jugglers in motion with the NEX 3 body (middle), but it works for most of my casual walk around use and for catch and release in thrift stores and antique malls.  Notice how much bulk a proper pentaprism adds to the body size.

The three shutters are almost the same size.  The mirror box on the Canon is quite a bit bigger than the actual sensor.

Here is the NEX 3 and PEN F combo with a quarter for scale.  Even with a lens hood the set is tiny given the capabilities of the camera.  Bonus:  it does HD video.
 That all sounds wonderful, but there have to be disadvantages, right?  The live view screen as viewfinder is the worst thing about the NEX 3.  It totally washes out in daylight.  The controls are pretty fiddly.  I can shoot in mid-winter with gloves and adjust controls on the 60D.  That is not happening with the NEX.

Sony announced the NEX 7 body that is more oriented towards advanced amateurs.  It looks like a good spec, but I'll wait for tweaks and for prices to come down.

There is good news and bad news about the PEN F system.  The good news is that these lenses will never be thrown away or repurposed for art.  The bad news is that demand is high between the desires of NEX and Panasonic/Olympus 4/3 system users.  Prices are up, but these vintage lenses are still cheaper than their current autofocus counterparts.