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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cold Snaps




We had a week of very low temps in Albuquerque.  Margaret decided we needed to get over to the Tingley Beach ponds to feed the ducks and geese.  It is always a bit of a challenge to get by the pair of big geese that dominate the shoreline.

It seems to me that the central third of the image produced by the Panda's simple lens is about as sharp as most of my multi-element lenses.  By achieving the proper relationship in the composition between foreground and background it is possible to achieve images which are hard to distinguish from those made by much more sophisticated cameras.

The other key elements to success with the Panda are making sure the lighting conditions match the exposure latitude of the film in the camera, and to keep the camera steady while making the exposure.  With some care you can brace the camera adequately by putting the string lanyard around your neck and pushing down on the camera while bracing it against your body.  When possible, bracing the camera solidly against some stable support is even better.  The shutter action on the Panda is quite a bit smoother than most simple box cameras, and it does seem a bit snappier too, though probably not quite up to a fiftieth of a second.

3 comments:

Jim said...

Being able to use Photoshop to crop, straighten, and gently enhance shots from simple cameras really makes them more interesting and useful tools, at least to me. Sounds like your Panda gives you good stuff to work with in that central third of the frame, reducing your dependence on those gentle enhancements.

Mike said...

I'm happy to accept the effects of simple lens aberration in many instances, particularly with the Panda whose images have a subtle glow that you don't see from well-corrected multi-element lenses. At the same time, if you know the camera well you can achieve quite a range of results, and as you say a bit of massaging in photoshop can add some additional control to the final result.

Not all simple lenses are the same. Kodak and Agfa evidently maintained high standards in the manufacture of even the budget-level lenses. Another aspect of the lens on the Panda which gave it an edge over all the rest of the low-end competition was the short focal length which produced a very compact form as well as giving a wider view equivalent to about a 40mm or 35mm focal length in the 35mm film format. It is also the only box camera I have come across which permits getting as close as six feet from your subject.

Julio F said...

I am amazed at the center sharpness. You must be holding the camera very steady indeed.