Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hot Girls with Cameras

I have been debating, mostly with myself, about whether or not I wanted to post photo galleries of Hot Girls with Cameras on our blog. But, well, Turner agreed and well, I am sure it will bring in plenty of traffic to our little blog here, and well, Turner isn't really updating the blog at all, and well, what's not to like about Hot Girls with Cameras? Two of my favorite things in the world are girls and cameras, so... here ya go. Enjoy!

The rules of the road are that the photo must include a camera, not a cell phone, point and shoots are ok.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hey Man, You Just Exposed My Film!

Granted, in the big picture, it's not that big of a deal, but what happened today was frustrating enough for me to sit here at this moment and dedicate whatever amount of time it takes to tell you the story of the camera repair guy who exposed the film in my Leica M3, which included the first pictures I ever took with it, for no good reason reason. Much like the movie "Lone Survivor" the title of this blog post gives away the ending, still, for some reason, you  still want to know the rest of the story...

I just took possession of my very first Leica camera, a Leica M3 I purchased on eBay for a deal too good to pass up. The camera looked to be in good mechanical condition with a few minor dings and a slightly dirty rangefinder. I also found that the moving parts of the lens weren't as smooth as they could be. I wasn't unhappy with the condition but I know enough to know that a nice full service cleaning, lubrication and adjustment would have this already beautiful Leica M3 kicked up a notch looking like the "Belle of the Ball" and mechanically as sound as a fine Swiss watch.

Turner and I frequent the Chungmuro area of Seoul and it's commonly known as a center for photography related commerce. As I mentioned in Episode 6 of Hey Don't Shoot if you can't find it in Chungmuro, you can't find it anywhere. Chungmuro is also where you would go if you need any kind of expert camera service or repair.

One of the main reasons for our trip to Chungmuro on this particular day was to pick up a vintage Agfa Karat that I had serviced back to working condition. The repair shop that did the job was selected almost randomly as it was recommended by a shopkeeper that we just happened to ask "Hey, where can I get this thing fixed?" The camera shops are all on street level but the camera repair shops are hidden and tucked away upstairs in any number of non-descript buildings. The signs to find these repair shops are almost non-existent. You pretty much have to be led by the hand by someone who knows where they are to find one.

My Agfa Karat was serviced and repaired back to like new, near perfect condition. When I took it in, the focus ring was frozen stuck and the aperture ring didn't turn either. But the guy did a GREAT job on it and I was more than pleased with what I got in return for my 72 US dollars.

I stuck two additional cameras in my bag that I wanted to have looked at and get an estimate for repair. The first was a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex which is another of the batch of vintage cameras I recently purchased on eBay. I had put a roll of film through it and none of the pictures turned out. Turner was able to identify that the shutter curtain failed to close after each time the shutter was fired, therefore, the entire roll was exposed. A repair was definitely needed. I also put my Leica M3 in my bag because I wanted to get an estimate for a complete service, cleaning, lubrication and adjustment. However, the repairman that did the fine job on my Agfa Karat was not in the office and was not available to give me an on-the-spot quote for either camera. I was comfortable enough to leave the Zeiss Ikon  Contaflex in the shop and wait for the guy to call or text me with a quote but I did not want to leave my Leica M3 without knowing exactly how much the service would cost. I also knew there were other reputable repair shops that could do the job, including a Leica Factory store and Service Center.

Our next stop was Il Chul, one of our favorite camera shops in Chungmuro. I whipped out my Leica M3 and asked one of the friendly shopkeepers if they could do a full service and cleaning on it. He led Turner and I around the corner and up to the sixth floor of an adjacent office building then into a small office and custom repair shop called "Sam Sung Camera Repair Shop". This is where the incident in question occurred.

It all happened in the blink of an eye, almost too fast for me to react...

I handed over my Leica M3 for the repairman to have a look at. He gave it a once over, then flipped the camera over to look at the back side. He asked me if the camera had film in it, I said yes very clearly. I even said it in Hangeul, "Nay". I then noticed he was turning the lock on the base plate as if to open the film compartment and I said "It has film in it". Perhaps I didn't say it forcefully enough because dude keeps on doing what he's doing. I said it again, "It has film in it."

Dude opens the film compartment and flips open the back plate, EXPOSING THE FILM which included the first photos I ever shot with my very first Leica camera. Now there was certainly nothing iconic on that roll of film. I'd only fired off 10 shots or so, but those images had sentimental value. What's worse is, the guy didn't need to open the back to give me an estimate and he didn't even apologize!

I wore the frustration on my face and exclaimed, "Dude, you just exposed my film. I told you there was film in there." He just looked at me as if nothing special had happened and quoted me 150,000 KRW to service my Leica M3. Now this repairman may be the most expert, most reputable camera repairman in all of Korea, I don't know, but I did know that I wasn't about to pay him roughly the equivalent of 140 US dollars to service my Leica after he just exposed my roll of film. No, fuck that guy.

I took my ass to the Leica Factory Service Center right down the street, where I should have gone in the first place, and happily paid 90,000 KRW MORE (total price for the service was 240,0000 KRW or roughly 215 USD) for the complete service of my Leica M3. I am sure that the Leica Factory repairman will restore, clean, lubricate and adjust my Leica M3 back to like new condition. I am sure it will be as smooth as butter and I will be a happy camper, ready to shoot a lifetime's worth of memorable images with an iconic Leica camera. But I will never forget the day that the dude in the sixth floor camera repair shop in Chungmuro EXPOSED MY FILM for no good reason even after I told him clearly, multiple times, that there was film in it. That bastard.

Leica M3

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex

Agfa Karat

Friday, June 19, 2015

Vlog - Sony ECM-XYST1M External Microphone

Just posted a new Vlog featuring a short introduction and audio test of the Sony ECM-XYST1M external microphone.

The Sony ECM-XYST1M external microphone will mount onto any Sony camera that features the Multi-Interface hot shoe. It is compact, light weight and is a good value for the price. As you will hear in the audio test, it definitely captures higher quality audio compared to the internal microphone on the Sony A7 Mark II.

An audio cable is included, although, it's not needed when the microphone is mounted via the Multi-Interface hot shoe. A wind screen is also included.

Watch the video -

Sunday, June 14, 2015

New Vlog Now Posted - Vertical Battery Grips Part 2 (Sony A7 II)

Just posted a new vlog on the vertical battery grip for the Sony A7 Mark II. This is part 2, in part 1 we took a look at the after market grip for the Sony A6000, this time we're taking a look at the grip for the Sony A7 II.

As you will see in the video, this grip, although also made in China (by a company called Meike) is a significantly better quality grip than the one made for the Sony A6000.

Watch the video -

Meike Vertical Battery Grip for Sony A7 II

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Namdaemun and Chungmuro Days - Shooting and Repair Time

Spent the day down in Chungmuro / Namdaemun area of Seoul today. I list both of names because they are pretty much right next to each other, but they aren't synonymous, Namdaemun is a popular street market, while Chungmuro is known for the camera and print shops. Both have an abundance of camera shops, so Turner and I are there a lot, as you can imagine.

It's takes at least an hour to get there by car so we usually only go if we have some business to attend to such as developing film or picking up some accessories. It's a real test of our self discipline not to buy a new lens or camera because we always see something we want!

Turner just wanted to get out of the house, so when I told him I was planning to go down there this morning he didn't hesitate to come along, especially now that I have a car here in Korea.

I had two main objectives today: Firstly, I wanted to take my newly acquired Agfa Karat IV (see picture) in for repairs. I bought it on eBay recently for $80 USD. The listing did state that the seller was unsure if it was working. The body is in great shape but the aperture blades were stuck and the focus ring was impossible to move. I did a little research on the internet and found some forum postings that mentioned this issue with the Agfa Karat IV. It's a vintage, strut-folding camera made in the late 40's and 50's. It's really cool looking and I would love to get some use out of it. Our first choice for repair shops didn't open their doors today, not sure why, but I think it's the kind of place that just kind of opens whenever they feel like it, no hours posted on the door or anything. Who knows, maybe they fell into the whole MERS hysteria that's going on here in South Korea right now?
No matter, I found another repair shop that is going to get it into working condition for $80 USD. Should be ready in a week.

Afga Karat IV

My Agfa Karat IV at the repair shop.

Aside from that errand, I picked up a few rolls of film and did some window shopping, then we set out to do some street photography. Turner has been itching to shoot with the Hasselblad, so I brought it along and let him shoot a roll, unfortunately, as we were waiting in the repair shop, I accidentally exposed the roll. How did I do that you might be asking yourself? Well, Turner was asking how to remove the finished roll, problem was, it wasn't quite finished. It's tough to tell with the Hasselblad, even with the window that turns red. You're never quite sure because you can still advance and fire the shutter, even when the roll is done. You get 12 shots from a roll of 120 film but sometimes the red/white indicator will show a little white still, indicating there's still unused exposures etc. Anyway, I exposed the film and wasted a few good shots that Turner took. Meh. He loaded another roll and shot it out. Hopefully he got some good stuff, no worries, we'll take it out again. He's my best shooting partner and he can shoot any of my cameras that he wants.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

New Vlog Now Posted - Sony A6000 Vertical Battery Grip

Just posted a new Vlog featuring a review and overview of an aftermarket battery grip for the Sony A6000. They allow you to double the battery capacity but what I like best about it is that it gives you a bigger surface to grip as the A6000 by itself is a relatively small camera. Check out our video, be sure to like, comment and subscribe!

Watch now -

Friday, June 5, 2015

New T-Shirts Available Now "I Am Photographer"

We'll continue to release new photography themed T-Shirt designs every month. Our newest T-Shirt is now available!

"I am Photographer"

You read it right. Not "I am a photographer" but "I am photographer". That's how Felix tells Koreans he is a photographer, complete with a dumb accent.

Get your "I am Photographer" T-Shirt today!

Available in a variety of styles and colors for women too!

And while you're down there... pick up our popular "Destroy All Selfie Sticks" T-Shirt too

Do you hate selfie sticks as much as we hate selfie sticks?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Vlog Now Posted - Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 lens

Our latest Vlog updated features the outstanding Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 lens. This is a fully manual lens designed specifically for the Sony A7 line of cameras, however, it can also be used on any E Mount camera.

Turner and I took it out for a day of street photography here in South Korea and were extremely impressed with the results.

For more information about the Zeiss Loxia 50mm lens check out the official product page

Watch the video -

Buy this lens...

Zeiss Loxia mounted on the Sony A7II