AndyMac's photo gallery

Local birdlife
 (last update 2/02/06)
 (last update 2/02/06)
Floriade '07
 (last update 22/12/07)
 (last update 2/02/06)
Sporting moments
 (last update 3/02/06)
 (last update 13/04/10)

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The first camera I bought for myself was a Nikon L35AF2 35mm compact, in 1986. I took it with me on numerous journeys, including a work secondment to the BBC's Research Department in 1992. It was surprisingly effective with slide film, and I took a number of rolls of Kodachrome 64, Kodachrome 200 and Ektachrome 200 with only a couple of exposure failures. Sadly, it gave up the ghost in 1999 and I concluded that getting it repaired was uneconomic.

While casting around for a replacement for the Nikon, I discovered the APS (aka Advantix) "system". I was attracted to this format by the negative management (developed film is stored in cartridges, with dedicated storage containers for the cartridges) and printing support (index prints, before they became popular for 35mm, and exposure info stored on the negatives and printed on the back of prints).

While most APS cameras are of the point and shoot compact type, Minolta, Nikon & Canon offered interchangeable-lens SLRs in this format. The Minolta SLRs in particular were at that time attractively priced, so I acquired a Minolta Vectis S-1 with a 28-56mm lens (equivalent to 35-70mm lens on a 35mm camera), upgrading not long afterwards to a 25-150mm lens (equivalent to 31-187mm in 35mm format) which I've used for most shooting. In more recent times, I've acquired several other lenses, another body, several flash units, and a film scanner all via eBay.

While APS film and developing services are still available, I plan to keep the S-1s as my primary photographic tools as their compactness and light weight, as well as their "splashproof" construction, make them usable when 35mm and digital equipment isn't. Against the day APS film & developing is no longer available, I now have a 35mm SLR (Minolta 600si) and compact digital camera (Minolta Z3), again via eBay.

There is a forum on Yahoo! Groups where Minolta S-1 and S-100 users hang out. Sadly, Minolta exited the photography business in February 2006 after around a century of involvement.

In 2008 I acquired a Pentax 645 along with a couple of lenses, and have been playing around with it. I like the feel of it but it is no featherweight, especially compared to the S-1. I also like the richness and detail apparent in enlargements, but currently can't scan the negatives.

Digital imaging

Over the last couple of years, I've had most of my APS films scanned at the time of development. I've had the best results locally with photofinishers using Fuji Frontier lab equipment. These scans appear to be at 2000dpi, and usually contain much less image noise than frames I've scanned at this resolution with my Canon FS-4000US film scanner, (probably because there is a lot of sophisticated software in current mini-labs).

I now have the film scanner connected via SCSI, which is much faster than the USB port (which is only USB 1.1 on the Canon). I have done most of my recent scanning with Vuescan, although I think Canon's software probably still does a better job of dust/scratch removal.

Most of the image post processing has been done with Dadaware's Embellish for OS/2, but I've also used The Gimp (on Windows), Photoshop 5LE (included with the scanner) and several other packages. So far, I haven't found one package that is a complete solution :-(

Last updated: April 13, 2010