The Travelling Canon AF35 Project - Custodian #6 - Anton Solyaev

SANTA!

Thanks to Anton for being a good sport and getting involved in the project! This episode wouldn't have happened without Em at Emulsive and her fantastic secret santa gift swap.

 I slipped the little AF Sprint into Anton's secret Santa package and shipped it off to Russia and this is the result. Over to Anton and his experience of the AF35.


Anton Solyaev

Anton Solyaev

I was pleasantly surprised to find this small travelling Canon AF35 in the parcel with the Emulsive Santa Gift! It was a childhood memory about my first small film camera that fitted in pocket and my first photographic experience with it. I read the story about travelling camera, about my mission and found a roll of Portra 400.

It was a dark winter with bad warm weather, there was too much rain and no snow, no interesting light. So it was a challenge to shoot something at this time! But one day heavy snowfalls begun and after that I got out to take pictures. I was afraid of automatic exposures mistakes because of many snow and too many white, but it worked correctly. I met young guy with huge digital camera and long telephoto lens in park, he looked at me with big eyes; "Is it really a film camera? There are still people who shoot on film?"

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It's very easy to use this Canon, you don't need to think about apertures or focus, no heavy lens and big bag for them. Just find something interesting and push the button. Just creativity! And very nice pictures as the result, you know!

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My little Canon worked absolutely normal in light frost (-5 degrees centigrade), automatic exposure was correct and mechanisms worked good. The optics is hard and sharp, something like Tessar scheme, I think, no soft effects at all. I really liked the colors!

I am grateful for the opportunity to talk to this camera. It was very useful, thank you!

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Wow, I love this set of images, thanks Anton, it’s only taken me 12 months to collate this blog post and I’m sorry there was such a delay. Something about having two young children seems to shrink my free time and energy for photography projects!

Seeing as the camera is now in russia I would love to hear from anyone else in russia or eastern Europe that would be interested in being the next custodian for the might (average) Travelling Canon AF Sprint!


Read more in the Travelling Canon AF35 Porject series:

See the first post here.

Custodian #1 - Gavin Wares.

Custodian #2 - Dimitri Hon.

Custodian #3 - Hamish Gill.

Custodian #4 - Rob Edgerly

Custodian #5 - Tina Kino

Are you interested in getting involved? If so please get in touch!

The Travelling Canon AF35 Project - Custodian #5 - Tina Kino

My little plastic fantastic Canon had a tough time getting to Berlin and my friend Tina Kino. In fact it never made it to Berlin at all! We assumed it lost, and Rob was kind enough to replace it with a racy red model fresh from German eBay.

Well, that little red replacement arrived in Berlin and Tina was happily snapping away, no doubt thoroughly underwhelmed by it's rank mediocrity, when unfortunately the replacement went and broke, it's tiny little film advance cog now just a cog.

Sorry Rob, that wasn't a great return on your investment in this project!

Thanks to Tina for being involved in the project and for procuring another replacement camera; now on it's way to the USA for the next leg in it's journey.

I recommend you check out Tina's feed on Tumblr here especially love her ongoing series of camper-vans and mattresses on the streets of Berlin.

And now onto Tina's (sadly limited) experience with the Canon AF35 Sprint.

Tina Kino

Tina Kino


My first ever camera was a Canon Sprint (not this exact model, but a similar one).
It sold for 100,- Deutsche Mark if I recall correctly, and that was a lot of money back then,
I loved shooting with it - and there's still some prints of it in the family albums.

So when I saw Michael was doing this travelling-camera-thing with one of these Canons I was quick to ask whether I could join!
It's all pretty self-explanatory with point-and-shoot like this, but to be honest I couldn't wrap my head around the flash / macro mode,
so I did look for the manual online (hint: it's here).

This must be one of these rare point-and-shoots with a built-in flash-supported macro-mode for taking pictures of flowers, indoors.
I love the cute yellow indicator on the necktstrap that helps you with the close-focussing-distance.
Further it says that Flash is alwas used with close-up photography so please don't take pictures of people's faces
: ]

So this is pretty much what I did (not photographing real people though, but printed faces, in advertisments).

It was fun!
It's a neat little camera that does what it says it does, the lens is not one of the best there is, but it's reasonably sharp and contrasty, and colours are good.
One of the best things about is that it really looks like one of these cameras that people just don't take seriously.
I shot a couple of my friends with it at well, some very hesistant usually, but with this little thing they suddenly didn't seem to care.

Oh, one more I really liked - the one with the balloons! 
: ]

Film was Kodak Ultramax 400 by the way.


This is on it's way to the next custodian in the US of A.. with best greetings from Berlin!


Love,  Tina Kino


Read more in the Travelling Canon AF35 Porject series:

See the first post here.

Custodian #1 - Gavin Wares.

Custodian #2 - Dimitri Hon.

Custodian #3 - Hamish Gill.

Custodian #4 - Rob Edgerly

Are you interested in getting involved? If so please get in touch!

The Travelling Canon AF35 Project - Custodian #4 - Rob Edgerley

The humble Canon AF35 Sprint continues it's world trip, delivering photographic enlightenment and frustration to each of its custodians and I hope you'll agree, creating some pretty passable images in their hands.

So, to introduce custodian number four; Rob Edgerley. I count Rob as a friend, although we have never met IRL! His street photography has a strong visual style and he's consistent with it; all killer, no filler. 

You can see a selection of his fantastic work here on his website and follow him on Instagram here.

You would probably forgive me for being jealous of Rob's ability with a camera; his transformation from a keen hobbyist to burgeoning street photography master has been rapid and really enjoyable to witness; keep up the good work Rob!

In my opinion he's one to watch for the future and his story of using the thrillingly mundane Canon AF35 Sprint is below.

Rob Edgerley

Rob Edgerley


Well, that was fun! I must admit though, it’s also a huge relief, as my first attempt at capturing three worthy images ended in total disaster. Read below to find out why, but first I will introduce myself a little.


I’m an ASIC design engineer living and working in Switzerland with a passion for photography. Growing up in an increasingly digital world, my only exposure to photography has thus been purely digital. My first camera was a Canon 7D, so the idea of taking a £1 camera out for a spin was daunting to say the least. What if I discover that I am only capable of taking a ‘good’ photograph with multiple attempts? What if I fail?. With this camera, I had nothing to bench mark against and the only things I had control of were composition, focus and when the shutter was released. A good image then, is almost purely about the photographer. Gulp.


Our journey started in Asia, where I endeavoured to capture the beautiful scenery and more importantly, the wonderfully vibrant colours that are so synonymous of this stunning part of the world. Well, erm, turned out I was shooting in B&W all along, which I only discovered after the images were developed. But that really didn’t matter anyway, as I knew already that it was unlikely I would have a single image to submit.

After shooting just a couple of images per day for the three and a half weeks we were there, my film and our time in Asia was almost spent. I was saving a few shots on the film for the last day, where we’d planned to take a walk through the thousands of red Japanese gates marking the path to the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine in Kyoto. The sun was high, and there were tons of people making their way up to the shrine. I wanted a single shot of the gates, without hundreds of tourists blocking the view, and I got lucky. Despite the numbers, I somehow spotted a break in the crowds up ahead, just enough for me to grab my shot. With the camera hanging around my neck, I ran. Literally ran, and to my horror, mid sprint, the camera back flew wide open exposing my film to the bright sunlight. I quickly closed it but it was too late. I thought perhaps I’d get away with a few images still intact, but alas, all images in the set were either completely or partially exposed. Here are two images in the set which show the extent of the damage.


The thing that caught my eye with these images was colour. The bike was vibrant orange
and the trees a whole range of beautiful autumn colours. Not to easy to tell in monotone,
though.

With the second attempt, I was certain not let that happen again so I taped the back of the camera shut with gaffer-tape - which I repeated for the next custodian. My original idea was to load another black and white film, but the shop didn’t have any in stock, so I went with whatever the lady in the shop recommended there and then. Honestly I hadn’t a clue either way, so it didn’t make much difference.

All images below were taken in Bern, Switzerland, over a few days and have had the following minor post processing steps done to them. A contrast boost, very very slight colour correction (towards blue) to one or two image, noise reduction and then sharpened for web at export. I just love the tones straight out of the camera, though. Just one or two were a little too warm for my liking.

The first image was taken at the rear entrance to the train station. I’ve taken an image or two here before, as I love the way the light hits the steps. It’s the first time I’d gone for this composition though, and I particularly like the way the steps help lead the eye to the left of the image.

The thing that caught my eye with the second image was the shadow cast by the people crossing the road. The sun was quite low early afternoon which usually makes for an interesting shadow, somewhere. I realise if I’d been able to review this image immediately, I would have taken it again and have my subject just entering the crossing. This is the beauty and skill of analog photography though.

Again it was a the shadow that caught my eye with my third image. A bit of growth behind a cordoned-off section of the parliament building, which is currently undergoing some partial renovation work. Simple yet intriguing and those tones!

This is my fourth and favourite shot out of the set. I was wandering around the parliament building when I spotted this guy out the back. A traveller taking time out to have a smoke out of the ice cold wind and with the setting sun on his face. I walked passed and we exchanged a glance. I was immediately thinking ‘I want a shot of him’ and with the camera in my hand, he knew I was about to ask. I approached cautiously, with a smile and a racing heart. I told him the story behind the travelling camera (in German) and he reservedly agreed to the shot. I thanked him and left absolutely buzzing. I knew, if all other shots failed, I’d at least have one I could be proud of, if I’d judged the lighting and composition correctly that was.

The next image is again taken at the train station. It’s a new office building with a few shops and restaurants on the lower levels. I quite like the perspective and also the numbers displayed in the windows, a huge advent calender, thus marking the time of year the shot was taken. I was also really curious how the AF35 would handle this shot. It was very bright and I wondered if it would would warp the perspective at all. It didn’t and the AF35 performed admirably in these conditions.

My final image is again a favourite of mine and more towards my preferred style of photography. Again the AF35 performed exceptionally well in these conditions. I really didn’t expect this one to work as well as it did. My idea was to time the step of the guy crossing the road with the statue. I was a fraction too eager, but I’m still very happy with the shot.

To conclude then, I learned that, although I pressed the trigger each time with a great deal of caution and reserve, I can submit these images with certain amount of confidence that I indeed do know how to take a photograph, and don’t need to immediately review or to have multiple attempts at an image for it to be considered ‘good’. I learned to trust my eye and my ability.


Read more in the Travelling Canon AF35 Porject series:

See the first post here.

Custodian #1 - Gavin Wares.

Custodian #2 - Dimitri Hon.

Custodian #3 - Hamish Gill.

Are you interested in getting involved? If so please get in touch!

The Travelling Canon AF35 Project - Custodian #2 - Dimitri Hon

I would like to say that Dimitri is my friend but we've never actually met, him and I occupy the same internet forum and both share a love for photography. Having 'internet friends' is a strange concept for many people but I embrace it, I enjoy the combination of animosity and camaraderie that meeting people purely through shared interests brings.

Dimitri is custodian number 2 in a rapidly growing list of people wanting to be involved with the project, he's based in London, here are his thoughts on the Canon AF35 SPRINT:


Getting a chance to play with a new camera that cost £1 can plunge one in to a surprising amount of anxiety. Once you get past the fact that you are probably taking photos for the narcissistic endeavour of refusing to accept one's own mortality you are faced with the fact that the diminutive value of the device its self is making you compete with you alone, more than anything.

Realising this embarrassingly stereotypical male-photographer trait like an old memory that still makes you cringe, I decided to just have fun instead and hit a few spots I enjoy taking photos and see what happens.

You see, I'm fundamentally lazy, so the first place I decide to go is the Barbican. For those of you that live outside the M25, this is essentially the Vatican for brutalist architecture. It really is that great. It's such blindingly good subject matter that you could point your camera anywhere and it will probably look a bit arty, at worst. It's like Cuba but cheaper to get to.
I got maybe one keeper from there, and that was from my "cop-out" spot, overlooking a pavement, right in to people's domes. Not exactly original but unique in its perspective, until drones arrived at least.

 

Otherwise, I got pretty fixated on camper vans. There's quite a few in London but what I found interesting was the reluctance to blatantly photograph them up close in case someone was home, so I inadvertently ended up with really voyeuristic angles, which could develop in to something...
I have to nod to Tina Kino in this instance, as she did a really nice series on modded vans in Berlin whereas I just took a few shit photos of a couple of transit vans in Finsbury Park... But there's something compelling about people living like nomads in little capsules next to the pavement.

My last location was Walthamstow market, which can be a tricky place to photograph. Some days you're just compelled to climb a bollard, throw caution to the wind and be ballsy whereas on others, you become camera shy and shoot from the hip. It all depends on the mood at the time and on this day, I wasn't feeling the urge to get in people's faces (which is usually an indicator of do the opposite).

All in all, it was fun to photograph loosely again, which is something, even with the infinity of digital, we forget. I had no idea if the film was colour or B&W or how accurate the frame lines were, so it was very much a case of going on feeling.

 

It's a good exercise. Good in the sense that you will ultimately be slightly disappointed but not so much so that you still feel like you learned something, no matter how intangible.

I learned that I photograph compulsively.


Thanks to Dimitri for participating and for posting on the camera to custodian #3!

You can see more of Dimitri's photos here:

Ektar 100
Scilly Isles

Simple Pleasures - The Travelling Canon AF35

Credit goes to Hamish at 35MMC.com for the inspiration behind this post and project.

Hamish is running a photo competition to win a Leica M4, the idea is to buy or use a camera worth less than £10 and produce an image that transcends the camera's value and stands up as a 'good'  image. He's yet to judge the competition but I'm certainly happy with some of the images from my £8 camera; enter the Canon AF35J/SPRINT.

So, what does your £8 buy you? 

A boxy little 1989 Canon point and shoot, with very few bells and whistles but in pretty much perfect condition is the answer. It fits well in a jacket pocket and is nicely self contained with the on/off switch also operating a cover for the lens and focusing lens, so no case is required.

The top trumps stats are as follows: the lens is 35mm F3.5 - F11, minimum focus distance of 0.9m or 0.45m with forced flash, shutter speed of between 1/40 and 1/250. It will accept DX coded film of either 100 or 400 ISO. That's about it, no self timer but can be attached to a tripod with plastic thread in the base. Oh yeah, and the strap is 45cm long, letting you judge your close focus distance to perfection, low tech but useful. I shot three rolls of 400 ISO film through it, two Kodak Portra 400 and one Kodak Tri-X 400, most of the better shots were in subdued light or low evening light but it worked fine in bright sunlight too. Film loading, wind on and re-wind are automatic and motor driven, it's not the quietest motor ever but not intrusively loud either.

Focusing with the horrible squashy shutter button means focus / recompose technique isn't the most confidence inspiring; there isn't really a distinct half press position and the focusing is silent so it's hard to judge if it's working. That said I don't think I took one out of focus shot over three 36 exposure films so it must work reasonably well!

The specification is truly nothing special and were it not for the challenge criteria I would have never bought this camera, it just looks bang average on paper and in use apart from the horrible shutter button it's pretty average. And this averageness is it's greatest strength, with no knobs to twist or controls to think about you are free to concentrate on the real crux of photography; composition.

I've not shot a lot with a 35mm focal length before so that is new but apart from that I am used to getting good results from most camera's I've used but looking through my scans (thanks filmdev.co.uk - great scans!) I found a far greater proportion of keepers and had far fewer repeats of similar shots with different settings than is normal for me.

I shot at locations I've been to many times before and shot subjects I've shot before and yet, somehow, ended up with a load of unique shots. Weird, who would have thought this uninspiring camera could be so inspiring.

Simplicity isn't something that I've ever looked for in a camera, in fact most of my camera's are massively more complicated that this dull little plastic brick, but the little Canon AF35 takes a pretty reasonable photo!

Free yourself from thinking about one hundred settings and the process of taking a picture changes, it's more contemplative and it's more fun.

 

So now I'm sure you'll be interested to try it for yourself, this little Canon AF35 is going on a trip, I've loaded a roll of Portra 400 and she's ready to roll.

She's going to travel the world one roll of film at a time. (I hope!)

If you're interested in getting involved with this travelling camera project then please get in contact, I want to send it on a trip and I need you guys to get involved to make it work.

If you want to be the first recipient of the camera let me know your address and I'll forward it on, shoot the whole roll and replace it with another 400 ISO roll of your choice then send it to the next address on the list.

Once you have developed the roll I want to send me your best three shots from the roll and any comments about your experience with the camera which I will them publish here.

How does your photography change when you concentrate on composition and timing alone?

Update 01/07/16 - Thanks for everyone that has got in touch to be involved so far. The camera has 13 recipients planned so far.

Where the camera has been:

  1. Gavin Wares - London, England - gavinwares.tumblr.com
  2. Dimitri - London, England

Where the camera is going:

  1. Hamish - www.35mmc.com
  2. Mal Pryde - Fife, Scotland
  3. Rob Edgerly - Bern, Switzerland
  4. Tina Kino - Berlin, Germany
  5. Michael Francis - New York, USA
  6. Ritchie Greenhill - Dundee, Scotland
  7. Aimee Smith - Fife, Scotland
  8. Mikael Carlsson - Gothenburg, Sweden
  9. Sarah Mears - Mulgrave Vic, Australia
  10. Theo Panagopoulos - Sydney, Australia
  11. Dan Polacek - Farmington MO, USA