talkin bout cameras


a blog by Branden Frederick

Off Camera Lighting on a Shoestring

Off Camera Lighting on a Shoestring

Well, a gold-plated shoesting

1022
gear
7 May 2020
Want to get started with off-camera lighting, but don't want to waste money buying junk gear? Want to know what parts of the setup you can safely cheap out on? Here's my researched and tried shopping list to get a powerful, portable, flexible three-light off-camera studio setup for under $500. This gear will work with any brand of camera. continue reading »

Five Years with Fujifilm X

Five Years with Fujifilm X

The Complete Roundup

1143
gear
6 May 2020
In November 2014 I went whole hog into Fujifilm's X camera system, starting with the X-T1 and two lenses. Now, over five years later, I have 25,000 Fujifilm X photos from four different camera models and a dozen different lenses. Is Fujifilm X still the right system for me? continue reading »

The Dumb Story of APS Film

The Dumb Story of APS Film

Forever Haunted by 1996

1253
film
17 Feb 2020
The Advanced Photo System ("APS"), aka Kodak Advantix, had a brief, dumb existence. Claiming to be an upgrade to 35mm film, APS was actually the opposite, making the entire format dead on delivery. Flawed as APS was, it was also launched in 1996, simultaneous to the first digital cameras. Even though digital photo sharing was nascent, digital photography grabbed people's attention in precisely the way that APS did not. APS is dead, but it has had one lingering stain that nobody has been able to wash away: the digital sensor size "APS-C". Let's look into the details. continue reading »

LomoChrome Metropolis

LomoChrome Metropolis

A New Film

529
film
26 Jan 2020
In summer 2019, Lomography introduced a completely new film stock. Into their existing lineup of traditional (i.e. Color Tiger) and non-traditional (i.e. LomoChrome Purple) films, they were adding a new beast: LomoChrome Metropolis XR 100-400. With muted tones and a cool color balance, they pushed it for urban street photos. Instead I used it to shoot my normal junk. continue reading »

2019 in Review

2019 in Review

Wiping it off our boots

946
concepts
25 Jan 2020
Every year about now I "check in" to track changes both in my self and in the world of hobbyist photography in which I swim. This is what I've learned, what I've seen, and what I've taken photos of in 2019. continue reading »

Let's talk about Flickr

Let's talk about Flickr

Yes Flickr is still a thing

602
gear
20 Dec 2019
Flickr's CEO told the world yesterday that the service, as it is, is unsustainable, and without help will die. I love Flickr, it's the one social media(ish) site I use, and I've been using it daily for a decade. What would the world lose if Flickr went away? continue reading »

Tear your backing paper

Tear your backing paper

See what happens

289
film
18 Jun 2019
When I got the Hasselblad 500C/M, the previous owner showed me how to use the camera. One of the pieces of advice was to not be too aggressive spinning the film loading crank. Last week I decided to ignore that advice. continue reading »

Lomography Diana Baby

Lomography Diana Baby

Is it any good?

901
gear
19 May 2019
110 film was designed for consumer simplicity. It came in cartridges which handled a lot of the machinery, giving 24 shots of 13x17mm negatives, most often at ISO 200. This allowed for very simple camera designs and film loading, at the expense of image quality. It's the film type I used for my first 15 years of life, but it died out when digital rose up. Until Lomography brought it back in 2017. continue reading »

Ektachrome is Back

Ektachrome is Back

And I don't mean expired eBay garbage

443
film
2 May 2019

Like a zombie, Kodak's Ektachrome film has risen from the grave. Its re-animated version is called E100, and it is a daylight-balanced neutral-toned slide film only available in 135 (35mm) format. Yes, this is the most boring version of Ektachrome, but hey there's new film stock!

continue reading »

Frame Sizes Revisited

Frame Sizes Revisited

Pentax 645D Edition

495
concepts
18 Mar 2019

With the inclusion of a Pentax 645D in my arsenal, a (somewhat) medium format digital camera, I once again am curious to know how lens focal lengths translate into fields of view for this sensor size.

continue reading »

2018 in Review

2018 in Review

Another Horrible Year

1941
concepts
8 Jan 2019

The year of our lord two thousand and eighteen is finally over (a week ago, whoops). Did my photography grow in technique and skill? If nothing else, my pile of cameras and lenses definitely grew in size. Let's dig in!

continue reading »

B&W Showdown Results

B&W Showdown Results

Sometimes I surprise even myself

902
film
10 Dec 2018

Back in May I purchased eight rolls of different black and white 120 roll film for a comparison (six Ilford stocks, two Kodak). The rolls included some I was familiar with, and some I had never shot before, with the intention that through shooting all films of similar subjects and in the same style, I'd be able to determine which B&W film best matches my style, or if I could even tell them apart at all.

continue reading »

Kodak Lumiere

Kodak Lumiere

uncommon slide film

212
film
8 Dec 2018

I picked up off eBay some unusual film stock: Kodak Lumiere. Wildly out of date, and with only two rolls, see how the images came out.

continue reading »

Fujfilm GA645Zi

Fujfilm GA645Zi

Medium format point-and-shoot

1081
gear
21 Nov 2018

Nine months ago I learned of the existence of a line of cameras that both use medium format film and are flat and compact.

continue reading »

Pentax K-50 Saga

Pentax K-50 Saga

Wherein I learn about aperture block failure

329
gear
28 Jul 2018

I love bright and crazy colors, so a few years ago when Pentax made the unusual decision to produce their K-50 camera in a huge array of toy-like colors, they had my attention. I was not in any way looking to buy a new SLR system at the time, so I didn't, but I never forgot about it.

continue reading »

Polarizing the Ocean

Polarizing the Ocean

How a polarizing filter can affect photos of the ocean

225
concepts
23 Jul 2018
A few weeks ago I was able to see some dramatic differences between polarized and non-polarized light with regards to photographing the ocean. continue reading »

Tips for Aerial Photography

Tips for Aerial Photography

Shooting photos out an airplane window

597
concepts
30 Jun 2018
Some of my favorite photos have been ones I've shot out of an airplane window. From 1000 to 3000 feet up in the air, you can get some amazing views, and smaller aircraft travel slow enough that you have time to prepare and compose your shots. continue reading »

Designing A Look

Designing A Look

Deciding a Travel Kit

978
concepts
25 Jun 2018
One of those recurring topics in photo enthusiast conversations is the grand decision of what gear to bring while traveling. continue reading »

Pentax K-01

Pentax K-01

The Brick

500
gear
24 Jun 2018
I bought, used for two months, then sold a Pentax K-01. It's not clear why the camera was created in the first place. This is its story. continue reading »

Cell Phone Cameras

Cell Phone Cameras

The best-selling cameras of the past decade

1032
concepts
24 Jun 2018
I read yet another article yesterday about how technology in cell phone cameras has surpassed that of dedicated cameras and "wow! look at these photos where you can barely tell which camera made the image!" continue reading »

The Great B&W Showdown

The Great B&W Showdown

Comparing eight different monochrome film stocks

436
film
12 May 2018
One of those things that's been tickling my noggin for a good measure of time now is, exactly how noticeable is the difference between all those black and white films? continue reading »

Shooting a Performance

Shooting a Performance

Photos of Play on Words

1242
concepts
20 Apr 2018
I was asked recently to photograph "Play on Words", an event where performers do dramatic readings of short stories. continue reading »

More Purple Than Purple

More Purple Than Purple

Expired Sensia II out-purple's LomoChrome Purple

255
film
9 Apr 2018
I sometimes grab film from the "as-is" bin at Glass Key Photo in San Francisco, even though it's sold with the disclaimer that the buyer should expect nothing from it. continue reading »

Hip to be Square

Hip to be Square

Fuji X equivalent focal lengths for 6x6 medium format

1082
concepts
23 Feb 2018
Over the past few years, I've become enamored with using my Fuji X cameras to shoot square photographs. I learned to love squares through Instagram and medium format, and I was happy to discover that square photography is built right into my Fujifilm digital cameras. continue reading »

Lomo Purple

Lomo Purple

unusual film stock

342
film
17 Feb 2018

Lomography sometimes sells batches of their own, unique "Purple" film. How this film works and where it is made are mysteries – we can only know through guesswork, since Lomography themselves say very little about the film.

continue reading »

Xpan

Xpan

Hasselblad's true panoramic rangefinder

1112
gear
2 Feb 2018

For years, the Xpan was a dream camera for me.

continue reading »

2017 Review

2017 Review

a Self-Reflection

2057
concepts
26 Dec 2017
By far, the most important thing that happened to me this year was the birth of my daughter. Yes, this is a photography blog and childbirth has nothing to do with cameras, but her birth transcended all parts of my life, including photography. continue reading »

expired 110

expired 110

in the baby diana

125
film
7 Dec 2017
A few years ago, someone gave me some old rolls of Kodak Gold 110 film they had found in their garage. I only recently got a working 110 camera (the Lomography Baby Diana), and then it took me longer to find someone to scan them (I've tried at home, and it's a pain). continue reading »

Kowa/SIX Compared

Kowa/SIX Compared

compared with what?

1439
gear
2 Dec 2017 4 Dec 2017
The Kowa/SIX was produced from 1968 to 1974, and was the first of three Kowa medium-format 6x6cm cameras. It competed against (and was cheaper than) the Hasselblad V system – and someone familiar with the Hasselblad will recognize many of the same selling points in the Kowa. I've been shooting with a Kowa/SIX for about two year now, and have become familiar with the camera. continue reading »

gone to mars

gone to mars

velvia gone bad

116
film
28 Nov 2017
In another exciting chapter of shooting junk film bought at bargain prices off eBay, I present you these photos shot on the surface of Mars on the Niles Canyon Railway. continue reading »

kodak plusdigital

kodak plusdigital

unusual film

158
film
27 Nov 2017
In the mid-2000s, Kodak introduced PlusDigital film (alongside some other lines) in Asia, where digital had not yet fully supplanted film as the standard in photography. continue reading »

slide duplicating film

slide duplicating film

testing and bracketing

324
film
19 Jun 2017
One of the weirder films you can find on eBay is Kodak's Ektachrome "Slide Duplicating Film 5071". I doubt there's 5070 other Ektachrome slide duplicating films, so I don't know what the "5071" indicates. Maybe some Kodak internal index? Coded "ESD", this film isn't labeled with an ISO. continue reading »

how I pick cameras

how I pick cameras

what I look for

1308
concepts
13 May 2017

As this website will attest, I've written a lot of garbage over the years about my experiences with different cameras and photo techniques. I've bought and sold entire camera systems, delved deep into film, had my left eye socket fitted with a M42 screw mount (I lie), not to mention that time when I heard the term "strobist" and got really into flash photography for 45 seconds. I'm open minded and willing to experiment.

continue reading »

too small, too fast

too small, too fast

film broken and abused

849
film
11 Mar 2017

I have brought together a perfect storm of dumb. But first, a story.

continue reading »

2016

2016

year in review

188
concepts
26 Dec 2016
Here we are – nearly at New Years Day, our annual reminder that we're all slowly approaching our deaths. As the heavy drinking drowns our sorrows, so does it turn our reflection inward, and cause us to self-evaluate. We realize how little we've accomplished, and to what degree we've let ourselves down. continue reading »

what's in my bag?

what's in my bag?

don't expect me to actually answer this question

1274
concepts
19 Nov 2016
I subscribe to too many camera discussions where the premise is "what's in your camera bag?" Like watching car crash videos on YouTube, there's nothing good about this habit, but I just can't help myself. This is my own failing. continue reading »

ektachrome gone bad

ektachrome gone bad

abused and forgotten

71
film
30 Oct 2016
When you're shooting film you've bought off someone on Craigslist, the film is expired, and they're not a photographer, all bets are off. continue reading »

accidental double-exposure

accidental double-exposure

mysterious first exposure

180
film
13 Aug 2016

A few years ago, a friend's father gave me a box of assorted camera junk that had been gathering dust in his garage for who knows how long. Included were some rolls of trash film. I threw them into my freezer and said "one day I'll shoot those".

continue reading »

old t-max p3200

old t-max p3200

doesn't save well

113
film
25 Jun 2016
In another exciting adventure in using expired film, here's photos shot on 20-year-old Kodak T-Max P3200 film. The higher the speed of film, the more delicate it must be stored, and the less well it will save after expired. continue reading »

a tale of two ektars

a tale of two ektars

kodak keeping things confusing

596
film
22 May 2016 7 May 2020
Kodak makes a great film called Ektar. Known for its bright, saturated colors, it's labeled at ISO 100 and a great film to use for landscapes and vacations and pretty much anything. However, it is is not the only Kodak Ektar film out there. Search for expired film, and you may come across old Ektar at ISOs of 25, 125, and 1000. What's the deal with those? continue reading »
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this website

This website's goal is to make us all better photographers.

talkin bout cameras is a one-person blog all about digital and film photography and its techniques, concepts, and accessories, and the search for the perfect photo. This project is created by Branden Frederick, a life-long photographer.

Photography advice should only be taken as seriously as the advisor's photos are good, so I encourage you to check out my photos before deciding how much weight my opinions carry.

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I also put things on web pages at these other sites: Contact me at bf@branden.me

about Branden Frederick

about Branden Frederick

I am a photographer: I have fun taking photos, and I always have.

I've had a camera in my hand my whole life, a 110 camera as a kid, and the high school's 35mm SLR later. In 2008 I spent six months doing nothing but taking photos and loved it. From that point on I've had my camera surgically attached to my hand (I lie). I went digital in the year 2000, and I came back to film in 2013. My parents tell me my photos are "nice".

bf@branden.me