Here’s a walkthrough of how I hooked up my Android phone to my DSLR. Why did I do this? Because of Dropbox, social media, quick editing for the web, an intervalometer, macro/low-angle photography, an external LCD screen for video, Wi-Fi, and more.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
An Android phone with USB OTG (USB host) capabilities
I found a great article on buying the older retro cameras on Ebay.
The trouble is, after you have read this you are going to be poor and partner-less. On the brighter side, you will have an immense collection of the greatest light recording tools on the planet!
“One thing I’m always amazed at is how some of the best cameras can be bought on ebay at great prices simply because few sellers spend just a few minutes cleaning up the cameras they find at garage sales or in the attic before photographing them and listing them. The metal bodied cameras of the 1930’s through 1970s were built like battleships. They clean up beautifully. I’ve collected more than 150 cameras on ebay over the last 2 years and have had great luck in winning high quality equipment that I shoot at least a roll of film with each of them.
Somebody may consider this a sacriledge, but I clean up each and every one of them using baby wipes. These things clean up everything from leather to metal and plastic parts. and I have never seen it damage any camera with whatever chemicals are in the wipe. Maybe some other brand might do damage, but I can vouch that the Kirkland brand from Costco does no harm and does a great job in taking off everything but corrosion. Clean lens glass with proper lens cloths, though and use proper lens cleaning fluid (if you must) so you don’t take the delicate coating off lenses and mirrors.
Beyond that, one usually just needs to replace the light seals on most cameras and get the proper batteries and then you have a camera that takes great, razor sharp pictures. The great news is that there are great sellers on ebay that sell light seal replacement kits and hard to find batteries. I’ve bought from each of them on more than one occasion and have been very happy with their products. I suppose the most common of the no-longer-available batteries is the 625 mercury cell that was commonly used in such popular cameras of the 1960’s and 1970’s like the Cannon FTb SLR, the Canonet Series of Rangefinder Cameras, The Nikkormat FTn, Nikon F, and the Minolta SRT Series of SLR’s. Sure, there are ways to use hearing aid batteries to replace this no longer available button cel, but I’m a very satisfied user of the Wein Cel MRB625 that provides the exact 1.35Volt power those cameras (and their meters) were designed to use. Even though they are the zinc/air type they still last over a year in storage after the tab has been removed. At about $6 per cel they are worth being able to use these classic cameras at their original specs.
Another great product to know about in restoring old cameras is Ronsonal Lighter Fuel. Used sparingly, this is a wonderful solvent that frees stuck parts such as leaf shutters and aperture blades. It is thought to be a very pure solvent that leaves little or no residue after it evaporates. I’ve been able to take wonderful pictures with many seemingly hopeless cameras because this stuff loosened up the old lubricant in cameras that haven’t been used in decades. Usually, there’s nothing else wrong with them”.
There have been many discussions lately, both on-line and off, on the rights of photographers – when, where and what you can legitimately photograph, and what you can subsequently do with the photographs you take.
This pamphlet is intended to give an outline of your rights and responsibilities as a photographer, but is not intended as a comprehensive guide.
As always, if you’re looking for specific legal advice, contact your local friendly solicitor!
Photographing on Public or Private Property?
In general, you are entitled to take pictures of anything you wish, when in a public place. You may take pictures of private property, people, or anything else you fancy.
On private property, you are also generally allowed to take photographs, provided you have permission to be on the property.
However, the owner may impose conditions on your entry to the property, which may include a complete ban on photography, a ban on photography of certain things, or a ban on certain types of photography (eg, flash photography, video photography etc).
Even where permission is not explicitly needed to enter the property, the owner is entitled to demand that you cease taking photographs, or that you leave the property. If you are asked to leave a property, you should not be threatened or attacked. Reasonable force may be used to remove you if necessary, however. In general, you are better off leaving when asked – the fact that you should not be threatened, does not mean you won’t be. The owner has no right to confiscate or damage any of your equipment.
The occupier of a private property, where he is not the owner, has the same rights as the owner would have. Security guards may also act for the owner or occupier in exercising these rights.
Violating the conditions under which you were admitted to a property voids your permission to be there, and you may be guilty of trespass. Trespass is a crime in some unusual cases but damages are more commonly sought in a civil case.
Photographs in a Public Place
You are not allowed to harass people in the course of your photography – stalking someone, or repeatedly blocking their way to take a photograph of them could be construed as harassment; simply taking a photograph of them probably won’t. Taking photographs of people in public is generally allowed – however, an exception is made where the subject would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You’re perfectly entitled to take a photograph of someone walking down the street – but hiding in a tree to take a photo of them in their home may get you into trouble.
You are not allowed to obstruct movement on the highway (roads, footpaths, cycle paths etc), or the work of a police officer, while taking photographs. Whether you are regarded as obstructing will depend on the situation, and you will generally be asked to move along by the police, if they view your behaviour as obstructive. If you refuse to do so, or persist in obstructing the highway, however, you may be arrested.
What you can do with your photographs is limited by Irish law. You may be found in contempt of court if you publish a photograph of a defendant, where identity is in question, that is, where witnesses may be asked to identify the defendant. You may also be found in contempt of court if you publish a photograph that might prejudice the defendant by insinuating his guilt (for example, of him being brought to court in handcuffs), or a photograph that might reveal prior convictions (for example, of the defendant at a previous trial).
Your Subject’s Rights
Can the subject of a photo prevent you from publishing it? Most of the caselaw in Ireland has centred on the misuse of celebrity images to imply an endorsement of a commercial good or service. This is dealt with by the courts, in general under the normal rules covering passing off. So, if the subject’s image might be worth money if used in an advertisement or as part of a product endorsement, they have a right to protect the income flowing from that, as a property right.
But what about the rest of the world, who don’t make their fortunes by assuring the world that, as Hollywood millionaires, they choose only the finest home-bottle hair-dyes to colour their hair? As the actor Gordon Kaye found out, when he was photographed by an interviewer whilst recovering from a serious head injury in hospital, there’s not much anyone can do to prevent you from publishing your photos. Provided your photographs are genuine, even if they would bring the subject down in the eyes of society, they’re not libellous.
Up to now, the right to privacy has been largely determined by a mixture of Constitutional rights, and ECHR case law – the Minister for Justice has previously said that the private interactions of a person – even in a public place – may be covered by the right to privacy – for example, while doing the shopping, or meeting a friend for coffee. But, once the interactions become public – at an awards ceremony or waving from the podium at the Olympic Games you lose that right to privacy. It may be hoped that the forthcoming Privacy Bill will clear up these issues, but for now, it is generally safe to presume that you can publish your photographs, unless your subject was in a situation where a reasonable person would believe that they’d brought their ‘portable sphere of privacy’ out with them.
In short, your subject can object to the publication of photos of them if: The photographs are untrue – they’ve been altered in some way, to show something that isn’t the case; The photographs are interfering with the subject’s commercial endorsement business; The photographs are tortuously violating the subject’s privacy.
The last option is still not entirely clear, but use common sense and remember the hypothetical “reasonable person”, and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
Ownership of Photographs?
If A takes a photograph of B, who owns the copyright in that photograph? As a general rule, the photographer owns the copyright. This is true even if B has commissioned and paid for the photograph – as in the case of wedding photographs. If B wishes to enjoy the copyright, he must agree with A that the copyright will be transferred to him. B should make sure that the agreement and any transfer are in writing – or they may be ineffective under Irish law to transfer the copyright.
The main exception to this principle is where photographs are taken by an employee in the course of their employment – if X Ltd. employs Z as a photographer, then the photos taken by Z in the course of his work belong to X Ltd. and cannot be used by Z without their permission. This can trip up the unwary – for example, Z may be in difficulties if he wishes to use those photos as part of a portfolio of work.
First of all it would be unfair to assume that all persons originating from Transylvania are Vampires. I live with one and my neck is relatively bite-free. I do, however keep a large garland of the age-old pungent rose in our kitchen. Joking aside, the reason I am interviewing this interesting gentleman today is to show the determination he had to provide for his family through a really tough Communist regime. These were times without Facebook and camera-phones, where making a side-living from photography could have landed him in serious trouble with the Romanian Securitate resulting in substantial fines, and even Jail. I got to know Dorin Avram and his family through my partner who happens to be his niece.
When did your passion for takings photographs begin?
“I always liked the Photography. After I got married and we had the kids, I started it professionally to make a second income.”
Is there a photographer that you particularly liked back then?
“No, there was none.” (It’s important to state here that during Communism, only classic literature and political propaganda would have been stocked in the libraries. Researching photographers would have been near impossible).
What year did you start taking photographs to make extra income and what camera did you use?
” It was in the year of 1986. The camera was a Zenit 35mm Rangefinder. I did weddings, baptism, birthdays and all kinds of family portraits”.
I assume you couldn’t send your negatives to a camera store to develop and print them. How did you get your hands on the chemicals and paper?
“Well, the photo paper I bought now and then from photo shops, but in bigger amounts for storage, and the solutions too at first. Later on I bought the chemicals from the pharmacy and mixed the solutions myself. I had a scale, that was very accurate. You had to have the exact amount of each chemical for the solution!”
Roughly how long during the Communist regime were you in business for?
“From 1986 until 1991 when we left Romania to come to Germany. The communist regime ended 1990, so I did it for about five years.”
It’s said that one in three Romanians was an informant for the Securitate*. Where did you do your processing and was it well hidden?
“There was a secret room in our apartment, which was my laboratory/ darkroom. I think it was around 1.5 by 2 meters long or something like that. The door to it was our coat rack and you could open it, if you pulled a secret crank and rolled the door open. The door was really heavy.”
I’m sure everyone would love to see how you organised yourself. Could you draw a quick picture of the set up?
If you were caught by the authorities what was the penalty?
“It was a high monetary penalty. How much it was, I don’t remember. Prison was less the case.”
Do you think people are as passionate about photography now, as you were back then?
“I think yes! I see Artemis for example; she takes pictures of everything… I think she is more passionate about it now than I was then. I tried a lot back then and I did everything myself (developing etc.), but today I think it would be too expensive for me…
Were there any moments when young children would sneak in and open the secret door, or turn on the light by accident, destroying your pictures? For example young Artemis or Alexandru?
“Yes… but only the pictures on the paper were damaged, but it almost never happened. It wasn’t as tragic, because the film itself wasn’t damaged and I could just do it again and I had always enough photo paper.
Last year, at your son Alexandru’s wedding in Germany, I saw you with a Canon DSLR. Do you prefer digital cameras now, or do you still have a love for the old film?
“I prefer the digital photography, it’s so much easier!”
Would you ever get back into taking pictures for a living, or have you ‘hung up your boxing gloves’?
“If I could make good money again then probably I would.”
*Control over society became stricter and stricter, with an East German-style phone bugging system installed, and with Securitate recruiting more agents, extending censorship and keeping tabs and records on a large segment of the population. By 1989, according to CNSAS (the Council for Studies of the Archives of the Former Securitate), one in three Romanians was an informant for the Securitate. Due to this state of affairs, income from tourism dropped substantially by 75%, with the three main tour operators that organized trips in Romania leaving the country by 1987.
When asked to go down and take shots of your mates band make sure you do it justice. Every job you encounter will take you on to the next, so make sure it’s correctly executed. You can be sure that if you’re last shoot was a little lazy then you will only get half the cash for the next one if anything at all! You should be aiming to increase your income. Not eventually be that guy who works for free but it’s ok because he’s not that great. Even if it is your best pal’s first live performance do the best you can. I have to make it clear though, some free work is never a bad idea if you know it may lead on to another project.
In order to set up your camera correctly to allow for all available light in the venue, you’ll have to get down there the day before and check for yourself.
I usually bump up the ISO to 800 or 1600.
Change mode to monotone (Most will tell you not too but I get faster, clearer, sharper images when the camera doesn’t have to process colour).
Use a fast prime lens like the super reliable 50mm. Best investment I ever made and not a great expense either. For Canon. For Nikon. The 50mm prime lets in a whole heap of light with its shallow depth of field. This allows you pinpoint the exact location of your viewer’s attention.
Try to leave your flash at home. Good flashes are not cheap and this will ruin your hot-shoe connection if someone knocks it, trust me. Fixing your camera’s hotshoe and a broken flash will destroy your insurance policy.
Get to know the whole band, not just the lead guy, to the point that when you’re snapping away, they will not be distracted by your presence during a song. And when you want them to turn and face you, all you have to do is gesture slightly. Do not take the attention away from the stage!
Do hand out business cards. It’ll quickly get fans to leave you with some space to work if they think they are helping you promote their favourite band. Speaking of which use the Security guys if things get out of hand. Equipment damaged by beer and elbows quickly adds up. Think about insurance.
I think I’ve covered all the technical aspects, now it’s up to you to get out there and capture what makes this particular band special using nothing but imagery. As always I’ll leave you with a wee example. This is Worth and Bondi. I’ll stick a video at the bottom of the page for you. See if you can tell me what the drums are..
Here are the shots.
I’ll leave the comments open to you guys on this one.
Ok so now I have your attention. I should make it clear that I’m not going to be showing you a boudoir session with the missus. Rather I’m going to show you how I made the bedroom into a fully functioning camera. Sorry if I appear to have misled you. There will be no provocative shots today. Ach well sure, maybe next time.
So again in class we were assigned a task to enhance our Photographic knowledge. For this project we were to build a camera from scratch. The only thing we couldn’t do was use a lens. Amidst the chaos of empty shoe-boxes, baked beans cans and biscuit tins. I decided that I would prefer to be inside the action to really understand what was going on. Since I’m far too big for a wee carton or container, I’d have to think outside of the cardboard box. I wanted something I could walk around inside in. So there we have it, the reason I chose my bedroom.
This is how I set it up.
Black out the Window leaving a penny-sized hole.
Even though the window was not completely light-sealed, you should start to see the image projecting on the opposite wall or in my case, the wardrobe.
Fix any light leaks with black tape, you’re going to use plenty so stock up. I used everything from old bills and pizza boxes, to past birthday cards and even a magazine that was lying around. I hope someone had the chance to read it. For the print to take effect I knew I had t0 make a smaller hole. I made some apertures from a pinhole in a piece of tinfoil and attached it to card with plenty of black tape.
With the smaller aperture, you cant project so far from the light source. So I got a tripod and attached a cardboard mount for placing the Photo-sensitive paper closer to the light hole.
Make sure that there is no light in the room, except a red safe-light if you have one. I bought a red light bulb but it failed the paper test. Apparently not all red light bulbs will work. Be sure to check with Camera stores. You can buy a dedicated light here. Set up the dark room chemicals and use whatever space you can to be safe when the lights go off. At least in my room I can find the light switch when its dark. I had to do everything in the pitch black until at least 3 minutes of the print being in the Fix solution.
I’m almost there. I just have to remember to have a system in place to avoid all the possible reasons that could spoil my exposures, ie my girlfriend coming back from college early and opening doors and turning lights on. Safest thing I did was lock myself in and leave the key in the door.
The final image took roughly 15 minutes to burn into the paper for the correct tonal values to be displayed. The end result was pleasing to say the least and didn’t take as long as I thought to set up. And I didn’t get into as much trouble either from the missus. I definitely recommend you try this at home. Or anywhere you can find the space with a view.