Frugal Mike's Photography Pages

Go to the Basic Camera Tune Up Page

This page contains fundamental camera repair/tune up information applicable to all kinds of cameras

Go to thesrt 101 Tune Up Page

Recently, I found that my old Minolta SRT's meter and shutter speeds were not quite right. After some investigation, I have found that simple tune up and repair techniques for this type of old camera were not too hard for a tinkerer like myself. I found it necessary to construct a shutter tester and a light source for testing meters. Much of what I have learned is available for you to explore on my "SRT Tune Up" page.

Go to the Rolleicord Fix It Page

Here are some things I've learned about fixing up an old Rolleicord V TLR camera.

Go to the cannon et Fix It Page

Here are some things I've learned about fixing up a couple of old Canonet cameras.

Go to the realist Fix It Page

Here are notes on repairing the two most common faults of the Stereo Realist.

Go to thedual II Scanner Tips Page

Here are some tips I will offer on scanning with the Minolta Dual II film scanner.

Picture Galleries

I have acquired these pictures over the last 40 years. Some I have taken myself, some were taken by friends or family. I am not foolish enough to think that there are any award winning pictures here, but perhaps some of them will be interesting enough that you will not feel that I have wasted your time.
(Click on thumbnails to go to the gallery of your choice)

Mike's Photography Philosophy

I like old mechanical cameras. I like the challenge of setting the exposure and aperture based on the readings of a simple meter and manual focusing to get just the right result. The gear is a lot less expensive than the new high end gear. The results can often be superior to that of modern automatic cameras. Note that when it comes to fast action or candid type shots, I'm usually very challenged. I have also have had some fun repairing old mechanical cameras. I take my SRT SLR system along with me in a fanny pack made by Lowe Pro, called the Orion. This bag works very well for taking along a SLR, a couple of lenses and a flash. It is easy to work out of. However, in the final analysis, this is too much stuff to carry on the waist and I often hang it from my shoulder. I think I might end up buying a traditional shoulder bag, which should be much more comfortable to carry on longer hikes. I might find that there is application for both types of bags. I have one 35-105mm zoom for my manual Minolta system.  Turns out it is great for those times when you can't carry more than one lens on vacation or whatever.  Last summer I took my Minolta with this zoom and my Rolleicord on a long week to Colorado and it turned out to be a fine combination.  When I can carry more than one lens or am close to home, I rarely use it.
I recently picked up a Canonet 17 for portability and convenience. I carry it when I don't have any particular plans to take pictures, but the opportunity for a nice shot could crop up.  It takes nice, but not great pictures.   For a while I was looking into replacing it with a Rollei 35 or other small, but high quality 35mm camera, but for now I'll live with the Canonet. I  got a great deal on an old Rolleicord V towards the end of a local camera show. It is lots of fun to work with and takes wonderful pictures.  I mostly shoot black and white and am currently experimenting with filters.  I have also found that with Kodak Portra 160 NC, exposed at ASA 125 the 'cord has produced some good results.   Even in full sun the Porta NC, has the latitude to handle the contrast like a champion.  I have to admit I've perhaps doubled my investment in used Rollei products by buying closeup lenses, hoods and filters on Ebay for it.   As time goes on, I use this camera more and more when I'm out to get that great shot, especially in the outdoors.  I've also used it for infrared and got some shots that I'm really proud of.  I usually take it when I go on vacation and think I'll have a little time for photography.
I purchased a nice Stereo Realist off of Ebay.  It needed a small bit of work to get into top shape, but it has been a blast to play with.  Stereo pictures from this 50 year old gem will simply amaze most advanced 21st century tech geeks.  There is simply nothing like it in the mainstream marketplace.  I consider it a little marvel.

I'm still using film as my primary picture acquisition method - mostly slide film, sometimes negative film. I am moving more towards slides since they seem to be much easier to store in an organized fashion than negatives. I have been using the storage boxes made by a company called Logan. You can keep hundreds of slides in a single small suitcase style metal box. Also, if it is well done, people still enjoy the occasional old fashioned slide show. I have 3 digital cameras.  The first is a inexpensive Agfa 307 with fixed focus and only 640x480 resolution.  Not really useful, even for web pictures.  A digital camcorder with still capture mode.  Slightly better than the Agfa, but not much.  Finally, a 2MP Cannon A60.  The shutter lag, when attempting taking pictures of moving targets, is pretty brutal.  It supports manual mode, but the ergonomics are simply awful compared to my Minolta SLRs.  The picture quality is fine for web use.   I did find was that for small still life objects, it appears that the macro mode, combined with the instant digital feedback, is a huge win.   Many of the recent additions to this website have been documented, with this camera.  One other thing -  compared side by side with scans of film, the lack of grain in the digital shots is astounding.  Keep in mind that this is not always for the good, since a plain flat surface looks very flat and lacks any texture.  This is not always pleasing.
When the need presents itself, I use a film scanner to get the negatives into a Macintosh, which is used as a digital darkroom. Only a small percentage of the photographs I have or take end up in digital format.  I use either Photoshop Elements or Photoshop 5.0 LE for digital manipulation.  Turns out that 5.0 supports limited color correction on 16 bit files, which is useful as a first step for work that is especially important to me. I take pictures when I feel like it. After all, it's a hobby. If it is too hard to do, I'll probably leave it for someone else to try. I have no interest in making any money in photography. My regular job is hard enough, I don't want any additional stress.  The favorite pictures that i have taken are mostly environmental portraits of family or friends or landscapes.  I don't want to spend a whole lot of money on photography. I'll probably tire of it and go on to something else in a couple of years. Note the other hobby activities on my page that I'm not currently engaged in. Oh, I'll probably continue to dabble in all these activities from time to time, but who knows. I don't want to struggle with inferior equipment that makes enjoying the hobby too difficult.

Back to Mike's Hobby Home Page