Bye bye 2015…welcome 2016…!

It’s been a long time since I posted on here….as if you didn’t notice!

Hopefully, 2016 will be different.

I’m planning to assault your senses with loads more stuff about photography, cameras, and life itself, coupled up with the odd angry rant now and then, too!

So without further ado, I wish you a belated Merry Xmas!

As they say, the past is gone…the future has untold riches as yet not uncovered, so….let us all look forward to 2016…!


Posted in Classic film cameras | 4 Comments

Nothing to do with film cameras…

Butterfly on Aster

Today’s comment from me has nothing to do with cameras or film!

I may have commented on the subject before, but recently I read somewhere that if the happenings in that economic powerhouse that is China, are anything to go by, we may well meet the end of the earth and its living things, not by nuclear explosions, but by the disappearance of bees.

Wholesale usage of pesticides in China has now shown the true cost…all of the bee colonies in the Sichuan area have been destroyed and plants are now pollinated by hand, at a cost of an estimated $3 billion a year, something which was being done for free by Nature.

And at the lowest level, it is all being pushed by greed. Companies such as Monsanto are allegedly the ones who are spear-heading the use of, and bringing out ever-increasing chemicals that reap huge profits for them, but at what cost?

Sure, the dinosaurs managed to exist for 135 million years, so we have a long way to go, but you get where I’m coming from.

So how can we give a helping hand to Nature? Simple. I plant flowers in my garden that encourage bees to browse. Those of you who havent got gardens, flowering plants can be grown in window-sill pots too.

The number of bees coming to visit your plants may be small, but remember, if we all do the same, things will help exponentially.

Remember….No bees, no plants…no plants, no animals…no animals, no more man…

Which plants should we grow? Here’s a small selection of easy-to-grow plants:


Marigolds (bees and butterflies)
Dahlias ( bees and butterflies)
Sweet violet
Wallflower (bees)
Forget me not (bees)
Alliums (bees) 
Bluebells (bees)
Foxglove (bees)
Posted in Classic film cameras

Long time, no speaky!


Howdy folks! Yes, been a long time since my last post.

Truth is, I just moved house, and as you know if you’ve ever moved…settling down takes a helluva toll on you! I’m still living out of boxes partly, waiting for the day when I will finally decide where my furniture is to go!

My cameras? Just one simple answer….please don’t ask! I know they’re there, safe and sound, but at the moment, thinking about them will only complicate matters!

I hope to start posting regularly soon….touch wood!


Posted in Classic film cameras | 2 Comments

Three very nice film cameras that deserve your attention!

It’s funny, isn’t it, when you hear hi-fi enthusiasts singing the praises of their new valve-operated amplifier and their Garrard 401 turntable with SME 3009 tonearm? I for one am one those guys, too….I believe the sound you get from digital CDs is nowhere near that we used to hear from old valve set-ups. Well, transfer the same enthusiasm to film cameras and it’s the same old story again. That fab almost infinite tonal range, the grainy shots reminding you of greats like Brassai, etc. Just cannot be beat! So with that engaging idea in mind, I’ve chosen 3 film cameras that are my favorites, amongst 100s more! 1415138818525_film photography gq magazine november 2014 02 My first favorite is the unmistakeable Leica M6…aside of the screw lens Leicas, this one is refined and way simpler and cheaper than modern day Leicas. Look to paying around $1500 for a used one. 1415138818529_film photography gq magazine november 2014 03 The next one I like is the Canon AE1…very much cheaper, but just as good at taking superb shots as the Leica above. Very easy to use, solidly constructed. Around $100 including lens should bag you a very good one. 1415138818531_film photography gq magazine november 2014 04 The final favorite of mine is this Contax…the final word in film cameras and worth every cent of around $850, which is the price they are going at presently. Oozes quality and workmanship. Buy your film camera, whichever one you like or can afford, take your shots, and actually begin to love and handle the prints that arrive from the film processer, rather than just scrolling past them on a measly little LCD digital camera screen! 😉

Posted in Classic film cameras

A beautiful Rolleiflex 3.5 Tessar is on offer!

You may recall me talking about my …umm…rather largish collection of cameras?

Well, the time has come to sell one or two prized specimens off due to lack of space. I have already mentioned my Nikon F is available, and today I’m offering a fabulous Rolleiflex 3.5 Tessar medium format camera as well.

This one, like all of my cameras, is fully tested with film, and comes with  a whole lot of goodies that are normaly sold separately, such as filters, Rolleinar lenses, lens hood etc.

Enough talk…click here to see and read more about it!


Posted in Classic film cameras

If like me, you are a film camera user, you will have heard all about the workhorse called the Nikon F.
It is said that this is the camera that has been causing Leica to lose money ever since it hit the market 30 or 40 years ago.
Just holding it in your hand speaks solidity, quality and superior workmanship….it has also been said that the Nikon is so solidly built, it can double up as a weapon against would-be muggers, or a door stop even!

nik1 nik2

nik3 nik4
The Nikon F has been used by the world’s journalists and photographers for years, without once letting them down.
It’s reputation made it into something of an icon, with personalities rushing to be seen to be using it….see if you can recognise some of these below!

ali nik1  clint nik3

katharine ross nik2  linda nik4

Anyway, this particular Nikon is fully tested with film by myself, using both mono and colour films, the shutter is smooth and crisp on all speeds, the apertures are absolutely fine, and the camera has no dings or dents at all on it’s solid body…just a little paint loss on the back plate through normal usage.

The Photomic meter, like many of these cameras, does not seem to work, although the repair is quick and easy, a resistor inside the meter head needing replacement. I always either use my own judgement when taking shots (the Sunny 16 rule!) or a hand-held meter if the shots are valuable, so I have never needed to use the meter inside the camera.

It comes complete with a lens cap, to protect the pristine 50mm lens.

I’m supplying a set of new filters too, a polarizing filter, a Yellow and Red filter too, for producing dramatic effects with your shots.

Cost? I always say money is immaterial when talking about such precision instruments…professionals have admitted, by the way, that a camera such as this can never be produced these days, as the technology has all been used to produce cheap, plasticky digital cameras with built-in obsolescence!

Price (UK): £295 plus £12 shipping within UK

Elsewhere: $395 plus $25 shipping

E: harsum888 at yahoo dot com


Posted in Classic film cameras

Why I never rely on digital or cellphone cameras!

Let’s face it, every Tom, Dick and Harry is now a photographer!

Technology has made a mockery of people who have spent their lives perfecting the art of photography, in whatever niche they find interest, whether it be street shooting, still life, glamour, landscape or what-have-you.

By that I mean everyone who carries a cellphone these days, will most probably have a reasonable camera built into the phone.

So when you dare to bring up the subject in conversation with friends these days about some nice shots you have taken, more than likely your friends will chime in with their own exploits with their cellphone cameras!

So it is that everyone now knows, or purports to know about photography. Funnily enough though, when you move onto talking about things like f stop numbers, perspective, shutter speeds, depth of field etc…then nobody says anything! The conversation comes to a halt! Why?

Because they just do not understand the complexities of those terms, in short! All they know is how to look at their lcd displays on their cellphones, and press the button that gives them a picture.

Anyway, I digress. Going back to the subject of this post, I made a fatal mistake recently of leaving my film camera (a trusted Olympus Trip), in the car, thinking that if a shot did present itself, I had the camera on my cellphone always available.

And, as they say, Sod’s Law dictates that if something can happen, it will happen at the most inopportune moment of all. So when I spotted a nice photo opportunity, out came my cellphone, as I tried to capture the moment.

I pressed the camera selector on the phone, hoping the camera would come into action, but the hell it did! As I depressed the camera selector, the display went blank…and defaulted after a while to the normal cellphone display again!

So, in short, I lost the photo opportunity!

Had I been using my film camera, simple as it is, it would have fired straight away without hesitation.

Moral of the story? Never rely on anything digital. Period.

Happy Easter!

Picture 479


Posted in Classic film cameras | 2 Comments

A member of the public quizzes me over my camera!

Hi folks!

Been a while since I posted on here, so let me tell you about something that happened recently whilst I was out on the street taking shots.

A gentleman walking across the other side of the street saw me and watched me take a few more shots till he decided to cross the road and come over to my side. I had also been vaguely aware of him, and was wondering whether he was one of the politically-correct brigade again, and would he be telling me that I was invading people’s privacy etc etc!

Surprisingly enough, he turned out to be a thoroughly decent guy and just wanted to ask what camera I was using.

It just so happened that I was using an Olympus Trip 35, just one of many in my collection. It was the older version with the silver shutter button. I told him all about it, as much as I knew, and he was immediately sold on the idea of having one himself, too!

And indeed, the Trip is a marvellous piece of yesteryear engineering, so simple to use, but producing pictures as good as, if not better in some cases, than top digital cameras.

The heart of the Trip is it’s simple but very very good lens….professional photographers agree that the lens is the same as the Nikon 45mm f2.8, whihc is well-known for it’s phenominal sharpness.

Easy to use? Sure! The Trip only has 2 shutter speeds, the 1/40th of a second for flash photography, and the 1/200th for AUTO mode.  I normally set my camera to auto, choose an aperture that will suffice for 99% of the shots I take, and that’s it…ready to go!

Without doubt, this camera is very difficult to beat, even now, after some 35 to 40 years later. Want one? Not a problemo….I have several fully refurbished ones available, some in original finish, some with beautiful snakeskin-look coverings. Email me on harsum888 at yahoo dot com for details….or have a look at the ones I have on offer at present here.

Meanwhile, take a look at the top quality results the Olympus Trip 35 gives you!

Photo courtesy

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Posted in Classic film cameras

Another classic camera offering for you!

Picture 328

I have talked about the fabulous Olympus 35SP many times before here, so I won’t bore you with superlatives…just Google it and the web will throw up thousands of pages about this classic.

So you will be pleased to read that I am offering another one from my collection again!

Click here to find out more….

Posted in best film cameras to buy, black & white photography, Classic film cameras | Tagged , , ,

A look back into the days of old England!

During my recent visit to the UK, I was walking around downtown London taking shots with my film cameras, when I came upon some very odd looking street lamps. Little did I know that I was looking at lamps that worked in the times long gone by. Read the actual report here…I think you will enjoy it!

The most magical job in Britain: Enchanting story of our last gas street lights, and the five men who keep them burning just as they did in Dickens’ day

  • There are just 1,500 gas lamps left in London, each one hand-lit by a member of a five man team every evening
  • The 19th-century lamps offer a glimpse of the city as it would have been during the time of Charles Dickens
  • Current team of London lamplighters are actually British Gas engineers – but their efforts go largely unsung
  • That the gas lamps have survived is partly a tribute to English Heritage, which has protected and restored them

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge next have an evening engagement, they might consider dismissing their chauffeur and setting out from Kensington Palace on foot. For on their doorstep is one of the most magical walks in London.

The long avenue of Kensington Palace Gardens, lined with embassies and the mansions of billionaires, is lit only by gas lamps. Their glass heads are a constellation of stars.

It is one of the rare places in the city where a walker can imagine what it might once have been like to walk the capital at night.

These glowing sentry posts are among the last Victorian gas lamps in London. In a city blazing with electricity, with office lights left on all night, these 19th-century survivors offer a glimpse of the city as it was when Charles Dickens wrote his dark and smoggily gripping novels.

There are 1,500 gas lamps left in London – but hundreds of thousands of electric street lights. Westminster alone has 14,000 glaring electric lamps.

But who keeps London’s gas lights burning?

They are evangelical about the particular beauty of their charges. Iain Bell, who oversees the operation, runs his hands over the posts like an antiquarian examining a classical sculpture.

Fellow engineer John Blanchard insists that the title ‘lamplighter’ doesn’t go far enough. ‘We are,’ he says proudly, ‘the Guardians of the Lamps.’

Before such men existed, London was a dark city. In the 18th century, it was a brave walker who ventured out without servants to lead the way with a lamp in one hand and a cudgel in the other.

Those who could not afford to keep servants would pay a few coins to a ‘link boy’, named after their ‘links’ or torch wicks.

These wild street urchins, the sons of harlots and thieves, would walk ahead, carrying a stick with a rag dipped in tar and set alight. Some were cutpurses, leading their customers into courts and alleyways and stealing what they could in the darkness. Yet they were preyed on in turn.

The link boys were vulnerable to the attentions of unscrupulous men who would have their way with the boys for a few more farthings.

Those who couldn’t afford to be guided in the dark took their chances — or rushed home before sunset.

Then, in 1807, an extraordinary conjuring trick was performed on Pall Mall.

To celebrate the birthday of King George III, Frederick Winsor, an engineer, lit the most spectacular of candles. To gasping crowds, he instantly illuminated a line of gas lamps.

Each one was fed with gas pipes made from the barrels of old musket guns and all Winsor had to do was apply a single spark to light up the whole street. The Mall was almost impassable with spectators until after midnight.

Over the following decades, thousands of gas lamps went up across London.

Many panicked about the new-fangled technology — explosions were alarmingly common in the early days — but for the first time in its history, London was safe, relatively speaking, to walk at night. The Victorian periodical The Westminster Review wrote that the introduction of gas lamps had done more to eliminate immorality and criminality on the streets than any number of church sermons.

While some lamplighters change the mantles of the lamps outside Buckingham Palace at four in the morning to avoid the tourists, John likes to be up his ladder at the busiest times, revelling in his role as Lamp Guardian.

The Palace is happy to let the lamplighters shimmy up their posts, but our politicians are more precious. The Houses of Parliament look after their own lamps.

Hyde Park, too, has its own lamplighters, but otherwise, Iain and his team maintain 1,300 gas lamps from Richmond Bridge in the West to Bromley-by-Bow in the East.

The oldest lamps light up the inside of Westminster Abbey; the newest frame the statue of the Queen Mother near the Palace.

John helps me climb level with one of the lamps in Smith Square. What strikes you as you open the glass window is the rush of warmth — welcome on a drizzling evening in November.

In daylight, each lamp burns with a tiny pilot light — if you look up on a grey and overcast day you can just see the flicker. At dusk, a timer fitted to each lamp moves a lever to release a stronger stream of gas which gives enough power to light up the mantles.

It’s a wonderful trick. John manipulates the mechanism to show me the moment when the gas shoots up. The four mantles come on one at a time — flash! flash! flash! flash! — until the whole lamp shines.

In nearby Pickering Place, a gloomily Dickensian courtyard with half-timbered houses, Iain talks regretfully of the sheer waste of light in London. In Carlton Gardens, he points out the smart offices of an aerospace company. The desks are deserted, but lights are on at every window.

For a man who cherishes gas lamps, the careless second-hand wasted light from the offices is an insult.

Each lamp is marked with the crest of the monarch in the year they were erected. During the great smogs of the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was possible for a man to find his way home by spotting the glow of the lantern, then feeling the markings on the post to work out where he was in the city.

Outside the five-star Savoy Hotel is a rare example of a ‘sewer lamp’. Its post is hollow and extends beneath the pavement to the great sewer below. The lamp was designed to extract foul smells and burn them off before they could reach the delicate nostrils of guests in the hotel’s suites.

Since the 19th century, almost all the lamps have been extended to raise their lanterns above the height of traffic. Modern delivery vans and lorries are rather taller than horse-drawn carriages and sedan chairs. When a lorry does drive into a lamp, which they do regrettably often, it is re-cast and put back exactly as it was.

The lamps that stand today have survived the coming of electric light, the Blitz and the best efforts of London’s lorry drivers. Their survival is testament to the care of generations of lamplighters.

In 1939, the journalist H. V. Morton wrote a book called the Ghosts Of London, which lamented the loss of the lamplighters who were once seen on every street at dusk. There were 412 of them then.

‘We’re the last of the old brigade,’ one of them told Morton.

Today, there are just the five lamplighters left. It is thanks to them that this remarkable part of the city’s history has endured and that in a few squares and parks and alleyways, it is still possible to walk the glowing streets which, long before electric light pollution, Dickens himself would have walked.

Important job: Before lamplighters existed, London was a dark city. In the 18th century, it was a brave walker who ventured out without servants to lead the way with a lamp in one hand and a cudgel in the other

Taken entirely from the UK newspaper Daily Mail….
Posted in 1960s London, Classic film cameras, journaling & writing, vintage camera reviews | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments