The only one left alive…

After Ricoh/Pentax announced a new monochrome-only DSLR camera a few weeks ago, and after the first reports, photos, and tests about it, I’ve been thinking about a camera which only has a black & white sensor – the only other readily available model being a Leica for almost 10,000$/€ without a lens.

That Pentax camera with a sensor of APS-C size seems to be very popular at least in Japan where it sold out immediately, twice in a row. Meaning that Ricoh/Pentax just can’t seem to make enough of them, and that people seem to like black & white – who would have thought?

Anyway – when I was shopping lately, I went into a local drugstore to look for film – and all they had left was a single brand and version of a black & white film. Looking online later at home, I saw the same. The only other film in their online store, a color negative one was marked as “not available”. So out of nostalgia, I bought one:

The only one left alive…, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

Of course, looking at price comparison sites, I’ve found some more, but way less than in the past, and at the same time more expensive than ever. Well, that answers one question as it seems:

And maybe that also saves me from this one:

That’s a joke of course. Like Michael Johnston wrote lately, I also won’t be “shooting” film anymore, so this roll is for “special occasions”, and I’ll treat it like the last one. The photo of the film in front of my camera above has been treated with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, using an Agfa APX 100 film simulation just as a demo for what you can do with a normal mirrorless camera.

Would I buy that Pentax? No. Would I buy an Olympus Pen-F with a black & white only sensor? Probably, if it were under 1k€. Otherwise, I’m perfectly happy with what I have.

Like always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Edit, from two days later (Saturday, 27th of March 2023):

Found another one in a second drugstore chain, same brand but different ISO/ASA of 400 instead of 100. I’ve looked on their webpage but haven’t found it there, but in the store it was the only one available. So here’s a pic of both of them together:

A second film, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

Both films are made in UK, so I wonder who makes them – probably Ilford?

Oh, and the photo this time is straight out of camera, cropped in-camera to a 3:2 format, and with the contrast set to +2 (on a scale from -2…0…+2). No filters set, uploaded to Flickr as is.

Like always, thanks for reading/viewing.

Sometimes, when I get a little nostalgic…

… then I set my digital camera to black & white, and sometimes also to the 3:2 format of the typical 24x36mm “Kleinbildfilm” which we used when we were young. And if I’m really in some kind of yesterday’s mood, I also use Silver Efex to simulate using Ilford HP5 Plus film which we used to use most of the time, self-developed and prints enlarged with my brother Willi’s Durst machine in our parents’ bathroom… except that we used Canon A-1 cameras at the time, not Olympus like now:

Olympus OM-2n, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

Within Silver Efex (Pro 2, in Windows 11) I used +20 percent brightness here. And I like that like with real film, the “grain” is more visible in the brighter areas, not like digital “noise” which would turn up in the darker ones. Very reminiscent of film and its behaviour indeed.

I could get a roll of Ilford film from time to time, but our darkroom equipment is gone since long.

Like always, thanks for viewing.

Not half bad…

A photographer friend from Florida, William Beebe, recently wrote in a series of articles titled “Use what you have” (part 1 and 2) about some cameras and phones, and that he’s tired of RAW processing and mostly uses what comes out of the devices. And since we both have a Google Pixel 4a phone, I took a photo with that one today. I set the phone cam to “portrait mode”, but later also edited the picture in-camera (or rather, in-phone) with the “Eiffel” black & white preset which I really like. That almost gets you a film-like look:

Google Pixel 4a photo in portrait mode, with its “Eiffel” preset

Reminds me a bit of photos I took with using Kodak’s Tri-X (TX400) film stock, and really – a counter-shot from my camera with simulating that film in RawTherapee gives you this:

Self portrait, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

I sent myself the phone image with Signal, and that cropped it to 2048×1536 or around 3 Megapixels – very nice for using it on web pages. So I did the same using Gimp with the photo out of my camera.

But really, that “Eiffel” look in Google’s software isn’t half bad…

Like always, thanks for viewing, and for reading.

Edit: after searching and reading a bit about it I decided to just try and uploaded my photo taken with the Olympus camera into the Pixel 4a phone, then treated it like the first one in this article: opened it with the camera app, selected “portrait” mode (which blurred the background quite a bit more), and then applied the “Eiffel” black & white preset to it. Then I sent it to myself with Signal again, so here’s the result:

Olympus photo, edited with the Google Pixel 4a phone

Quite a bit more “dramatic”, isn’t it? But even this can be set with a slider – here I had “Eiffel” at the max (100%).

Interesting. Who needs Photoshop or Lightroom with that (and lots more options and presets) in our cameras?

Again, thanks for reading/viewing and so on…

Edit2: I wanted to examine this a bit further, so I took an image of myself holding a Color Checker, and converted it using the Olympus built-in black & white setting (simulated in OM System’s Workspace RAW processor), and then I used Nik’s Silver Efex (on Windows) and RawTherapee (on Linux) with simulating Kodak’s Tri-X film. Plus I put the image into the Google phone to apply their “Eiffel” preset to it. With the resulting images I made a collage in The Gimp, which I then cropped to 2048×1536 pixels for web use, and uploaded that to Flickr. So here it is:

Black & white options, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

You can click the image or this link to view it bigger in Flickr if you like.

Again, thanks for viewing.

Matti Sulanto in KL

This one is for the gear heads, or for those who want to see some photos from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Matti Sulanto is a photographer from Finland and as it seems he’s currently on a trip to Malaysia where he lent a camera and lens from Robin Wong, another photographer who lives in KL. So he’s talking about the gear mostly, but you can see some photos of the area – I think in one traffic directions sign I saw “Jalan Bukit Bintang” or so? Enjoy, if that is of any interest for you:

Oh, and about that lens – it’s really a lovely one, I have it as well. Like always, thanks for reading and/or viewing. Found these videos via 43rumors.

Will Ricoh/Pentax bring back film cameras?

This sounds truly promising:

PENTAX Film Project Story #1

Another one:

PENTAX “Film Project” Start #01

How fitting to have a piano as the background music for this – what a great analogy. A piano is a mechanical masterpiece as well, just ask my daughter after she tried some upright pianos… 🙂

Time to dust off my OM-2N, and to get some film into it again 🙂

Recorda Me – Lars Bernsmann (Guitar) & Hervé Jeanne (Bass)

What a great duo they make – just listened to three songs they’d played together, and here’s the one with the least amount of thumbs ups of them:

Recorda Me – Lars Bernsmann (Guitar) & Hervé Jeanne (Bass)

Hervé Jeanne is a fabulous bass player from Luxemburg, best known here in Germany probably because of his work with Roger Cicero, but also well-known about bass players because of his Stringmatrix Youtube channel, where he tests and compares strings, microphones etc., so we don’t have to 🙂

The bass he’s playing here is his 1960 Rubner with Aquila Gold and 22 strings, picked up by his Audio Technica ATM35 microphone mounted on a mic stand instead of the bass itself.

And as you can probably see, Lars plays his Höfner guitar directly into the amp and cabinet, no pedal boards or anything – that’s how a good guitar should sound 😉

The two other videos I’ve heard are “On a Clear Day“, and “My Shining Hour“.

Thanks Hervé and Lars for your wonderful session, and thanks to you for reading and watching, like always.

P.S.: if you want to read more about Hervé, here’s an interview with him from Bass Professor, and in case you want to hear him with the late Roger Cicero (RIP), here’s Roger’s “Zieh die Schuh aus”, with English subtitles:

Roger Cicero – Zieh die Schuh aus (Offizielles Video)

Some phone shots from today – and some screenshots

At the moment, all three neighbours’ cats are here, and all are sleeping. Two (Wilma and Crunchy) on my bed, and one (Cookie) on the sofa. Earlier, I caught Wilma on my lap with the phone in my hands:

Wilma on my lap, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

I had been trying different versions of LineageOS on an older Google Nexus 10 tablet device which we had laying around unused, and after trying some unofficial ones I decided to try the latest official build which you can get from, which is LineageOS 13.0 – [ Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) ] as you can see here:


That is some years old already as well (the tablet is about 10, this image more than 4 years old), but it is still a nice compromise between speed, stability, and features. Being the equivalent of Android 6 under its hood, I could even install the Zapp app from the F-Droid store, and so now we can watch Live and/or streamed TV on it, like so:

News (via Zapp app, see on a 10 year old Nexus 10 device running LineageOS ‘Marshmallow’, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

I had to interrupt my activities to send Mitchie to work with the car, and when we came down to the garage I saw that some neighbour had parked a nice new Honda motorcycle right in front of their partly covered Fiat 500 and beside our car. After coming back, I took a quick pic of that as well:

A brand new motorcycle, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

Oh, and when looking into my blog software today I saw that I’ve got a new version of that as well:


So I’ll have to see what’s new, and whether any of the also new templates (2022 and 2023) are looking good…

So all photos in this article came from my Pixel 4a phone, and the screenshots from my computer. As always, thanks for reading and for viewing.

Changed back lenses

After having had Mitchie’s 20mm Panasonic Lumix lens on my camera for a while, yesterday evening I switched them back, so now I have my 17mm Olympus lens again. Here’s a photo of Cookie which I took with that combination today:

Cookie, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

And here’s another one from just a few minutes ago:

Cookie, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

That’s the in-camera black & white setting without any (virtual or real) filters. Note that I also have set the camera to a 3:2 aspect ratio like we used to have on 35mm film, so I don’t use all the 16 megapixels, only about 14 or so. More than enough for any web images, or for prints up to 45x30cm.

Like always, thanks for viewing.

Pictures from JWST

Wow, these are good… I forgot that NASA also has a Flickr account, so they’ve uploaded some of their (and ESA’s) first JWST images to Flickr – and the Flickr team blogged about them in The Universe is on Flickr: See NASA’s first images from the James Webb Space Telescope.

The problem with astrophotography is that it’s a numbers game – you’ll have to invest quite a bit even as a hobbyist to just get some decent gear, both hard- and software. And then you’ll have to spend many nights out in the dark and cold, and later assemble all these taken images, and still you’ll be nowhere near the quality of Hubble, or now, the James Webb telescopes. Except of course if you’re a conglomerate of NASA, ESA, and others who put up some 10 billion dollars for such a thing…

Me, I don’t have any motors for my telescope, so even with manually tracking the moon (which is quite fast if you view it through some 1500mm-equivalent “lens”), it’s still a challenge to overlay all of the taken images, plus you can’t even really focus the whole thing – touch it, and you’ll see nothing except some dancing large object. For deep space imaging, you’ll really have to go outside and far away from any nearby city, and spend your night in the dark. And freeze – you’ll get the best ones in winter.

So bravo to the big agencies, and to anyone who really is into this – and thanks for the nice photos.

As always, thanks for reading.