Miscellaneous Tricks

The following are some miscellaneous subminiature camera tricks I use that suit my style:

Note: To speed things up, each thumbnail creates a separate new window. To avoid having too many windows open, close the image window to return to this page. I'll try to figure out a better way to display these images; if you know of one that doesn't involve scripting, let me know.

Lens Case: I don't trust the lens pockets in the Minolta 16 leather case, so I carry my lenses separately in an old PC-Card (aka PCMCIA card) jewel box in my shirt pocket. To keep the lenses from rattling around, I cut windows in an insert of thin polysomethene foam (probably polyethylene or polypropylene) that I had lying around. For original lenses this is OK, but my homemade lenses don't have a full frame, so I slipped in a swatch of soft lens cloth to keep their front surface from rubbing on the plastic. I also keep my DOF chart in there for quick reference.

Minolta Case Liner: I do use the Minolta case for the camera, but for a little extra protection I fitted sheets of foam into either side. The one slipped under the lens pouches stays put, the other one I just negotiate around when slipping in the camera. I was going to try securing it with a scrap of double-stick tape, but lately it's conformed somewhat and seems less inclined to pop out.

Over time the foam stretches the leather somewhat, so I wouldn't do this to a collectible case. It gives the whole ensemble a nice comfy feel, though.

Padded Zip-Seal Bag: The elastic on my Fuji-guts flash lets me slip it around back of the camera for easy carrying with the flash attached. If I'm going out late with slow film, sometimes I just slip the assembly into a padded zip-seal bag, along with my lens case. The bag affords lots of protection, although it wears out pretty quickly. I'm afraid I don't know where to get them. The ones I have are anti-static memory bags left over from a computer installation job my wife did once.

Right-Angle Finder: I made this cheesy finder for my Minolta 16-II, to try at a family gathering. I got some OK shots, but folks caught on pretty quickly that I wasn't really taking pictures of the refrigerator. It might work better on strangers!

I lined the clip with self-stick flocked paper (from Edmund Scientific) to protect the camera and provide a little grab. The patch on the outside helps protect my glasses. The front-surface (aka first surface) mirror is a 10x16 mm take-out from a junked Ricoh AF-2. Last I looked, American Science and Surplus also had some that might work.

This was bent from tin and is already pretty beaten up, so I'd suggest using stiffer metal, maybe brass or aluminum in a heavier gauge. I do like being able bend the mirror down so I can store the thing in the case on the end of the camera; if I refine this thing I'll try to hinge the mirror.

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Marcus Brooks — 6 May 2000