film advanced

thoughts & research into film shooting and processing.

Don’t Let a Little Apocalypse Stop You From Shooting

Mushroom Cloud over Nagasaki by Lt. Charles Levy.  He described the colour as: “… purple, red, white, all colors—something like boiling coffee. It looked alive.”

Mushroom Cloud over Nagasaki by Lt. Charles Levy. He described the colour as: “… purple, red, white, all colors—something like boiling coffee. It looked alive.”

So, let's start with the bad news. It’s the end of the world- they fumbled the nuclear football one time too many and civilization has completely collapsed. People are eating each other for sport, hordes of super mutants roam the wasteland, and the search for a clean public bathroom has become virtually impossible. Worse of all, there’s no electricity to power your digital camera batteries so every ritualistic beheading and mud orgy is a lost photo opportunity. 



The good news is that, in picking through the ashes of an old pawn shop, I found this:

The Olympus Trip 35!

The Olympus Trip 35!

OK so admittedly most manual film cameras still work even after the fall of mankind without batteries. However the Trip is fully automatic. The Selenium meter around the lens sets the aperture in the cameras and takes the shot (video explanation here). I love it because you can preset your focus, run up to the giant radioactive scorpion get your candid close up and run away before it disembowels you.

But the Trip 35 is not unique in this design, although it may be the best example of it. They made them for almost 20 years, from ‘67 to ‘84 because they were so damn good at what they were named for - a compact camera for sightseeing Trip’s to Gastown or The Bullet Farm. Ricoh made a competitor model called the Auto 35, which is a truly weird looking camera. I don’t own one myself, but here’s a picture taken from Matt Denton’s website:

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This camera reminds me of Alex from Clockwork Orange- perhaps because of its looks like it’s wearing guyliner and that it radiates that mid century retro style. The USSR company KMZ stamped out a series of copies of this camera; the Zorki 10 and 11 which look even more Atomic Age:

Taken from  SovietCams . This is the PM2260 Model with the Communist Party Flag.

Taken from SovietCams. This is the PM2260 Model with the Communist Party Flag.

So provided you can find some film that’s not too expired or affected by gamma rays, there are plenty of options available for taking covershots for the next issue of ‘The Daily Scavenge’ or ‘Holocaust We Can’ Magazine.

But what if you can’t find film; or developer, or an enlarger for that matter? Well we have digital for that! How can you power a digital camera if you have no electricity?

The Sun and Cloud Solar Power Camera by Power Shovel makes its own electricity.

The Sun and Cloud Solar Power Camera by Power Shovel makes its own electricity.

These were designed by an obscure Japanese camera company, which can be powered by the sun through its solar panel. If the sky mushroom-clouds over it also has a hand crank. It’s takes forever to wind and starts to cramp your hand after a very short time. After 5 minutes you will feel like you’re cranking a stiff and very anticlimactic jack-in-the-box.

After an hour or so of solid winding, or 12 hours of sun, the cell should be powered enough to take a few shots, or even some very lofi; 8 frame per second video.

This camera is objectively terrible- the file output is tiny, grainy JPEGS or MPEGS, the menus are cumbersome and the buttons hard to use; the battery life is short and being a straight cube, it is one of the least ergonomic cameras I have ever used. All of that aside, the Sun & Cloud has a charm that just can’t be ignored. Some may say its gimmicky, but the photos it takes are truly unlike anything else:

Tactically, it also has some advantages over many other cameras. The shutter is truly silent, and I mean that in the literal sense of the word- it makes no noise. It’s appearance is also inconspicuous- lacking all identifiable features of a camera, with the lens covered.

So there you have it. Multiple options for cameras that will keep on shooting, long after the roaches have stripped the bones of the last man to walked this cursed earth.