Some Corny Roll In A Day Fun

Lomography Sprocket Rocket, Kodak Porta 400

No, I have not been lost in a corn maze the last month or two…

I have simply been super busy, both at home and elsewhere.  Some of it has been good fun, but frankly a lot of it has simply been staying on top of parenting and life responsibilities.

Thank goodness the recent Roll In A Day was scheduled for a weekend.  The few before it were on a week day and I wasn't able to participate.

The theme was "toy camera" so I naturally reached for my Lomography Sprocket Rocket.  This camera shoots extra-wide frames on standard 35mm film and even exposes over the sprocket holes.

We visited our favorite pumpkin patch Uesugi Farms in San Martin, California.  I took a whole roll there full of corn, pumpkins, a train, and even artillery.

(Yes, it turns out that pumpkins can actually be shot a long distance with respectable accuracy!)

This camera is a blast, and while I don't take it out very often I always adore the results.  Good color negative film like Kodak Portra 400 is forgiving enough to get great shots in anything close to daylight even with the Sprocket Rocket's mere two exposure settings.

I hope next month's RIAD is also on the weekend and sticks to a simple theme or is even open ended like the first few were.

UCLA Sprockets

Lomography Sprocket Rocket, Fujifilm Pro 400H

One of my New Year resolutions for 2012 was to streamline my workflow and one step I am experimenting with is out-tasking my scanning.

Scanning film is labor intensive, and believe it or not I still haven’t fully processed my box of shame yet.  However in the last week or two I have processed (backed up, put online, etc.) almost ten rolls of film shot over the holiday season.

I did so by using the scan-during-processing options from both The Darkroom and North Coast Photographic Services labs.  I received back from them both discs of scanned images along with my film and prints.

I love NCPS’s “enhanced” scans, and The Darkroom has done a great job on my Sprocket Rocket images like the one above taken at our alma mater.  Neither is as good as the scans I can achieve with my trusty Nikon 5000, but for online use and small prints they work great!

Later I will compare their scanning services in more detail.  For now here are some things crossing my feeds…

Sprocket Rocket Exposure Tests

Nikon D300, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

Those of you familiar with the Sunny Sixteen rule will see that there is something fishy about Lomography’s suggestion to use ISO 400 speed film in the Sprocket Rocket.

It is supposed to have a shutter speed of 1/100 second and “sunny” aperture of f/16.  This would mean you should use ISO 100 speed film for shooting in direct sunlight.

I have experienced and others have noted that the Sprocket Rocket is quite “light hungry”, which simply translates into its published specifications being incorrect!

I shot two rolls of Fuji Provia 400F slide film together, one in my Sprocket Rocket and the other in my Nikon F100 with a 20mm lens.  The results confirm my suspicions:

  1. The “sunny” aperture is more like f/22 and the “cloudy” aperture f/16, both about one stop darker than documented
  2. If you press the shutter release very quickly, you can speed up the shutter dropping another stop of light from reaching the film!

This would indeed mean that you should be shooting ISO 200 to 400 speed film in your Sprocket Rocket depending on whether you are slow or quick on the trigger.

On the bright side (har!), with practice you could get three stops of exposure variability out of the Sprocket Rocket via the aperture settings and good finger speed control.

First Fully Scanned Sprocket Rocket Roll


Sprocket Rocket, Fuji Provia 400F

Nice vertical, eh?  This post looks absolutely tiny in comparison.

I managed to scan an entire roll of Sprocket Rocket photos that I took way back in March.  It took me that long to get a flatbed scanner, experiment with full-width scanning techniques, and then settle on one that seems to work well.

Knit Night just occurred in our household here, and with my Dear Sweet Wife and her friends knitting (and crocheting and quilting) away that gave me the opportunity to scan about one-and-a-half rolls full of sprockets.

On top of my Sprocket Rocket roll I also scanned about half a roll that my DSW took with her Blackbird Fly.  We should both feel freer to shoot with these cameras since we can now use their output.

Next up for my blog I hope to make a little section covering my cameras, and eventually other favorite gear of mine.  I have some cool vintage flash units on loan from my father that I will have to photograph before I return them to him.  (I will return them, honest Dad!)

Fortunately for me I have a new addition to my camera collection, one that should see a lot of film passing through it.  See if you can find the clue in this post about what it is.

Six hours left until I need to wake up… ugh, better wrap it up for this night.

How To Scan Sprocket Rocket & Blackbird Fly

Sprocket Rocket, Fuji Provia 400F (in case you couldn’t tell from the code)

I own a Sprocket Rocket, but have had a tough time getting good scans of 35mm strips all the way to the outer edges.

My Nikon LS-5000 film scanner cannot capture into the sprocket holes at all.  I tried using Lomography’s own DigitaLIZA scanning masks with my Epson V700 flatbed scanner, but it turns out they crop some of the outer edges too.  They also were not quite the right height for the V700 to focus properly.

What is the point of exposing over the sprocket holes if you can’t see it all?  I want images taken with this camera to scream “I was taken on film!” at the top of their lungs.

I worked on a new two-step solution this weekend.  I took an extra V700 35mm film strip holder and used my modeling tools (clippers, files, etc.) to remove a middle section of the support.  Then I used Better Scanning’s glass insert to hold the strip flat and in place while allowing for exposure to the edges.

This worked out almost perfectly.  I say almost as the glass insert is ever-so-slightly not wide enough.  If you look closely you can see a bit of its edge making a dark strip in the middle of the film imprinting on top and bottom of the film.

But I am much better off than I was before the weekend.  Now I feel free to fully enjoy my Sprocket Rocket as well as encourage my Dear Sweet Wife to use her Blackbird Fly (which also exposes over the holes) more often.

If you had today off work or school I hope your Labor Day exploits were as fruitful as mine!