Pink Slim Dress: LeBeau Plantation, Arabi, LA

(The Pink Slim Dress is the SuperHeadz knock-off of the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim; it has the camera’s exact body and 22mm lens, but not its annoying habit of an extremely easily broken film advance. It comes in a variety of colors.)

I take my color 35mm to… Walgreen’s. I know, I know. Their ignorance of photography actually works to the Lomographer’s advantage, because they don’t try to “correct” screwy film. They just develop it and slap it on a CD. But lately I’ve been having trouble with them. One roll came back with the colors all muddy, which almost certainly means they were using old chemicals. And 2 of them had weird spots, like water spots, all over the prints. They tried to tell me the film was damaged. 2 rolls seems doubtful, but they were from the same package, so… not impossible?

I decided the problem wasn’t so much with “Walgreen’s” as it was with “the Abbeville Walgreen’s”. This isn’t a very big town, and there isn’t a deep talent pool to draw from, which is probably why our local Chili’s can’t get a simple hamburger right. (Seriously, every 6 months there’s an “under new management” banner out front, every time my parents try it out, and every time they come home and are like “Yeah, no, it’s still terrible”.) I mean, the woman whose name tag says she is the “photography dept manager” once told me they couldn’t cross-process my slide film (which I had had done there like, 20 times at that point) because their machines couldn’t handle E-6 “size” film, only C-41. I patiently explained to her that E-6 and C-41 aren’t sizes, they’re chemical processes. The size of both films is 35mm.

So I took this roll (and the roll I shot in the Smena 8M) to the Walgreen’s in Lafayette. And even though this roll was from the same batch of film as the 2 that had spots on them, it’s spotless. So I think I’m going to take it there from now on.

487650-R1-24-1, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-18-7, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-19-6, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-15-10, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487650-R1-13-12, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

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a few new orleans shots with the pink slim dress

I took both Superheadz cameras on the latest trip to New Orleans, the Pink Slim Dress (their Viv UWS knock-off–although “knock-off” is kind of a derisive term for a vastly improved product) and the Golden Half. I got them developed and put on CD early this week, I’ve just been lazy about uploading.

I’ve been sort of re-discovering my love of 35mm lately. Sure, it’s not as obviously fancy-shmancy as 120, but it’s a great workhorse of a film, and it can be distorted in some pretty interesting ways (ie. redscale etc.). And some of my favorite cameras shoot it.

This weekend I’m going to try to shoot some instant B&W. Winter is suited to the film, since everything’s so stark and colorless anyway, and I’m interested to see what the Fuji B&W type 100 looks like in the Holgaroid.

I love street photography, but you never know how people are going to react to having their photo taken. I tend to shoot them when they aren’t looking. I am the Robert Ford of street photographers.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually walked through Pirate’s Alley before, just glanced down it as I passed by. It’s very colorful.

I love the buildings in New Orleans. The city’s just so much older than anything in the Bay Area.

pink slim dress

I got my first roll from the Pink Slim Dress — the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim clone from Superheadz — back, and… I LOVE THIS CAMERA.

What’s great about this clone is that, except for the color, it’s an exact copy of the Viv UWS. (Except where the Viv says “Ultra Wide Lens”, the Pink Dress says “Super Fat Lens”!) Look at them side-by-side. But Superheadz has eliminated the Viv UWS’s major drawback: a flimsy film advance cog that frequently gives way with a tiny ping! halfway through the roll. Once that happens, attempting to advance or rewind the film will result in nothing but plasticky clicks of death. It’s why Viv UWSs are so often found being sold in junk stores for $1.

I’ve touted my Golden Half’s sturdiness before, and Superheadz appears to have done the same exemplary construction with the Pink Dress. I shot a 36-exposure roll — something anyone who’s owned a Viv UWS would advise against — with no problems at all.

You can see the whole set here.

superheadz pink slim dress camera

Toy camera addiction is a serious disease that deserves compassion, not anger and ridicule!

YES, I bought another camera. Someone brought it up in the comments of my last camera-related entry; I’d never even heard about it before. The Pink Slim Dress (and all the clones that have different colors and names) is Superheadz’s answer to the sadly defunct Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim. The Pink Slim Dress faithfully reproduces the Viv’s 22mm lens, wonky colors, and occasional vignetting. I was a little taken aback when I saw that it had no flash or hotshoe, but then realized that duh, of course it doesn’t: because it photographs such a wide area, no flash could ever light up the whole scene. So this is basically a sunny day/outdoors camera only, unless you’re packing a super-fast film in it. And I prefer to stay around 400ISO in my 35mm cameras; I don’t like the grain that comes with faster films.

And I love my other Superheadz cameras. One of my favorite things about them is their sturdiness. Some Lomo cameras, you’re afraid to breathe on them too hard, and a lot of them have serious design defiencies — not the cool ones that we actually want, but truly shitty ones, like the rickety clips that hold the back of the Holga on and constantly threaten to give way and expose your film. I always insure it with generous swatches of electrical tape on both sides. One of the reason I went with the Golden Half over the Diana Mini is that I read some horror stories about pieces breaking off the camera within one roll’s worth of use.

I had actually been thinking that I needed a wide angle camera for all the flat, wide-open spaces out here, so this isn’t completely out of left field. And I’ll give you that buying three cameras in the space of 2 weeks is a little insane, even for me. But it was only $29.99, the Blackbird Fly was nearly a 1/3 off the usual retail price, and I would have been nuts to pass up that complete Brownie Hawyeye gift set at that price. We’re only talking about $150, all told. Still $100 less than a new Lomo LC-A+ would set me back.

Still, no more cameras until after I get a job and get my first paycheck. My first REAL paycheck; as opposed to the dinky first paycheck that you always get when you start a new job, that’s only got like 2 days of work on it because you have to wait for the pay period lag to catch you up.

Also, Phil gave me his old digital camera because he wasn’t hardly using it anymore. It’s pretty old and it was a challenge to learn how to use it, but it’s also got a higher megapixel than my old digital — which is now doing this weird thing where it constantly shuts off after a few seconds (even with brand new batteries), making it nearly impossible to use. I still really ❤ film and my toys cameras, but a digital is always good to have as back-up, in case something goes wrong with film.

decisions, decisions: lomo lc-a+ vs. blackbird, fly

For a while now I’ve been planning that my next new camera was going to be the Lomo LC-A+, the modern knock-off of the camera that basically gave rise to the concept of Lomography. I’ve wanted one for years, but at around $250, it’s one of the more expensive “toy” cameras. But look at the lush, dreamy, color-saturated images it takes and tell me it’s not worth every penny.

It also has the advantage of shooting 35mm. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my medium format cameras and don’t regret for an instant buying them. In fact, if the house were on fire and I could only save one camera, I would go for the Diana without any hesitation whatsoever. She was my introduction to Lomography and still my “first love”. But I would rather my next acquisition be a 35mm camera.

However, with my never-ending capacity for being distrtacted by shiny objects, I’m also considering the Blackbird, Fly by Superheadz — the awesomely-named Japanese toy camera makers who also made my Golden Half, a little treasure that I find myself using almost daily and getting even more enjoyment out of than I expected. It’s great for experiments in redscale or cross-processed slide film, because at 72 shots per roll, you can afford to take chances.

The Blackbird, Fly has the unique capacity of being a twin lens reflex camera that shoots 35mm. The images it shoots are perhaps not as idiosyncratic as the Lomo LC-A+, although they certainly aren’t ugly. I think of it as a sort of consolation  prize for not being able to afford a “real” TLR camera until I have a more robust income. Also as kind of like training wheels — my Duaflex and Brownie Hawkeye look like TLRs but are technically pseudo TLRs, because they have fixed focusing. And it has the advantage of being on sale at Urban Outfitters right now for $79.99 — it usually retails for around $120.

At the moment I am leaning more towards the Blackbird, Fly; but I haven’t totally made up my mind. So if you have pros or cons regarding either camera, I’m still open to receive them.