Day Off

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bangkok / Color / Contax Tvs / Film / Kodak UltraMax 400

Bits of an ordinary lazy day in Bangkok, shot on a borrowed Contax Tvs:

Tiny cup of Bulletproof Coffee; Contax Tvs

Man Barber, Bangkok; Contax Tvs

Thai Barbershop door shadow, Contax Tvs

Reading at Ceresia Coffee; Contax Tvs

Patched pants, Contax Tvs

Bedroom shadows at sunset; Contax Tvs

Things one might do on one’s day off: Drink Bulletproof coffee. Get a head shave at the neighborhood barbershop. Catch up on esoteric reading at a favorite coffeeshop. Snooze with a knee in the sun…until the sun begins its descent.

Some scattered notes on the Contax Tvs

The Contax Tvs is currently the only film compact in my possession (discounting a leaky Olympus Trip 35 that I haven’t been in a hurry to repair – I last ran a roll through it in 2010). I’m not alone in wanting a decent pocketable film camera to throw in my backpack – try bidding for one on eBay! I mean, of course, that I have fair-to-very-high expectations, a low budget, and little patience for bidding bots. I’ll take a chance on a $20 camera that other shooters have bought in-person for $3, except when it costs $60 to ship. Still, this is all an aside: this post is not about eBay, and more importantly, the Tvs is simply not a $20 camera. When we’re together, it’s like a Beast holding a Beauty.

On focusing: I usually don’t eyeball distances with success, so up until this point, I’ve kept the focusing dial in auto-focus mode. I find the camera manual indispensable for deciphering the triangles in the focus display (see pages 25-28). I encounter the bowtie mark more often than I’d like, which indicates that “the subject cannot be focused by the camera’s auto-focus system and the shutter does not trip.” As a result, I’m often reframing subjects. A compact the Tvs may be, but in my hands, fast it is not. Solutions for greater flexibility: Use the focus lock. Shoot another roll – and use manual focus.

The zoom is wasted on me; I find it too fiddly. I’d also much rather work within the limits of a fixed lens, and potentially cut down on camera wobble. The Contax T, T2, and T3 all have fixed lenses, but they have cult followings for a reason. Oof, those prices. Maybe this is a case of letting the tool determine what I shoot – or, to put it in more marketable terms, to embrace the limits of the tool. Like they say, shoot stills or slow-moving subjects in daylight. Might try some faster film to satisfy my curiosity though.

Site-related updates

* The comments function has been fixed, so you should now be able to comment on a post.
* I’ve added an about page, so you should now be able to contact me about not being able to comment on a post (and yes, that is the Tvs in my hands!)
* Finally, if you would prefer to be notified about blog updates via email, you now have that option (click the cross in the top-left corner).

Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate it. I’m going to experiment with mandarin orange recipes this week.

Camera: Contax Tvs
Film: Kodak Ultramax 400
Lab: IQ Lab in Bangkok + Triple D Minilab in Singapore


  1. Teacup says

    Mandarin orange recipes? How intriguing, will there be salted steamed oranges?

    • Hopefully it won’t come to that. I was thinking more along the lines of flourless mandarin orange cake.

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