App Review – Smart Light Meter Free

Hey everyone, just a quick post tonight.

I’ve started doing some medium format photography with a few older cameras, a TLR and an old Bellows camera (posts about those later). They are neat cameras, but the challenge with is that they do not have light meters on them, rather than guessing, I went to the internet to see what kind of options I had and I stumbled upon this app.

Smart Light Meter Free

Very easy to use, you load up the app, set your ISO, and then dial in either the shutter speed or F-stop and then hit the on button. Depending on which dial you “lock in” it will spit out the appropriate reading. When you hit off, it sticks with the last reading it took. I was running up to gravestones and trees for readings and such and it worked like a charm.

Screenshot of the app in action. (From the app page

I’m using this app on my Droid 4 from Motorola, and it seemed pretty spot on once I developed the film. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the app on other phones and as always, your mileage will vary, but it seems to work pretty well. I’ll post a few shots here at the bottom post.

There is a free version of the app, and there is a paid version of the app that can be found here

Pros: Easy to use, Accurate, Can use F Stop or Shutter Speed.

Cons: Sometimes a bit finicky, my shutters speed were sometimes in between recommended, though that isn’t the apps fault.

Images shot with a Argus Argoflex using Tri-X 400 film that expired in 1990


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On Hubris…

I should have listened..

Ok… so Kodak was right…  you can’t put 120 film in the Kodak Brownie Target Six-20…

The other day I made a post about my Kodak Brownie Six-20 and how I was going to put 120 film in there and how I knew better.. how Kodak didn’t know anything even though the camera clearly said “CAUTION: THIS CAMERA DOES NOT TAKE 120 FILM”

I should have just stopped right there.. but no…. I didn’t.

I *thought* I had modded it to take 120 film… boasted that it would be awesome, and that I’d show them… ohh I’d show them…. what the hell did Kodak and their product development people know…

And I was struck down by the camera gods for my hubris. After getting to nearly the end of the roll of film that I had put in the camera it stopped advancing and bound up. After several attempts to “Hulk” it forward, I very carefully opened up the film compartment, and as I feared, the roll had bound up on the 120 side of the camera. The back half of the film was exposed, I don’t think it sealed properly and got some light leaks. I’ll probably still drop it off and see if anything came out on it to post up here.

So.. yeah… I promise to not taunt the film and Kodak gods again, at least when it comes to 620 film and cameras. I figured I’d give it a try. I didn’t hurt the camera, and I’m only out a roll of film that had been sitting in the freezer for a year or so.

Maybe next time I shouldn’t be so boastful and taunting.. lest I be struck down…

5 Months since I’ve last posted.. oof

Hey gang… few updates for you since it has been a while since I’ve posted…

First.. new camera!
My Dad likes to go to yard sales, auctions, and estate sales (who doesn’t) always comes up with new and interesting things. He surprised me by sending me this Brownie Target Six-20 camera made by Kodak. Other than being a little rough around the edges works well. The shutter works, and the lens is pretty clean on it and for being as old as it is (different resources I’ve found say that it is from late 40’s early 50’s) and seems to be light tight and advances film properly.

The only problem… it is only be only able to use 620 film, which is now long discontinued. There is even a little warning in the camera that says “ONLY TO BE USED WITH 620 FILM! DO NOT USE 120! ON PAIN OF DEATH AND DISMEMBERMENT!” or some other kind of onerous warning from Kodak to only use their proprietary, dead format film.


Anyways, after a little bit of investigating, and sacrificing an old roll of Fujichrome 120 64T film, I discovered that the only thing preventing me from using 120 was a little metal spring spacer that was only being held in with a small pin. Turns out it was easy enough to pull out with needle nose pliers. After a little cussing, and nearly ripping my finger open, I was able to get the 120 film in and advance properly. Once I shoot through this roll of film, I’ll open up the inside and show you the warning. It is a fun little box camera, the mirrors for aiming are blown out so you just have to aim it with your best guess.

I love the styling of this camera. Very art deco, and very friendly looking, like a face looking at you. The outer coating is either leather or faux leather, the film advance knob works, and the advance window is clean. I might try and clean it up a bit more to see if I can get it to shine again.

Like I said, earlier, I’ve got some Fujichrome 64T film in there now, all of the research I’ve done for this points to the film used during this time was really “slow” speed film, i.e. 25 – 50 ISO.. with 100 ISO being “Fast”. I’m going to pick up some Ektar film to throw in there and see how it comes out. I’m not too eager to see what the Fujichrome is going to look like since:

1. It was out of date when my friend Alliey was given it a few years ago. She told me she had it for a few years and it was sitting in a box of other random things. It has been sitting my in freezer for a year.
2. The first two shots are going to be burned because I was messing with it.
3. I’m shooting outside with Tungsten balanced film.

Ehh it is retro to make all your stuff like crappy right? 😀 I’ll let you know what it looks like when I get it developed.

Update 2: Camera pass!
It has been passed to 3 new people since I’ve updated it, it has now been all over North East Ohio and now Pittsburgh. I have to look at my list of people, but hopefully I’ll get it shipped out to the net few people here in the next week or so.

Update 3:
My buddy and Big, Tatar, has started a tumblr account. Go take a look here.


That is it for now, I will hopefully update a little bit more often than before. Take care guys, and feel free to leave some comments!


What was your first camera?

The 1st pass is complete! I’ve gotten the camera back from Sue and I’m going to pass it off to the next photographer tomorrow. I’m glad it is going so well!

So anyways, Cari and I were talking about how I kind of became sucked into cameras and photography. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve really become fascinated by cameras, well at least with the operation and actual usage of them, but I do remember what my first camera was! It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 110 film camera.

The neat thing about this camera was that when you took a picture, it put an outline of Michelangelo on the negative so that when you got the prints developed, it showed up on the picture. I only ever remember shooting a few rolls of film on it and I doubt that any of the pictures are even around anymore. I got it for Christmas in the 2nd grade if I am remembering things correctly.

After this camera, I never really took any interest in photography. I remember using an old Super 8 camera to shoot some ninja movies in the back yard with the neighbors, sadly I never got those processed. I also had a Polaroid iZone that was a combination digital camera and Polaroid sticker camera. I think that was in 99-2000?

Besides those, my first “Real” camera that I claim as my own is this Diax 1A with a serial number of 50548.

My Diax 1A

According to the owner of the Diax site, mine is one of the earlier models made as the production run for this body started at 5XXXXX. This is a fully manual Rangefinder made by the W.Voss company of West Germany. The neat thing about this camera is that it had three interchangeable lenses: A 45MM, a 35MM and a 90mm lens. Depending on what lens you have mounted to the camera, you look through one of the viewfinders on top. The lens I have on currently (and from what I have been able to research, the standard lens) is the 45MM 2.8 and is a very snappy lens when you have it focused and set up correctly. I got this camera from the Dubiel Farm when Stanley, my great uncle, passed away. I found it in a drawer of random things and decided to grab it.

I started shooting on this camera with no idea what F-stops were, shutter speed, the difference between film speeds etc and a lot of the shots I took show that, but it pushed me towards wanting to learn more.

One of the advantages of this camera is that it is unobtrusive. I walked around Chicago O’Hare airport taking pictures of people with this camera and no one even bothered to stop me and ask what I was doing. It isn’t like walking around with a (D)SLR and all of your lenses, and the shutter click is super quiet. Add to this the classic look and you’ve got a fine piece of 60 year old camera. Once I dig up some shots from this camera I’ll post them up in a gallery.


So dear readers, do you remember you first camera? What did you start shooting on?