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Juznobsrvr the Interviewer (JI): I see that you’ve been using the Pinhole Blender Mini 35mm. What inspired you to try it?
Juznobsrvr the Lomographer (JL): Thanks to Ky lewis. After seeing her pinhole images here using the mini blender, I was inspired to try it. I’ve been looking to buy the blender but wasn’t sure what the results would be. Ky’s images were what made me buy it, which is available in the Lomography store. Also, it was one of the cheapest I could find.
JI: Is it hard to use?
JL: On my firs roll, I only produced about a handful of images. The rest of the film was unexposed because I wasn’t winding the blender correctly. It took a while for me to figure how far to wind the film. Initially, I was loosening the roll too much that there was a slack of film that never got exposed. When done correctly, the blender does what a blender is supposed to do – it fuses or blends several images. The direction suggests a quarter turn. I was also able to produce unblended images by advancing the film to about half to three quarters turn.
JI: What about exposing the film?
JL: The direction comes with an exposure guide and a look-up table. At first I was diligently following the recommended exposure time but I was getting a lot of overexposed images. Maybe my light meter was not calibrated.
JI: What kind of light meter did you use?
JL: I just used my old point and shoot camera that has a built-in light meter. I set it with the same ISO as the film in my pinhole. Then I matched the aperture and speed readings from the camera with the ones on the look-up table. Later on, I dump the table and merely guesstimated my exposures. My rule of thumb for a ISO 400 is 5-10 seconds for lighted indoors and 1-2 seconds for outdoors.
JI: Do you have a film preference?
JL: Some people suggest using a slower film. I played around with an ISO 200 with disappointing results. Because the blender’s aperture (f/200) is smaller than other pinhole cameras (f/135 for Holga WPC), I think faster films work better. One just have to experiment.
JI: The blender is small enough to be unnoticed. Have you tried using it as a spy camera?
JL: (Laughs) I have taken it to restaurants, and placed it on table to shoot pictures of people.
JI: Has a waiter moved the blender while your taking a picture?
JL: No, not yet. But to be sure he won’t be getting any tips if he did.
JI: Speaking of tips, do you have any tips in using the blender?
JL: The blender uses a 35mm roll of film. It comes with a receiving cartridge, which can be taken apart to introduce the film leader from your fresh roll. If you lose it, you can always use any empty 35mm cartridge. One can just tape the remaining exposed film from the empty cartridge to the film leader of your fresh roll. In fact, any spool without the cartridge can also be used but there is a high risk of light leaking on the already exposed film. I prefer to use the receiving cartridge that came with the blender.
JI: What do you think is the most common mistake people make while using the blender?
JL: Putting the film backwards. We’re used to seeing the darker side of the film whenever we load it on a regular camera. The lighter side of the film should face the pinhole.
JI: What hack have you done with the blender?
JL: Not much really. I prefer to tape the cap on the blender to prevent accidental opening. Also, the blender comes with two popsicle sticks for advancing and rewinding the film. Really lo-tech. After a couple of rolls, my sticks snapped. One way to prevent this is to loosen the fresh roll before advancing the receiving cartridge. I now use the lever of a small cheap nail clipper to wind the film. The size of this lever is ideal for the mini blender. Now I could also cut my nails while taking a picture.
JI: Anything else I should know?