Author Archives: Dennis

Linus … no piano, and old is GNU.

Ok, drifiting away from photography again …

This time it is about Linux.

Linux is an operating system that was influenced by Minix, which was based on Unix … ok, so now I have to explain about Unix … this was an influencial computer operating system based on Multics. So now I have to explain Multics … nah, go and google it yourself.

Just to give you Youts some reference with the old days of computers … here is a picture of the two guys who coded Unix (Ritchie and Thompson) … yeah that thing along the wall is the computer … and yeah they all looked like the Woz. Note that this was only 40 years ago.


1048px-Heckert_GNU_white.svgLinux was created as a completely free and open source operating system with GNU applications … it was free for anyone’s use, unlike Minix.

Ah, GNU’s not Unix. Richard Stallman created the GNU project to bring a wholly free operating system to the public.

… back to Linux … it was released in 1991 and was created by Linus Tovalds.


Ok, that is not a great picture of him (2012), but it is an iconic image as it kinda represents a bit about his personality … he may not have been this way when he was younger.

Linux became a big hit with all the nerdy computer geeks of the time … cause it was free to use.


He was also the one who thought the official mascot would be Tux the Penguin. … back to the story … I have been thinking about dual booting my laptop with Windows and Linux for while. I finally upgraded the SSD to a larger size, so now I can fit both OS’s. Now this ain’t the first time I’ve had multiple OS’s … I once triple booted OS-X, Windows, and Linux, so it should be easy this time.

Linux has always attracted me, probably because I starting computing with the green/amber screen terminal on a PET … umm, just recall The Matrix green text … so working with a console is kinda consoling (hey, I made a pun).

425px-Larry-the-cow-full.svgI previously been working with Gentoo (it is a Linux distribution and also a species of Penguin … though their mascot is Larry the Cow), but I thought this time I would go easy on myself and work with Arch. Like Gentoo, it is a minimalist style … but not so far as compiling everything from source.

Now Linux has come a long way in terms of compatibility with hardware, so it is so much easier to get a working Linux system … but there are still somethings that don’t work right out of the box … so here are my tips.

My installation is on a Dell XPS 13 9343 with a QHD+ high res touchscreen … which is an awesome laptop … that is currently running Microsoft Windows 10.

I suggest getting another SSD drive, with a USB enclosure and clone your existing Windows installation … just in case you really @$&% up and wanna go back to an easier life … and later on you can use it as a very portable backup drive.

240px-Archlinux-icon-crystal-64.svgPrep … look over the Arch Linux Wiki docs about installaton and also the detailed page for this model of laptop (though a lot of that could be tweaked after the install).


Step 1.

Get a USB to RJ45 ethernet adapter, cause the Broadcom wifi adapter will cause you issues (no network connection) … they aren’t expensive … and it is handy to have for other future purposes. Another suggestion is to buy an Intel AC-7260 wifi card and replace the crappy Broadcom … it is much more better in reception, and natively supported by Linux.

Step 2.

Free some space. The Windows disk management utility should be able to resize your partition. I just left about 100GB for my Linux install, even though I would not be using that much I though I may in the future install much more stuff if I liked it.

Step 3.

Install Rufus to create a bootable USB stick, and then download the Arch ISO file.

I had to set Rufus to use an MBR partition scheme in order to get my laptop to boot from it.

Step 4.

Boot the USB drive with the help of the F12 key at boot.

When you get the Linux bootloader screen you will really want to edit the Grub bootloader kernel entry and add the parameter: video=1280×1024 … otherwise you will get text soooooo small you will need to get out a magnifying glass.

Step 5.

On another computer or tablet, get to the Arch Linux installation documentation, and really follow it.

Modifications I made after finishing the install but before the final reboot …

Time Zone

Windows does not play nice with UTC, so I forced Arch to follow the Windows way … otherwise every time you reboot into Windows the time will be wrong.

  • # timedatectl set-local-rtc 1

Boot Loader

As I noted about the screen resolution, I edited the /etc/default/grub and edited it.

  • GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT … I added video=1600×90
  • GRUB_GFXMODE=1280×1024

So you should be pretty safe after rebooting.

Have fun.

Windows update note.

If you happen to have deleted the little OEM Partion that sits behind the Windows C: partition (like I did) then be ready to rescue Grub with tiny text. When a major Windows update installs (like the October one) it will recreate that partion, and the next time you reboot you wil get a Grub rescue prompt. You will have to reconfigure the bootloader to use the new partitions.

This page has instructions to recover: Grub Rescue after Windows Update

One note was I searched for / instead of /grub2 to find the partion that my /boot/grub directory resided in (I did not create a separate boot partition).









A tale of two lenses.

Being separated is not all that bad.

I had posted before about lens element separation, so I thought I would follow up with real life effect of this. I was fortunate enough to get a hold of another lens that has no lens separation, so I thought I would take some picture using them.


Both are Minolta Chiyoko Super Rokkor 45mm f/2.8 LTM lenses. The one on the right shows separation of the front element group by the foggy outer ring.

Lets see how usable the lens is … using my Sony NEX-6, APS-C 16Mpixel @ 400ISO.

Wide open at f/2.8 … SOOC. The sun is in front of the camera. No lens hood.



Notice that there is a drop in contrast as there is a lot of internal light reflection, and a slight drop in sharpness.

I took that image and used the dehazing tool in Lightroom


Hmm, not bad … some sharpness is still obtainable in the centre … this is a 100% crop


I did take some shots with the lens stopped down to f/16 … I didn’t bother to show examples as the images appeared too similar, just take my word for it.

Soooo, if you have just outer separation you could use the lens for that slightly soft portrait imagery that many people replicate using digital post processing plugins/filters … well you can be the judge of that.

Retina … I can see clearly now.

Tools … eh, I skip this since you will probably figure it out.

OK, so I got this Retina from one of those Antique Markets. It was on an open table with a lot of other junk stuff. In a small pile of really beat up folders, this was the only one with intact bellows so I grabbed it.

Note that is camera has mechanisms to keep users from goofing up. The film winder will turn freely if there is no film traveling across the sprocket. Once the sprocket is turned it will lock the winder and also allow the shutter button to be depressed.

The viewfinder and rangefinder windows needed a cleaning, and the lens had fog/haze … so first thing is to get into the top.


Note: if you just want to adjust the rangefinder alignment, skip to the next section.

The top looks cleaner than when I got it … I cleaned out the groves with a dental pick and scrubbed with a toothbrush.

Two long screws hold the top plate on. To access them you wll need to remove those knobs. First lift rewind knob, and remove two side screws – when pulling off the knob be aware of the J shaped metal spring that is located on one side. Note its positioning.

Unscrew the winding knob unscrews clockwise. The shutter button unscrews normally, anti-clock wise.

Two screws on ether end take the top plate off.


The four smaller screws take off the name plate to expose the rangefinder mechanism.


To adjust the rangefinder aligment, first make sure the rewind knob is pushed down:

Horizontal -> Centre wheel on the right – losen the large screw on the left, then turn the screw on the bottom. This moves the arm that turns the prism.

Vertical -> On the left triangular arm there are two tappered screws. Loosen one, then tighten the other, as this will pivot the arm to adjust the angle of the prism.

Ok, so lets get into the cleaning. Pull off the top plate and clean the viewfinder and rangefinder ports.


Beam spitter is on left and the prism is in the middle. Here is a view from the front.


The beam splitter plate has silver material on the inside … DO NOT TOUCH !!! I mean it … I did it and ended up with a clear piece of glass, though it was very clean piece of glass.

Ok, you can clean the front facing side … but do not touch the inside.

If you happen to be a dumb as I am, or the previous owner of the camera was as dumb as I am, or just that the mirroring material has faded over time, there is a solution. The solution is Nobby … ?!

eBay merchant Nobbysparrow sells beam splitter plates for camera, and he also will custom cut to size. I ordered one from him and replaced the clear glass. His plate is thinner than the original one so you will have to bend the spring clips that secure the plate … and note that the silvered side is on the inside.

You can clean the prism in the middle.


As I noticed haze/fog on the front elements I needed to clean the front and back. The front cell just unscrews.

You can now access the shutter blades if you need to clean them up.

In my case there was also haze/fog between the elements, so I needed to open the front cell up further.


The front cell is made up of two sections. Grasp the outter chrome ring and unscrew

DSC00554_DxO This is where rubber gripping devices come in really  handly.

I did not need to work on the shutter so I did not open up the Compur any further.

I did squirt a bit of lighter fluid to soften up the grease in the focus helix … I did not feel like taking it all apart to put in new grease.

One thing you may notice on older cameras is that the leather covering has the mumps.


I had these on the Rolleicord that I recently got.

I’ve heard that they are called Zeiss Bumps … though I really don’t think Carl invented it.

What actually occured is that over time lumps of copper corrosion material have built up enough to push the leather.


To “fix” this you just need a sharp knife and make a cut through the bump, then clean out the blue corrosion material.

Retina II type 142

This model that I have is a Retina II … not to be confused with the Retina II. Whaaaaaaat?

The Retina lineup had a I, II, I, II, and III version. One interesting thing about the Retina model naming … they restarted from I after the war, so you will find Retina I/II pre-war and Retina I/II post-war. Mine is a II pre-war model made between 1937 and 1939. Another thing is that there were various submodels typically designated with Nr/Type which is not marked on the camera itself.

As I mentioned before, the Retina is a German design camera. This model has a Schneider Retina-Xenon f:2.8 5 element lens. The Retina I models were viewfinder scale focus cameras. The Retina II was the first rangefinder produced by Kodak AG.


The first model, 122, had an advance lever … but it was quickly replaced with a knob with the 142, I guess there was an issue with the original design.

Kodak AG made over 25 folding Retina models alone … and each having different lens variations … so if you want to collect them, be ready to build a big shelf.


Kodak Aktiengesellschaft

If you have ever handled a Kodak Retina you will soon realize this ain’t your Grandma’s Kodak camera. Whats up with that ?

In 1932 Eastman Kodak realized that they needed to step up … so they did something about it … they hooked up with a German. In the 30’s kodak was making new “six” series cameras which still had the look of the previous camaras it was making in the 20’s … they soon found that could not compete with what was coming out of Europe in the higher end market. So, if you can’t beat them … get someone on your side who can.

Hmmm, those Germans … well it was one, Dr. Nagel.  August Nagel founded Contessa, and co-founded Zeiss-Ikon, then split to make his own company. Nagel Camera Werkes was located in Stuttgard Germany. Dr. Nagel was into cameras that used rolled film … hmm. Eastman Kodak decided to buy his company to produce high precision 35mm roll film cameras.

Nagel was tasked with making a precision cameras equal to the other European cameras but at a lower price point. They started with some cameras that Nagel aready had on the market and were rebadged with the Kodak brand.

What Nagel developed in 1934 was to be known as the Retina. A bellows folder with cross-struts support, made of metal and designed to use Dr. Nagel’s daylight loading cartridge … a pre-loaded single use cartridge of 35mm format roll film … ummmm, that sounds familiar. This was a camera very unlike anything that Kodak had produced … as I mentioned at that beginning, you know this is a different animal as soon as you pick it up.

Nagel would go on to producing a number of various Retina models and other high precision cameras for Kodak. Dr. Nagel died in 1943, and Kodak AG continued to make his type of cameras after WWII all the way up to 1960.



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