How to Clean and Mod the Beam Splitter in a Rangefinder Camera

I recently collaborated with Chris from filmismorefun and made a video about how to clean the beam splitter in your rangefinder camera as well as how to improve the rangefinder patch too. This is an advanced tutorial with great results.

Warning: This type of technique can damage your equipment. Proceed with it at your own risk.

As you can see in the 3-minute video above, it’s a very easy procedure, and although we present the Yashica Electro 35 as an example in the tutorial, I already used the same process on my Canon Canonet QL19 with the same excellent results (some images are below). The beam splitter has a delicate coating on it, so it is important to use caution when cleaning it.

Here’s what I use for the cleaning process, in detail.

VisibleDust Sensor Cleaning
Use a cleaning solution on a sensor cleaning tool to clean both sides of the glass.
Rosco Color Gels for Speedlight Flash

I use a 1/3 stop gel, but you can use a strong gel, like 2/3 or 1 stop. It depends on how bad your focus patch is. And I use a blue gel because it increases contrast with my yellow patch. Take into account that if you use a very dark gel, the visibility gets a little reduced in the case of photos at night. It’s a matter of testing and finding the best of both worlds.

Cut a gel rectangle to the same size as the beam splitter and insert it to darken the viewfinder and provide more contrast for better focusing.

Here’s my Canonet undergoing the same process:


And here’s the final result showing my Canonet QL19 viewfinder after the cleaning and modification:


I hope you find this tutorial helpful.

About the author: Pedro Cardoso is the Lisbon, Portugal-based photographer behind filmlovephotography, a website for people who love analog photography. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work and writing on his website and Instagram. This article was also published here.

Arctic Photos Exhibited Inside Blocks of Melting Ice

During SXSW in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, award-winning Canadian documentary photographer Louie Palu held an unusual exhibition titled “Arctic Passage.” His large format photos were displayed on a plaza frozen within large blocks of ice.

Palu shot the photos in the Arctic over the course of three years while on assignment for National Geographic, and the work explores geopolitics, history, and climate change.

The photographer tells PetaPixel that he became interested in the Arctic after finishing covering a story in Afghanistan and becoming interesting in geopolitics in conflict.

“I started reading a lot about the Arctic, many people don’t know that for more than 70 years Canada and the United States have operated a defensive radar line that starts in Alaska, goes across the North of Canada, and above the Arctic Circle,” Palu tells PetaPixel. “Though it’s not an official part, there are radar stations that extend on to Greenland. I started to wonder what this 70-year-old front line looks like. I visited and realized that there was a lot more military activity than I thought.”

Palu applied for and received a Guggenheim Fellowship to do a photography project on the Arctic, and he spent about a year working on it. After realizing he needed more support and a platform to share his work, he reached out to National Geographic and received the magazine’s backing.

“The Cold War was about imagined narratives and unknowns, and that’s what is happening now,” Palu says. “Today’s debate is about who’s going to own the Arctic? Some countries are arguing that underwater continental shelves are an extension of their land, so the North Pole belongs to them. Other countries then make counterclaims. All these narratives result in conflict.

“Suddenly the idea of a ‘blue Arctic’ where you can sail ships through water that was ice brings up questions about fishing, oil rights and more. This became the foundation of the project.”

A photo in the exhibition “Arctic Passage” by Louie Palu. Photo © Louie Palu.

Shooting the project was challenging, to say the least.

“Sometimes there were areas I traveled to in the High Arctic where there was no villages and no human beings for miles,” Palu says. “You can be killed or seriously hurt in the Arctic just by the weather. There you realize that nature is the ultimate power.

“You can get frostbite any time of the day. If you don’t eat enough fatty food your body doesn’t produce enough heat and your hands and feet start to get cold and hurt. You can’t sweat too much or you’ll get wet and freeze to death if you are not careful. It’s like an infinity circle of the environment constantly degrading you, and you have no power to fight back.

“There were times when I’d travel for several hours to go photograph. I’d ride for hours on a snowmobile in -50 degrees Celsius (-58 F) only to learn that upon arrival my cameras were dead or the shutter frozen.”

An installation photos of “Arctic Passage” by Louie Palu. Photo © Louie Palu.

Palu’s inspiration behind the unique Arctic Passage exhibition was the Franklin Expedition, one of the greatest naval disasters in Arctic history. Two ships looking for a shortcut from England to Asia in 1945 became icebound and were lost, with very little clues left behind as to what happened to them and the 129 men on board.

“I read Frozen in Time, a book about the Franklin expedition which mentioned that there was a camera aboard the ship,” Palu says. “The camera was never found. I wondered what those pictures would look like. It was an imagined idea of these frozen photographs at the bottom of the Arctic ocean in blocks of ice. I thought, wouldn’t that be a compelling installation?

“What I like about this installation are the metaphors. Franklin is history. Today, there are new actors in the Arctic. The Arctic is the place where the most dramatic changes in the world are happening related to Global Warming. When the ice melts, new things are going to be unleashed and we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. We have a whole new part of the world where governments have to consider what their roles will be. This really is the last frontier.”

Palu’s work will also be exhibited this fall in print form at Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, France. You can also find more of his work on his website and Facebook.

X-Rite’s ColorChecker Camera Calibration software gets DNG support, more in 2.0 update

X-Rite has released an update for its ColorChecker Passport software that adds a few new features to help get the most accurate colors possible in your photography workflow.

ColorChecker Camera Calibration software version 2.0 (updated from version 1.2.0) has added support for X-Rite’s Digital ColorChecker SG target and now offers the ability to produce camera profiles for both the DNG and ICC color management workflows.

The software update is available for macOS and Windows computer systems and is available to download from X-Rite’s support page.

Here’s a SpaceX Starlink Satellite Train Caught on Camera in the Night Sky

If you were shooting astrophotography over the past couple of nights and noticed a strange line of bright dots traveling across the sky, you might have spotted SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. That’s what Marco Langbroek caught on camera yesterday in the video above.

SpaceX’s Starlink is a project to put a constellation of 12,000 satellites in three orbital shells around Earth by the mid-2020s. The low-cost, high-performance satellite bus would be used for a new space-based Internet system.

Yesterday SpaceX launched the first 60 operational satellites, and Langbroek caught the “train” of satellites passing over the city of Leiden in The Netherlands about 22.5 hours after they were launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Langbroek was shooting with a WATEC 902H camera and a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens.

SpaceX shared a photo of the satellites in their stacked configuration after they reached orbit and before they were deployed:

The satellite train is so bright that they can easily be seen with the naked eye from the ground and captured with an unaided camera, as this video by Marcin Łoboz of Poland shows:

We’ll know soon enough if or how Starlink satellites will affect our views of the night sky and astrophotography. It’s estimated that there are roughly 5,000 satellites in orbit around Earth right now, but SpaceX is working to more than triple that number over just the next year.

Concise Photography Advice for Friends and Family

“Do you have any advice on how to take good photos?” Because I don’t make a secret of my interest in photography, it’s not uncommon for people around me to assume that I’m the right person to answer this seemingly innocuous question.

It doesn’t really help when I try to explain embarrassingly that I’m just an amateur and most likely the last person to dispense photography-related morsels of wisdom. So I thought I could just as well distill my meager photography experience into a few simple points I can share with people seeking my advice1.

For most people, photography exists in the context of recording important events and travel experiences. So I have these two scenarios in mind when I talk about taking good photos.

I’ll be the first to admit that what I offer is often gross simplification, but my advice is based on the assumption that people want actionable info and not a philosophical discussion on the finer points of photography.

So let’s start with the most important question.

What is a good photo?

For the sake of simplicity, we assume that a good photo either adequately illustrates the story you want to tell, and/or provokes an emotional response from the viewer.

From the technical point of view, a good photo doesn’t suffer from over- and underexposure (i.e., the photo is too bright or too dark), and it doesn’t contain obvious flaws like an uneven horizon, unnatural pose or expression, and lack of a strong subject. A good photo also includes all the elements relevant to the story you want it to tell.

What do I photograph?

Take photos of what you find interesting or what provokes an emotional response. Remember that you are not taking pictures of things and people, you are capturing experiences.

With people, you would want to capture emotions.

How do I photograph?

Decide what you want to photograph, then ask yourself, “Why do I want to take a photo of this particular subject or scene?”

Identify what attracted you to the scene or subject in the first place, then try to make it the main subject of your photo.

When photographing people, don’t inform them that you are going to take pictures of them, and then ask them to act natural.

Wait till people show emotions you want to capture and then take photos at will.

Avoid cramming the entire figure into the frame.

Don’t hesitate to move closer to the subject.

Focus on the eyes, capture the smile.


The main purpose of the composition is to prevent the viewer’s eye from aimlessly wandering around the frame. A strong composition leads the eye and then keeps it firmly focused on the main subject. To oversimplify, the composition answers two questions: “What do I want the viewer to look at?” and “How can I make my photo pleasing for the viewer?”

Follow simple rules to improve your composition.

Decide what the main subject is and make it the dominating element of the photo.

Use the rule of thirds. Enable the grids in your camera, then use them to place the main subject where the lines intersect to achieve a more dynamic composition. Also, use the lines to move the horizon to the upper or lower third of the frame to make the image more dynamic.

If you find the rule of thirds tricky to master, just avoid placing the main subject in the center of the frame.

Simplicity is better than complexity. Reduce the number of elements in the frame to an absolute minimum.

Watch out for unwanted objects at the borders of the frame (random people, stray tree branch, etc.).

When photographing moving objects (cars, birds, etc.). give them some space to move through the frame. Place the moving subject at the opposite end of where it will be exiting the frame.

Don’t shoot everything from the eye level. Use your body when taking photos.

Go low for photos of city streets, small children, and animals.

Look up for interesting photos of buildings.

Stretch your hands to take photos from above.

Use your feet instead of zoom. Walk around to find different angles.

Pay attention to the background. If the background is part of the composition, make sure that it doesn’t clash with the main subject. To de-emphasize the background (especially for portraits), use plain walls in muted colors or open spaces.


In most situations, position yourself so that the sun is behind you.

Make sure that stray shadows (including your own) and reflections don’t fall on your main subject.

Avoid high-contrast scenes with too dark and too bright areas in the same frame.

Make sure that the main subject is properly exposed (i.e., it’s neither too dark nor too bright).

Avoid scenes, where the light source is behind the subject.

On a sunny day, take photos in the late afternoon (an hour or so before sunset) or early morning right after sunrise.

What else?

Disable the built-in flash.

Remember to back up your photos.

What software should I use?

I’m biased, but give digiKam a try. It’s available free of charge, and it runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux. More importantly, it has all the essential tools for importing, organizing, processing, and managing photos, RAW files, and videos.

1 Being lazy, I thought I could get away with simply googling the topic and compiling a list instead of writing the whole thing from scratch. However, while there is an abundance of articles catering to beginners, they often dispense advice that is hardly of practical use for mere mortals. I mean shoot RAW, understand the exposure triangle, learn to read the histogram, and don’t overexpose highlights is not exactly what your aunt expects to hear when she asks you for advice.

About the author: Dmitri Popov is an amateur photographer and tech writer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Popov has been writing exclusively about Linux and open source software for almost two decades. In his spare time, he takes photos and develops simple open source photography tools and utilities. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, blog, EyeEm, and Getty Images. This article was also published here.

Leica Releases Limited Edition Python Skin Camera With Lenny Kravitz, Retails for $24,000

Leica Releases Limited Edition Python Skin Camera With Lenny Kravitz, Retails for $24,000

Leica has announced a brand new model. Called the “Drifter” Set, the Leica M Monochrom is a limited edition, faux python skin camera designed by musician Lenny Kravitz , retailing to the tune of $24,000.

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First Angénieux 35mm Prime in 1951

Here’s an update from Cannes about the newly announced Angénieux Optimo Prime lenses. (18mm, 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 60mm, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm.) Specifications and prices will be announced at Cine Gear. The new lenses are not “vintage.” However, they do carry on the long legacy of Angénieux and here’s a more polished version of the article posted two days… read more…

Curiosity: Annie Liebovitz spotted with the Sony Alpha on the set of Star Wars “The Rise of Skywalker”

Annie Liebovitz has been spotted using the Sony Alpha on the set of Star Wars “The Rise of Skywalker”. Annie is known since 2016 to use Sony camera. Note: The fact that the camera is taped doesn’t mean she is…

The post Curiosity: Annie Liebovitz spotted with the Sony Alpha on the set of Star Wars “The Rise of Skywalker” appeared first on sonyalpharumors.