Kodak Ektar 100

While I’ve recently got my hands on some Fuji Superia 400 to run through the new (to us) 35mm point and shoots we’ve picked up at thrift stores, I have been a bit behind in getting film developed.

I had a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 that I sent off to North Coast Photographic Services, who turned around in their usual efficient manner.

I usually shoot positive slide film, so I am a little out of touch with print film. I was pleased with the color response and dynamic range of the Ektar. When there is a strong light source (e.g the sun) in front of the camera, I noticed some glaring - but that could easily be the old Canon AE-1 Program.

Slight flaring around the tree; and a general coldness to the photo.

I’m so used to the warm tones of Fuji Velvia, so I was rather pleased with how Ektar portrays blue tones, without being cold. I’d call it well balanced:

The park at Seneca Lake

Even indoors, where 100 ISO film might begin to falter, the colors and clarity are excellent (I do not recall the camera settings for this shot, but it was shot without a tripod, so the shutter could not have been too slow):

Mashed potatoes at Christmas

The contrast in the interior shot may be slightly lacking, but it’s a very visually rich photo.

Outdoors the film shines and the colors pop. This spring photo from a couple of years ago really pulls in the dots of dandelions against the green field. The whole thing is accented by the magenta of the crabapple tree and the delicate white of the cherry tree in the background.. I’m really happy with this film overall and will definitely be keeping several rolls on hand.


Watch Out! - The HMT Pilot Review

HMT was an Indian watch manufacture with factories in Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad, Pinjore, and Ajmer. At one time, the company was the country’s largest supplier of wrist watches. HMT also dealt in several other areas, making equipment for metal processing, tractors, printing presses, etc. The majority of the company was shut down in 2016 due to failing business.

In 1961, HMT began a watch manufacturing facility in Bangalore, partnering with Citizen Watch Co. of Japan. Over the years they expanded the manufacturing capabilities; essentially creating their own HMT movements. One of the most common movements seems to be the HMT 0230/0231, which was essentially a clone of the Citizen 0201 movement.

The HMT Pilot is one of the popular designs they created over the years. While called a Pilot, it doesn’t match up with the designs of most Pilot watches over the years. At 35mm in diameter, with only the 12 position as printed Arabic digits, the watch is more of a dressy vintage watch.


My watch sold as New Old Stock - and while it definitely looks unworn, it is also evident that the dial is a repaint.  That said, the whole watch has a decent, vintage look to it. It may have been assembled out of leftover parts stock from the factory closures.

On mine, the crown sticks out a little bit - the threading may need to be cut back slightly to get the crown to fit properly. 

When I received my watch, it would not run. I was surprised at this, but since I’ve had a little practice on an ETA movement, I cracked the back open to find a pallet fork that was not mating with the balance wheel. A little nudge, and it started right up. 

Look at that vintage style movement!

Look at that vintage style movement!

The watch is light and thin, thanks to the hand winding movement. Winding is smooth and lets you know when it’s fully wound. 

The movement is essentially a 1960s design, running at 18,000 BPH. It sports a Citizen designer Parashock shock absorber for the balance wheel. The power reserve is around 38-40 hours. 

The back of the watch is a press fit, with a small O-ring to help resist moisture. 


In keeping with the vintage design, the crystal is domed acrylic. This polishes up very nicely, with a slight magnifying effect around the edges. Inside, the seconds hand is bent slightly down to fit properly. 

This is a unique and uncommon piece of wrist wear that would pair really nicely with a leather strap, with an easy-to-manage 18mm width.

I’m pretty excited to have this piece in my collection; my first handwinder that has vintage styling and heritage, while still essentially being new. 

The best part for me was the price: $32, with free shipping.  Since the dial isn’t truly original, a lot of fun could be had customizing this or swapping dials to get a lot of style miles out of this watch.

The Pen Post - A Look At My Fountain Pens

I have always enjoyed the elegance of a fountain pen; the intriguing nature of writing by the controlled diffusion of ink to paper. Rollerballs, ballpoints, and gel pens have not captured my imagination the same way - though I am fond of a good very fine point regular pen such as a Pilot Precise series in a pinch.

Years ago, I purchased a couple of Jinhao fountain pens and played with them for a little while - but the quality was definitely lacking, as was my understanding of the pen brands, nib options, and so forth. Finding excellent pens at <$20 prices was also very difficult at that time.

Today things are quite a bit different, and there are many excellent pens that can be had for as low as a three or four dollars. In particular, the Japanese Platinum Preppy series is an excellent introduction and low cost option for those interested in fountain pens.

I’ve owned a few Preppys - and Platinum has iterated their design each time I go to buy another. The latest ones, available at Goulet Pens, are essentially a completely clear plastic body, with just the name of the pen printed on the side. This I find very ideal: I use these pens to hold colored inks for marking documents or writing out my schedule in my bullet journal. To have the ink sloshing around in there makes for a colorful and fun set of pens!

I had originally started with Preppy pens using the extra fine nib - but honestly that was much too fine for my taste. The nib tended to scratch, and when using lighter inks the lines were not all that noticeable. I’ve settled on their fine nib, and am very happy with that - though my red pen is a medium nib, which puts down a nice, solid line and feels good on the page.

As you can see, I choose to eyedropper fill the Platinum Preppy pens. They hold a LOT of ink, and it is worth setting them up with the O-ring and silicone grease to have unlimited ink choices. No modification to the pen is needed, other than slipping on the O-ring and greasing the body screw threads.

My Pens

The last pen I use is my Conklin Nozac Israel 70 Limited Edition. What a mouthful. It’s a standard Conklin Nozac, but fitted out with the colors of the nation of Israel in honor of the 70th anniversary of its re-birth. The cap is magnetic, which I love, and the pen overall has a very sharp look to it.

This is a piston fill pen - all you do is turn the silver knob at the end of the pen to run the piston inside. Conklin likens it to winding a watch, and indeed it really does feel that simple. The only caveat is that without an ink window, it is very hard to figure out where you stand.

I originally picked this pen up with a Conklin Omniflex nib; but after some issues with dryness and then over-wetness with the ink, I switched it to an extra fine nib. The Conklin extra fine nib is more akin to the Platnium fine nib, and rides very smoothly on the page. Long writing sessions are a joy with the Nozac - the feel and weight of it in the hand eliminate the possibility of strain on my hand. With the Preppy pens, the narrower body is just enough to give me hand strain after awhile, so I use them in a secondary fashion. All of these pens post well, though I prefer the balance of the Nozac without the cap posted.

Here’s an example of the inks I use:

Platinum Preppy Fine Nib with Diamine Apple Glory

Platinum Preppy Fine Nib with Diamine Pumpkin

Platinum Preppy Medium nib with Diamine Poppy Red

Conklin Nozac with Extra Fine Nib and Diamine Asa Blue

I really enjoy the vibrant Diamine inks - but they do tend to be a wet ink. Being a lefty, I can easily smudge if as I write if I’m not careful - but this isn’t usually a problem except with a broader nib. The color range more than makes up for it, and I really enjoy the opportunity for some creative fun with my fountain pens!