Oct 25 2017

Olympus XA


The Olympus XA reached a certain cult status among film cameras and perhaps its not for just one reason but several.  If you start with the idea of what do you want from a camera and that turns out to be ‘packability’ then the XA meets that.  The clamshell design both protects the lens and makes it easy to slip into pockets and small spaces.  If you also want a quality lens in that small package the XA delivers that as well.  The lens design with 6 elements is unique and allows for the overall thinness of the camera.  Then there are the controls of the camera.  Focusing is performed with a small lever under the lens that both aligns the rangefinder patch and moves internal lens elements. XAFocus

Its finicky and can be difficult but it is manual and better than zone focusing.  The exposure system also allows user input in the form of aperture selection with a fully automatic electronic shutter.  Fortunately the exposures are accurate so fully manual adjustment isn’t often missed and for backlight situations you can select a +1.5 EV override.

All these various attributes together are what made the Olympus XA desirable back when it was available new and what continue to make it a desirable camera today.

I used expired generic drugstore ISO 400 film for the following images.

Oct 21 2017

Zeiss Ikonta 521/16



One of the things I really like about old medium format folding cameras is how compact they are when closed.  The Zeiss Ikonta 521/16 is a great example taking up very little room in a camera bag although adding a hefty 565 grams   They were produced over many years and had different lenses and features.  This one has a 75mm f3.5 Novar Anastigmat lens and a shutter with 8 speeds up to 1/300 second.  It also has double exposure prevention with a nice little red dot indicator when the film has been advanced.   Using one of these cameras for ultimate image quality isn’t a great idea but using them for the unique experience and look is.  There is a certain pleasure from using a camera that despite being over 70 years old still does its job.

Oct 8 2017

Disposible film camera harvest


Disposable cameras have their place but nestled inside them can be some fun random films.  I acquired a few similar disposable cameras of dubious quality so I decided to rip one open and pull out its heart.  Mentioned previously here Thrift Store DisposableDispossible_film-5387

The first thing you need to do though is get the film back into the canister.  The way that disposable cameras work is that rather than a separate rewind action all the film starts outside the canister and is wound back in as you advance the film.  I accomplished this, without taking unwanted pictures, by winding and tripping the shutter while the camera was inside my changing bag.  Any suitably dark sack will do or even a finger over the lens.


With the expired Italian film recovered from the Chinese camera I put it into my Japanese Yashica GX and here is what I got shooting around my neck of the Canadian woods.

One last thing I found when taking the film out of the developing tank was that a short piece of dummy film was taped to the end presumably to maximize every piece of emulsion that gets exposed.