My 2016 52 Rolls project seems to be taking a form much like last year’s. Shooting with specific cameras that suit a need and which I am familiar with mixed with new finds from thrift stores and similar places. This past week in one store I bought three point and shoot zooms, all with film still in them, two with good batteries. I normally don’t buy the zooms as the optics tend to be poor, but fell to the temptation of found film. Then I bought from an on-line seller a bag of 6 SLRs, 2 Rangefinders and a 120 6×9 folder plus three light meters and various odds and ends. Most of these don’t work and several will be beyond my limited capacity for repairs but I will be using these and the little zoom cameras in the next few weeks or months on this project. I have a few other cameras that I have not yet made work, or bothered to use, and will try to get the results from those onto these pages as well.
Last weekend was an example of using a camera well-known to me and chosen for a particular task. I was in a recording studio helping my son video one of the bands he plays with (Sam Weber‘s band). I was one of the camera operators, doing what I was told, but also brought a variety of gear to the task. It was an interesting experience, and I would not mind doing it again.
Just for fun I shot the better part of three rolls of expired colour print film. I used the mjuii because I knew it could read up to 3200 ISO DX-codes, has a built-in flash that can perform reasonably well (all things considered), a fast (f2.8) lens with autofocus that is wide enough at 35mm for confined quarters but not so wide as to distort noticeably and comfortably hides away in my jeans pocket while I am busy. Overall a better choice than an XA or XA2, even with the flash mounted as it is quicker to use, and more compact. The Canon Elan 7N SLR with a 50/1.4 or 16-35/2.8 lens would have been a good choice, but the lenses were in use on the video cameras, my son has film in the 7N and its size could have been a burden in these circumstances.
When I was digging out gear to use for recording I came across three rolls of film that my mother had given me with her camera a couple of years ago and which somehow had not made it into the fridge. There was one roll of ISO100 slide film that expired 1999 that I thought would be way too slow and perhaps a bit funky for this purpose, so I used the two rolls of Kodak Gold 200, which also must have expired around 1999 (all the other film she gave me at that time expired in 1998 or 1999). In the fridge I had a thrift-store roll of Fuji Superia XTRA 800 of unknown age which I also used.
I have misplaced the first roll of Kodak that I shot. It is around the house somewhere (I say with about 90% hopeful certainty) or at the studio in the crack of the couch or under it. I console myself with the knowledge that other people misplace things. Probably I put it somewhere special at home where I would be sure to find it again and it would be safe until I needed it. That strategy often fails, in my experience.
Most of these photos were shot on the Fuji 800, while the others were from a half roll of the Kodak that I wrapped up with. The other half of that roll from other parts is probably going to appear on my blog at some time. And eventually I am sure the other roll of film will surface, and I will either use it at 52 Rolls for another weekly contribution, or on my blog.
I used the flash more with the slower film, being uncertain how the hand-holding was going. I could hear the shutter, sometimes sounding like 1/2 or 1 second. Even so, the no-flash photos are much more pleasing and only a few have an unpleasing amount of motion blur. The flash on the mjuii seems to perform best at an intermediate distance of about 2m or so where some of the exposures are quite good and not too harsh like the one above.
Overall, the mjuii performed very well in quite low lighting and certainly got the job done. I had not used the Fuji 800 before (it is difficult to come by locally now) and was quite pleased with it. Given its age and likely bad storage for much of its life, it came out really well. I like the grain in these circumstances and think the overall aesthetic works quite well. I can get Cinestill 800 locally, another film I have not used, but I bet it would have performed really well in this setting. The band members really like the photos too, for that film quality I suspect, more than for the content. Even with its lo-fi quality, there are several photos that I really like, so it was worthwhile shooting this film when not busy behind a video camera.
If you are in Victoria at then end of this month, then perhaps you would be interested in hearing Sam Weber play with two other great bands. The show supports the Port Renfrew Youth Music Program – here is the link to find out more. Speaking of Port Renfrew, which is a couple of hours west of Victoria, Sam Weber will be playing there at the Song and Surf festival in early February (more at this link). And if you happen to live in or near Revelstoke, British Columbia (small chance I would say) then they play three gigs there at the end of February. And no doubt there are more to come soon.
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2016-2: Olympus mjuii, Kodak Gold 200, expired 1999 and Fuji Superia XTRA 800 expired at some unknown time, both commercially processed, scanned at home.