This is the camera that I grew up using, for as far back as I can remember…considering that it’s older than I am and my dad got it for my mom before they were even married, I suppose that makes sense. Now, she didn’t use it much, really after 2004 when she got her digital camera; I got her to use it once about 5 years ago and that was it as far as I know. Just like most people of the earlier generation, they were mystified by the high technology as well as the convenience of DSLRs and never went back to film. Most of the cameras I use are much older and less complicated/electronic than this one. Minolta had an entire series of X cameras of which this was the simplified model with aperture priority only; with a full range of manual speeds as well (as the X-700 has) I would find this camera more useful but did bring it out occasionally back when I was shooting the MD mount system back in my early college days.
If you follow my blog regularly you might know that my mother died recently. For her memorial service and as a tribute to her, I wanted to take pictures and of course take them with her camera. Also included are some valuable time spent with friends/family before/after the service.
Three rolls of film, in order: Cinestill 800T, Kodak T-Max P3200 (both expired), and Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600. There are a lot of photos here that have some technical problems and I don’t know exactly what the problem is because there are too many variables. I used a 3v lithium battery when I think before it was always alkaline. Two of the three rolls I shot were expired high speed film that had been in my mom’s freezer for years. I dropped off the film and expected it to be ready in a week but I guess they ran into staffing problems or something, and had to rush process the film for me, a mistake could have been made there. And of course it could be that the shutter speeds are off, though usually they tend to get slower with age; of course it could be that the electronics are failing.
What it comes to is that the film all looks underexposed and shadow detail is often lacking, even with overexposing the expired film by one stop. The better-exposed shots were ones that I took outside or near an open door, which brings up another possibility: that it just doesn’t read dim light correctly. And of course I’m not sure how much having light sources in the frame might have affected exposure as well. When there is too much light the shutter won’t fire, so there were times I missed shots because of this, going from one part of the church to the other where the light changed too drastically. After having used shutter priority with the Canon AE-1 I find it much more freeing setting at 1/60 and having the lens stop down as much as needed, it made it easy to set and forget whereas with the aperture priority I was forever worrying about whether the aperture I had it on would make the shutter speed too slow. It was more an unfounded fear as nearly everything doesn’t show motion blur but I also wanted to give myself as much depth of field as possible because the lens would be focusing in the opposite direction from what I’m used to. What it boils down to is that I was using a camera that is now unfamiliar to me after having shot Pentax and Nikon for most of the last decade and more. I don’t know that I will use it much or ever again for that matter but being a family heirloom like my grandfather’s cameras I of course can’t let it go.