In Part 1 and Part 2 of this unplanned series of posts, I dusted-off my old Polaroid OneStep and my even older Kodak Duaflex II cameras. Digging through boxes that have remain untouched since moving here over four years ago, I found another camera relic: My old Minolta XG-1, a 35mm SLR, which I bought for photography class when I was in high school after draining a small savings account someone had set-up for me as a kid.
The XG-1 accompanied me everywhere during junior and senior year, doing duty for photography class assignments, as well as snapping photos from time to time for the school newspaper, for which I also wrote. While digging around in boxes, I found my old photo class binder, with dozens of strips of black and white negatives slid into negative holder pages, along with a few packages of Ilford photo paper from back in the day. Crazy what’s been sitting around in boxes all these years.
Like the OneStep and Duaflex, I decided to load the camera with film and see what I could do. As luck would have it, there was also a 7-pack of 200 ISO 35mm color negative film in one of the boxes, that was 15 years expired. Expired film can behave in strange ways, but I decided “what the heck,” and took one of the rolls and loaded it.
Before I could take photos, however, I needed to replace the batteries: A pair of the 76 button batteries that proved extremely difficult to locate. In the end, I found them at Mike’s Camera, one of the few dedicated camera stores still around in the Denver area. I was thankful that while the old cells had leaked a bit, they had not corroded to the point where anything was damaged. (Note to self: Remove batteries from devices if you throw them in a box for a decade or two.)
The XG-1 is what I would refer to as a semi-automatic camera. It has an “A” mode on the dial, and the manual for the XG-1 calls this “automatic” mode, but it’s actually simply an aperture-priority mode; you set the aperture on the lens manually, and the camera will meter to determine the shutter speed.
While I did quickly review the manual, using the XG-1 came back to me pretty quickly. It may have been a few decades since I’ve even really seen this camera, let alone used it, it’s not exactly a complex one, and it came back to me pretty quickly.
I’m about 20 shots into a 24 shot roll of film, and am anxious to get the roll developed and see both what sort of results it’s producing, as well as what state of health the long-expired film is in. Considering that the film hasn’t been refrigerated, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m quite certain it’s still usable, the question is what the color saturation and so forth might look like. We shall see.
Yesterday, I stopped by one of the other remaining camera shops in town, Englewood Camera. They have a couple of MD mount lenses that’ll fit this camera, the prices for them are dirt cheap (as are prices for the MD lenses I’ve seen everywhere, including KEH). I’ll probably stop by and pick them up tomorrow. Assuming the other six rolls of old film are usable (we’ll see after this roll comes back), I’ll have some stuff to shoot, and might as well make the most of it — primarily because the 50mm fixed-focal-length lens I have is far more limiting than I’m used to (although the fact that it’s an f/1.7 makes it sort of useful for bokeh).
In Part 4 of this series, you can see some sample shots from this camera.