Revisiting an old friend: Part 4

In Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, I talked at length about getting reacquainted with old friends: film cameras. While I’ve not taken the Polaroid out since Part 1, I have shot film in my old Duaflex (Part 2), and my Minolta XG 1 (Part 3), and have finally received them back from the lab.

First, the highly recommended The Darkroom in California did a really nice job with developing and scanning my film. My only disappointment was the turn time. My film arrived at the lab on a Monday, I had my scans early the following week, and the negatives and CD were in my hands that Friday — making the total   time, including shipping both ways, roughly 2-1/2 weeks. To be honest, that seemed a bit… Long. There are local labs here in Denver, but The Darkroom processes all formats and all current types (B&W, C-41 and E-6), the quality was great, and film isn’t really about speed, I suppose.

Second, the Kodak Duaflex II takes surprisingly good pictures:

All of these were shot on the Duaflex in downtown Castle Rock, Colorado, on Kodak Porta 160 film, 120 format, rerolled on 620 spools by Film Photography Project, which they offer as “Brownie Basic Color.”

It wasn’t that visible in these shots, but there’s some slight distortion on the corners and edges, but otherwise, I was actually quite impressed at the quality, contrast, color and appearance of these images — considering they came from a fixed-aperture, fixed-shutter speed, fixed-focus camera that’s roughly 65 years old. The Porta renders colors slightly retro, which honestly sort of fits the square format and retro camera they came from.

Lastly, the Minolta XG 1 also shot some really nice photos. However, the film I used (Kodak Gold 200) expired 15 years ago, and expired film can always provide some interesting results. The grain in the images is much more pronounced, and the color rendition suffers a bit. Still, I liked the images, and I was pleased that the Minolta seems to be perfectly functional:

(Yes, yes, lots of railroad stuff here.)

As you can see, the colors are sort of retro; they have an old photo look to them. But I was surprised at how well this consumer-grade film survived in non-optimal conditions, and I wasn’t displeased with the results. Since these were taken, I’ve shot another roll of expired Kodak Gold 200 which will be going to the lab soon, and a roll of fresh, recently re-introduced Kodak Ektachrome 100 is currently in the camera. I can’t wait to finish that roll, and get all the pictures back.

These first results from the lab are encouraging, and it’s only thrown fuel on my rekindled fire of film photography.

In a later post, I’ll share some of the results from my “new” (to me) Pentax 645.