It's no secret, I love real, good-old-fashioned film!
And this weekend I was reminded exactly why I've had this 40-something years-long love affair.
I am in the final stages of putting together a film-shooting workshop that'll be called "The Magic of Real Film" and figured I needed to run a roll or two through some of the cameras that'll be used but have sat idle for some time.
I wanted to be sure all the foam seal were still up to scratch and there were no light-leaks or surprises for workshop participants. So, out came a 70s-era Minolta SRT 100x. This was originally sold as a sort of trimmed down version of the famous SRT 101. It lacks a self-timer and the mirror lock-up facility but enjoys the same legendary build-quality.
It is a totally mechanical camera with a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second and uses an obsolete battery to power it's lightmeter. There are work-arounds for the battery issue but I didn't bother, as I planned to use an ancient, small, shoe-mounted Kodak meter or a hand-held lightmeter because that is what workshop delegates will be required to use.
I loaded the camera with standard, over-the-counter Fuji 400 colour film and sallied forth. Two lenses were used, a Rokkor MD 50mm f1.4 (55mm filter thread) and a Rokkor MD 28mm f2.8.
For the past few months I've primarily shot digital images, as quick turn-around times were required and, as a result, I'd sort of forgotten just how beautiful real film is. But when the scans popped up on my computer screen I was in love all over again and it was as if my ancient bride was once again young and beautiful.
The images are gentle and three-dimensional, the out-of-focus areas like cream stirred into melted chocolate. In a word, the pictures are gorgeous! They will easily print at 12" x 18" (30cm x 45cm)!
Much of the credit must go the the wonderful Rokkor lenses. I've been a Nikon user for around 40 years, I still am but in MY OPINION the Rokkors blow the equivalent Nikons out of the water. They are, in my eyes, the equal (and may in fact be better) than the Leica lenses I owned when I had an M3.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. My two best-selling images were shot with a humble X700 Minolta and 50mm f1.7 lens bought for under R300 (approx $27).
The only post-processing done to these images was slight adjustment of the levels in GIMP.