This is the first camera I have bought this year without selling something first. This was due to the fact I bought it for parts and wanted to see if it worked first. I have fallen out of like with the Minolta XG2, not sure why, but I have and wanted to get a replacement. I saw this on the bay for £7 and put on the minimum bid. Nobody else bid and I duly received the item. It turned out to work perfectly, the seals are a bit soft and could do with being replaced. Seeing as they are fairly ok, I didn’t want to upset the apple cart just yet and left them as is.
It isn’t anything special to look at, a typical 1980s SLR but there is something about it I just like. It is simple to use, a basic model. It works in aperture priority and manual mode. It has a hot shoe and a cable release and that is about it. Without LR44 batteries it doesn’t work. As simple as it is, there is still an auto exposure lock button on the front of the camera and a cable release slot on the side of the lens mount.
At the same time that I received this camera, I also received a bulk loader. This is my first experience with one, but I saw it advertised saying there might be a film inside. As I wanted a loader to hopefully save money in the future, why not buy one with a mystery film? The price of the loader meant that whatever film was inside, was basically free. When the loader arrived, it felt heavy to me.
Given that I have never held one before, that was an assumption. There was a leader of the film sticking out so I started to load some old cartridges I had around. When I develop a film, I tend to keep the cartridge for a while just in case…this was the case. I ended up filling up 18 of them in two lengths, either 18 or 36 frames. I ran out of empty cartridges at that point, but there was still film left in the loader. As the film was definitely expired, I wanted to roll all of it and put it in the freezer or fridge to stop it from deteriorating more. I didn’t know if it was even viable at this stage. It could be fogged or have been so badly stored it would not be worth shooting. On the side of the loader was a piece of masking tape with RAR 320 written on it with some other illegible text. So again with the assumptions, I think it could be Kodak rapid-access recording film but I didn’t know which one.
I made my own labels as you can see, I circled which length each cartridge was.
I decided to use one of the shorter rolls I made in this camera, just around the garden, then stand develop it with Rodinal. I hoped that would give me a good indication of the viability of the film. I checked the camera before loading and it seemed to work at all speeds with the shutter firing as it should. I set the ASA to 100 and shot some photos at that, then others under and over that baseline. I would then be able to deduce the best settings or speed based on any results. I developed it at 23 degrees for 65 minutes with one agitation at 30 minutes.
From the results, I could tell that 100asa was ok but 50asa would probably be better. But hey, I now have loads of free films. I bought some reusable cartridges and some empty used ones and loaded the rest of the film. It have me around 25+ cartridges with half being 18 shots and the other 36 shots. I gave some away to friends and put some in the freezer. This is definitely my lucky film, unless I fogged the rest of it using the bulk loader, it was my first time. I am pleased I got more familiar with the loader using this found film rather than any brand new bulk roll I might buy in the future.
Oh and I loved the camera so much that I immediately loaded it again for an experiment. I read this article about exposing both sides of the film (EBS) and wanted to try it. Luckily I also just bought some very cheap Agfa 200 which I was way too nice about at the time. I saw it for sale at a camera fair I was selling at and when I asked how much it was the man said £1 as he got it for that, old Poundshop stock. I was shocked and said are you sure, yes he replied. So I bought five rolls and told him to research the price before the fair opened. He had about 15 rolls left and we made a deal that if he didn’t sell them then I would buy the rest for the same price at the end of the day. Sure enough at the end of the day I walk over and remind him…erm no, I think I will keep them he said. I should have just bought them all when I could 🙂
So I turned the film around in a dark bag loaded it into the X-300, then marked where the exposure frame was with a sharpie. Then I shot it with trees, flowers, fences, manhole covers and the like. Then I turned the film around the right way and reloaded it, making sure to line up the exposure lines that I made at the beginning. That way I hoped to avoid a black line in the middle of the shot and have two perfectly lined up exposures. I re-exposed the film on a walk around Leeds.
I shot the redscale at 50asa due to it needing to be overexposed. Then I shot the regular side at 200 as it was a little expired. These are some of the results.
Some of the results are great, some of the results are good but there is little evidence of the redscale. I would love to try this again, but due to the price of colour film right now I might not for a while. If I do though, I will study these photos to see what to shoot the next time.
As for the camera, I will be selling the XG2 and keeping this one. You can read more about this camera in these posts…
Is this a camera review or a film experiment post?