It’s been awhile since I did a film post and I’ve been playing with a few film cameras lately so it seemed like it was as good a time as any to come back to it. I’ve posted previously about my Yashica Mat LM, which is a lovely medium format camera from the 50s. Sadly, it’s pretty fragile and the shutter is easily damaged, so I don’t use it much these days. I’ve replaced it with a couple of heartier cameras, a Minolta X700 from the early 80s and a Voightlander Vitomatic ii from 1959. Both cameras are really fun to play with and both were given to me by important people in my life, which always adds to the experience of using them. In both cases I shot on Kodak Porta 400 film. The Minolta film expired in 2004...oops. It still turned out pretty well considering.
The Minolta has a lot more options and is closer to a modern digital camera in a lot of ways. It also has a battery that has to be bought and replaced, which can be an inconvenience. It’s equipped with a Minolta 50mm 2.8 lens and it can be hard to tell if it’s in focus. There was a lot of experimentation with my first roll and some shots were MUCH better than others. You can check out a few of them below:
The Voightlander is my preference, simply because of how automatic it manages to be for 1959. There are no batteries with this camera and it boasts a built in light meter that still seems to work almost 60 years later. How can you not be impressed by that type of workmanship? Focusing is also challenging here, but it includes distance from your subject on the focus ring, which is a definite help in framing things up.
It’s fun and nerve-racking to drop off a roll of film and have no idea what’s on there, if anything. Yes, I’ve had that happen before and it’s one of life’s greatest disappointments. Overall, these cameras are perfect additions to my personal collection and a great option for my clients who love the look of film and want to add on a fun extra. How could you not fall in love with that grain! Here are a few from the Voightlander: