I learned photography because of the digital revolution that took over the industry about eight years ago. I always loved photography; however, I never personally had access to a real camera so my photography was limited to using a 35mm point and shoot camera. When I finally got handed down our family camera – Minolta XG-1, I was too busy with other things and didn’t make a very serious effort to learn how to use it except for auto mode. The amazing thing is that nobody in my family was really that technically inclined; yet, the pictures that this camera took were absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. This is partially because of how great the camera’s automatic settings are and also because film is a bit more forgiving than digital sensors.

When I finally got my Nikon D40, learning photography became much easier as I had instant feedback and an unlimited resource of trial and error. By most accounts, digital has surpassed the quality of film and is the undisputed champion of photography right now. Still, part of me wonders that if I could take decent pictures in the old days without knowing anything about photography, now that I am proficient as a photographer, how well can I do with the old camera?

Because of this, along with a sense of nostalgia for the family camera that has preserved so many memories and has traveled many distances with us, I decided to buy what is perhaps the last roll of film I will buy for a very long time and give it a shot. This was not a very easy task because most places don’t even sell film anymore whereas in the old days, you could find a variety of different brands and speeds of film at a drugstore or even a grocery store. After trying to places, I finally got a role of Fujifilm iso 200 at at Walmart. I briefly thought about getting 400 or perhaps going the other way and try to get iso 100 or possibly 50 since my digital camera doesn’t go down that far, but I decided to not to over think it and just get what was available.

The film is now loaded and the camera is ready to go. The next problem I will face will be where to develop this film because they really aren’t that many stores that process film anymore and those who do charge an arm and a leg. My little experiment is going to cost me around $20 for 24 pictures when you take into account the battery, film, shipping, and processing.

Since this really is a beautiful camera, I decided to take a product shot of it. As much as I love Nikon cameras, I think the Minolta manual lenses look even better than Nikon’s back in the old days. I know it’s blasphemy.

Minolta XG-1


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