After the Smena I branched out into Japanese cameras, starting with the wonderful Ricoh 500G. I wrote an article for 35mmc describing the experience. You can find that article here but suffice to say I loved it, and still do (= I still have it).
Here’s an example image on Fomapan 200:
and one on Lomography 400:
Next, the Minolta X700. I spent some time trawling review sites to identify a good but not hugely expensive SLR. I also have an aversion to Canon and Nikon if I can avoid them, I should add. I don’t know why really, they make excellent cameras and I have owned a few digital cameras from both. But I feel other makers are more interesting. Anyhow, the Minolta X700 seemed very highly thought of. I duly found a nice one for £45, added a 50mm f1.7 lens for another £35, and off I went.
First impressions: very solid; great viewfinder; astonishingly loud, nay violent shutter/mirror slap. Wow, I nearly dropped the thing when I took my first shot! But I persevered, got used to it and took some nice shots. I added a Sigma 35-70 lens for a bit more versatility too.
Here are some shots on Ektar 100:
And some on TMax 400
However I sold the camera as it was just too heavy. I kept the 50mm lens for a while, and still have the Sigma 35-70. I’ve now just bought an X370, which is a fair bit lighter but is still solid and has a great viewfinder.
So we move onto the Olympus XA2. Of course the glamour model of the range is the original XA rangefinder, but have you seen the prices they are going for? Ridiculous money. The XA2 is, if anything, a better street camera. It is basically in focus from 6 feet to infinity, so it’s perfect for quick grab shots. The lens may not be as fantastic as the one in the XA (reputedly), but it seems pretty darn sharp to me.
A trip around Hereford, with the XA2 loaded with Acros 100 on a very bright summer’s day. The film seems ideally suited to bright, contrasty lighting and the XA2 with its 35mm lens is great for city shots.
Of course, it also does colour … I tried some Tungsten balanced Kono Kolorit 400T.
One thing is for sure, this little gem of a camera is a keeper!