The first of roll of film for the new year 2020. A fresh roll of ILFORD PAN 100 all used up in one day with a camera I’ve never used before. This will be January’s commitment to the new year’s resolution I’ve signed up for.

That resolution is of course, one roll of film per month. Sounds simple enough, should be doable forgetting the children, the full time time job and bugger all light in the winter months.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Tabak Trafik
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Tabak Trafik

I’m not restricting myself too much, so the scope is wide in terms of what camera, film and process I’ll use. One thing, I’m a lover of Rodinal but sometimes I do venture with Caffenol too. I do recall, once even twice using ILFORD developer on HP5plus film at one point.

Returning to the plan, and to be honest here, the goal is to do what makes me happy. So different variants, a different film, a different subject but with the main goal of finishing, developing, scanning and publish a series of photographs. Keep focused (pun intended).

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Schlosseggenberg
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Schlosseggenberg

My partner and my friend, Iris kindly helps me out as always. Whether it’s holding the video camera, making a portrait of me, participating in my creative madness!

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Baristas
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Baristas

The Camera – Olympus XA

A new year, so a new camera – the Olympus XA not the XA1 or XA2, XA3, XA4. It might be hard to believe but I had no real expectations for this camera at all. I had previously dismissed this camera in its entirety as a mere point and shoot. Was I unfair ? Yes, as I found out to my surprise after a little research about the different XA models and how good the tiny XA’s lens is.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Schlosseggenberg
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Schlosseggenberg

So back to the camera experience, I had no idea if the exposure or focusing would workout for me. The focusing is a kind of rangefinder and the exposure is basically aperture priority, i.e the camera looks after the time for you.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Schlosseggenberg
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Schlosseggenberg

Now, because I don’t believe everything that’s written on the Internet. I just used the little black XA it to see if it would capture my minds eyes. Not thinking too much about it and let it do it’s thing. What I saw and how I imagined it, is in fact how it turned out. I would have to say I was quite impressed.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Schlosseggenberg
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Schlosseggenberg

I must admit the last time I had such an experience with a camera, was with the original full frame digital from Canon, the 5D. Both these cameras worked the way I had hoped and anticipated.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Schlosseggenberg
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Schlosseggenberg

Video

I had decided to made a video regarding some of the features and operations of the tiny Olympus XA along with the images posted here.

The band in the video is called the Public Hit Factory which were playing in Graz on a Sunday morning.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Spurgasse - Public Hit Factory
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Spurgasse
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Spurgasse
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Spurgasse – Public Hit Factory

This would be a good start to a roll of film. We tried the self timer mode, portraits, landscape and the back lit feature too.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Cyclist
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Cyclist

All this on one roll of ILFORD PAN 100 black and white film. We didn’t manage to tryout the flash module – A16. That will be for another roll of film, most likely Kodak color.

Portraiture

Even simple portraits worked with this little gem of machinery at f/2.8. They were definitely achievable. Not bad for a wee black box, I thought to myself.

An image of Iris and an image of myself.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Iris on the tram

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Gavin
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Gavin

Street Photography

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Stadttor
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Stadttor

On the street and roaming from one end of Graz to another taking in the sun and shooting an image here and there was how Sunday was spent.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Crossing the street
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Crossing the street

I guess to say the roll film contains and documents our day out. I took a few candids from the hip, triggered a few while crossing roads. No one seemed too bother by the XA at all.

Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 - Graz, Stadtbrücke
Olympus XA with ILFORD PAN 100 – Graz, Stadtbrücke

Film Development

The recipe I used for this roll was too develop in good old faithful Rodinal

Presoak for 5 minutes
Duration:15 minutes
First minute : continuous agitation
Then every minute, agitate.

(I used my Spinamatic device for the 14 minutes where agitate once per minute)

 

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January 8, 2020

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