I already posted about our general travel plans, but I wanted to post more specifically about my photo-taking plans.
This will be our 4th trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea and heading to such a familiar place can pose a little bit of a challenge. I’ve taken A LOT of pictures in Carmel and Monterey.
The easiest way, for me, to mix things up is to use different cameras. I used my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV on our first visit and my Minolta XE and my Olympus OM-1 the following year.
Last year, when we returned after a pandemic break, I mainly used my Nikon Z fc but also brought along my Olympus XA.
I stopped briefly in Carmel once many years ago, before I knew Holly, when I was in Monterey for a conference. Although I had also stopped in downtown Carmel, I only took photos at the Carmel Mission with my Fujifilm FinePix E900.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I rather liked the results I had gotten with the Fujifilm FinePix E900. Considering this was a digital camera from 2005 (and these photos are from 2007), the images are rather good. I harbor some regrets from no longer having that camera.
For this upcoming trip, I decided I want to rely mainly on film. My first instinct was to go with my Minolta X-700 which has been one of my most reliable cameras. Not that the X-700 is particularly cumbersome, but I thought I would also like to bring something smaller. I thought my Olympus Pen EE-3 half-frame camera could be fun, but the I saw this video from grainydays in which he travels with a cheap point-and-shoot camera.
For some reason, the thought of being a tourist wandering around with an old point-and-shoot camera appeals. For quite a while, I had one in my Etsy wishlist. I looked at a few others but ultimately purchased the Rollei Giro 105 from Analouge Camera Club that I had already identified.
I was pretty satisfied with the idea of having this small camera with me along with my X-700, but then the question was which lenses to bring.
With the exception of a 70-200mm lens that I bought before I figured out I wasn’t inclined to shoot with such a lens, I only have prime lenses for my Minolta cameras. Not wanting to bring a lot of lenses, I was having difficulty decided which ones I wanted for the trip. Choosing among those prime lenses (I have a 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and a 135mm) was a bit of a struggle since I knew I will be shooting in a variety of situations where any of them could come in handy. That indecisiveness led me to looking at some zoom lenses on Etsy. I wasn’t committed to this idea but wanted to investigate my options. I found a 35-70mm f/3.5 lens that struck my interest. Although this isn’t a huge range of focal lengths, it does fall into my comfort area. I was intrigued by the fact the maximum aperture remained consistent throughout the entire range. It also has a macro function which added to the allure.
So, I followed-up my purchase of the Rollei with getting that lens from Old Cams by Jen.
Both arrived in time for me to run a test roll through the Rollei and through my X-700 with the new lens (Kodak Gold for each). Certainly, I didn’t want to fly across the country not knowing if and how well this new gear worked.
I was a little concerned about the Rollei. I haven’t used a point-and-shoot in ages and was a little disturbed by the sound of the shutter. It sounds less like a click and more like a crunch. I didn’t want to make any assumptions based on the sound and tried my best to keep an open mind until I got the roll developed.
I was quite relieved when I got my scans and the images looked good. In fact, they looked better than I expected from a point-and-shoot.
The Rollei has a focal range of 38-105mm. I tried shooting at a variety of focal lengths. I wasn’t trying to take any great shots. I mainly wanted to finish the roll to see if the camera even worked.
I turned on the date imprint out of curiosity. Seeing the date on the pictures felt a bit nostalgic, but I’ll definitely turn that off for vacation.
I had a couple of photos not turn out but those were because of user error. Sometimes you think you turn the flash off when you actually don’t.
I took a few photos out our apartment window before going out the next day for a walk to and along the Schuylkill River Trail.
The lens arrived on the same day as the Rollei so, likewise, I shot a few photos from our apartment along with a couple in our apartment. I brought it with me the next day on my Schuylkill River Trail walk.
I didn’t think I would be able to finish both rolls but since I was being fairly indiscriminate, I did complete both.
I was quite pleased with the experience and with the results.
I also tested the macro function which, as far as I understand, is not truly macro since its 2 magnification options are 1:4 and 1:7. I don’t fully understand the technical aspects, but based on some of my research, a true macro ratio is 1:1 or 1:2 magnification at most. I liked the results of these close-up shots and think this will be a nice option to have while on vacation.
One odd thing about the lens is that you need to extend it to go wider. Usually the lens extends to zoom. It’s the other way around with this lens which takes a little getting used to.
I am really pleased with my new camera and lens. They should serve me well on out trip. I’ll probably also bring my 28mm lens for the X-700 just so I have another option.
Of course, bringing film cameras means bringing film. I knew I wanted to bring the remaining 3 rolls of Kodak Pro Image from the 5-pack Holly got me for Christmas. I also had 3 rolls of Ilford HP5 on hand.
I looked back at my post from when I last shot mainly film in Carmel. I got through 6 rolls in about 5 days so I knew I needed a lot more film for a 14 day trip. I don’t know of any places in Carmel—except maybe the CVS—where I can buy film so I need to be prepared.
I first placed an order with Lomography and got 1 roll of Potsdam, a 3-pack of their Color 400, and a 3-pack of Color 800. I also picked up 2 nice film holders which hold 6 rolls each (I have since bought a 3rd).
That didn’t quite cover all my anticipated needs so I ordered the couple rolls of Kodak Gold for the aforementioned testing as well as a roll of Kodak Color Plus and a roll of Cinestill 400D Dynamic from B & H Photo.
Although I’ve traveled with film before without any problems, I watched a video from King Jvpes which made me concerned about possibly passing my unexposed film through the carry-on x-ray machines at the airport.
I can’t count on asking to have my film hand-checked as he suggests, partly because I don’t see myself slowing down the security process and partly because I can ask and get turned down.
Most of the additional research I did mostly agrees that films slower than 800 ISO is probably fine.
At which point, I decided against bringing the Lomography Color 800 and bought a 5-pack of Kodak Portra 400, also from B & H Photo.
While preparing this blog post, I looked back at my previous Carmel posts and realized that I used Lomography Color 800 on my trip last year without any issues, so I may still bring some of that.
Regardless of what films I bring, I’m very excited to be shooting film on this trip along with some digital photos with my Samsung Galaxy S9+. I’ll certainly be busy reliving our vacation once we’re back, and I get all that film developed and scanned.
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