It’s that time of year again and we went off to Skegness to Butlins. We also headed onto the Gem of the Yorkshire Coast, Whitby and like last year some film cameras came along for the ride.
Size and space was important so everything was pretty compact. Last year’s Olympus XA2 was joined by a Lomo LC-A and the poor man’s Lomo, a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim (VUWS) clone. But what worked well and did the Olympus redeem itself ?
As I type we’ve 18 out of 20 rolls back (2 rolls are true B&W and will need specialist lab processing as I don’t home develop). This year film truly outshot the usual accompanying digital (the better half always insists). As Whitby was new about 2 out of 3 shots were taken there.
In good outdoors (~EV13-17) conditions the VUWS clone was fantastic.. The fact that everything was fixed made it a much better camera on the beach than either the digital or XA2 as it didn’t need/couldn’t be EV compensated. It also was light and compact so easily pocketed and unlike any other camera I had more likely to survive immersion in the sea (also more likely to float). There are no controls or setting on this camera – just load and go.
This is a stonking camera for one that has a plastic lens and no setting. It does tend to vignette and images can e a bit soft especially of the edge but in good weather it does shoot well (just don’t shoot into the sun as it flares)
My biggest issue with it was my fingers which slipped into too many shots. Best shot with Poundland’s finest Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200. I also isn’t much use as the light falls
Here the Lomo LC-A steps in. This was probably the best all-rounder here but I never took it out on serious beach days so can’t really give a fair comparison to the VUWS but it coped well enough in most conditions and was the best in low light. Flash shots worked well enough and as ever, it has a classic split personality with colour and B&W.
Main issue with the LC-A is that too easy to knock focus off when holding. The camera is zone focus with 4 setting on lever on one side of lens (on the other is the aperture settings for flash missing in the current LC-A+ version). The camera has a standard hotshoe mount and I used it with a basic vintage boots flashgun
The XA2 was the most disappointing of the 3.
Look I’ve said this before I really want to like the XA2 but I just keep getting disappointed. It may be an unfair comparison as I may have a duff one. I used to own 2 and one worked better (I suspect the one that died on me).
The one left probably did okay on the exposure stakes (with the exception on the beach when I fiddled and used Ilford XP2 which can be a bit tricky with exposure) but…
As time goes on I get more niggled about whether to use in good conditions as fixed focus or use the zone focus (manual says former but..). Blurring and shake more of an issue than with either of the other 2. Look it good be very good when on form but often it it was inconsistent but then maybe I just need a new XA2.
Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 proved the colour film du Jour probably as the weather was better than expected and we rented a place just up the road from Whitby’s Poundland. The Fuji Superia X-tra 400 did nothing wrong – it just seemed bonkers to use it most days. In the B&W stakes the soon to be no more Kodak BW400CN seemed to do better than the Ilford XP2 but I am bias (some Agfaphoto APX100 awaits processing).
A new XA2 is now on order….