50p camera

Strange things

Darth Vader eats Wisbech citizen. Olympus XA2, Adox CHS 100 II film, developed in Rodinal.

Caught during a heritage day in Wisbech.  I have no idea what Star Wars has to do with local heritage.  Lucky though, I had my 50p camera in my pocket.  You never know what you might bump into.  I quite like the lady in the background.

50p camera

One that got away.

Emancipation.  Olympus XA2 35mm film compact camera. Kodak T-Max 400 b/w film. Developed in LC29.

Apologies first for being a Flickr and click whore.  I’m well aware how shallow and meaningless that is.  So don’t go thinking that I’m not concerned myself, how we are all directed to respond to Likes and Faves in our day to day life.

That out of the way, I’ve selected the above photo for this post.  It’s one that got away on Flickr.  Not much in the way of clicks or likes, but I “like” it myself.  I guess it is the opposite phenomena to some of my photos that have made it into the Flickr Explore category, even though I think that they are horrible.

This photo is part of the 50p Camera Project – having been taken on my humble and very abused Olympus XA2 compact camera.  It was taken in Wisbech at the Thomas Clarkson Memorial.  Clarkson was an English slavery abolitionist, born here in Wisbech.

I’m not sure what the woman’s posture was about – probably struggling to use a mobile phone while carrying shopping, but it seems to me to say something with the image of a manacled slave next to her.  What it says is up to you.

50p camera

Can I take your Photo?

50p Camera Project. Olympus XA2. Kodak T-Max 400 film. Developed in LC29.

I enjoyed taking the above photo.  I was visiting Camden Market in London, and snapped him with the crafty little XA2 before he could even pitch his Polaroid instant photo sale to me.  Hah hah!  The 50p Camera is l33t!

I’m trying out some posh film – Kodak T-Max 400 here.  Developed in LC29 at 1:19.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Kent Earthquake felt in East Anglia

Olympus XA2 50p camera project. Ilford HP5+ b/w film. Developed in Kodak D76 stock. V500 scanned.

Our intrepid reporter phones in the tight fisted report.  The 4.2 magnitude tremors of the Kent Earthquake yesterday were felt far and wide.  Causing damage to structures as far away as Cambridgeshire.  Either that or some drunk managed to back his car into this Wisbech telephone box.

The fun that you can have with a little XA2 35mm film compact camera.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II


Olympus XA2 compact camera. Ilford HP5+ b/w 35mm film. Developed in Kodak D76 stock. Scanned on a V500.

The two Ilford films from the XA2 (the 50p Camera Project) are dried and scanned.  The above is one of my favourites.  A candid taken at the burger van of a local mid week car boot sale.  I think that it captures the atmosphere of such an event quite well.  Car boot sales, auctions, and Sunday markets are great places to catch interesting people.

I developed in D-76 stock, which might have made the HP5 a little grainy, but as any regular readers will know, I don’t shy away from the rough.  It adds I think to the feeling of the photograph.  Anyway, I wanted to use the developer up, as it wasn’t well stored, and I’m keen to give a bottle of Ilford LC29 a go next.

I guess that is one of the attractions of film and even hybrid photography – we have so many different films, developers, and processes available still, each of which will affect the final image.

Next in the XA2 will be a couple of Poundland C41 films.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II


Olympus XA2 compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 film from Poundland. Scanned with V500.

I haven’t shown a lot of it on this blog of recent.  I do prefer b/w photography, but at the same time, I am the tight fisted photographer, and I still have plenty of Poundland film (AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200) in my freezer.  I tried C41 home processing, I did have some success, but I didn’t really enjoy it, not enough to learn how to keep C41 chemistry well.  The nearest photolab is not only incredibly expensive, but on my last film, totally botched up the colour.  I’ve even resorted to cross processing C41 film in b/w process and chemistry a few times.

Still, I recently thought I’d try again.  My faithful Olympus XA2 from the 50p Camera Project kept looking at me from the camera shelf.  So in went a cassette of Poundland film – that Ilford can be so expensive.  It was in there a few weeks or so, I didn’t use it to take any particularly good photos, just snapshots here and there.  I like the above result – it fitted my mood post general election about the future of minimal government – our parish council certainly provides it.  I have a very dystopian view of the future, perhaps I’m getting old.

Anyway, after I used up the 35mm film, I took it to a photolab in Kings Lynn, that I hadn’t used before.  Not a chain, but an independent.  They charged £2.50 for film process only, but had my film dried, cut into strips, and properly packaged in less than a hour!  Colours look good (of course, my scanner will have an effect), and they are clean.  Really pleased.  They did point out that the quick process was a result of their minilab being hot when i walked in, and I got lucky – but it looks like I’ve got a new photolab resource.

Now, that works out at a cost of £3.50 of film / development for 36 exposures.  I don’t think that at the moment, I could get b/w that cheap.  Other than cross processing.  Better get some of that Poundland film out of the freezer.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II


Wisbech Car Boot Sale candid. Olympus XA2 50p camera project. Ilford HP5+ b/w film. ID11. V500 scanned.

Continuing my theme of local anthrophotography.  I took the above at the local car boot sale.  The very same market, that I bought this Olympus XA2 from, for 50p.  The above is an example of that most cowardly candid – the shot from the hip candid portrait.  The XA2 is very good for that.  The two ladies were clearly of “East European” origin, and were busy selling goods from their stall.  I think that their dress and faces give away their origins very nicely.

The local car boot sale / Sunday market is incredibly popular with immigrants from Lithuania, Poland, Czech, Romania, Latvia, Russia, etc.  I wonder if the popularity of these sort of junk sales started in the late Soviet era?  The seeds of Capitalism.  Wherever you walk around the market, you hear so many languages.  This is what I was hoping to capture in the silver salts of this exposure.

35mm, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

More XA2 Fun

Meatloaf at the bus shelter. The 50p Camera Project. Olympus XA2 compact camera. Ilford HP5+ 35mm film. Developed in ID11. Scanned film on V500.

I just love this little camera that cost me 50p a few years ago.  Fits in the pocket so sweet.  Doesn’t Anita also look sweet here?  It was Valentines Day.  The car was in the garage for more repairs, and we were broke.  So on walking up to the shops, we bought a hot meatloaf.  She took a photo of me woofing meatloaf down in the bus shelter as well, but strange thing, it didn’t develop well. 😉

We’ve discussed using this bus shelter as a prop before.  Slowing down in the car, and photographing whoever is in it, as we pass.  Maybe over a year.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

The Town Crier

50p Camera Project

Pearl Capewell, Peterborough Town Crier. On the steps of the town hall. Return of the 50p camera project. Olympus XA2 50p camera project Ilford HP5+ b/w film ID11 V500 scanned.

First film exposed in my old Olympus XA2 for a while, giving rebirth to the 50P Camera Project.  Ok, I’m still trying to get exposure correct.  Subject was the Town Crier for Peterborough.  Came across her, with XA2 in coat pocket.  Chatted to her and took a few random snaps.  She has been the town crier in Peterborough many years.  She did retire from the post in 2007, but was asked to come out of retirement to fill a vacancy.

As above image.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Wolf in sheeps clothing. The 50p camera still lives!

This is what a camera looks like!

Zones of Focus – the 50p Olympus XA2

This is what I bought the HP5+ film for – a treat for my trusty old 50p Olympus XA2.  You can see from the images, it’s pretty battered from being stuffed in pockets, along with car keys and what not.  Beaten up, scarred, and misused.  This is the XA2 that I bought at a car boot sale for 50p (GBP £0.50p – around 77 US cents) a few years ago, and proceeded to make this 50p camera Flickr gallery with.

Hopefully, it’s still in good working order.  If not, I’ve another one or two XA2s somewhere around the house, but I’d like to use this original 50p individual.

There is a genuine message that I try to get out by using this camera.  It is that you do not need to spend thousands of hard earned dosh on gear, in order to enjoy photography, and make pleasing photographs.  Whenever I hear two or three photography technicians arguing over the merits and benchmarks of the latest sensor, body, or lens … I think of my 50p camera.  Yes, I can see the benefits of the latest, most expensive technology for some schools of photography. I couldn’t take much of a photo of a pied flycatcher at 100 metres distance, using my 50p camera.  However, I don’t want to take a photo of a pied flycatcher in the distance.  I want to make photography.