Tokyo Mini Photo Essay #2: A Weekend for Compact Cameras

The weekend after my Fukuoka trip, I found myself in the nation’s capital again. This was my third time in Tokyo (not counting when I first flew into Narita from Canada). As usual, I brought my Leica M2, some bulk-rolled Tri-X 400, and some rolls of Superia and Portra. I was mainly there to see some old friends from Canada and elsewhere around the world.

Nikon Lite Touch - Portra 400-2
Nikon AF600/Lite Touch, Portra 400

I did, however, have a specific goal of finding a compact camera to replace my Konica Big Mini-301. The Big Mini’s ribbon cable finally crapped out on me (it was only a matter of time), so I was left compact-less yet again. I had my eyes on either an Olympus XA2 or a Nikon AF600/Lite Touch. I was hoping to do some hunting in Shinjuku to find either one at a decent price. I ended up leaving Tokyo with both.

compacts

I found the Olympus XA2 during my first day in Tokyo at a shop in Ginza first. It was up for a pretty decent price so I grabbed it. Later that day I was walking around Shinjuku and found a store that had a Nikon AF600/Lite Touch for a pretty decent price as well. I almost left without it but I couldn’t help myself. The first couple hours of the weekend trip had already yielded not one, but two compact camera purchases.

Nikon Lite Touch - Portra 400
Nikon AF600/Lite Touch, Portra 400

For the entire weekend, I only shot with these two compacts. My Leica M2 was safely stored in a locker at my hostel and it never saw the streets for the entire trip. These two compacts yield two very different shooting experiences, I’m very glad I ended up with both. The Olympus XA2 is a zone-focusing rangefinder with no on-board flash, sporting a Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 lens. I considered the XA but wanted a bit more automation and wasn’t looking for a true rangefinder (I have my Leica M2 for that).

Olympus XA2 - Superia 400-4
Olympus XA2, Superia 400
Olympus XA2 - Superia 400-3
Olympus XA2, Superia 400

The Nikon AF600/Lite Touch, on the other hand, is a whole other beast. It’s a fully-automatic point & shoot compact, sporting a 28mm f/3.5 lens. I thoroughly enjoyed the 28mm focal length experience. It’s been a while since I’ve used a 28 and I really enjoyed the wider experience. It’s a small body with excellent autofocus and sharp glass.

Nikon Lite Touch - Superia 800
Nikon AF600/Lite Touch, Superia 800
Nikon Lite Touch - Portra 400-3
Nikon AF600/Lite Touch, Superia 800

This weekend was all about compact cameras. I came looking to buy one, ended up with two, and shot with both of them the entire weekend, leaving my Leica behind every time I left the hostel. Both of these compacts are very different and each have their own quirks. I’m very satisfied with the experience of these two compacts so far. A full review of each camera may be in the works for the future.

Here are some additional images from the weekend:

 

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Shooting 16-year expired Ektachrome P1600

About 3 months ago I won an auction for 2 rolls of very expired Ektachrome P1600. I’m not too sure why I bought the stuff. I didn’t even know Ektachrome existed in a 1600 speed variant. I’m not a huge slide film user (I’ve actually only shot it once before on 120). Nevertheless, I was browsing the film section of Yahoo Auctions and it looked interesting so I thought I’d give it a go.

ektachrome box

Couple of days later it arrived. Expired in 2002, the ad made no mention of any sort of storage conditions. I assumed the worst. As a relatively inexperienced slide film user, I foolishly applied the general rule of thumb for expired color negative film to the expired Ektachrome. It was expired 16 years ago, so I overexposed the film 1.5 stops. I’ve since learned that this rule shouldn’t be applied to slide film, as the latitude differs greatly. Nevertheless, I was still able to get some usable results, albeit the slides look terrible.

Ektachrome 1600 (2002)

I shot this roll in my Nikon F3 and 50mm f/1.4. I used the Nikon F3 for its metering system. I shoot 90% of my work on my Leica M2 and meter by eye, but this was a very unfamiliar scenario for me. I almost never work with slide film and certainly not slide film that was this expired, stored in unknown conditions.  So I took the Nikon F3 out and shot the roll around Tō-ji temple and on the Skyway of Kyoto Station.

expired ektachrome-5

As expected, there was a heavy amount of grain, plus some base fog and color shift. I was still quite impressed with the performance given the conditions. I tried to shoot both a mixture of soft, even light and harshly contrasty scenes to test the film’s capabilities.

 

The magenta cast and the severe grain is apparent in both the above pictures. I’m actually a big fan of harsh grain and I don’t mind it at all given my expectations of the film (1600 speed film, 16 years expired), but the magenta cast was a bit less desirable.

expired ektachrome-2

Overall I definitely enjoyed a handful of images the film yielded. I’m a sucker for grain and it was oddly enjoyable shooting a roll without much guarantee of what the results would look like. I have 1 roll of this stuff left so next time I’ll probably overexpose by less and try to shoot scenes with more forgiving light.

Gestalt Zine

Gestalt zine

Welcome; this is an initiation of a conversation. Those who created Gestalt Zine would like to entreat you into a space of expression, communication and interaction with artists and people expressing themselves through art. The creators: James Rhodes and Andrew Tarry from Newcastle Australia, a photographer and writer respectively, came together with the desire that it is necessary for emerging and already established photographers and writers to have a space and platform in which they can pursue their interests and passions in new ways. This attempt, fired by the acknowledgement that so many forms and mediums of art are inhibited or become disillusioned, means to strike out into the world a new approach of thinking, a new way of seeing and perceiving the places we inhabit or the situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in. Gestalt Zine is this attempt. In fact, it is more than an attempt. It is the amalgamation of several varying needs that currently exist in the world to understand and define, to recognize and appreciate contemporary modes of living and existence. One may say that this zine is not just a zine, but a window of kinds, a brief interlude from one way of being to see into other ways of being. Gestalt, derivative of Gestalt psychology whose axiom the whole is different from the sum of its parts is often misinterpreted as being greater than the sum of its parts, was chosen and appropriated by the creators to represent and express this axiom through the collaboration of photography and writing.

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Excerpt of Gestalt Vol.1 – The Australian Ugliness

 The Australian Ugliness, Volume.1 of Gestalt Zine focuses on the manifestation of incoherence and lack of artistic continuity in Australian residential architecture. The zine examines the lack of identity that exists in residential housing in Australia due to the multitude of influences and styles that have occurred over time. The zine also reflects on how the buildings and spaces we inhabit are affectual and how the perception of our surroundings is determined or disposed towards certain pathways of thinking or acting and speaking. Volume. 1 also scrutinizes how the individual, arbitrary, components of a society and community may come to be, or how these components occur through function, expression, need and wants, whether on behalf of an individual or a community or society.

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Excerpt of Gestalt Vol.1 – The Australian Ugliness

Gestalt zine looks at the value of taking things in isolation, or rather, separating their individual part from the whole that provides their context. It looks at the functions of these individual parts, their origin and evolution. The potential circumstance that they may come to be in now, or in the future, if at all the future is something in which they will be a part of. Gestalt means to establish a greater congruency between artists, writers and photographers; opening new avenues of expression and impression, of interacting. Encouraging writers and photographers to delve into topics or issues that interest them or that causes within them a burning passion to speak about, act upon, reach out to others and through these connections broaden their understanding and apperception of the world(s) that exists around them and their position within those worlds. Gestalt Zine also encourages its contributors and viewers to put forward their different viewpoints, especially as the co-operation of different viewpoints can create a unique and different whole.

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Excerpt of Gestalt Vol.1 – The Australian Ugliness

As part of this zine, in volume. 1 and potentially further volumes, greater, broader philosophical questions are asked in the hope that by asking these questions we may come to have more refined, nuanced ideas about our lives and the things that affect them.

Such queries may include but are not limited to:

 

In a time of rapid change, how does the world and its innumerable parts affect us?

 

How is it that a world entrapped by large moving mechanisms and forces can be broken down, understood and appreciated? Since individual human beings often become lost in collections or groups, how does separation and detachment change and influence the individual? Further, how does an individual relate, occupy and function in a world that is increasingly perceived as one complete entity?

 

With so many external pressures attempting to influence perception, how do we achieve or acknowledge multiple and varied interpretations? With so much now dependent on the end of something and not the (progressive) individual parts how does instant gratification diminish the desire to understand how something comes to be?

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Excerpt of Gestalt Vol.1 – The Australian Ugliness

If you would like to buy a zine they are available here: Gestalt Zine

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If you would like to contribute just send us a message on instagram! We are always looking for people to work with!