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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Fukuoka Mini Photo Essay

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to visit Fukuoka for a weekend. Fukuoka isn’t a place that’s talked about a whole lot when people think about Japan, but it’s got its own charm that is worth checking out.

FukFor this quick weekend trip I took just my Leica M2 and my new Summicron 35mm f/2. For film, I brought several rolls of bulk-rolled Tri-X 400, and a couple rolls of Portra 400. It wasn’t the most eventful trip but I did get to do a bit of shooting. I was mainly there to meet up with a couple dear old friends from back home in Canada who were travelling through the country.

Fuk-3

After seeing places like Seoul, Tokyo and the tourist-hive of Kyoto, it was nice to get a glimpse at a smaller city like Fukuoka. There’s definitely less tourists around and it doesn’t have the crazy hustle-and-bustle feel that Tokyo does. A certain charm in its own right. The evenings are calm, at night the streets are quiet and people go about their business at a slower pace.

Fuk-4

Fukuoka is known for being the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen, which I certainly indulged in. One of the places I went to, Hakata Ramen Zen, was absolutely fantastic. Their main attraction is their dirt cheap (only ¥320!!) basic tonkotsu ramen. To this day I still think it’s the best ramen I’ve ever had in Japan (and I’ve had a fair bit of ramen here). Fukuoka is also known for their yatai (outdoor food stalls). I had some ramen here too. Seeing these tiny outdoor food stands packed with patrons along the river was something else. The first time I’ve seen ramen served outdoors in Japan.

Fuk-2

While overall it was a pretty uneventful trip, Fukuoka was a welcome change of pace. Walking around the town without anywhere to be anytime soon was enjoyable. Sitting in a park by the port with the sun greeting the horizon, watching fisherman pack up for the day and couples out for an evening stroll was a welcome shift in mood.

Fuk-5

Current Favorites #1

This is the first of a new series where we share some of the books, zines and other printed material we’ve been enjoying recently. Hopefully this series inspires you to not only buy more printed material but make some yourself! Photographs are now overwhelmingly viewed on screens only, but don’t forget the best way to view a photo: with a physical print/book in your hands.

Current Favorites #1

“Ame” by Guillermo Sánchez-Villarta

Current Favorites #1-6

This book by Guillermo Sánchez-Villarta sold out its first edition before we were able to get our hands on the second edition that was printed to meet the demand.

Shot over the course of two weeks in May of 2018 in Japan, this book includes both color and b/w images. It also includes contact sheets. The book is filled with moody shots of Tokyo in the rain, as is suggested by its name, Ame, which means rain in Japanese.

Check it out on Guillermo’s Instagram page:
www.instagram.com/gsvillarta

 

 

 

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The Negative Times 01

Current Favorites #1-11

The Negative Times is “a film photography magazine sharing photographs and stories from the past.”

Based in Salt Lake City and Berlin, their debut issue is filled with work from a total of 13 different photographers. It is published by the independent publishing group, t.i.e. publishing. We can’t recommend this zine enough. The curation by the team at The Negative Times is excellent and if this first issue is indicative of their future publications, we will be keeping a close eye on their future work.

Buy the first issue here:
https://www.tiepublishing.com/new-products/the-negative-times-01

Follow @thenegativetimes on Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/thenegativetimes/

 

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“Zuisha” by John Sypal

Current Favorites #1-2

Zuisha is a photobook by John Sypal. It is based on his on-going photo series, Zuisha, which is exhibited regularly at Totem Pole Photo Gallery in Tokyo. John is a member of the Totem Pole Photo Gallery and I had the pleasure of attending his Zuisha vol.18 exhibit back in August 2018. He was kind enough to chat with me for over an hour and then sign a copy of his book for me! If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend checking out one of his exhibitions.

Shot entirely in b/w, this gorgeous book features 52 images over 56 pages. You can purchase it here:
https://www.shashasha.co/en/book/zuisha

John’s website:
http://www.johnsypal.com/

Totem Pole Photo Gallery:
http://tppg.jp/

 

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“THE DOCTOR’S HOUSE” by Parker Hill

Current Favorites #1-15

“THE DOCTOR’S HOUSE” is the latest work from NYC-based filmmaker Parker Hill. We have been obsessed with Hill’s photographic and cinematic work for a while now. Her photography is unique in that it is influenced by her film-making, resulting in an undeniable cinematic feel to her still images.

I’m usually not a fan of coil-bound books, however, I think it really helps this book exhibit its beautiful full spreads. This may be the book that changes my mind on coil-bound publications.

Purchase THE DOCTOR’S HOUSE here:
https://www.riottime.com/product-page/the-doctor-s-house

Parker Hill’s website:
https://www.parkerchill.com

Parker Hill’s Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/parkerchill/

 

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We hope you enjoyed the first in this new series! Remember to buy physical work every now and then and enjoy photographs as they were originally intended.

If you would like us to showcase your printed work, please email us at boxspeedfilm@gmail.com or DM us on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/boxspeed