Sticky Shutter

The olympus xa2XA2 is pretty much my favourite P&S camera. I’ve travelled with one for years. And i mean years – M. had one when we met…

That particular one died a few years ago. The shutter had started to get unreliable and eventually completely unresponsive.

It was a sad day, but a new one was purchased on Yahoo! Auction, and point and shoot life carried on unabated.

This problem with the shutter is apparently common, and the inevitable is now happening to the replacement. It’s hard to get too upset that a camera that was produced in 1980, and has likely seen hundreds of rolls of film, starts to give up the ghost. However, at this point it’s likely that any replacement that i find is quickly going to suffer the same fate.

Time to start to learn to fix it! According to this “tutorial” it should be simply a matter of opening it up, cleaning, tweaking the contacts, and getting it back together. It’s the last part of that which gives me pause… the alternative is to take it to the grumpy camera repair man and have him do it. Less embarrassing than turning up with a bag of pieces.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of P&S cameras, there is also the Fujifilm Natura S. Another purchase from Yahoo! Auction… and i have to say that i don’t like it. Some people rave about them, but unless you’re *only* shooting 1600 ASA film, it’s a horrible experience. The flash tends to be very eager to fire, even when you’d expect that it wouldn’t, the menu system is junk, settings don’t survive a power cycle, it has no exposure compensation, which leads to “fun” DX coding hacks (scraping paint of film canisters with your keys…), and to top it all off, the focus on mine is really soft in a lot of situations. Despite some reasonable results over the last couple of years, it has never become the replacement that i hoped it would be.

Idiot Mode

A while back i bought a Fujifilm Natura Black ƒ1.9 off Yahoo! Auction!, and then forgot about it until we were in Japan last month. They are supposed to be hard to find, but maybe that’s an issue with not many getting outside japan, or not so many getting produced. My idea was that it would be a good small camera that i can take everywhere, and it’s fast enough to use out and about at night.

Let’s not talk about me not having taken anything since getting back… ok?

This afternoon i took apart the scanner and removed the single fiber on the underside of the glass that has been bugging me for months, and did some scanning. The backlog had got a little out of hand… there was (and still is…) stuff from Berlin, and stuff from Japan. There is also stuff to be developed. Oops.

One of the shots from Berlin Hauptbahnhof i’m very happy with. Has all the layers and complexity that floats my boat. The only issue i have with it is the size of my head… but that’s nothing new.

But, back to the Natura Black. It has a feature of printing the date on the shots… and a manual in Japanese. Consequently the first couple of films are going to be a little… derp.

Espsecially as i didn’t bother to set the date in the camera…

The other amusing consequence of not reading the manual was that i didn’t know how to override the film speed, which is automatically picked up from the DX encoding on the canister. This resulted in me sitting in a bar in Shinjuku looking at wikipedia on someones iPhone and scratching paint off film with some keys. Surprisingly it actually worked! And, while i have subsequently worked out how to disable the timestamping, overriding the film speed is still a mystery.

Update: an update from Tom. Apparently the way to override the film speed is via exposure compensation. Thought i’d tried that and it wasn’t making it past turning the camera off / on. The other option is buying some stickers – which i’d assumed existed, but was having a hard time finding. The ‘paint removal with a key’ method turns out to be only removing one square of the matrix for my most common push (ASA 400 –> 1600)