Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Little Konica For Ya

Konica B&W
I recall reading in 2002, of a b&w one-time-use (OTU) camera that was being sold by Konica. That article was probably in Popular Photography or Shutterbug magazine. The review was quite favorable (although in general, most reviews of items sold by companies advertising in photo magazines are favorable, but that's another story) and certainly the OTU market had not addressed b&w very well until then. There is a nice summary on Camerapedia that tells the story of the Konica OTU cameras.

Fast forward 2008, when I picked up a half-dozen of Konica B+W for a buck each at a sale. I think I gave some away, and kept one for myself. I shot some frames on it in the spring of 2008, and again then some time later, and I finally finished up the roll a few weeks ago. I don't always do this with cameras, but for some reason, if I have a OTU sitting around, it takes a lot longer to finish a roll of film. Maybe I feel embarrassed to be seen using one. However, they do fall into the "Crappy Camera" category, if only because of their lack of controls and plastic lenses.

My general impression is that black and white is the prefect medium for OTU cameras. The C-41 b&w film was the Konica brand in this camera, and Kodak has their C-41 b&w in a OTU camera. I have previously used the Konica b&w in a 35mm SLR, but that was about 7 or 8 years ago, and I don't recall my results. Anyhow, that film is no longer available, but there are similar cameras made in China now being sold with what is probably Ilford XP-2 inside.

I am pretty happy with what I got back from Walgreen's. These images are right from the CD, and are not my own scans. I do believe that scanning this film on your own will probably have better results.

Cobblestone Farm (probably March 2008):

fence lines

North Quad, UM Campus (July 2010):

North Quad

As you can see, there is some falloff in sharpness at the edges, which puts this into the Crappy Camera camp for sure. If you adjust the levels a bit, there is some delightful vignetting in some exposures:

UM Art Museum, July 2010

The one-time use cameras are actually capable of some decent photography, so long as you don't shoot outside the parameters that they can handle. Sharp plastic lenses, and small apertures virtually guarantee a decent enough image for 4x6 prints, and perhaps even up to 8x10 if the camera was held steady.


Dolly said...

I would never have guessed these were from an OTU. I think you're right, B&W may be the best medium for these cameras.

Jazzy E (Hivenn) said...