5 Frames… Of Fomapan 400 Action developed in a Rondinax (35mm / EI 400 / Olympus MJU) – by Sarah Wanstall

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Being a member of a film photography society called NEG35 I have to admit to storing a small collection of film cameras in my spare room. Some work, some don’t, but just look too cool to even think about throwing away – come on I’m sure we’ve all been there! So why is it that I choose to do 5 frames with the Olympus MJU, out of all of them to choose from? Well, the answer is because it is my latest discovery of pocket-sized must-haves. I was lucky enough to be given it by a friend who found it at a car boot sale for a couple of quid! – very lucky I know! And it came with me on its first outing when we went as a NEG35 group to London to meet up and do a bit of street photography.

The camera itself, although small, can handle film with ISOs ranging from 50 – 3200 and it’s largest aperture is f/3.5. This mixed with its autofocus and automatic flash makes it a pretty neat camera to sling in your back pocket. There is something about the sleek way you can glide your fingers over the covering to turn it on that I also like. Being handheld in size, you can sneak around the streets ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.

What got me the most was the quality of the lens in that little pocket-size machine! After getting home and developing the negs in my Rondinax machine, eager to see the results, I saw that this camera can take some pretty sharp images when held at the right distance from the subject. I shot this roll using Fomapan 400 Action and this combined with some good lighting that day created some nice contrasting, clear shots of which I really didn’t expect from such small compact.

I am currently shooting another roll as I write this but this time loaded with T-MAX 400 and unfortunately not catching the hassle and bustle of London as we are now in ‘Lockdown’ due to Covid-19. Instead I’m capturing deserted streets, masked faces and NHS posters in people windows. As you can imagine, I am still very excited to see how this second roll turns out – if you are too watch this space at neg35film.co.uk.

~ Sarah

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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

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