When the contents of the bags were sorted, I found I had a nice 80-200mm zoom that would fit my Olympus OM-1 body, three nice Fuji-mount lenses and a Fujica AX-3 that fit the lenses. Also included was a Minolta Maxxum body with no lens, but with a half-shot roll of film inside.
So, of course I pulled the half-shot roll out of the Maxxum in the darkroom and re-loaded it into the AX-3, wound back to frame 0 to double-expose onto whatever the previous owner of the Minolta body had shot. The film was ISO100, so I set the camera to ISO200 for my overshooting.
Caffenol-C developing is actually pretty good about bringing reasonable contrast and detail out the ancient C-41 Kodak film. The double-exposed frames offer tantalizing ghosts populating my random shots from around the yard. The ghosts are having a birthday party and a ghost woman in the last set of frames nearly bumps into my shadow as both of us back into each other holding cameras to our faces in different places and times.
Surprisingly, towards the end of the roll, the non-double-exposed shots turned out pretty well too, despite being underexposed. Not a bad-performing camera at all, the AX-3 was the “middle-of-the-road” 35mm SLR offering by Fuji in the 1980’s. AP autoexposure and a full manual mode, simple operation and some interesting features (a trap-door light blocker for the eyepiece – I’ve never seen that on a camera before), I nevertheless had to dig up a manual online just to figure out how to turn it on. The power switch is disguised as if it were an unobtrusive molded body part, and is impossible to find intuitively.
Getting the thing working was easy. It takes the same battery as a Canon AE-1, so I had a few handy. Once I figured out the power switch, I was good to go. A nice, easy-to-use shooter with smooth-working, bright glass – I think the only bad thing I can say about it other than the hidden power switch is that I’m not fond of the metallic ringing shutter sound it produces. It’s not really unpleasant, but it sounds cheap compared to many other 35mm bodies I have that give a more meaty, non-ringing “THOCK” on shutter release.
But for free, I can’t complain a bit. (:
Oh look, fellow Typospherian Vikram has one of these too, but his doesn’t seem to work.
Coming up on Camera of the Week: