Victoria Quays part #3

This is the third and (I think) final post regarding last Sunday’s walk around Victoria Quays in Sheffield. The first two parts can be found in the links below.

Part #1

Part #2

The main difference in the shots posted in this piece is that they were shot with a different camera – a Minolta Hi-Matic G2 – and on colour negative film – Agfa Vista Plus 200. I picked the camera up a few months back for £2 when I saw it in a box of compact cameras at a camera fayre. All the items in the box cost £2 each and I ended up with three of them: the Minolta, a Konica Pop, and an Olympus Superzoom 105G. I like to have a camera on me when going out even if not specifically to take photographs, and small compacts like this are ideal for the purpose. I’ve used a number of them over the past six months or so, usually just loading them with a roll of film and then chucking them in a coat pocket to be used in the event that something interesting turns up while I’m out and about.

I always use Agfa Vista Plus 200 as the first film through a newly acquired camera for the simple reason that it can be had for £1 a roll at Poundland (or at least it could, recent developments have revealed that Poundland are to stop stocking the film) and I’d rather that, if the camera turns out to be faulty, I waste a cheap roll of film than some more expensive Tri-X or Portra or something. That said, despite its low-cost, I do like the results the film gives, especially in bright, sunny conditions, and it has a slight magenta tone to it that I think looks nice.

The Minolta is quite a nice little camera. It’s pretty no frills, being a zone-focus camera with little manual control other than setting the focus distance via the lens barrel. It’s very similar to an Olympus Trip 35, but has the advantage of having the distance scale as well as the icons on top of the barrel (the Trip has the icons on the top only, and the distance scale beneath the barrel, which is a little awkward if you’ve not memorized them and can’t remember just how far away the head-and-shoulders icon represents). I also prefer the wind lever on the Minolta to the Trips’ thumb-wheel winder. It’s not as nice looking as the Trip 35 though, but it still has its own charm and it feels nice in the hand. The lens is a 38mm f/2.8 and is nice and sharp. Out of the 25 frames I got from the roll, none is out of focus, a testament to my skill in measuring distances (or perhaps that they were almost all shot in bright conditions and the narrower aperture would’ve covered my mistakes!). The camera’s aperture is set automatically but can be seen through the viewfinder on applying a half-press of the shutter button, giving an idea as to the results you will get from the shot. The camera takes a discontinued 1.35v mercury cell, but mine has a 1.5v inserted and I just compensated by setting the ASA dial two-thirds of a stop slower so that the camera thought I was shooting 125 ASA film rather than the 200 ASA roll that was inside, and the exposures are all pretty much spot on.

These shots were taken after finishing off the roll of Fomapan 200 in the Yashica Mat, and are mostly from the walk away from the canal basin and onto the beginning of the canal proper. I’ll not post every shot I took, but the ones here give a flavour of it and some indication of what this little camera can produce.

The first is of a boat used for cruises up and down the canal – I think they have discos and dining onboard sometimes. I’ve heard of people going on these events but have never done so myself.

FILM - I.B. Hardfeet

The next couple are of the Sheaf Quay building (I also posted a shot of this taken with the Yashica Mat 124 G in part #2).

FILM - Sheaf Quay in colour

FILM - Sheaf Quay in colour-2

Next is a random barge. The shot above was taken from the towpath just in front of this boats’ bows.

FILM - Barge

The next shot is still on Agfa Vista Plus 200, but converted to black & white in Lightroom. I think the contrasts of light and shade suit mono better than the colour original.

FILM - Chimneystack

Just beyond the chimney stack and under the next bridge, I took a couple of shots of other boats, one in the water (I like the wavy, geometric reflections of the building in this shot), and another up on the opposite bank of the canal.

FILM - Planet

FILM - Little Pud

I took a few more shots in this area before walking back to the canal basin and back to the car park. I had to wait for a short time while a man the manually operated swing bridge that joins the north and south parts of the quay. Just on the opposite bank is a bicycle used to advertise a local second-hand shop. Again, I took a similar shot (albeit of a different bike) with the Yashica Mat which can be seen in part #2.

FILM - Emmaus

The final shot of the day was taken as I walked through the car-park back to my car. I liked the way the sunlight was falling on the space between the alternating decks of the car park and so grabbed the shot below. Again, I think this works better in black and white.

FILM - Between levels

All-in-all, the little Minolta is a nice camera. I’m pleased with the results and will likely use it again at some point. I don’t think it really offers anything the Olympus Trip 35 doesn’t also provide, but it’s enjoyable to use. Certainly well worth the £2 I paid for it!

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