I decided to bring the First Roll project to Youtube and boy is it a fun; and an equally challenging experience. This two minute video took me three days to film and edit but the amount of new editing techniques that I learned was astonishing. That’s what it’s all about; taking a step or two forward everyday and before you know it, you’ll be standing in your full potential.
After filming my Youtube video the other day, I was quite perplexed on what I was going to do with all of the cameras that I received. To be completely honest, I thought the seller was just going to send me a box of junk. Non-working pieces of plastic that I would have to take to a recycling center. I was beyond surprised this morning when I discovered that twenty-seven of the thirty cameras were actually in full mechanical working condition. After lining them up in perfectly balanced rows, it hit me, I’ll pay-it-forward by donating half of them to a local thrift store and offering the other half on a first come, first serve basis for a very reasonable price ($30 including shipping within the US). We’ll even be throwing in free stickers and whatever other random stuff we have laying around. If you’ve been wanting to get your feet wet by buying an inexpensive point and shoot film camera, this is the perfect opportunity to dip your toe in at a low-risk, high-reward. The club opens up at 12pm and you can get there from here.
That’s right, I’m officially making my way back to Youtubebut this time, dumbing things down and not aiming for perfection. I’m just going to create for myself and let you see all of the mistakes along the way.
This round of First Roll was a shot in the dark as I knew absolutely nothing about the Rollei™ Prego AF camera. I found it on an online thrift store for $90 (shipping included) but wasn’t even sure if it was in working condition. I just really liked the way it looked and thought it was worth a shot; and when comparing it to eBay prices which put this camera at a $200+ value, I figured this is the perfect type of point and shoot to test out. After purchasing the camera, I tried to do a bit of research but couldn’t find very much information on it aside from a photographer using it for a few frames in a Youtube video and briefly talking about how it tends to have light-leaks. Not really a fan of lomography type images, I was already regretting my purchase.
The camera got delivered and upon the initial inspection I was really happy with the visual aesthetics and overall condition. It looked like it was hardly ever used and came with the original Rollei™ neck strap and pouch. Things were looking good so far but the real tests happen when I install a battery and fresh roll of film. First things first, I popped in C123 battery and prayed for juice. I hit the on button and boom, the camera came to life. Just like the voltage running through the circuits, I was equally energized with optimism as I loaded a roll of Kodak™ Portra 160. Time to take this baby for a spin.
While walking around and shooting, I found myself constantly keeping it in my hand. That’s really rare for me. I usually just snap a shot then put the camera back in my pocket or bag but with this one, I wanted to keep holding it and using it. I wasn’t even sure if the photos would come out good due to the untested mechanics but I simply didn’t care because I was getting lost in the viewfinder and the experience that I got each time I hit the shutter button. Aesthetically, it’s a very fun and responsive camera that feels great in your hand and is extremely easy to shoot with. After a day of walking around in Hollywood, it was time to drop off the roll.
I was honestly blown away when I got the scans back. The photo quality was beyond what I expected and quite frankly, comparable with the likes of a Yashica™ T4, perhaps even superior. I absolutely love everything about this little shooter, dare I say, it’s my new favorite point and shoot. It definitely performs way above its price bracket, even at $200, and is surely one that I’ll never get rid of. Hopefully if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to find another one as a back-up. Some of you may be saying, “wait, if this is your new favorite, why isn’t there that many images from the roll?”. That’s because I took this camera with me on the gals birthday and didn’t want to share her special occasion with something as mediocre as my need to nerd-out over a piece of plastic (you can scroll down to see the images). Now time for the pros and cons.
Easy to use
Super sharp 35mm 3.5 lens
Accurate auto focus
Great contrast and tones
Hard to find
The fact that I wish I had 5 more
In closing, this is the type of camera that embodies the whole point of this First Roll project. Hunting for an overlooked piece of machinery that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. This camera singlehandedly is the epitome of what my pursuits are geared towards when digging through the mud and trying to strike oil. If you happen to come across a Rollei™ Prego AF, please don’t buy it, just let me know where it is so I can come and get it. Thank you.
Here’s a couple of the frames that I captured with the Zeiss™ 35-70mm lens over the course of a week or so that I had a roll of Portra 400 in my Contax™ 167MT. I really love how the lens performed throughout the different natural lighting situations and shutter speeds. The versatility of the focal lengths without any major distortion or lack of sharpness was extremely impressive. I’m obviously not one that likes super sharp images when it comes to photographing humans (hence the Pro Mist filter) but I know there’s going to be situations where the sharpness comes in handy (for instance, the first frame). If you’re looking for a versatile lens that you can keep in your bag for numerous situations that doesn’t lose the photo integrity and can keep up with a fixed 35mm or 50mm, then this one is for you. Lenses to photo-makers is equivalent to brushes to painters. This brush, well, I plan on painting a lot with.
We just finished shipping your posters out. I must say, it was really fun signing and packing orders and designing new branding materials. At times I forget how much I enjoy doing these types of things as “work” and how fortunate I am to have the ability to produce the ideas that I see in my head. Thank you so much to everyone that supported this SSPC release.
The gal and I were feeling wild so we deiced to hop in the Jeep, blast 6lack and do something that I haven’t done in years, go to a drive-thru. Yes, I’m talking about fast-food. I don’t know what possessed me to order churro-bites or what greasy wet-dream lead to my honey ordering fries, but whatever fantasy got us to the window was quickly interrupted once the first bites went down. I never thought in my entire life that my stomach would reject “food” (or whatever they want to label it) but it totally happened. I ate two bites, the gal ate half of her small order of fries and we were both regretting it almost immediately.
It’s wild how my body reacted to what used to be my daily diet and has now turned the lab-born-substance into an intruder. And this was just from churro-bites, I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened if I ordered an actual meal (enter poop emoji). Like Trump and his ideology for a wall, my guts too have laid their bricks down to keep out all things foreign.
It’s cool that we can laugh about this experience.
Here’s the cameras that I’ve purchased over the last couple of weeks, either online or thrifting. It’s always so wild to me when I find rare compacts at thrift stores that appear to be unused and comes with the original box or accessories like most of these did. I’ve already shot the Rollei Prego AF which is hands down one of my new favorites and I’m currently running a roll through the Pentax Espio 140V, this baby is feeling smooth like a classic Cadillac.