Minolta XG-1 - Experience Report

Released in 2021 by the New Classic Film project, EZ400 is a panchromatic black and white negative 35mm film that delivers what some describe as "retro yet sharp images".

I acquired more Minolta photographic gear during the second year of the global pandemic after buying a used X-700 and MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 lens in 2020. I bought a used Minolta XD-11, MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 lens, MD W.Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 lens, and other non-Minolta branded lenses. I also bought a used Pentax P3n even though I already had a working Pentax P3 from college. I convinced myself that I needed aperture priority. All of this gear worked, and I enjoyed using them. I had developed some G.A.S.

With poor judgment, I bought two used Minolta XG-1 bodies, one of which the seller told me did not work. I purchased these in person and tested the mechanicals, confirming the seller's claim. I don't remember what I paid, but it was a nominal amount, perhaps $20. One of the camera bodies has a sticky on-off switch. The other camera body had a jammed shutter curtain, but I convinced myself I could fix it.

Carriage Farm · Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7

But soon, I lost my enthusiasm for fixing them and put them on a shelf where they sat until a few weeks ago. At the beginning of the year, I decided to simplify and minimise my film photography. I sold the Pentax P3n and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.8 lens. I sold it after replacing my Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 lens with the Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 R LM WR lens. It was time to sell the Minolta XG-1s, as is, for parts. But first, I wanted to see if I could successfully expose some frames. I loaded a New Classic EZ 400 cartridge into the Minolta XG-1 with the sticky on-off switch.

Carriage Farm · Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7

The New Classic EZ 400 is a black and white film that the Chinese company Luckyfilm manufactured for 35mm cameras. Luckyfilm has been producing photographic materials since 1958. The company produces a range of film products for both professional and amateur photographers, and their products are known for their quality and affordability. New Classic EZ 400 was hyped as a good choice for photographers who want a versatile, high-quality film that can be used in various situations.

Belle Marra · Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7

Of the four cartridges of the New Classic EZ 400 I bought last year, I have used two and given two away. This was the last one of the four. Here's what I wrote after the first time I used New Classic EZ.

I exposed the first roll at box speed at Palmer Square and around my neighbourhood. I sent the cassette off for Boutique Film Lab to develop. Here are some frames scanned with an Epson V600 with my scanning workflow. All film frames were exposed at box speed. The results are okay, nothing spectacular. But EZ 400 is low-price and an excellent alternative black and white film to put in my Minolta. I have four more rolls of EZ400. Maybe it will grow on me.

Flounder Brewing · Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7

It did not grow on me.

I'm not too fond of the strong contrast and chunky grain. I've said it before. I'm not too fond of grain. I'm not too fond of this film stock. New Classic EZ 400 is more affordable than most black and white film stock, but Kentmere 400 is just as inexpensive, and I got much better results.

Doug Duschl,Head Brewer at Flounder Brewing Co. · Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Name New Classic Film EZ400 400
Type Black and White (negative)
Native ISO 400
Format 35mm
Process Black and White
Lab Boutique Film Labs
Scanner Epson Perfection V600
Software SilverFast 9 SE and Negative Lab Pro
Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 8 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 22 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 22 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 22 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 22 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 22 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7
Sunday 22 January 2023 · Minolta XG-1 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7

If you like Minolta SLRs, you might also enjoy my reviews of the XD-11, the X-700, and the XG-1. Or check out all of my camera reviews here.

Winter Morning Walk in Frenchtown

Last year, after reading Tobias Mann's review of Kodak Portra 800, I bought a roll to expose it as soon as possible. But I set aside the roll in a cool box and forgot about it until December. I had promised Bhavna a trip into Frenchtown to see how the shopkeepers and restauranteurs had decorated the downtown area. The sky was overcast, creating an excellent opportunity to expose a few frames of Kodak Professional Portra 800.

Kodak Professional Portra 800 is a high-speed daylight-balanced colour-negative film optimised for challenging lighting conditions. It has a nominal sensitivity of ISO 800 and a notable underexposure latitude for effectively pushing to ISO 1600 with maintained quality and extended highlight and shadow detail. As we walked around Frenchtown, I exposed the roll at boxpseed in a wide variety of natural lighting conditions, including broad daylight, open shade, and of course, window light. Although I have several Minolta flash units, I did not expose any frames under artificial light.

The film was developed at Boutique Film Lab and scanned using my Silver Fast 9 and Epson Perfection V600. I used Negative Lab Pro to convert the scans. No corrections to exposure, colour temperature and composition were made.

Kodak Professional Portra 800 35mm film delivers all the advantages of a high-speed film, finer grain, higher sharpness, and more natural skin tones and colour reproduction. Portra 800 film - for perfectly stunning results with less-than-perfect light. The negatives have some warm tones, and while the grain is noticeable, I think it’s still very pleasant looking.

Name Kodak Portra 800
Type Colour (negative)
Native ISO 800
Format 35mm
Process C-41
Features Kodak T-GRAIN emulsions, Fine Grain, High Sharpness & Edge Detail
Lab Boutique Film Labs
Scanner Epson Perfection V600
Software SilverFast 9 SE + Negative Lab Pro
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7
19 December, 2021 | Minolta XD-11 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7