Strange focus issue
I just started out in 35mm photography and I am currently using an old compact Minolta model from the mid-90s that happened to be hidden in my mum's wardrobe for the past 5 years. 2 days ago I took 2 films to be developed and just got them back now and I have to say this camera has a very strange issue when it comes to focus. I don't know what model it is exactly because the camera only says "Minolta" on it, but I know that it's Auto-flash, Auto-focus and Auto-exposure (It'll do until I get an SLR from e-bay in the next month). Oh and it has a fixed aperture of f/3.5.
Upon seeing the resulting photos, it seems the camera only focuses between distances of 10cm and 2m from the camera. Obviously I used these 2 films as a test and took nearly 1 photo of different lighting situations and different subject distances. Anything beyond 2m is extremely out of focus, and anything too close that is on the edge of the frame (for example the back of someone's head) is perfectly focused.
This afternoon I came across an old film from a family holiday in 2001 apparently taken with the same camera. I got the photos re-printed and realised that even as much as 6 years ago this focus issue was very evident. But when I see photos from the late 1990s from the same camera, distant landscapes are in sharp focus and there are no issues here. Could it be the focusing mechanism deteriorated with the years? Is it possible for me to take the camera to a photo shop and get it fixed, or is the lens too badly affected?
I'd like some advice because if I can't fix the camera then I can dedicate the latest film I put in it to macro photography, but I wouldn't like to waste the film even though it's a normal Kodak Ultra ISO 400 that seemed to expire in 2005. (Normal developing and processing from a commercial photo lab resulted in great colours and exposure even though the films were long expired).
I'm not sure what the problem might be, but I'd think that the cost to fix it would be more than the cost of a new camera. I'm not familiar with European retailers, but at places like KEH in the US you can find perfectly functional SLR cameras, like a Minolta X700 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens for less than $100. Nikon and Canon cameras still fetch somewhat higher prices, but if you go for a manual focus SLR from brands like Minolta, Pentax, and Olympus you can often find them selling a perfectly good camera for dirt cheap. Family friends who have gone digital are also great resources for finding film cameras for free or cheap. Check local camera stores that sell used equipment, ask at a local camera club, or newspaper classifieds. Good luck, and welcome to the wonderful twin worlds of analogue photography and APUG!
yeah i thought it would be costly too
OK never mind
Thanks for the advice though! I was thinking of getting an X-700 actually.
Given that there are not huge numbers of camera stores or repairers in Malta, I'd be inclined to order from elsewhere in the EU, probably the UK or possibly Prague if you want older kit. I'd also look for something seriously reliable, i.e. not electronic.
Purely selfishly, I'd be interested in camera shop recommendations for next time I'm in Malta, where I lived for four years as a boy (and where my brother was born -- he has dual nationality). Offhand I can think of one or two in Strait Street in Valetta and on or two on Sliema Front/Gzira, though no doubt there are others. I found that prices were mostly quite high UNLESS you strike lucky -- as I did a while back with some Linhof bits.
Yeah I remember you don't worry.
Unfortunately in the past 5 years Malta has become so digital that I definitely don't know of any film photography recommendation shops. The shops you know about are probably digital now and develop film as an extra feature, like all the other ones here. For prices of actual cameras I think nowadays you'll be lucky if you even find a 35mm SLR on sale! As for films, I believe there are 2 good shops but 1 is reputed to be very pricey; one is sort of like the Fujifilm base in Malta, it's located in Cannon Road, Qormi (ironic - Fujifilm being in Cannon road :P), and the expensive shop is called "The Fotografer" and is in a place in the south called Fgura. Although it's expensive it produces great prints and I'm sure there will be a very wide range of film choices there. In normal photo shops I believe you'll find films but nothing professional such as what you'd normally use.
I know, for an SLR now I have decided to get one off E-bay in Europe or the like, because even if there are 35mm SLRs here, I very much doubt they'll be in a decent price range. I plan to get one as soon as possible because I'm going on a Student Exchange trip to Germany in November and I want to practice photography techniques, exposures and such, to ensure that by the time I get there I get great photos the first time round.
Also, the climate here is probably 10 degrees hotter now than it was 30 years ago, so if you come here I recommend t-shirts, shorts and sandals. And don't forget the sunblock!
I hope this was of any help, and thanks for your advice.
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