Test Roll Preconceptions

I just loaded up my first motor-drive auto-load 35mm camera for tomorrow’s camera walk. Nikon OneTouch Zoom 70 AF, bought for $2 at Savers. It already has a few problems, though — mainly, it makes an unfortunate grinding noise when I press the shutter. The film advances, the counter changes digits, the flash fires… but that NOISE! It doesn’t sound like a normal shutter noise. It also doesn’t appear to focus when I depress the shutter halfway like it’s supposed to.

I looked up some reviews online — because, well, this camera was manufactured in the 1990s, so people were still buying it new from Costco in the early 2000s. People do not have nice things to say about this camera.

Then I looked up some more reviews of similar cameras. This camera is definitely not behaving the way I would expect it to. I’m seriously doubtful that any of these test photos will actually come out.

Now I’m starting to wonder which would be worse: wasting my last roll of 200 400-speed film by taking it out after 8 exposures and pitching it, or wasting my time plus $11 to get it developed if it comes back empty or blurry or otherwise unusable? Or do I go through with the test roll, on the off chance that it’s actually working as expected?

It’s going to be a beautiful day tomorrow. I’m going on a photo walk, whether it’s with this camera or another one. I’d just rather enjoy it and not feel like I’m potentially wasting not so much my time as my creative energy.

Yeah, I think I’m going to find another camera to load up for tomorrow. One that has a higher probability of turning out a successful roll of film. I’ll still finish the roll in the OneTouch Zoom, just not tomorrow. Maybe around the house or something.

* goes to camera collection shelf *

You know what? I haven’t used my Voigtlander Vitrona since I first tested it nearly eleven years ago. Now that I have a working light meter that can go onto the accessory shoe (and an iPhone app that can serve as backup if needed), I should be good to go.

* goes to deep freeze and check box o’ film *

Hmm. All I’m left with is some 800-speed, looooong-expired 64 and 25 speed Kodachrome slide film, and some black-and-white. The Kodachrome is a no-go, since my lab can’t process it, and I don’t want to waste a roll of 800 on a beautiful partly cloudy day (I save that for indoor events like weddings), so expired Tri-X 400-speed black-and-white it is!

Yes, I’ve already hit up Amazon to refresh my film supply.

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