I’ve gotten so much good use from my Olympus XA since I bought it in 2012. It’s so small and easy to take along, and it has a great lens.
I used to wear cargo shorts to the Mecum auction every year because could stuff my pockets full of small cameras. My Kodak EasyShare Z730, my Canon PowerShot S80, and my Canon PowerShot S95 all came along every year. I had two battery packs each for the Z730 and the S80, and four for the S95. I routinely took more than a thousand digital photos at the auction, which drained every battery.
I used the digitals to make some pleasing shots, but also just to document the cars. When I shot film — and only one or two rolls, to manage costs — it was always about making pleasing shots. The Olympus XA treated this 1938 Chrysler Royal right.
I don’t completely understand why I’m so charmed by my Argus A-Four. Perhaps it’s because one was my first 35mm camera, purchased at a yard sale when I was a teenager. I’m a sucker for nostalgia.
Late last year I loaded one of my last rolls of discontinued Arista Premium 400, which is said to have been relabeled Kodak Tri-X, into the A-Four. Then I took it out with me all winter. One of my stops was at Bethel United Methodist Church. I think this building was built in about 1905. The church built a more modern sanctuary on this property years ago, and this building sat unused for a long time. When I was an elder at North Liberty Christian Church, after shrinking membership forced us to sell our building, Bethel rented us this sanctuary at a nominal rate so we’d have a place to meet. I shared some interior photos here.
It’s been an unusually warm winter, giving me plenty of opportunity to take the A-Four out. I went for a drive in northwest Indianapolis one Saturday afternoon and found myself on 79th Street west of the I-465 beltway. It’s a remarkably rural corner of the city, where I found this old house.
Not far away, along Moore Road, is Pleasant Hill Cemetery. It’s been here almost as long as Indiana has been a state.
Here’s a wider view of the cemetery. I love walking through cemeteries with a camera in my hand.
And here’s Moore Road in front of the cemetery.
Finally, I took the A-Four along on the Lafayette Road trip and snapped the frozen custard stand on Main Street in Lafayette.
Despite my infatuation with this simple camera, I was disappointed with its performance on this roll. Sharpness and detail were poor, and grain was pronounced. I’ve gotten better from it. Click any of these photos to see them on Flickr, where you can inspect them more closely.
On Wednesday, I’ll show you photos that better highlight this camera’s capabilities — some dating to 1982!