TRIP – Sheffield: City Centre

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400

After a couple of laps around Park Hill I spent some time wandering around Sheffield City Centre, wasting time until my scheduled train back to London. It was an unexpectedly warm day and I had dressed for the cold, so I was a bit over it and ended up sitting in the Winter Garden sipping some iced tea and writing notes about my experience of Park Hill.

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Sheffield: Park Hill

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400

I decided to write my MA dissertation on photography of brutalist buildings, including Park Hill in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to receive funding to cover my train ticket to Sheffield in order to visit the local archive and to see the estate for myself. The part of the building that has not been gutted and re-done is in terrible disrepair. The photographs I’m looking at as part of a few case studies are from when it was newly opened and occupied in 1961, so it was sad to see it in such poor condition. I’ve become particularly partial to the buildings that I’ve been studying, and it’s a shame that this building, even though it was listed, has been turned into luxury flats with gaudy coloured walls (thankfully the black and white saves you from that experience), and for some reason the double windows have been replaced with un-openable glass panes, all in the name of “modernisation”.

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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Temperate House, Kew Gardens

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Kodak Ultramax 400

I’ve been going to Kew Gardens frequently over the past four years, and I was always intrigued by the big greenhouse that was boarded off, undergoing restoration works. The Palm House is one of my favourite botanical places to visit, and now Temperate House has reopened there is even more gorgeous Victorian architecture and plants to admire.

I went on the opening weekend, it was so busy and the plants were newly planted. It will be interesting to see it grow into itself over the years, I’ll come back to you in ten years to let you know the difference!

(Of course the last two are from the Palm House, I can’t stay away from that humid box of tropical plants)

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©Jennifer Schussler

CAMERA – Capta II

CAMERA: Capta II
FILM: Kodak 160VC Expired 2001
TAKEN: September 2011

The Capta II is a strange beast. Made of bakelite, heavy and almost impossible to open, and elusive when searching the internet for any information. I’ve only used it once as now the red frame window is too foggy to look through and I’m debating whether to pop it out and try and replace it with something a little makeshift. Either way, it’s a strange camera that gave me good results, even though there are very limited controls. The inside was warped, and you can see from some of the images below where I’ve kept in the bending edge of the frame.

I would really like to use it again, but I really have to figure out how to wind it on without that window…

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Cambridge 2015

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Agfa Vista 200

On a cold winters day in 2015 I travelled to Cambridge for the first time, taking a shaky hand and a low film speed with me. I think the allure of £1 film was misguided, and many of my rolls of Agfa Vista 200 came out with camera shake. Also at this time I was shooting my Olympus Trip 35 on Auto, not realising that the light meter was broken and that it actually works better to adjust the aperture rather than leave it be. Regardless, there were some shots from this roll that I liked, and the one of the sculpture is a particular favourite of mine all these years later.

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Rome 2015

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Agfa Vista 200

In 2015 I made the mistake of visiting Rome in the heat of summer. It was convenient because a friend from Australia was passing through, but the amount of time we spent running back to the apartment to sit under the air-conditioning kind of took away from my usual routine of exploring a new city. The highlight of the trip was the Azzedine Alaïa exhibition at the Galleria Borghese, getting to see his wonderful constructions next to exquisite sculptures by Bernini was quasi-surreal. I’m looking forward to seeing the new exhibition of his clothing at the Design Museum here in London, but you can’t beat the setting of the Galleria Borghese!

I would like to return to Rome again when it is less hot, so I can visit Giolitti and not have my ice-cream melt everywhere immediately. It would be nice to be able to take my time to get around the city and not run from the heat every five minutes.

I didn’t make the best choice for film speed, so most of the photos have too much camera shake to even consider sharing. Another reason to return!

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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Barbican Conservatory

CAMERA: Yashica 35-ME
FILM: Kodak Ultramax 400

If I ever find myself with a lack of purpose on a Sunday I’ll get my shoes on and head to the Barbican Conservatory. It’s one of those ‘hidden secrets’ of London that is no longer hidden, so even though it is now a very popular spot I still enjoy going for a wander amongst the plants. There are some incredibly huge monstera plants climbing the fly tower, a diverse range of cacti and some pretty cool turtles hanging out in a pool you can only see from the bridge to the cacti room.

If, unfortunately, the conservatory is closed for a wedding you can always admire the bountiful botanical balconies throughout the estate.

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©Jennifer Schussler

CAMERA – Zenit E

CAMERA: Zenit E
FILM: Lomography 400 colour
TAKEN: April 2011

I bought the hunk of metal otherwise known as the Zenit-E at a photography market in Perth. It was relatively cheap, although purchased so long ago I have forgotten exactly how much I paid for it. It came with a lens, I don’t know much about it or care to find out, and there are certain elements of the camera functions that do not work, such as the light meter. It is so heavy I have actually only used it once, to save my neck/back from breaking under the strain it was on a day that I had a friend give me a lift in her car.

There is something funky going on with the lens, but I like the patina it gives to the images.

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Margate 2016

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Kodak 400 Ultramax

I took a day trip to Margate to visit Turner Contemporary, a gallery I had heard so much about. They had an exhibition on which I wanted to see, but now cannot recall what it was. But I do know that I enjoyed it. It was a cold sunny day, and I enjoyed a delicious soup in their cafe (I remember the soup but not the art…).

It is a nice little seaside town, probably best enjoyed with company but on this day I went on my own so the arcades were left unvisited.

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Hastings 2017 pt.1

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400

After visiting Bexhill I hopped on a quick train to Hastings, where I spent the rest of my day out. I enjoyed the recently awarded pier, which is now unfortunately in some trouble financially. It was such a contract to the cluttered piers with amusements that you can find in places like Brighton; I don’t usually take one step on those kinds of piers. The great expanse of the pier plus the wide sea view is calming, and the little building in the middle which acts as visitor centre, gift shop and stepped amphitheatre is a delightful architectural addition. Remnants of the old pier remain, in the old supports and the re-used wood for the deck, but it felt fresh and inviting. I hope that it continues to stay a place for the public to enjoy.

This particular home development was not my finest moment, as you can tell by some of the photos featured here. The film just would not load into the reel, and so my frustration resulted in some creases in the film. Future films are safe from my frustration as I have replaced the reels with brand new ones, I should have realised long ago that the old ones were worn out and it shouldn’t be that hard to load film!

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Bexhill 2017

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400

For a long time I had wanted to visit Bexhill to see the De La Warr Pavilion, a great example of modern architecture. I was lucky enough to have a bright and sunny November day for my trip, something rare when visiting the British seaside, especially in the winter.

The pavilion is beautiful in its design, however it is unfortunate that the ambition of the architect has left an inheritance of difficult curved windows to replace, to the tune of £10,000 each. So it is well worth popping a few pennies in their collection box so they can replace the couple of windows that have large cracks.

I would highly recommend taking the stairs to the rooftop on a fine day, the lines of the building can be best appreciated from up there, as well as the glittering sea.

There’s not too much for one to do in Bexhill on a cold day, no sunbathing or swimming took place, so I travelled on to Hastings.

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Oxford 2014

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Agfa Vista 200

While not many of the photos from this roll of film came out, some of them are still among my most favourite all these years later.

I remember feeling that something was wrong with the winding of the film, and the final frame consists of many, many multiple exposures, resulting in a very strange image.

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©Jennifer Schussler

FILM – Polaroid SX-70 Time Zero

CAMERA: Polaroid SX-70 Sonar Autofocus
FILM: Polaroid Time Zero Instant Film
I bought my Polaroid camera on eBay in December 2007, just months before Polaroid announced they were shutting down their instant film production, so I was disappointed to say the least. However, my old SX-70 came with 6 shots in camera and 1 box of expired Time Zero film (12/05), so I was ready to shoot straight out of the box. It was a whirlwind of learning for me as I had never shot this kind of instant film before AND the film leaked chemicals all over the rollers so I got some awesome, but unexpected, results. Once I had finished these films I waited for the new Impossible films to materialise, which I will cover in another post. Over the years I have reached for my beautiful SX-70 less and less, mostly due to high price per frame of the film which I just can’t justify in comparison to a roll of 36 shots on a 35mm film, or even buying Instax film cheap or in bulk. So for now I will just look back fondly on a time when Polaroid meant Polaroid, and leaky film was a joyous thing.
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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Richmond Park

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Lomography 400

Richmond Park in the winter is a joy. The barren trees and brown landscape, hidden deer and vast vistas all pull you in and the brisk air keeps you from stopping for too long.

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©Jennifer Schussler

Leica M3 & Kodak Ultramax 400

CAMERA: Leica M3
FILM: Kodak Ultramax 400
When I was lent the Leica M3 I was so excited by the results I had in black and white that I wasn’t sure that it would do colour as wonderfully. Oh, how I proved myself wrong! I went to one of the usual places I go when testing out a camera or film, Kew Gardens. It was time for the Orchid Festival and having shot in the glasshouses before with my Holga, and having the images come out a bit dark, I was interested to see how the shots would come out with a bit more control over shutter speed and aperture.
I haven’t shot too much with this film and I was delighted at the colours that came back, helped by the sharpness and accuracy the Leica provides. I have also been trying to gain more confidence in taking photos of people as my comfort lies in plants and architecture, so the Leica helped in the quietness of the shutter to get closer to my subjects. One even waved, from afar though so isn’t immediately obvious in the photo.
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©Jennifer Schussler

PROJECT – Seeing Red

CAMERA: Robot Disderi 3
FILM: Kodak Ultramax 400
I suffer from creative blocks all the time. Often I can go months without developing or finishing a film that only has a few shots left, and motivation to conceptualise project based work can also be difficult.
One way I try to push through this is by simply dividing the world into two columns, one thing and everything else. Here, for example, I had already loaded my Robot Disderi 3 camera with some film and taken a few shots but then not picked up the camera again for a while. So, I took it out on a nice day and a long walk around London, where I ended up in St James’s and saw something simple, something red. From there I took photos of any red thing I could find. Even with something as simple as colour this focus immediately creates a new body of work and start my brain ticking over again. I found that by focusing on a specific colour it forced my brain to only look for it, so by sorting through my environment with colour I also started to notice other colours. I think – ‘that isn’t red, but it’s interesting’ – so I allow myself to take a photo of it too. By the end of the day I have a finished roll of film and a cohesive bunch of photographs that I really like, how very productive!
(And yes, I know there are quite a few post boxes but I was ruthless about stopping every time I saw red and tried to compose an interesting shot regardless. It’s London, they are everywhere!)
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And some other colours
(I particularly liked the pink trash bags with the pink flowers, so chic in a posh neighbourhood!)
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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – London Docklands

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Fomapan 400
Having lived mostly in the west of London since I moved here 4 years ago, the east of London is somewhere I only travel to if I have a lot of time. For a city that hosts an extensive transport system it always seems to be a massive effort to make my way from west to east.
Recently I did just that with an aim to take photos in the Docklands. I got out at Canary Wharf and wandered down to Millwall dock, taking in the sights, sounds and curious assortment of people who live there. It seems to be a real mix of well lived in flats and empty, ugly, towering blocks which appear inhabitable just by the sheer amount of glass they are cased in. As a place once bustling with trade it seems strange that it’s now a gentrified and slightly cold place where one can walk their fashionable dog on the weekend.
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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Victoria & Albert Museum

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400
I had 6 shots left on a roll of film so I headed to the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington to see if this particular camera and film combination could work inside the museum galleries. I’ve taken photos in here before, using the Leica M3, so thought it would be interesting to see how a less complicated camera could handle the lighting situation. I was pleasantly surprised.
As a place in London, the V&A is one I gravitate towards. Even after working there for 1.5 years, helping on learning activities in almost every single gallery and knowing the floorplan like the back of my hand, I still go there to find inspiration.
To finish a film, it’s the perfect place.
Because I’m so used to the permanent collection displays my eye wanders to the visitors, and how they interact with the museum. It’s interesting to see something so familiar but have your perceptions changed through a strangers actions.
Why did they stop to look at this? What drew their eye? I’ll take a photo of them looking, stopping, bored, interested, interacting, distancing…
It’s a really good place to look at things, look at people and sometimes, look at yourself (there’s lots of old mirrors).
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©Jennifer Schussler

INSTAX 2017 no.8

CAMERA: Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
FILM: Fuji Instax Mini colour
Well, I really ran out of steam on the Instax after using it non-stop for a while! The shots below I took in late July and early September, and I haven’t really picked it up since. I think as my stockpile of film started to get smaller I took the camera out less, and the sublime gratification of developing my own black and white film at home made the instant film, and its picture quality, less attractive.
I’ll get back into it, maybe trying some black and white instant film will help me but until then, this is it.
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©Jennifer Schussler

CAMERA – Lomokino

CAMERA: Lomography Lomokino
FILM: Kentmere 400
When the Lomokino was first announced I was excited, and I backed it on Kickstarter. When it arrived I tried it a few times, after which it sat on my shelf collecting dust for years. I found it to be difficult to handle, mostly because they then added a removable handle later, and an absolute pain to edit the frames into short films. It felt like the input far outweighed the output, and so I shelved it to same myself the time and frustration it caused.
I moved recently, and so did the Lomokino (for its 4th time, I always kept it!) and I looked at it on my shelf, put there for no reason other than it had nowhere else to go, and I thought about how I could use it without the hassle. I decided to put a black and white film in it, as now I am developing it myself it’s a less cost-prohibitive process. I decided to use it as one uses a multi-lens cameras, think Octomat or Supersampler (I’ver never used either but would like to try someday). Below are the results, a little mangled from a fight with the ancient developing reels I used to use (now replaced with new ones that work!). I don’t mind that I ruined the film a little bit, after all this was a test.
I don’t know if I’ll try using the Lomokino again. It was still difficult to use and control, it just feels like the camera is moving so much in my hands as I turn the crank, and it was too hard for my brain to remember which way the film was moving to build the shots in the right way.
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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Ghent 2017

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35, Holga 120CFN
FILM: Fomapan 400, Kodak Portra 400
Ghent may not be high on everyone’s list of places to visit, but as someone who has studied art history I knew I wanted to visit it for a while. Like an art historian’s pilgrimage, I wanted to see the Ghent Altarpiece, painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. I learnt about it early on in my studies, and had always thought of Ghent as a place to tick off a list of places to visit just to see a single work. It is currently being restored, so the bottom panels in St Bavo’s Cathedral are (very good) facsimiles, but you can also visit the Museum of Fine Arts to see into the conservators studio and see the panels there. It was so interesting to see them working on the panels, and while I was there a woman was cleaning a section on the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, very close to where the lamb is. For me, that was a highlight of the year!
Other than the wonderful art in Ghent I fell in love with the charm of the city. The streets and canals are beautiful, the noses delicious, and the carmelite convent where I stayed was a serene and convenient place to base myself. Unlike in Brussels, the convent was quite close to the centre of the city, and just up the road from the picturesque castle, so I could retreat into the quiet of my room if I was tired during the day.
In Ghent I found:
a delicious chocolate shop where you can see them making the chocolates downstairs (and it smells heavenly
a small but heavily stocked shop selling old postcards, stamps and, well, I didn’t have time to rummage through everything!
visited a soup cafe that came highly recommended – it is truly amazing, you get fruit and rolls and a million things in your soup like croutons and meatballs and cheese…heaven!
walked around the Design Museum which was interesting in terms of how they display their collections and exhibitions (my work brain never leaves me)
and I walked around and around, down the canals and up the streets, taking as many photos as I could.

I really feel like Ghent could be a place I revisit, time and time again, and I will definitely be back in 2019 once the Ghent Altarpiece has been restored and returned to its home in the cathedral.

In terms of the photos I took, I feel like I’m really getting a better understanding of how my Olympus Trip 35 works, even though I’ve had it for years! I feel these photos, as well as the ones taken in Brussels, are better than what I’ve shot before, which motivates me to use it even more.
Unfortunately, the shutter on my Holga accidentally switched to bulb, which is why the last shots are a bit blurry. I wish I had noticed because I then shot two more rolls with it like that. Oops! I haven’t used it for a while, and then infrequently, so really need to make sure I check its few, but very important, settings.

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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Kew Gardens

CAMERA: Holga 120 CFN, Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
FILM: Kodak Portra 400, Instax Mini colour film
Working for a museum in London has many perks, the best being reciprocal free entry to museums, galleries, and some other fantastic (and fantastically expensive to get into) places. If I ever find myself at a loss for what to do on the weekend I will go to Kew Gardens, at any time of year. I always make a beeline for the Palm House and Princess of Wales Conservatory, they are the same all year round, beautiful!
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©Jennifer Schussler

INSTAX 2017 no.4

CAMERA: Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
FILM: Fuji Instax Mini colour
The Barbican Estate has slowly become one of my favourite places in London during the past 3 years I have lived here. At first I found it rather offensive to the eye and thought that because it was called an ‘estate’ meant it wasn’t a very nice place. But when I discovered the conservatory after a visit to the Art Gallery I began to be seduced. Then I went on one of the architecture tours and was totally enamoured. Every detail about the entire estate was so well thought through by the architects, it’s now my life’s goal to live there. In the meantime, I just visit frequently. I’ve taken many photos there, but went back again with my Instax for a few more.
THere’s also two shots where I tried to make shaped frames to make double exposures with, very much still a work in progress.
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©Jennifer Schussler

INSTAX 2017 no.3

CAMERA: Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
FILM: Fuji Instax Mini colour
Some weekends I go out with friends and others are spent alone, but I always try and go out to see something new or to revisit an old favourite.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens is a wonderful part of London that I will work my way out to once or twice a year. I went with my good pal Jevgenija, said hello to the walrus, met a new bee friend and I tried out some double exposures. We also went on a picnic in Hyde Park on the first sunny & hot day of British Summer.
I also went to see the Cerith Wyn Evans installation at Tate Britain which is neon Instagram heaven, but I preferred to try out a double exposure on film.
The second last photo is of a doorway/courtyard in Inner Temple, a lovely hidden gem in the heart of the city that is only a stones throw from my office so I like to visit at lunchtime. The architecture in this small space is beautiful and you can play spot the pegasus & lamb depending on which side of Temple you explore.
Lastly, it’s the house plant greenhouse at Clifton Nurseries. I love going here even though it’s nowhere near where I live, they just have a great selection of house plants and have been around since 1851!
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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Highgate Cemetery

CAMERA: Leica M3
LENS: Voigtländer Shapshot-Skopar 25mm f4
FILM: Fomapan 400 24exp
DEVELOP: Ilford chemicals, at home
SCAN: Epson V700
Ever since I moved to London over three years ago I’ve wanted to visit Hightgate Cemetery. The photos below are from the East cemetery, easily accessed for a small entrance fee. The more scenic, dilapidated West cemetery is by tour only, so I will try and go in the summer, although the mist was moody the overcast day was not the best for photos.

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©Jennifer Schussler

HOLGA 120CFN & Ilford HP5+400

CAMERA: Holga 120CFN
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400
DEVELOP: Ilford chemicals, at home
SCAN: Epson V700
I haven’t shot a roll of black & white film with my Holga for a while, so I took it out a couple of times to try and get a roll done. I also haven’t used HP5 before, I have mixed feelings about the results, a bit too dark and a bit too light with this camera. It was the first time I have tried to develop my own 120 film at home, the last time I did this was about 9 years ago in high school, and it was so different trying to load the film with a changing bag rather than a darkroom. So you may notice some dents, I really had to fight to get the film spooled! Don’t think I will put myself under that kind of stress again any time soon, back to 35mm.

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©Jennifer Schussler

CAMERA – Leica M3

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CAMERA: Leica M3
LENS: Voigtländer Shapshot-Skopar 25mm f4
FILM: Fomapan 400 24exp
DEVELOP: Ilford chemicals, at home
SCAN: Epson V700
My colleague lent me her Leica M3 after we got chatting about shooting film. She studied photography for her Masters degree and bought the Leica soon after she finished, but had never used it. I can understand how that high level of criticism of your work can suck all the fun out of doing something you love. I’ve given her a toy camera from my collection to get her back into film, with something simple and fun, unlike the beast that is the Leica M3.
I’ve never used a rangefinder camera before and I guess I am still yet to do so as the lens currently attached is not a rangefinder lens. So essentially I used it like my trusted Olympus Trip 35 with the added manual feature of shutter speed. I still have to get used to checking all the settings and it is a bit more time consuming for me. But I’m hooked, it was so much fun to lug this ridiculous brass camera around so hopefully I’ll get into good habits soon.
Below are all 26 shots from my first roll, on a 24 frame film, and I can say I’m happy with how each shot turned out. They are in focus and framed closely to what I had tried to achieve. It was the first time I had used Fomapan 400, and the first time in eight years that I had developed my own film. I shot and developed this film in a single day, which felt so damn good.
I have one major issue with this camera that is also one of it’s greatest features: the frame. The frames are so tight to each other and the sprocket holes that you get the maximum use out of the film, and more frames then you are meant to. However, it was a pain to cut my negatives because the gap between them is so narrow, and when scanning I could see where significant parts of the frame were cut off because the film holder I used is made for “normal” frames which don’t cut it so fine to the sprocket holes.

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©Jennifer Schussler