The Minolta 800si – A Review by Luis Rubim

We’re proud to introduce Luis Rubim, a guest blogger here at Vintage Film Cameras.

We’re proud to introduce Luis Rubim, a guest blogger here at Vintage Film Cameras.

Luis Rubim is a photographer based in London. His work is mainly editorial, concerning current affairs and human rights issues; and has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Economist and media publishing houses such as The Telegraph Media Group. His website can be found here.

Minolta 800si + Minolta 17-35 f2.8-4 + Rollei Retro 80s developed in Microdol-X

The Minolta 800si is a beast of a film camera, weatherproof, with the worlds most powerful built in flash. I had bought 10 years ago second hand from eBay, with a power grip. It has an uncannily accurate meter and it incorporated Minolta’s expansion card technology, which was not to everyone’s tastes. Being a Minolta user (I had a 7D before I owned this camera), it was a no brainer. I have other Minoltas, all of which are great cameras and a joy to use.

For the shots I am showcasing, I used it with a Minolta 17-35 and what has become in recent years one of my favourite films, the Rollei Retro 80s. I had been lucky to have been given an unused can of the long defunct Microdol-X developer and I thought this ought to be interesting, so I gave myself the challenge of a protest on film. I used with it a Minolta 3500xi with an extension cord.

I chose these photos because of the film characteristics, the sharpness, fine grain, tonal range; combined with the type of developer, which lent a gritty and classic photojournalism character to the visual narratives. It’s a lovely film, although it can be tough to print in the darkroom and I must say it was a risk to use a contrast increasing developer, but it paid off and the fact that this is a modern film in a clear polyester base, it almost like it was made for scanning:

A more thorough review of the 800si can be found here.

Luis has also produced a photography book, Commute; a body of work that takes a close up look at the “rat race” in London’s public transport and its protagonists, us.

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