I decided one day during the height of the first spike of Covid-19 here in Newfoundland, Canada to go to the local antique shop to try my luck at what I could find in terms of cameras, and oh boy did I score a find. I found a Minolta XG-9 with the Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7, Rokkor-X 135mm F3.5, Minolta 132X flash, Sunpak Auto 4205 G flash, A roll of Kodak gold 200, a leather bag, and all the receipts from the original owner from the early ’80s. It was in amazing condition and the antique shop owner only wanted $125 for it, but I knocked him down to $100. I took it home, put in a new battery, turned it on, and the shutter didn’t fire…
I immediately got a sinking feeling as I rushed to google to try to find answers on what could be going on. I tried a bunch of things with none of them working, I just accepted that it was destined to be a paperweight… But after leaving fresh batteries in it overnight and trying it again on a hunch, it worked! I replaced the light seals, ordered a Soligor 35mm F2.8 for $60 on eBay, waited for it to show up, and put a test roll of HP5 through it, and man am I ever happy with the results. I decided to take a 20-minute drive to a very small and rural town called Howley.
I knew I would get some shots of vintage cars, rural landscapes, and a touch of architectural photography (Just a touch because there are not many buildings there other than houses, one store, a lounge/restaurant, and a post office. I drove down a few backroads and found this open patch of what looked like farmland (or at least it used to be), I mounted my 35mm, metered with my phone, and got the shot. It looks exactly like it did in my mind when I pre-visualized it and I couldn’t be happier with it.
All of the following images were shot with the Soligor 35mm F2.8 at F8 or F11
I left that field and turned back to go down another backroad and stumbled upon a sea of rusting and scraped trucks. I drove down deeper into the truck graveyard risking my tires because I couldn’t tell until I got in kind of deep that there were pieces of thick sharp metal sticking out of the ground pretty much everywhere (the drive out of there was beyond stressful but the tires survived) I found this old heavy-duty work truck with this big tree in the background, fired the shot, and left slowly with my head hanging out of the window praying to the Michelin man to keep my tires safe.
I started getting ready to leave town thinking I was done getting shots, but I ended up spending an extra 20 minutes on a drive that would take 5 minutes if I didn’t take any photos. Was it worth the extra time? You better believe it was. The first thing I saw was an old 1980’s Chrysler K-Car (I don’t know the model, they all kind of look the same) with an old local radio station plate on the front. It’s for sale if there’s a slim chance that anyone reading this lives in Newfoundland. Then I found some more old abandoned farmland, and finally an old church.
So if anyone reading this finds an Minolta XG-9 for sale somewhere if the price is right give it a shot, It’s a joy to shoot with. I hope you enjoyed reading this, You can find my Instagram here @andrewlodgephotography and @lodgefilmphoto.
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10 thoughts on “5 Frames with a Minolta XG-9 & Ilford HP5 in Howley – By Andrew Lodge”
Nice reading and nice pictures! Just wondering why you used your Iphone for metering. What’s wrong with the built-in meter?
Thanks :). I used my phone because the camera’s meter only works when using aperture priority and I wanted to shoot manually.
That seems a bizarre omission in a camera from the very late Seventies, when this was pretty mature technology. Nikon, Pentax, Olympus all offered aperture-priority with metering in manual. Being without a meter but still dependent on batteries would be a dealbreaker for me — but then, if convenience was everything, we wouldn’t be using decades-old cameras at all. ????
I really like the photos and interesting text. But K-cars were really shoddy. I know from the experience of owning, and hating, one in the early 1980s.
Thanks :). My family had a more modern dodge van and it was EXTREMELY shoddy, I guess some things never change.
That Rokkor-X 135mm should be nice lens. Yes, the K-cars on… belong in junk yards!
it’s such a good lens.
Nice work. I have an XD 11. It has a beautifully smooth shutter, great camera.
Thanks so much 🙂
Vor zwei Wochen habe ich eine schöne, schwarze XG 9 gefunden. Kleine Spiegelreflex, nicht so toll verarbeitet wie eine X700 oder wie eine XD, aber sie ist schnell, leicht und sehr intuitiv. Ich komme auch sehr gut mit der Blendenprorität zurecht. Mit den tollen Rokkoren eine Kamera, die man gerne und oft benutzt.