5 frames with a Canon Prima AS-1 – By Linda Terstad

…or: the bittersweet joy of falling in love with a film long discontinued.

Over the Christmas holidays, I was pleasantly surprised to receive some old 35mm films from my aunt. Expired, but she had kept them in the fridge like a pro. There was some (lower ISO) Superia, then some Swedish or Norwegian budget brand that doesn’t exist anymore, and one black and white roll, Kodak Plus-x 125 Pro. I hadn’t shot true black and white for over a decade, when I was a teenager on an exchange year in England, having access to a darkroom at school (what beautiful times). Then last year I shot two or three rolls of (the “non-true” black and white) Ilford XP-2 Super 400, but me and that film don’t seem to like each other at all.

About the camera then. I had been thinking of selling my Canon Prima AS-1, as it seems to be a quality lens (well, for an underwater point and shoot), and it seems to have something of a following, but I bought it quite cheap. I hated the first roll I shot with it. It was a Portra 400 shot over a weekend of very dull light, and although I suspected this wasn’t really my camera, I also knew it was unfair to judge it from that boring roll alone.

So off we went, the toy looking camera with the old film, and me, for a day trip to Falsterbo in southernmost Sweden. It’s very sandy making the sealed underwater compact an apt choice. The camera is very pleasant to shoot with, responsive, not too noisy. It is nice with a 90s compact that doesn’t feel all fragile and flimsy (like my Konica a4) nor heavily oversized (like some other underwater cameras).

I am happy I moved past that dull test roll, and will hang on to my Canon for a while. I dearly wish I could shoot more Kodak Plus-x 125. What a bitter sweet thing, falling in love with something that is gone.

If anyone can recommend a replacement, please speak up.


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16 thoughts on “5 frames with a Canon Prima AS-1 – By Linda Terstad”

  1. Thank you for the great review Linda. By the way, your English is excellent! Interesting that you don’t get on with XP2, I love it. But I guess it shows we all have different tastes. However, I have shot one roll of Plus X, just before they discontinued it. I can’t say I know what current film is closest to it, but Kodak Alaris appear to be on the up, so maybe they will bring it back in a year or two and we can all try it again.

    1. Thank you Malcolm for your kinds word and also yes, I keep seeing lovely results from others with XP2… I had sort of washed out results, but also somewhat inconsistent? I have some in the fridge and will give it another chance though, with some camera and lab I really trust.

  2. Olle Pursiainen

    If you are using old films, you should be aware of the fact that with this camera all non-DX-coded film cartridges are automatically registered as 25 ISO

    1. good point. I was surprised this actually had DX-code – package looked very 80s/90s, and I think expire date was around 00

    1. Yes I guess it’s quite unusal? I actually like it, despite usually prefering say 38 or 42mm over 35mm..

    2. They chose that specific focal length because, underwater, light behaves differently. As light travels slower through water, it actually increases the focal length. This lens then becomes a 45/50mm lens underwater.

  3. Mark Kronquist

    You will probably like Kodak Super XX 5222 which is a 35mm movie film. There are many who respool and offer it on auction sites but it’s cheaper to just buy from a Kodak Cine Film Dealer and roll your own. Also there are, still catalogued, Plus-X and Panatomic-X 5″ Aerial Films…they have remote baking (simple soak in hot water to sulfate water before processing…you’ll have to hunt for them, but Kodak shows 29,000 feet in inventory of Plus-X…cutting and perking for 35 a pain, but 122/116/616/120/220/46mm-127 cry out also Astrum Svema iso 64 is lovely Plus X like…and Kodak says if enough folk preorder (something like 25000 feet they’ll, within reason, remake a film…

    1. oh thank you Mark. After writing this ( but before having it published) I actally bought some old plus-x, so now I have some. but this is very interesting to know.. 🙂

  4. Rather common falling in love with what you can’t achieve. Or usually wishing to have a quantic body, like that amazing shot. But nothing like a good eye to take good photographs like those. Any film would do a great job on them.

    1. haha thank you George! and yes you’re right, probably I’d be just as happy with some existing ilford or kodak alternative, just some consumerist logic having me want what I can’t buy (except I did on ebay, regretted it when I got a custom invoice from the post…)

  5. Hi Linda, I too mourn the loss of PlusX but am sitting on a few 100′ rolls 🙂

    I found the look of Arista EDU 100 in D76 1:1 has a very similar feel to Plus X. Arista is pretty cheap as well. Have fun.

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