5 frames with...

5 Frames in My Garden with a Minolta XD-11 and Ilford HP5 ISO 400 (EI400) – by Kate Johnson

Minolta XD-11

This series of B&W flowers helped me to discover the beauty of Ilford HP5. Everyone raved about it, but I seemed to be missing the point. However, recently I was ‘forced’ to use HP5 on a recent extended stay in Phoenix, Arizona. Wanted to do some 35 mm photography and didn’t have time to place a film  order. The only B&W film I had on hand was HP5. Usually I lean towards the higher contrast T-MAX, but I grabbed the 5 rolls HP5 that I had on hand and headed out.

Inspiration:

My earliest inspiration to attempt B&W flowers came from a Mapplethorpe Exhibition. Of course mine were terrible, but I did continued to experiment occasionally. This Spring I’ve returned to experimenting with B&W flowers. My first set was taken at the Mayo Clinic Cactus Garden in Phoenix using HP5 and my Minolta X-700. They had a lovely Cactus Garden that was just starting to bloom in March. It gave me something pleasant to literally focus on while I was getting well.

I continued to work that theme with my home garden in full bloom during May and June. These results were even better, highlighting the best effects of HP5 Grain and even tones.

Scenes From My Garden:

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses

Milk Weed

Milk Weed

Prickly Poppies

Prickly Poppies

Zucchini Leaves

Zucchini Leaves

Sunflower Bud

Sunflower Bud

You will notice, however, that many images have been cropped. These images were made with my first XD-11, and it has finally succumbed to a chronic film advance problem. I sent it out for maintenance, hoping for relief. But no, it could not be fixed. Yet in spite of that the lens optics produced wonderful if abbreviated images. This camera will now be retired to the ‘parts’ box.

Advertisement

A Leica Collaboration:

I often call the XD-11 the best camera that no one wanted (in Japan the XD and in Europe the XD7). It was one of two collaborative products with Leica (the other being the rangefinder Minolta CLE). The 1977 XD collaboration produced the first SLR to combine the TTL aperture and shutter priority modes with a fully manual metering option as well. Leica would go on to build the R4-R7 on the XD-chassis. It has a beautiful vertical plane metal shutter, and Minolta MD Rokkor lenses were always under-rated.

Metal Focal Plane Shutter

Metal Focal Plane Shutter

Follow this link for a History and Review of the XD-Series.

Camera & Film Details: Minolta MD 50 mm lens, f/1.7 with a yellow filter. The film, Ilford HP5, was exposed at EI 400 with a +2 filter factor. Developed by Old School Labs using F76.

Do you enjoy reading 35mmc?

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of this website. The more people chuck me a small amount of cash each month, the more time I can spend building and improving upon it - simple as that!
Or, for $2 a month you can get access to my behind the scenes micro-blog over on Patreon!

Either way, want to help out, become a patron of 35mmc here:

Become a Patron!

Alternatively, if you just enjoyed this post, or like the odd post here and there, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko fi here:


Write for 35mmc: read more here, about how you can help build upon this ever growing resource
Subscribe/Follow: click here, to discover all the ways you can follow 35mmc

You Might Also Like

11 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Roger B
    September 25, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Fine contrast range in your images, thanks to careful exposure, that yellow filter, and perhaps a tad of dodge & burn on the easel – I mean, with Lightroom. Curious to know if F76 developer is the same as Kodak’s venerable D76. Any info? Thanks!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Kate Johnson
      September 26, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      Yes F76 is a modern liquid version of D76. So you avoid the problem of getting the powder to completely dissolve.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Lee
    September 25, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    I picked up a used XD11 for $2 USD at a garage sale and realized I had found a hidden gem. This camera was so nice to use and so quiet with it’s electronically controlled shutter. The entry-level Rokkor 50mm f/2 kit lens it came with was much better than I expected as well. Subsequently I purchased the equally nice MD Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 and was gifted a Tamron 90mm f/2.5 Adaptall lens that fitted to my XD11. I shot some very nice rolls of HP5 through this camera, among other film types. Sadly though, much like yours, my XD11 is no more due to an issue with the shutter mechanism. I tried to have it serviced but was informed that the flaw was fatal. It was a sad day and I have not yet tried to find another one. For what I paid, I could not ask for more.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Kate Johnson
      September 26, 2019 at 3:49 pm

      Yes the XD11 does not seem to be a particularly robust camera. Unlike my SRT’s or X-700’s which just seem to go on forever!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Rob B
    September 25, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Sorry to hear about your XD-11, I hope you’re able to find another one. I bought mine from a lady who I met by chance at our local camera store. The store wasn’t interested in buying it from her, so I bought it from her, Its one of my favorite cameras.

    I’m also a TMax lover, but recently have discovered Ilford’s budget B&W, Pan 400. It has a very similar look and feel to TMax, and its slightly cheaper. I do prefer TMax for its sharpness though.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Kate Johnson
      September 26, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      I ended up with 23 more XD11, one entirely by accident. I thought someone would certainly out bid me, but no one did and I got quite a good deal.I think I have become a Minolta Collector. We won’t talk about all of the lenses and camera models that I have. That’s the topic of another article.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Kate Johnson
      September 26, 2019 at 3:55 pm

      I haven’t tried PAN 400. I’ll have to look into that one. I do prefer the contrast and sharpness of T-MAX, especially for my landscapes. Still the film that I use for my Medium Format cameras…..But I am going to continue to use HP5 in my 35 mm cameras.

  • Daniel Castelli
    Reply
    Daniel Castelli
    September 26, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Nice pics. B&W shots of flowers are so rare.
    I always liked the Minolta cameras (I was using Nikons) and their lenses were top shelf. I have a Leitz-Minolta CL & the 40mm m-Rokkor f/2.0. The lens is equal to the Summicron. It also fits my M2. I can see the quality in my darkroom. I avoided buying the Minolta CLE because of the uncertainty of finding someone to repair it. I was told that the shutter module of the CLE was identical to the MD-11.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Kate Johnson
      September 26, 2019 at 4:01 pm

      A local camera vendor is always trying to get me to buy a CLE because he knows that I collect Minolta. But I prefer SLR’s for my 35 mm work. And the repair issue is why I keep multiple bodies for the models that I use most often. I figure that I can use the broken models for parts to keep the others going. So the XD11 in the photo is now my XD11 parts camera.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Kate Johnson
    September 26, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Oooops, need to edit my Profile! Just found a typo……But thanks everyone for the comments. This is my first article for 35mmc. and I am very encouraged now to write more!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This

    Thank you for commenting

    ...now share the post with your friends?