Thrift store cameras are always fun. The cheap plastic things are great for modifying and customizing. Sometimes you get extra lucky and find traces of the previous owner, like I did when I bought a Fuji DL-160 Tele, including a roll of expired Kruidvat 200 film.
A while ago I was browsing trough the camera collection of the local thrift store. Prodding and fiddling with the camera’s I was exited to discover that one of the camera’s still had a roll of film in it. For only 80 cents, I couldn’t leave it behind.
Of course, I only discovered the film when I opened the camera, but thanks to the design of the camera, I had good hope that some pictures could still be salvaged. The camera was a Fuji DL-160 Tele, a true point and shoot camera. The only setting it has is the choice between close up (a small button makes the lens pop out) or not. Everything else — focus, flash — is done automatically. Even the loading of the roll is done more or less automatically.
DL stands for “drop-in loading” and means you only have to drop in the roll of film, and the camera will spool it for you. The feature that saved the roll was that when you drop in a roll and close the lid, the camera will spool all of the film to the take up spool, and retract the film into the film can as you take pictures. So if you accidentally open the camera, the unused part of the film will be affected, but the pictures you already took will be saved.
So I put in some new batteries, finished the roll and processed the film. I was very curious for the pictures made by the previous owner. Would it be an exotic holiday? Wedding pictures? Children who have long since grown up? Well, no. It was a dry cleaner, and pictures of a living room, and a cat.
So now I find myself looking on Google Streetview to find this particular dry cleaner. There are quite a lot of them called “De gouden schaar” (the golden scissors), but none of them match the one in my picture. Apart from the dry cleaner lady (a relative?) there are no people in the pictures. The empty living room doesn’t really give a clue as to who took these photo’s. The only glimpse of the photographer is in the mirror on the wall. He or she tried to take the classic self-portrait-in-mirror (we’ve all got them, right?), but the automatic flash ruined the attempt.
The film was clearly long expired: the colors are washed out and there’s a purple haze over them. It adds just a but of extra mystery to the images.
It turned out, my hunch about the film only being mildly affected by light leaks after opening the back was right. The pictures I took to finish up the roll turned out okay, (sort of…). The focus isn’t quite adapted to arms length self portraits, but apart from that, the camera still works perfectly.
All in all, it was 80 cents well spent.