20 Year-Old Film and a PAS Camera

Minolta Explorer 35mm and 20 year old expired film

I recently found this camera in our basement, and to my surprise, it still had a roll of film in it.  Not only that, but I had taken about 12 photos with it.  I have zero clue as to the last time I used this camera.  I remember taking it with me on vacations to Florida and it was really my only camera for years.  This little Minolta was the last film camera I owned before I went digital.

Minolta Explorer point and shoot 35mm camera

After I popped a new battery in it, I was pumped to finish the roll that was in it.  It turned out to be a roll of Kodak Gold 400.

When I got the roll back, I was less than pumped.  There really isn’t much to show off from the roll because apparently back then I enjoyed taking photos in the dark with no flash.  The only photos that came out were from a UGA home game where they played their in-state rival, Georgia Tech.  My wife and I guess this was taken over 20 years ago. Ironically, this was also the last time anything relating to the Tech football team was even close to being remotely relevant.  #THWGT

UGA vs. Ga Tech - Expired 35mm

UGA vs. Ga Tech - Expired 35mm

UGA vs. Ga Tech - Expired 35mm

I did bring the camera with me on a recent trip where I spoke at a conference, however, I was still bummed out with how the photos turned out.  Tons of grain and not much else to get too excited about.

Just to prove that I am not lying for the sake of my blog, I present to you a sampling of the crap that came out of the camera:

Minolta Freedom Zoom with expired film

Minolta Freedom Zoom with expired film

Minolta Freedom Zoom with expired film

Expired 35mm Kodak Gold 400

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I thought, why not load another roll of expired film into the camera and take more photos?  After all, that’s what you do when one roll of crap comes out, right?  You just repeat the same process and hope for different results.

I loaded up a roll of this Kroger 200 speed 35mm film (Expired 2004) that was given to me by my mom when she found her father’s Minolta.  Yes, it isn’t technically 20 years old yet but I am rounding up.  I figured it would be a fun experiment to keep this camera on me, so I mostly carried it around in the car. I did not drive anywhere special to take any of these photos.  If something caught my eye, I tried to stop and capture it.

Minolta Explorer point and shoot 35mm camera

This camera is not super bulky, so I kept it in my center console and would tote it around when I thought about it.  My biggest complaint is that when I turn the camera on, the flash is on by default.  I tried to shoot the entire roll without using flash, but there were a few where the flash fired. Still, there are not a ton of features to tinker around with, and because of that, I thoroughly enjoyed shooting with it.  In many ways, it reminded me of shooting with my Holga, except I had more controls.  Plus, I now had access to the “Freedom Zoom”.  Having a name like that has to mean the photos will instantly be more epic, right?

When I got the film back, I was seriously surprised. Impressed, even.

I had so few expectations, but the majority of the roll was great.  I love the color tones, the grain, and just about everything. In the lower light settings, without the flash, the grain was ever-present and a feature of the image that I loved the most. Those photos stand out to me the most.  I only lost two shots, which were the very first ones taken.  Just about all of the others came out.


Minolta Freedom Explorer with Expired 35mm Film

Given how much I loved these, I dropped another roll in the Minolta and have continued to keep it in the car with me.  Around the same time, I was shooting with this Minolta, I was also shooting the same expired Kroger film on an Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom. At the time of writing this article, I don’t have the film back from the Olympus.  The Olympus has some “panoramic” feature that I tested out, but the overall feel of that camera was not as nice as this Minolta, so unless those photos come back and blow my mind (Hint: they won’t) I think the Olympus will just end up on the shelf.

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