So the verdict is: Keep the camera, change the photographer.
When I first got the results back from the lab I was very disappointed. I didn’t think any of pictures were any good. They were all underexposed. After adjusting the exposure in Lightroom they looked a lot better, but why the underexposure in the first place? Then it occurred to me that I didn’t remember putting a battery in. Who knows how long the old battery had been in there? And it might not even have been the right battery in the first place. I suppose this could have caused the underexposure. Lesson learned: make sure that the camera has a fresh battery.
Then I chose the wrong film. It’s Winter here in NY state and the days are usually quite gloomy. For some reason I chose to use an ISO 100 film. Maybe this would have worked if I hadn’t been using the camera in its fully automatic mode. The lowish ISO combined with the dark conditions probably caused the camera to chose a wide aperture with consequent shallow depth of field (as you can see in the second picture below). It may also have chosen a slow shutter speed, contributing to camera shake. Lesson learned: choose an ISO better suited to the conditions you’re shooting in.
Framing issues. As far as I can tell the camera has no parallax correction mechanisms, not even markings in the viewfinder. This caused me to miss the framing in a number of close compositions. Lesson learned: not sure.
The pictures are particularly uninspired. When I’m testing a new camera the pictures are not usually very spectacular, but in this case they’re particularly bad. Usually I go to a new place and find some new (to me) and sometimes interesting opportunities for pictures. On this occasion it was cold and gloomy. I didn’t really want to be walking around taking pictures, but I felt I had to finish the roll. So I just walked around in the immediate vicinity of our house taking pictures of anything that seemed vaguely interesting (most of them weren’t). Lesson learned: Don’t go out taking pictures if you’re not inclined to do so.
Still after some correction in Lightroom the pictures were not the worst I’ve every taken. I think I’ll try it again this time in better conditions, with an appropriate film and using fully manual or semi automatic settings so that I at least know what aperture/shutter combination is being chosen.
The two pictures in this post were taken in a lovely 1930s vintage diner in Peekskill, NY: The Center Diner.