My mom came into town and spent a weekend with us a couple of weeks ago, and as my wife was busy studying and all, we went up to Gainesville for some fried pies and a bit of a tour around Denton County.

In the car with us was the Diana Mini and the Nikon FE and Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 ai.

How did they match up? I plan to explore that some this week…

In some ways, this is a battle of sensor formats: full frame (24x36mm) vs. whatever 24×24 would be—bigger than APS-C (~18×24) and M43 (12×18), but not really… One of these cameras has a plastic lens and finicky shutter, the other is a precision piece of engineering from the late 1970s. The sensor is the same: Ilford HP5+, souped in D76 1+1 at 20℃. The nominal lens focal length is the same at 24mm, though with the square crop on the Mini that comes out to roughly 30mm according to Wikipedia.

In short, I tried to match them up as closely as possible.

It was tricky at times to shoot with two cameras, and most of the quick grabs were taken with the Diana Mini, while most studied compositions were shot with the FE.

Going into this, I expected the FE and 24mm ai would absolutely trounce the Mini, and I’ll save my comments till later.

So Saturday morning, bright and early, Mom and I headed up to Gainesville: just a quick hop over to 35E, up past Denton a bit, and there’s Gainesville.

First stop: the Fried Pie Company.

Gainesville Fried Pie Co.

It’s a classic country diner-type place, with excellent fried pies. We settled into a booth across from the Fried Pie display case and both ordered up some eggs, hash browns and toast.

Gainesville Fried Pie Co.

The case looked distressingly empty when we first arrived, but over time, it slowly started to fill up, until I almost had to confront the Tyranny of Choice over which dozen to get…*

Gainesville Fried Pie Co.

After breakfast, we walked around Gainesville for awhile, something I’d long wanted to do, but never made the time for before. Gainesville’s an older town, and it’s far enough away from any of the big cities that it’s kept much of its older town charm.


I was particularly struck by this old gas station and took three pictures of it: two with the FE, and one with the Mini. I didn’t intend to share the one from the Mini—the framing was off and I couldn’t pull the keystone out—but it’s probably better to include it for comparison sake.

mini former gas station

And from the same vantage point, nearly…

former gas station

I shot it again on the way back, looking for an Ed Ruscha feel…

former gas station

I don’t think I got it. Maybe Mom got something decent out of this old storefront, now full of random stuff that appears to be on it’s way somewhere from somewhere else.

Mom and the old storefront

After a nice walk around Gainesville, we drove down to Boliver, Tx to visit the graveyard where some of my relatives are buried (I’ll share pictures from that in a couple of days) and then to Denton to make a pit stop and wander Recycled Records for a bit.

groovy window

I pulled two books out of Recycled Records: Charlotte Cotton’s The Photograph as Contemporary Art and a first edition copy of David Levi Strauss’ Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics—reviews/thoughts on them to come, once I’ve actually read and reflected on them some, maybe. Recycled Records** is one of the better used book stores, and it’s (in my mind) a Denton institution.

Recycle Records

We had our minds thoroughly blown by how busy downtown Denton was on a late Saturday morning. The last time either of us were there, most of the storefronts were empty and there were maybe 5 other cars on the square and all of them belonged to shopkeepers. This time, we had to park in a public lot down the street and the whole square was teeming with coffee shops and pricy furniture stores and pretty people. Crazy. Mom was more disturbed by it than I, since her grandmother lived in Denton and Mom spent many summer days wandering around downtown Denton, but it was still quite a change from 2011 or so when we were there last.

After that, we popped down to Roanoke for some lunch, and talk about mind blown: Main Street Roanoke has been demolished, and is now a row of walkable restaurants and bars, with a couple of trendy junk shops, and the cross streets have roundabouts… SubhanAllah.

All in all, it was a fun day.

*I settled on 1 each of Raspberry and Blueberry, 2 each of Pecan, Peach, Pineapple, and Coconut Cream, and 3 Lemon. Most all of the flavors I’ve tried there are great: the Apricot is another favorite, and stay away from the chocolate-it’s a bit disappointing.

**I don’t know why I insist on calling it ‘Recycled Records…’ It’s really “Recycled Books, Records, CDs.” Oh well.

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