barbecue cookoff: LC-A vs. CX-2

A couple of weeks ago, a few of the Sylheti families got together at a park on Grapevine lake for a bit of a brisket cookoff: my sister-in-law’s excellent crock pot barbecue vs. a friend’s superlative 15 hour smoked brisket…

tl;dr: everyone was a winner, though I wound up with some meat sweats later in the day. Too Much Beef.  

Early on, I decided to shoot through the last of my Silberra film, and I wanted to pit the Lomo LC-A, recently returned from a refurbishing trip to Poland, against the Cosina CX-2, the Japanese made grandfather of the LC-A.

I’ll do a full review of both cameras at a later date, but they’re largely identical: same shutter speed range of n to 1/500th (where n is however long you hold the shutter button down); same ISO range of 25/64/100/200/400; same f/2.8 – 16 aperture; similar operation (A mode or aperture priority). The only differences are the lens (35mm on the CX-2; 32mm on the LC-A), the on/off mechanism (a wonderful lens turret thing on the CX-2; a simple switch on the LC-A), and the general build quality. The CX-2 is a bit slimmer, feels a bit heavier/denser, and has a smoother finish. It just feels a bit finer than the LC-A.

On the lens, I think the CX-2 is probably masking off a few mm to get rid of the vignetting and correct corner abberations, while the LC-A lets it all hang out. The CX-2 lens is also somewhat more invisible, where the LC-A lens has a rather obvious character to it.

Sadly, the meter on my CX-2 is acting up. It works fine on ISO 400, exposes beautifully, etc., but on other ISOs it overexposes by 3-5 stops (more or less). I’ve already been inside it once, to correct the frame counter, so it looks like I’ll be going in again, to see if I can figure out what’s up with the meter. Fun times.*

Anyway, let’s get to some a/b shots. In all cases, the CX-2/Silberra Ultima 200 shot is on the left, and the LC-A/Silberra Pan 200 is on the right.

Meadowmere Park is a paid-use camping/hanging out park on the south shore of Grapevine Lake. It’s a few dollars to get in, which makes it somewhat less popular (and therefore less crowded) than other public use parks. There’s a nice playground, with sort of dangerous/fun rope climbing thing and a cool swing, and there are plenty of shaded picnic spots with pit or grill type barbecues. A scout troop of some sort does a bit of canoeing there, and I think some of them were camping, or wrapping up some camping, that Sunday morning. Overall, it’s a pretty nice park, and a good spot for a family/friends barbecue, especially if you don’t mind the $5/car $1/walk-in fee.

Since we were bringing the charcoal and whatnot, we arrived right on time. I was a little bit hesitant, as my experience with most of the south Asian community is that time is largely relevant, and that, say, “noon” really means “after Dhuhr,” and “after Dhuhr” really means “after Asr,” etc. But when someone tells me to show up at 12:00, I’m there by 12. Anyway, we beat everyone else by a good half hour, so we sat in the car and waited.

My in-laws and nieces and nephew arrived about 12:20, and we walked around a bit, then picked out a spot to set up.

I got a nice picture of Samie as he got the coals going. Shame that the CX-2 was playing up. I feel like I wasted that roll of Ultima 200, and wish I knew what it could really do. As it is, I know I can pull maybe 2 stops back in post, but it really starts to get nasty.

We walked by the shore and ate chips and kicked the ball and relaxed.

We climbed around on the net playground thing.

We flew the kite.

My sister-in-law and nieces had fun with the swing.

And then the other families arrived, and we ate some magnificent barbecue. I was too busy eating, and, honestly, too bothered by the laissez faire attitude towards time, to mess with cameras. I had a spicy hot dog, a barbecued brisket sandwich, some mustard potato salad, and about a pound of slow smoked brisket that was right up there with the best briskets I’ve ever had. MashaAllah, that was good meat.

After the meal, we hung around for a little while, looked at the water, the brisket smoker did some fishing, we stood around and chatted, and then we all went home.

All in all, it was a pretty good time, with good people. May Allah forgive me for my impatience and remove any little bit of racism or feelings of superiority and arrogance from my heart, and may He guide me to better, Ameen.

On the Silberra films, I souped these two rolls in Ilfotec HC, 1:119, semi stand, for 60 minutes, with four inversions at the beginning and four inversions at 30 minutes. Should I end up with more Silberra film, I’ll go with more standard development times. I got good results with the Pan 200 in Ilfotec HC, 1:63 for 12 minutes, but was a little bit disappointed with the Ultima stand in Rodinal, and quite disappointed with the HC stand on these rolls. Part of the problem was the bright May sunshine and the limitations of 1/500th and f/16. The LC-A overexposed by a couple of stops, I think. So I can’t really comment on them, I don’t think I shot enough to develop an opinion, and I did too much experimentation with the development.

Oh well.

At time of writing, Silberra Pan 200 is available (as is Pan and Ultima 160… I think I indiegogoed some of those too, but don’t recall. EDIT: nope, I backed 2 each of the 200s, a 10 pack of the 50s, and a couple of rolls of Orta. Look forward to those one day, InshaAllah), and if you can, check out Silberra’s other offerings. Let’s try to support the companies that are trying to do things for film photography. They also sell chemicals, paper, and other fun things.

*I’m getting really tired of cameras that constantly break, and thinking I should go full mechanical with future cameras. The FM3a is lovely, and an FM2 would make a nice companion; for small, I don’t know… maybe save up for a Rollei 35, and enjoy my plastic lomo cameras. It’s just so frustrating to shoot through a roll, develop it, and find that some electronic or auto exposure thing on your camera failed.

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