Sunday, November 24, 2013

Musings of a film shooting woman

I acquired a bargain Pentax 6x7 recently.  I took a chance on a Craigslist post, and I'm glad I did.

My Pentax 6x7 was made sometime between 1969 and 1976, by my estimation.  The serial number is in the low 4 millions, so I would put its birth somewhere around 1974.  It included a 105mm 2.4 lens.  The body is slightly battle-worn, but all the switches seem to be functioning normally.  The lens itself has a couple of tiny scratches on the inside, but nothing major...I doubt the tiny scratches will cause a problem with my images.  The meter appears to be working fine when the lens is switched to auto aperture, but it does not want to work when the lens is switched to manual stopped down metering.  That's fine by me because I will probably always shoot it on auto, and if not I'll have my handy light meter.  It came with a fashionable wood grip affixed to the left side, although if I had my way the grip would've been placed on the right side.  I purchased it from a lady who used it for her own photo website, Summer Lee Photography.  I can only hope to have the type of wonderful results that she got out of the camera.  She had purchased the camera a while back from a camera store.  There's no telling where it was before. I cleaned the exterior myself with disinfecting wipes, and also used a microfiber cloth on the mirror, viewfinder, and lens elements, but it could probably use a thorough CLA (clean, lube, adjust) pretty soon.  I'll likely drop it off at The Shutterworks for that after I shoot a couple rolls.

As of this moment, it is on its first roll of film (with me), a roll of the legendary and intrepid Kodak Tri-X 400, rated at 200.  I am almost done with this roll.  The camera still feels very solid, like an old reliable Honda.  The shutter goes BOOM when you shoot it.  It weighs a metric shit ton.  Ok, actually it's more like 5 pounds but it feels like I'm shooting with a kettlebell.  I loaded the film wrong.  I closed the camera back before the arrow on the film paper had reached its intended mark.  Had I read the manual properly I would've wound the film until the arrow reached the right place, and then closed the back.  So, my my first frame and my last frame will probably both be botched because I began shooting on the film a half frame or so earlier than I should've.  But, live and learn.

I am in love with my new old camera and I'm glad I took the chance on it.  Some people say I'm going backward -- not just with film but with SLRs in general.  SLRs are a dying breed, I have been reading everywhere.  I "need" to invest in a light weight mirrorless camera with an electronic viewfinder.  Those ILC cameras are supposedly almost as good as an SLR and will eventually become better than an SLR.  Well, whatever.  I am strong enough to carry a heavy SLR.  I am patient enough to shoot with film.  I don't want to buy another camera.  As long as film continues to be manufactured, I will continue shooting it.  And phooey on everyone who disagrees with me, I don't really care.  I don't have to have the latest and greatest.  The best camera, it is said, is the one you have.

pentax 6x7

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I love photography, and enjoy using it to share my experiences. Contact me at maria@lonestarlens.com for general photography discussion.