Dusting Off My Old Tools


My preferred cameras over the past year have been a Yashica Electro GSN with fixed 45mm f1.7 lens and a Nikon FE with 100mm f2.8 series E lens.  Occasionally, I pull out my little Olympus Stylus Epic, a point-and-shoot auto focus film camera with a a 35mm f2.8 lens.  And I recently picked up a mint, fully operational Canon Canonet QL GIII for about $20 and shot a few rolls.

This summer, I will have my medium format Agfa Isolette III with 75mm Solinar lens serviced so I can start using that more, and I plan on shooting with my Mamiya c330 twin lens reflex camera for which I have a number of fine lenses.   I also will experiment by shooting 6x9cm negatives in two box cameras, a Balda Frontbox and a Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120.

For 35mm, I may again try the Photrix B, a rangefinder camera sold in various incarnations by Sears and Montgomery Ward in the 1950s, which I picked up for a song at an antique store.  I also just pulled out my previous favorite shooter, a Zorki 4K with a wonderful Jupiter 3, f1.5 50mm lens, a 1970’s Soviet copy of the Leica of the same era.  Finally, after a few fits and starts a few years ago, I am finally ready to take my Kiev 4A with Helios 103 f1.8 50mm lens for a spin.  This latter camera, a Soviet copy of the 1930’s era Contax II, has a funky method of focusing that takes practice getting used to.

I plan on taking pictures with these and perhaps other cameras this summer.  I am fascinated by these old photographic machines.  And they fit in well with my old fashioned photographic aesthetic – one look at my photo gallery at www.wmgphoto.com will reveal that I like to create black and white pictures with a shallow depth of field, something that these old cameras do very nicely.

Of course, one can make nice photos with newer cameras too, although you might be hard pressed to create a shallow depth of field with a modern digital camera with its small-sized sensor, smaller even than a 35mm piece of film.  But then, the other reason I take pictures with these antique cameras is that I can do so without breaking the bank.

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