Last year I started my way down the path to getting back into film photography. I bought my Rolleiflex, I learned to process b&w film and I had a lot of fun.
Just recently I’ve been lucky enough to become the proud owner of several more film cameras and associated equipment. My dad decided to have a clear out and knowing that I would put this photographic equipment to good use, I started to come home with bags of it after every visit.
The photo above shows me holding my dad’s Ricoh GR1s, a 35mm film compact produced in the late 1990s. It is small and light and yet very sturdy due to a magnesium alloy body. It also sports a 28mm prime lens which has a great reputation for being sharp. For a long time I’ve felt the need to have a compact camera which is light enough to carry on hikes up mountaints, and sturdy enough to withstand that kind of environment. The problem with digital cameras which might fit the bill is that they either have very small sensors (not good) or are very expensive (also not good). Here I have a full frame 35mm camera with a great lens which would be well suited to landscape photography (or street photography) and I’m sure it will soon be taken to the top of a mountain or two.
My dad also gave me a Canon EOS 300v, an SLR camera of a similar vintage to the Ricoh. I’ve run a roll of film through it but not yet processed it. The advantage of this camera is that I can use most of the lenses I use with my EOS 7D with this body.
And then my dad gave me a Pentax Spotmatic, which was the first SLR sold offering Through The Lens (TTL) metering. This came to me along with a couple of great Super Takumar lenses : a 55mm f1.8 and a 135mm f3.5. I’m very keen to get out and shoot with the Pentax and I’m also looking forward to trying those Super Taks out with my EOS 7D. I’ve invested (all of about £5) in an M42 to EF adapter so I’m set to go.
I’ve also finally got a light meter so I can get out and shoot with older cameras which don’t have an in-built light meter. It’s a Weston Master model S74/715 which was produced between 1939 and 1945, which makes it a very fitting companion to my Rolleiflex which was built at around the same time.
I’d still like to get my hands on a folding 120 camera, but I have plenty to play around with for now and it’s great to put some of this fantastic engineering back into use. Getting out to shoot with my 1945 Rolleiflex is such great fun, especially in combination with the Weston Master light meter. There’s not a battery in sight and 120 film was introduced back in 1901 so I’m using technology which is in parts over a century old to capture views of a 21st Century world.