I'm selling off or giving away many of my old cameras. To long time followers of my old WordPress blog and this one, it may not seem so, but I am. With the exception of two cameras which are in the shop now and in the queue for a future review, I think I've shot all the classic cameras I care to. I'm whittling down the collection to just those I've really grown fond of. I want to shoot and know these cameras more with hopes of improving my photography and...making some space on my shelves. Here are those cameras...
I shoot my F2 cameras in spurts, setting them aside for months at a time. I've taken to doing a lot of day hiking around Northern California and the F2 body with a decent lens is quite a bit to heft around. I tend to grab something smaller and lighter. Now and then however, I'll just get in the mood to use one of these mechanical masterpieces, spool up some Acros and wander around town remembering all over again how magnificent the Nikon F2 really is.
I never thought I'd take to a Canon anything, but after my first outing with this mostly metal professional beast, I was a convert. The F-1N with AE finder and fast Canon FD 50 lens is a great kit. I was shooting it last weekend when a fellow photographer walked up to me and said "Gosh, that's a real camera!" Yes, it is.
Fellow photo blogger Jim Grey turned me on to Pentax cameras, first with the ME Super and then to the Spotmatic series. Be forewarned...buy one Spotmatic and the darn things breed. I now have about half dozen of the various evolutions of this fine camera: SP, SPII, SPF. They are cheap to buy, very reasonable to CLA and a blast to shoot! And Takumar lenses! Don't get me started. The Pentax M42 cameras and lenses are mechanical, optical marvels. Get one. Or two. Or ten.
I scan YouTube quite a bit looking to see what other photographers think about the old cameras I like. Recently, I've seen a bunch of new posts on the Nikon F4. There are a few reasons for this. One: Prices are coming down on this camera. Two: You can mount most any Nikon lens ever made to the F4 and it'll meter and work just fine. Three: The F4 is just a really incredible camera to hold and use. If you enjoy analog photography you must, just once in your life, shoot a roll of film in an F4. While other Nikon F bodies were mostly evolutionary, the F4 was revolutionary. It set the stage for every SLR and DSLR to follow. The F4 is affordable photographic bliss.
I gotta be honest, I bought my RX because it looked cool. No other reason and not a lot of pre-purchase research either. One night, knowing I had a little balance in the PayPal account and mildly lubricated with some Pinot Noir, I clicked the BUY IT NOW button on eBay. Buyer's remorse set in by daybreak. A few days later, RX in hand on a day trip into San Francisco, I discovered that this was a truly delightful camera to use. The RX is a manual focus camera with auto-focus brains. Frame up your subject, focus and the camera will tell you when you've nailed it. It doesn't hurt that this Contax is the platform for some truly splendid Carl Zeiss CY mount lenses either. Smartly designed and well built, the Contax RX is a fine camera.
I'm not sure how or when I first stumbled across what some people call the finest Pentax film camera ever made. Most likely, my growing affection for Pentax screw mount bodies led me to follow the inevitable trail to the K-mount LX--honestly a camera that I never even knew existed. Unlike the Nikon F4, which you love from the first moment you hold it, the Pentax LX is like a woman you've known for a while as a friend and then one moment you look at her and realize you're falling in love. This is a camera that, the more you spend time with it, the more you like it. Then, slowly, you just fall head over heels in love. The Pentax LX just does so many things right: fit, finish, size, weight, controls. Mount any one of the very affordable K-mount SMC Pentax lenses on the LX. Look out onto the world through a big, bright viewfinder that displays everything you need to know in one quick glance. It's easy to see how the LX was the pinnacle of everything Pentax learned through decades of making SLRs
So, these are the cameras that I'm using most these days and the ones I think I'll keep. If it's not on this list, it'll probably go. Probably. Runners up, at this point, are my Pentax 645n, Nikon FM2n, Olympus OM-2n, Canon P. I'm really on the fence with Leica. I traded my M2 for a Leica M7 and I'm putting my first roll through it now. And I'm considering selling my M9-P and buying a Pentax K-1, which will allow me to mount all of my marvelous old Takumars on a digital body. That's if I need a digital body at all.
So this is where I am in my photography hobby, course change subject to PayPal balance and amount of wine in my glass. Cheers!