A Fresh CLA. A Fast Lens. A Roll of Ektar.

I've altered my strategy a bit this year. Rather than buying more cameras, I'm investing some of my photo hobby funds into servicing the cameras I've grown to love. Most have just needed a CLA (clean, lubricate, adjust). Some have needed minor repairs. One of my two Pentax LX cameras suffered from the dreaded Pentax sticky mirror syndrome, its meter was twitchy and infinity focus was off.

For this LX, I decided to try Robin Gowing at Harrow Technical, the Pentax film camera specialists in the U.K. Communication was excellent, his price was very fair and his work exceptional. Outside of having some issues with inbound Royal Mail customs on the U.K. side, I loved dealing with Harrow and highly recommend them for any Pentax film camera. Robin took his time with my LX, even letting it set a few days after fixing the sticky mirror to give it additional bench testing. He wanted to make certain all was well before shipping it back to me. Here is the link for Harrow:  http://harrowtechnical.co.uk

 Pentax LX with SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 Lens 

Pentax LX with SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 Lens 

It's always fun to get a camera back from service. Sparkling clean viewfinder, buttery smooth film advance and satisfying shutter sound, not to mention the confidence of knowing your classic camera is performing back to factory specs. I hadn't shot Kodak Ektar 100 film in a while, so I loaded up the LX, mounted my 50mm F/1.2 SMC lens and headed out for a walk. I had just finished planting some new flowers in the hanging planters on my deck, so one became my first shot.

 This is about the limit of my gardening skills.

This is about the limit of my gardening skills.

I got the neighbor's flowers on the way down to the beach.

It was such a beautiful day, I was surprised to see the beach mostly deserted.

Except for the birds...

Like I said, literally no one on the beach but me that day.

These flowers growing between the rocks seemed an interesting subject.

The next day, I finished off the roll of Ektar in Fort Ross. These kayakers were out fishing.

This was my first outing with the 50/1.2. I really want to play around with the lens more as I think it is capable of some interesting bokeh. Close focus down to 1.5 feet is pretty cool too.

 Old fence at Ft. Ross

Old fence at Ft. Ross

That evening, my patio lights

The cat

And me.

I used to shoot a lot of Ektar 100. It was my "go to" color print film. Lately, I've been using Portra 400, exposing it at half the box speed. Portra's colors are more muted, but when you overexpose it, there's just enough saturation to make it pleasing...at least to my eye. I have a few more rolls of Ektar and when they're gone, I think I'll stick to Portra 400 exclusively and work on getting it to really sing.

I've written before about how much I love my Pentax LX and having one serviced really makes it a satisfying camera to shoot. I love the LX viewfinder, with its stunning yet simple analog display and LED lights. The meter seems to be able to handle most anything I throw at it and I could play around with Pentax SMC glass for the rest of my life and be happy as a clam. I'm starting to really appreciate small cameras like the LX, Olympus OM2-n, Nikon FM2n, Minolta XD and Leica M bodies. Small, light, simple cameras that you can have with you all day and not weigh you down.

As I get my beloved cameras serviced this year, I will share those experiences with you here. I highly recommend Robin at Harrow Technical if you need any Pentax film camera work. They're in the U..K, so the wait is longer and you might have to pay customs fees as I did. In the U.S., I have used Eric Hendrickson, the Pentax master, many times. His work is exceptional and reasonably priced. If you have a Spotmatic, he is definitely the man, but he works on Pentax M bodies and the LX as well. He did my other LX. You can find Eric here:  http://pentaxs.com.

I'll probably continue to gush praise on the LX. It's just a wonderful little SLR. And I do need to spend more time with this fast Pentax 50. As for color print film, I think it's Portra 400 from now on.