batch of old film cameras

2018: On Reflection, Part Two

2018 was the year I dove back into Photography in a big way. That isn’t to say I had stopped completely, but 2018 was definitely the year when I said, “LET’S DO THIS!”

I listened to all the podcasts (Sunny 16 and Analog Talk are my favourites). I took my camera (or more accurately, cameras) almost everywhere and I started this blog/ website/ photography archive. I backed a bunch of photography related things on Kickstarter including (but not limited to) PhotoKlassik International Magazine and PinBox by Hamm Camera Company. I even signed up to an after work college course (which didn’t happen because not enough people signed up to it).

Why reflect?

I want to improve my skills and stay motivated.

There are lots of ways I could do this, I could obviously just keep getting outside with my camera. But I feel like without some reflection on my previous year in photography I won’t be able to decide what I did well, what I didn’t do so well, what I enjoyed and what felt like a chore. Without taking the time to analyse these things, how am I going to actually improve?

In part one, I looked at the film choices I had made in 2018 including; Redscale, Kodak Ektar, Kodak Portra 800 & 400, Kodak Gold, FujiFilm Superia, FujiFilm Pro, Ilford HP5, Ilford Delta 3200, Kodak TMax 3200, Lomo 800.

In this part of my reflection series, I am going to look at my camera and lens choices. If you missed the first part of this series, click here – Part One: Film Choices.

Camera Choices

In 2018 I went through my entire camera collection to see if I actually liked all the cameras that I have in my arsenal. My collection started with my Pentax ME Super and over the years I have collected a TLR, Fold up camera, some Lomography made gear as well as lots of cheap point and shoots.

Pentax ME Super: My favourite camera by far, I think I have had to take it to the shop once to have something fixed but that was years ago now. It has always been super reliable and easy to use. If I could only take one camera with me to a desert island, where I would likely die, it would be that one.

pentax me super

Nettar 515/2: I really like this camera because I am pretty sure it is the oldest one I have ever owned and it looks cool. But, unless I am able to get a big landscape photo I don’t really take good photos with this. Also, the lens is quite dirty inside where I can’t clean it up and I have other cameras that shoot 120 that do a better job. So, for now, I am holding onto this camera because I like how it looks but I don’t think I will use it again, at least not for a while.

medium format camera

Montanus Delmonta: This is my TLR camera, a really great little camera. The two things I struggle most with are the viewfinder and the fact that I have to measure the light before I take a photo. The latter is fine if I have lots of time and I am just casually taking photos by myself so there is no need to hurry. The viewfinder issue is really a matter of how bright the sun is, I find it really hard to see the image through the viewfinder which means I often take slightly out of focus photos. What I do like about this camera is the fact that it is a twin lens and looks cool, plus I like the square image format you get from this camera.

Pentax Super A: I have had two of this model and both have failed in some way. I bought it because I wanted something with a few more settings than my ever trusty Pentax ME Super but I think this particular Pentax model is just not that reliable. The most recent body I bought I ended up selling just a few weeks ago as a part exchange for a lens I needed for some sports photography I was doing. I won’t get another one of these cameras.

pentax super a 35mm film camera

Kodak Brownie 127: My friends bought me this for my birthday and although it is pretty awesome I did a bit of a hack with it so I could shoot some 35mm film in it and it didn’t work too well. I need to put a bit more cardboard over the hole in the back where you would usually see the number of the exposure you are on with 127 film. I did this hack because 127 film is super expensive! I will probably use this camera again in the summer with 35mm because I like the fact that you get an image over the entire 35mm film.

kodak brownie 127 film camera

Point and Shoots: I acquired quite a lot of point and shoot cameras in 2018. After messing around with a few I have pretty much decided that they are good for some fun but if I want to do some photography with an objective in mind, I prefer to use my Pentax ME super. I shoot with aperture priority constantly so If I can’t pick an aperture I don’t have as much fun or interest in the camera.

Lomography Cameras: I have a Holga 120N and my partner has a Diana. I don’t really like either camera if I am being totally honest. When I first got back into film photography they were cool because they were super simple to use and super lightweight too. I REALLY wish some of my other cameras were lighter. But they are just too basic for me. Like with the point and shoots, I want to be able to adjust apertures and shutter speeds.

holga lomo 120n

Which Lens?

My Pentax ME Super is the only camera I have multiple lenses for now that I have sold or lost my other cameras. I have a 50mm, 28mm, 70mm with macro, 200mm, and a 100-300mm. All of them are Pentax original lenses except the last which is a Sigma. I got the 200 and 100-300 lenses for Roller Derby but actually, in practice, this was a nightmare. Manual focus and using a tripod for a very fast-paced game just isn’t easy for me. I just don’t know how people used to do sports photography before autofocus.

Lately, I tend to take my 50mm lens with me for general out and about shooting, unless I know there is going to be a need for a wider lens then I don’t bother with the 28mm. I went through a spat of using my 28mm more so its the 50mm’s time to shine.

The 200mm lens I like to use when I know I am taking my tripod out, which to be fair I hardly ever do because I don’t like having to carry it around. I mostly use this combination around where I live as there are ducks in the lake near me and it is easy for me to just have a wander for 10 mins and see what pictures of the local wildlife and flowers I can get. It is getting very close to the time when all the Geese have babies here. They walk around the grounds on the same route every day so once I learn where they go I can sit there and wait in the bushes with my zoom lens.

Good Bye Friends

Ricoh XF30, a 90s point and shoot camera that was never quite right but hung on until it could no longer understand what it actually was.

Pentax Super A, you worked so well until the London Camera Exchange warranty ran out. You traitor.

Olympus AF-1 Twin, an 80s baby, semi-retired and waiting to die in a box somewhere.

Pentax ME, bought cheap, didn’t even last an entire roll before getting very jammed up. You did not serve me well.

In Summary

I absolutely love my Pentax ME Super and if anything should ever happen to it I would likely go straight on eBay and try and find a replacement. I imagine in 2019 I will be using a combination of my Pentax with the 50mm lens and on occasion my 200mm or 28mm. As for the medium format cameras, I now have a Pentax 645 so will be testing that out over May/June for sure.

Next Time

In the next part of my reflection, I will be looking at my favourite photos of 2018.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to leave me a comment and follow me to be notified when I post part three. You can also follow me on Instagram @sisboombah.

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