On New Work/Pentax 67 First Impressions.


Over the past few months, much of my focus has been devoted to trying new things, shooting things that are actually of interest to me, and through those experiments, building a portfolio worth showing to potential clients. As much as I love photography and working with images before, during and after the actual shoot, I’m still very new to the idea of actually being a photographer in the proper sense, and so there’s a lot of guesswork at play in finding out my voice, shooting style, preferences, etc. I’m a gear head for sure, but a large portion of the reality behind my constant GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) is that I’m looking for the right pieces that compliment my nature the best, and help me to produce the images I want to produce. Every step is like a small but integral piece to a very large, unending puzzle.

Most recently, I’ve been spending time organizing shoots with models. This is very new for me and I’m not completely in a comfort-zone with the ask, so it’s been a slow-go, but this part of the process is a skill set I have to get in my pocket.

Along those lines, I took the new Pentax 67  (along with my EOS3 and 7D) out to Penn’s Landing last weekend and had a quick shoot with Rebecca, a model I made contact with on Model Mayhem.



The Pentax, in my opinion, handles great. It is definitely heavy+huge, definitely old school, but it’s a great camera with its own charm and quirks - and the negatives it produces are just beautiful. The copy I own came with a non-metered prism, so I had to use a separate meter (a Sekonic L-318B cine light meter that works in shutter priority mode only) and pray. Most of the shots came out beautifully. These are low-res scans and even at the low-res, you can see how sharp the 90mm 2.8 lens is. I also love the small depth of field; I didn’t shoot wider than ƒ5.6 (it was extremely sunny, I typically shot at ƒ8 and above).

I’m going to commit to this camera for most of my personal work going forward, and keep the 7D and EOS3 handy as backups.

I enjoyed shooting the black & white, especially Ilford's awesome Delta 100, but now I'm really excited to see how the lens reproduces color, so I got my hands on a pro pack of Kodak Portra 400 that I'm going to try to blaze through.

'Til then!

Pentax 67.


New impulse buy - what a camera. I sat in the office since 8:50am this morning waiting for UPS to show up.  (They finally got here around 3:30. Long day.)


The Pentax 67 (1989) is the second in Pentax’s 6 x 7cm line of medium format camera systems, following the Pentax 6x7 (1969), and preceding the creatively named Pentax 67II (1998). Minor to moderate changes between the three - this is a system that remained for the most part the same for neary 40 years (Pentax stopped producing these in 2007, I believe.)

The 67 looks like a regular 35mm SLR, but outsizes them substantially - it weighs in at nearly 6 lbs with a lens mounted - and one press of the shutter button lets you know this isn’t your average snapshot camera. The mirror slap/sound is ridiculous.

I got this because of the dumb gorgeous images it can produce - some of this ability is innately a feature of the large negative size, but some of it has to be attributed to it’s legendary lenses. I had to get in on that. I’ve been itching to shoot 6x7, having shot 6x4.5 and 6x6 already and loving the results. I did have the opportunity to shoot a Koni Omega rangefinder, but with very unsatisfactory results. Other options for 6x7 were either more ungainly, more expensive, possessing less legendary optics, or a combination of the three. Of course, this is just the beginning of what I'm sure will be a long journey to get the system where I need it:

  • The viewfinder prism is the unmetered version, and with me not being posession of a handheld lightmeter (yet),  I'll need to get my hands on a metered prism as soon as possible. until then, I'll be using the ever handy and ballpark figure-capable Fotometer Pro app for metering.
  • The camera needs some cleaning. I won't attempt a full on CLA myself, but some nook and cranny cleaning, getting the tape/sticker goo off the body, etc. I can handle all of that.
  • Gotta find a strap. It's heavy - and I don't mind lugging around heavy camera gear, but I can see this kind of weight getting old quick. There's also a wooden handle accessory that I wanna grab for it. In due time.
  • Saw a comparison of the 90mm 2.8 lens (my lens) vs the 105mm 2.4 lens... I want that 105mm. Also, would like to grab the 55mm 3.5 wide-angle for some urban landscape projects I have in mind.

All in all, I'm super excited to see what I can make the camera do. Can’t wait to run some film through this.

Yashica Electro 35 GT.

8666210414_82cea0f000_o One of my favorite things about being an avid film shooter is the unending plethora of old, really good cameras available- for often not much more than a song- that all impart their own unique character to the image. Decades and decades worth of camera manufacturing precede the last 15 years of commercially available digital cameras, each with their own lens constructing, quirks and perks that either limited them or made them special. There’s some real gems to be found. One of my favorite ways to do find new cameras is through Flickr. In fact, I do a lot of camera researching and Flickr is always part of the process, sometimes at the beginning and usually somewhere in the middle, when I need to see what images a certain camera is capable of producing. (I’m quite the nerd when it comes to this stuff.) It’s become a very exciting thing for me, when I get my hands on a “new” piece of gear that I can shoot - the results are far more unpredictable than in the digital realm, but unpredictable in a positive way - there’s usually a surprise lurking around the corner for how sharp an old rangefinder is going to be, or what kind of colors a certain lens is going to produce.

I say all this to say that I’m going to start shooting a new camera today, and I’m quietly beside myself with excitement. Yesterday, in a rush of frustration with my Rollei SL35 (which I believe may be suffering the dreaded Pad Of Death™) I began tinkering with a DOA Yashica Electro 35 GT I won on ebay a few months ago. I had prepared for its arrival by purchasing a battery conversion kit - the original battery isn’t produced anymore - and buying up some Kodak Ektar 100, only to find the camera not powering on. You can shoot with the camera with no battery, but it won’t meter, and since the shutter is electronically controlled, it will only shoot at 1/500 second. I sat it on the shelf at the studio, disappointed, but happy I could at least shoot the Rollei. Ha.

Long story short, another Yashica Electro found its way into the studio, a black & silver GSN model, and so I had the brilliant idea to switch battery door on the cameras just to make sure it wasn’t a contacts issue with the GT. The GT’s compartment door had been very oxidized when I first received it, and though I tried to clean it pretty thoroughly, I wasn’t convinced.

It worked.

The GT’s metering is weird - it only tells you if the shutter will be slow or the shot will be over exposed, via two arrows visible in the viewfinder, and a set of SLOW and OVER led indicators on the top of the camera. It’s an aperture priority only camera, meaning you set the aperture and the camera electronically sets the shutter speed (in a range of 30 seconds to 1/500 second) to properly expose the film. I’ve actually only shot fully-automatic rangefinders so far, so this might take a little getting used to. Since the max shutter speed is so low, shooting wide open with even ISO100 film any time during a sunny day will probably result in overexposed shots, so I’ll have to be mindful of that. (Those limitations I was talking about.) The lens - a 45mm Yashinon DX ƒ1.7 - is pretty legendary for the images people have been able to produce with it, considering the cost. It’s super sharp, super contrasty, and has a pleasing-enough out of focus blur at wider apertures. Super excited to shoot through it.

Aside from the common occurence of failed electronics in these cameras, it’s a well built, sturdy, handsome piece of equipment. Feels like it was built yesterday, even though these were being produced in the early 1970s.

In Search Of.


So it appears my rollei SL35 is out of commission until further notice - I was taking a shot and the shutter button jammed. it's probably an easier fix than its been seeming, but I know how fragile these cameras are, and NOBODY fixes them. I was trying to make the SL35 my main walk around, and had actually jumped into the process of buying lenses for it; the 50mm 1.8 QBM mount that's on the camera in the above shot was shipped out of Germany (and took forever to get here).

Long story short, I will be in the market for a new 35mm shooter with high quality lenses & build very soon. In the past I've tried to do this within a very small cash bracket, but I think I'm ready to drop cash on it now, just so I know it's always ready, can be fixed, and has great lenses. I've narrowed down to the Voigtlander Bessa series, and the Contax G series. Both are rangefinders, the Contax I believe has autofocus, the Bessas do not. I don't need AF, as I've found even average RF systems to be super accurate (some of them), and the Voigtlander uses the same mount as Leica - so in theory I could step up to that glass at some point.

Either way, it'd be a huge move. I've got some saving to do, though.