10 December 2009

Playing Favourites - Cameras

There are cameras I own that I like, and some I don't. In the interests of being completely biased, here is my top 5 list of the cameras I own:

1. Minolta XG-M - Dependable, solid, aperture priority + fully manual, great lens (1.7 Rokkor MD), and fairly light. It's been with me since 2003, my second year of uni. I know I can always get what I want from it, and it was duly promoted to number one for our honeymoon to NZ. The snaps were good. Damn good.

2. Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (new) - the name's a bit of a mouthful, but this is a superb SLR. Shutter makes a satisfyingly quirky "zttttt!" noise which I describe as "like a cat sneezing", and despite being over 50, it still works like a dream and is cosmetically close to perfick. The guy was selling it for $85, but when he couldn't figure out how to work the shutter, said I could have it for $40. Good deal.

3. Kiev 6C - Only had two rolls through it, and already it's impressed me to death. As I once said, "it's massive, ugly, and so awesome I could cry". Fully manual, a super lens, a waist level finder - a different way of working, but fun. The only thing that I dislike about the whole contraption is loading film - but I guess it's a matter of practice.

4. Agfa Isolette II - The camera that introduced me to the wonders of square format. I've never spent so much time fixing a camera as I have on this one, and the one roll of film I've put through it so far did not let me down. $20 in a junk shop at Longford, and fairly dirty & unloved when I picked it up. The focus ring was jammed, the bellows were leaking like a sieve, but the shutter fired which fulfills my only criteria for second hand purchases - "they must work". Has recently been having some issues with the shutter.

5. Zorki 4 - this is a rather good looking camera, although the results so far have been a bit soft-looking. However, it's rather good looking. Did I mention that?

honourable mention:
BeLOMO Vilia - this camera kick-started my recent love affair with vintage (and particularly Soviet) cameras. It's solid, but you can really feel the mythical Soviet approach to quality control (ie. patchy at best) in the lens assembly which jiggles slightly. It feels like it was put together by people more used to putting together tanks, but it really does feel like a true "people's camera" - cheap, solid, and simple. The shots are probably more from the LSI school of photography (rather strong vignetting for one), but it revived my interest in all this stuff. Hardly ever gets a run now, but it's still in my heart. Somewhere.

There we have it - one Japanese, two West German, one Ukrainian, one from Russia, one from Belarus.

When I get a chance, I might do some more lists. Although I guess film is the logical next step.

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