Saturday, February 8, 2014

So, Now That It's Over, What Did I Learn From SFTC?

For the entire year of 2013, I selected a different old camera from my collection and shot it for a month, sharing the results and my thoughts here on DMC-365. So, what did I learn? Well, I learned that I still have a lot to learn, for one thing.
A natural outcome of revisiting so many cameras that have been in my camera closet for a long time would be to identify a favorite, or maybe more than one. That happened in some cases. In other cases, more exploration is needed.
For example, while I did shoot a few different SLRs (Pentax K1000, Nikomat Ftn, Nikon F2), I have yet to identifiy a favorite. The F2 is certainly up there. But, the K1000 was the camera I learned with, and I still love the Pentax line, including an ME and Spotmatic, which I didn't even include in the SFTC series. And then there's the Nikon FM2. So, no conclusion is possible there, not yet.
For twin lens reflexes (TLRs), the same is true. The Minolta Autocord was a wonderful, pleasant surprise.
The Autocord Rocks
The Autocord is pure pleasure to look through. But, is it better than my Rolleiflex T? Probably not. I'm still on a quest for the perfect TLR. At this point, I own a few (2 Rolleiflexes, a Rolleicord, the Minolta Autocord, and two Ricohs). They're all f3.5 cameras. I'm thinking that a Rolleiflex with Zeiss Planar f2.8 lens may be the ultimate for me. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my Rolleicord with Rolleikin 35mm insert, and can have lots of fun with my existing TLRs.
So, did I learn anything conclusive at all? Yes. In the class of fixed lens 35mm rangefinder cameras, I now have a clear favorite. The Konica S1.6. Absolutely amazing lens. I will never hesitate to grab this camera.
The Konica S1.6 is sublime.
And, in the medium format (120) folding camera class, the Agfa Record III is the clear winner. Now this is interesting, as the Agfa wins more on features than by standing out from the others in image quality. My Zeiss folders are real optical performers, especially the one with a Tessar lens. The Record III has the gorgeous Solinar lens, which I think matches the Zeiss offerings. But, more importantly, it has a built-in (if uncoupled) rangefinder, and an accessory shoe that I can use to mount an exposure meter. This makes it really easy to use compared to most of my other folders.
The Agfa Record III - Most Useable Medium Format Folder
So, in addition to having a hell of a lot of fun shooting old cameras, I did learn a few things.
I hope my readers picked up an interesting point or two, as well.