Having recently purchased my shiny new Pentax K-5 (and loving it) and having a read through some recent blog posts about past cameras, I was having a think about previous cameras I have had.
It started with a completely impulsive purchase. I knew I wanted something better than a point’n’shoot, but had no idea what. I had never really been that "into" photography, but my late Father had been and so has/was a lot of my family. I wondered down to the local Good Guys and had a look at what they had. To keep it under $1000 the K100D seemed to offer the best bang-for-buck (going by the features listed on the little tickets). I also remembered vaguely that my Father used to have a Pentax film camera (no idea what mind you) so that was enough for me. I laid down my money and headed home with a K100D twin lens kit. But sadly I never really found the motivation to learn it properly. It got pulled out a few times to play with and got used to take photos at a couple of parties. But nothing ever exciting (or any good for that matter). That was about 4 years ago.
Then I was chatting to a mate of mine who turned out to be a Pentax user; OzAdr1an. He got me interested again so as a present to myself I found a very nice, low shutter count Samsung GX20 locally on eBay. The GX20 is the clone of the Pentax K20D, which Samsung and Pentax collaborated on.
Today, I will introduce the piece of “gear” that has been most influential to my photographic journey to date. It cannot be bought commercially as it is a self-modified piece of equipment. I call it the Pentax K+ Multi-Mount, a modification of my Pentax K-x camera mounting ring that now lets me mount lens from Nikon F-mount, Olympus OM-mount, Contax/Yashica C/Y-mount and Konica AR-mount in addition to all my Pentax-K lenses.
How K+ Multi-Mount was made
On the front, you cannot see any difference from the usual mounting ring because my modifications were done on the underside of it. After unscrewing the 5 screws that held the mounting ring to my K-x and flipping it over, I filed away some of the metal that were previously at the brass-yellow areas seen below using a Dremel tool. The reason is because these areas were thicker than other mounts so I had to file them down by a few millimeters, flushing it with the non-protruding areas of the ring. There was not much precision required (or possible), only steady hands to ensure an even surface after filing, sufficiently deep and smooth enough to mount all the lenses. Some trial and error is definitely required by mounting the different lenses directly on it. Once tested to accept all lenses, it was time to screw it back to my Pentax K-x.
The piece of equipment that has been the most influential on my photography would have to be the first camera that my father gave to me. It was in the spring of 1968.
The camera in question was and still is fully functional in MF film format; it is a Precisa 2. I believe the full name is Beier Precisa 2 (made in Germany). This particular one was made somewhere in the mid-1950s. It is a Medium Format 6x6 camera with an E.Ludwig Meritar f3.5 / 75mm lens.
Some technical info:
- Film type: 120 (60mm)
- Frame size 6X6 or 4.5X6
- Shutter speeds: B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250
- Aperture scale 3.5, 4, 5.6, 8,11,16,22
- Focusing range from 1m to 10m to infinity
- Self timer - approximately 15sec
- Flash synchronisation - yes
Israel, 1969. Two years married, our first daughter Michal is born.
My late Aunt Rivka returns from a very emotional trip to the Ukraine (Soviet Union then…), visiting her sister. Deep in her suitcase, wrapped in clothes, lies a beautiful Zorki 4 rangefinder camera.
Must have been expensive… but nothing stopped my brave and determined aunt Rivka, who loved me very much, and proudly handed me the camera in its brown leather case.
When I thought about this submission, I had no doubt that this Zorki 4 made a permanent, extremely powerful impact on my life.
Photography became part of me in every possible way, made me a visual story teller…
An external flash to use on a point and shoot? Can it be done with good outcome even if the flash is bigger than the camera? Well, read on to find out!
I own (apart from the K-30) a very good Panasonic LX3, which is an amazing piece of equipment: 10.2 megapixels, F2.0 Leica Lens and 24mm wide angle (in 35mm format). What I didn't like about it was the pop up flash. The light was just to harsh on the pictures and the LX3 is not know for good dynamic range. In fact, pictures with the pop up flash where a total flush! It got me frustrated to a point that I just refused to turn the flash on, and instead went on to bump up the ISO to 3600 or more. The problem is that the LX3 has a small sensor, and even with that great Leica piece of glass in front of it, the noise was just too much.
2 years ago, my baby girl was born. 1 month before the date of birth, I decided it was time to upgrade something, as really wanted to get good pictures of her. Well, if your wife is pregnant, the baby is the BEST excuse in the world for buying stuff you really want. Call it hormones, call it "she doesn't care" or just plains simple "If it is better for the baby, it is worth it". Mine was #3!
So, I it was decided: I should get a new flash unit to fit my Panasonic LX3 and the world of good pictures would be at my feet!
The question of “what piece of photographic equipment has had the greatest positive impact on my photography” can’t be answered without determining where I’m at now and where I’ve come from. Like many people, I’ve dabbled in photography off and on most of my life, but never really “invested” in it. I used mostly cheap 110 cameras and 35mm cameras growing up, and then had several point-and-shoot digital cameras once they were introduced. I’ve always been fascinated with light, from a scientific and artistic perspective, and I knew that I would need to acquire more flexible and higher quality equipment if I wanted to better use light and improve at photography. Naturally, a DSLR was in order. Initially (with “guidance” from friends and family) I purchased a Canon Rebel XTi. Not a bad camera, but limited on lens selection – rather, my budget limited the number and quality of lenses that I could acquire in the Canon system. At that time, a friend of mine began preaching the merits of Pentax to me, so I made the switch to the Pentax “lens system”, and acquired a Pentax K10D. I was now free to explore the wonderful world of legacy lenses, specifically third-party manual focus lenses. This leads me to the subject of my post, the Auto Sears MC 50mm f1.7 lens.
Some incidents in life might be trivial, but influence your decisions to such an extent they steer your life in certain direction. They have a huge impact on your life. One such moment changed the way I perceived photography. In introspect, I have always been in love with photography. It has always been my burning desire to be a very well known photographer and daydreaming about this hasn't ceased till this very moment. A Sony A 100 that I purchased way back in 2006 was surely my first serious attempt at photography. It still remains the most trusted tool that I own and whatever small work that I have done in this sphere is because of my purchase of that camera.
Honestly, for first two and a half years I seldom used the Sony A 100 for what it was designed to be used for, instead it was used as a point and shoot camera in major life events, and some Sunday mornings were spent checking various features that the camera had. This all changed the day I found a Pentax K1000 manual in a wooden chest that my Dad wanted me to clean. I was aware that my father owned this film camera and had used it a lot when I was a kid. I had seen it hanging in a camera bag in my dad's closet and I knew it was not in use. Out it came as I read the manual page by page.
It was not a very large manual and I finished reading it in one go. Starting from what each part was, to how to load a film, to DOF scale on lenses and how to read them and light meter etc. till the end where they gave the addresses of Pentax offices worldwide. The Sunday evening was spent reading about Pentax K1000 on Wikipedia and understanding (read appreciating the fact that) the respect that this fully manual camera had earned from users worldwide.
Over the past few years, I used my SLR less and less and progressively used ever cheaper and more limited point and shoot digital cameras. My quest to find something better ended with the unexpected but very rewarding acquisition of a Pentax K-5. With that came two problems, lens buying addiction (LBA) and finding the time to shoot. The LBA was satisfied, at least temporarily, with a few cheap Takumars. But I only managed to find a few minutes here and there to shoot, usually somewhere in the neighborhood and this quickly became a frustration. With the arrival of spring, inspiration came from Nature and this lead to an interest in macro, but I quickly found out that unless the sun was shining bright, I needed to find another source of light.