Thursday, June 4, 2009

It was Christmas and my birthday this week!

A few years ago, I figured I'd learn to play the guitar and my wife bought me one for my birthday.
I quickly established that, when it comes to music, I have absolutely no talent or aptitude. About the only instrument I have any hope of playing successfully, is a portable radio!
It was with this in mind that I was delighted when, last week someone offered to buy the guitar from me at the price originally paid for it. I jumped at the offer and, with R1000 (about US$120) in my pocket, immediately set out to purchase something more useful -- a classic camera or two.
What a week it turned out to be -- like Christmas and two birthdays all rolled into one.

Spoiled for choice

At a Johannesburg camera store I was spoiled for choice. I fondled a Pentax SP SLR with a clip-on light meter, drooled over a couple of beautiful Minolta SRTs and considered another, high-quality Nikkormat.
But then I saw it, and it was love at first sight. An absolutely, like-new, seemingly never-used, Canon FTb QL with a 55mm f1.2 lens. At R350, including the original owner's manual, there was no way I was leaving without it. Heck, I would have paid three times that and still believed it a bargain!
But it didn't end there. I added a 28mm f2.8 Hervic Zivnon lens, still in its leather case and with a lens hood, for R50, a beautiful Kodalux, all metal light meter that slides into a camera hot-shoe and that can take both reflected and incident light readings for R35 and a Gossen Sixon light meter, complete with leather case for R40. Both light meters are as accurate as my digital meter and accordingly, I am delighted.
I also bought what looked like a perfectly-working Gossen Pilot (what can I say, I like light meters) but wasn't. I don't know if I'll bother to get it repaired and will probably just use it as a teaching aid.
I don't know anything about the Hervic Zivnon lens and can't find much about the brand on the Internet. It's made in Japan, appears to be all-metal and seems to be well-made. I have no idea of the quality of the images it will produce, as I have not yet used it but will post results and impressions in due course.


Two days later Johan from Kameraz -- who knows my fondness for classic German cameras -- called to tell me he had a pristine Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super that was mine if I was prepared to part with R250 -- more or less what I had left over from the proceeds of the guitar sale.
I quickly high-tailed it over to his Rosebank shop and, after a couple of cups of coffee, departed with another, rescued, classic, film, camera.
It is in beautiful condition, apart from a few flecks on the mirror -- as is the case with my Kodak Retina SLR -- that have absolutely no effect on the final image.
The Contaflex is like handling a piece of jewelry and I am looking forward to running a roll of film through it. Once I get 'round to doing so I will post the results and a "review" of the camera but first want to put the Canon through its paces.
Which explains why there are no pictures accompanying this post. Right now, I am having so much fun shooting the 39 year-old Canon that I don't feel like firing up the digital Nikon to shoot pics of the new additions. Maybe on the weekend.

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