Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Three Cameras On My Dream List

Super Ricohflex, Fujifilm Acros 100

I've been thinking about film again lately, and took the FE out today for my lunchtime walk and enjoyed it. Yesterday I took the X-T1 and only shot B&W, also enjoying it,

That's brought to mind 3 film cameras that I've never owned but would enjoy owning.

The first is the Contax S2(b). This was one of the last premium manual mechanical 35mm SLR's ever made. It's also the closest any other maker to capturing the essence of the Nikon FM2n, which I still consider the best all-round 35mm manual focus film SLR. And the S2 achieved this largely by simply copying the essence of the FM2n, being a simple mechanical SLR with a wide shutter speed range (1/4000 max), a great viewfinder, relatively compact size and no weird control setups. The only odd thing with the original S2 was it had spot metering only, the later S2b replaced the spot meter with a traditional centre weighted meter. Like the FM2n, the only thing the battery powers is the meter, you can walk around all day shooting with a dead battery. The biggest miss? The plastic wind lever.

Despite the fact these go for somewhat stupid money these days I'd still like to own one someday. I've honestly never had a really good Contax body, just various semi-flaky old ones and a couple cheapo FX-3's. I even have a few lenses which would work on it today, as I have an M42 adapter for Contax mount and an old Vivitar 70-150 in Contax mount.

The second camera is a Hasselblad 500C or one of its successors (through the 501CM). Waistlevel, a 80/2.8 CF and an A12 back and I'd be set. This is the one camera on this list that I actually have shot with, I borrowed a friends some years ago when he wanted to borrow my 645 Super and quite enjoyed putting 5 or so rolls of film through the Hassy. It's such a simple yet workable camera and the IQ is amazing. I've always liked shooting square and still have my old Super Ricohflex TLR which I should put some film through one of these days. But the Hassy is still on my radar as something I'd love. They're not that cheap these days, so this one is a bit pie in the sky.

The third and final camera really isn't a specific camera but rather a type of camera. I would absolutely love to own a wood 4x5 field camera one day. I've had a 4x5 in the past, but it was a monorail and didn't work very well for the sort of shooting I like to do. A field camera is designed for my sorts of uses and they're actually surprisingly light & compact. Give me a 90-110mm lens and 2-3 film holders, plus a decent neg holder for my developing tanks and I'd be set. There's just nothing like holding a huge neg or slide and 4x5 delivers the big negs/slides while not being too overwhelmingly sized like the larger formats.

Honestly, of the three, the 4x5 is actually the most practical. I'd only ever want maybe 2 lenses (a portrait lens could also be fun), the basic camera is actually the cheapest of the three and it's something you only shoot in small doses anyways.


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