What were your first cameras?

What were your first cameras?

We’re putting the band back together…

‘Joliet’ Jake Blues

And here they are. The first three film cameras I owned….

Sort of as unfortunately there’s only one of my cameras that’s from the original line up left standing, and that’s the Praktica MTL5 , the others I’ve picked up on eBay.. The still standing MTL5 is very much a shadow of it’s former self, so we’re really getting into Blues Brother’s 2000 territory, but don’t let that put you off.

Who knows, the originals may turn up in some hidden box in the loft, but I doubt it!

Halina Paulette Electric

Why buy one camera when I can have three, right? These were a buy it now bargain, and the descriptions were promising but lacked cases. I wanted one with a case as it apparently protects the selenium light meter, but I also did not want any more musty leather cases in my study so this worked. I’m probably going to re-skin these as the pattern looks easy enough to follow and one of them is in less than favourable condition.

I didn’t use one of these Halina Paulette Electric cameras for long, but I still remember being frustrated that the photos I took were too wide. I was probably only 8 and had no idea what I was doing, so some things never change. I can remember a few of those photos (the disappointment must have been so great) and I might even be able to recreate them! The original photos may yet surface from the attic, who knows!

I’m yet to shoot film in this lot, but I’m sure to do so and report back! I’m probably going to take photos in the same location as then..

Ricoh 500ST

This camera (or at least one of the Ricoh viewfinders from this era) was what most of my old mountain photos were taken on. I’ve already posted some of the old images on this Carneddau Photo Walk from 1990.I don’t remember being much of a fan at the time, as I preferred the idea of being able to see if I’d focussed properly or not. 

So why not enjoy an upgrade to a rangefinder 500G while I’m at it? Both cameras need light seals replacing, and I may attempt a soldering iron fix on the 500G battery terminals. Nothing too invasive as I’ll use it manually rather than risk it. I may re-skin it as well – a dark red to match the lettering – as I need to lift the leatherette to get to open the camera up anyway. The Rikenon 40mm f/2.8 lens has it’s following, and as I like a 40mm lens on a hiking camera I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.

As these both need some element of repair, I’m yet to shoot them. However I have some original shots as linked to above that I took way back that I will most certainly try and replicate in the year to come.

Praktica MTL5

My final film camera in the 90s, ended up chewing film… It has chewed two more in the past year but seems to be taking kindly to a third and final test roll… So If I’ve not shot the ones before, I’m making up with it with this one. I’ll post the results, if the camera allows it.

On the plus side, I was just able to pick this up and shoot. Just like riding a bike.

I also had an issue with decent M42 lenses and lacked a 50mm lens that either focussed, had a working aperture or wasn’t fungus infested Excellent ++++ condition. My beloved Helios M44-M (or something) had fallen apart as well (I’m going to make one good lens with the pair I’ve got by putting the clear optics into the working body – post to follow). Thankfully, a very lucky eBay job lot brought me a handful of them, including a most desirable Super Takumar 1.8.

I’m going to exercise this camera a bit more after this current roll, but I need to get the roll out in one piece first.

I’m currently shooting this with a variety of lenses – from the aforementioned Super Takumar 55mm, through to trying some Adaptall 2 lenses on it now I’ve got hold of an M42 adapter for them. The Saitex 28mm is my original lens as well, which was the one i generally used while walking the mountains. I’m also taking this for a mountain walk this year, probably with just the 28mm (and a well hidden Adaptall zoom, just in case!)

And again, why have one when you can have many? I’m trying out the Super TL and TL3 which were part of a job lot. After some cleaning and gluing and wishful thinking they both seem to work well enough though the light meter doesn’t seem to work on the TL3 and the first test roll with the former hasn’t convinced me the camera doesn’t have problems. So I’ll need to throw some more rolls through these.

I’ve also got a handful of various Prakticas in the junk box- mainly bought as part of random job lots. The GAS Camera stays out even if it doesn’t work as it represents everyone’s camera GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome. The remainder are

If nothing else, shooting these cameras is certainly going to be fun and I’ll close with the line that followed the first quote above.

We’re on a mission from God.

Elwood Blues

Finally – for those still confused…

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