5 frames with a Canon Av-1 and a Elicar 28mm f2.8 – A.K.A. “Don’t think, React” – by Gael Berthon

I was looking for a 35mm f2.8 for my Canon A1. After telling a friend about it, he sent me a Wallapop offer from a guy selling a Canon Av-1 with a M42 35mm f2.8 and a FD to M42 Mount, all for 30 bucks and 10 minutes away from my home. Bought it and left it on a shelf, just using my A1 with that lens the Av-1 body came with, for a while.

A few month later I participated in a small project and wanted to have the option of having 2 lens with me and not willing to swap lens every now and then… And so… Took that Av-1 from the shelf to have 2 bodies with me that day. Something that a really rarely do. It’s its lightweight that charmed me that day, compared to my bulky A1.

The Canon Av-1 is an extremely simple Aperture priority only camera (and so, battery powered which is its main downside), that I mainly use with a Elicar 28mm f2.8, M42 mount. That lens was given to me by a friend back in my “youth town ” in Marseille, France.

I live in Madrid, Spain for the last 13 years, where we have about 300 sunny days per year. That Av-1 and my 28mm set to f16 to f22, pre-focused at 1.5meter… It became almost instantly my “don’t think, react” camera.
As for the aesthetic, I usually use Kodak Tri-X pushed two stop and I love being really close to my subjects in the street. Needless to say that I do like high contrast quite a bit.

All 5 pictures presented here are from the Av-1 with a Promura 35mm f2.8 or an Elicar 28mm f2.8 (altho just one picture is with the 35mm). The film used was Kodak TriX pushed 2 stops (ASA1600) that I processed in D76 (1+1) for 13min15sec. My agitations do change from roll to roll, depending of what I shot that day and what I expect to get, contrast wise. Altho I have made prints in darkroom of those negative, what I’m presenting here are scanned negatives (Epson V550).

I also can be found on Instagram
And here, my Madrid AgBr serie.


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7 thoughts on “5 frames with a Canon Av-1 and a Elicar 28mm f2.8 – A.K.A. “Don’t think, React” – by Gael Berthon”

  1. Nice work. Your narritave & photographs once again drives home the point there is still much life & potential in older, supposed ‘obsolete’ equipment.
    Inexpensive & plentiful on the market, more people should take advantage of the offerings. Great adventures & photos await.

    1. Hey Dan,
      Thank you for the comment mate, appreciated 🙂 Altho I’m not sure about the “once again”. That’s the first time I’m writting for 35mmc 😉

      1. Hi, I was casting a wide “net” referencing to you & other guests that produced fine work with ‘dinosaur’ equipment. It’s refreshing to continually see creative photography produced by this equipment.

    1. Hey Dexter, cannot agree more 🙂 I love the aesthetic of Tri-X pushed +2 or +3. Downside, you’ll have way less to work with once in the enlarger in the dark room. As you’ll be left with almost no mid-tone to work with 🙂 Upside, while walking the streets you know you’ll always have a fast enough shutter speed.

  2. Very narrative pictures !
    I’m glad to see you used only simple analogue tools ! Wonderful Elicar and Promura lenses.

    1. Thank you Jens! Indeed there are loads and loads of M42 mount lenses that are way too underrated out there. There’s beautiful glass for 10 bucks waiting somewhere, no doubt 🙂

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