Sometimes we get pockets of time, and these create adventures, discoveries. On a recent trip to North Carolina, decided to take a detour to a local camera store and see what they had in their “garbage” bins – boxes of as-is film photo gear. I always wanted to do a $100 exercise, walk in and get a full kit and some film for $100 or less, and this was the opportunity.
For $55US, I found Pentax Spotmatic with 28mm Kominar lens. It was the focal length of the lens that attracted me to this camera. The weather outside was hot and humid pre-storm weather, so I grabbed two rolls of FP4 and decided to spend about 45 minutes in downtown Raleigh shooting a test roll.
Following the lunch at the local pub, I set out into the heat to take photos. Out of the bargain bin, the camera worked. Film was loaded easily, and film advance works quite smoothly. The shooting experience itself was the great.
Spotmatic is a relatively large SLR body, definitely heftier than OM-1 or Nikon FE. It feels more substantial to handle, but by no means awkward. Controls and dials are pure efficiency – very easy and intuitive to operate. Viewfinder is rather spartan, but over the years of shooting film, I have grown accustomed to appreciate this. Spotmatics do have lightmeter built in, but it was malfunctioning in this particular camera. This, however, did not interfere with the shooting experience.
Fully mechanical operation is what I like the most about this camera. It fits well in hand and does not get in the way of photography, unlike so many electronic and digital models. With a distinct design, this camera certainly stands out, but what makes it even more attractive is pure raw efficiency it offers to a photographer. Combined with a right film, this is a great utility camera .
The results were great, at least I am happy with them. A purely indulgent purchase, camera I did not need or think of before. Still, one that is quite a lot of fun to use.
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