When I was 12, I decided I wanted a decent camera. I was born in the past when you had to go to a library to find things out, like how a camera worked. Or ask someone or get a magazine or watch a tv programme. In the library I found a small paperback whose title and author I forget, but it was divided into two parts. The first was about using a camera, the second was about developing and printing black and white. I read the entire thing and thanks to that book, I learned how to use just about any camera plus working in a darkroom. Except I didn’t have either. The August 1984 edition of the monthly magazine What Camera? said that a £50 Praktica MTL3 was what my parents could afford, so for my thirteenth birthday that is what I received.
We were about to go on a rare foreign holiday to Spain, so my father treated himself to a Ricoh KR10 Super (three times the price of mine!) Smaller, smoother, light-weight plastic with aperture priority, compared to my Eastern Bloc metal, all-manual, sharp-edged box. Ironically Prakticas have outlasted many 80s plastic SLRs. Later, we joined a local camera club and developed our own slide film at home since no darkroom was necessary, only a changing bag. I had access to one at school and eventually, university.
Dad’s camera was stolen one afternoon in 1996, from a car park in the English Lake District when thieves failed to start his car, so took it along with a Tokina Zoom, a Sigma 28mm and my mother’s second-hand Pentax ME-F that she didn’t often use. I wanted to try and replace it for Christmas. Finding a camera shop, I decided to stick to Pentax K mount and saw a Ricoh KR10 Super among the other second-hands. No, it wasn’t the stolen one. It was reasonably priced, so I bought it with a Pentax 75-150mm zoom plus a camera bag for less than £180, if I remember well. He was very pleased but later switched to digital, and I now have it with the zoom. I replaced the light seals, but otherwise it meters and shoots fine.
My current place of work had a good darkroom, but I can no longer be bothered to go through the steps of buying chemicals (these always seemed expensive), developing, and trying to get a good print. The film was developed by Filmlog in Seoul, who for ₩8000, will develop and scan at 1500×1000. I feel that some post-processing in the form of contrast and sharpening may have been done, but what you see is how I received them. All 39 exposures came out fine except for occasionally poor manual focusing. I would prefer them untouched; I think, but they aim to please couples in their twenties judging by their busy store. Fomapan seems very grainy, but isn’t that part of the ‘film-look’? The pictures show Jeju Island where I live, which is in fact a very colourful and often odd place.
Another 18 rolls left in the fridge and then that’s it for me! It’ll be at least 10 years before I finish it probably.
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