Since getting back into film about 18 months ago, I’ve tried many different cameras and never really gelled with any of them. But when I read about the 500G I knew I needed one. A shutter priority rangefinder with a sharp 40mm f2.8 lens, and really compact too – what’s not to like?
Well, I found one on eBay for £25 with dodgy light seals (a very common problem, apparently). Indeed the seals were largely just black gunk, but after a couple of hours work with various wooden implements, a can of WD40, a craft knife and some new 2mm self adhesive foam, I had the seals looking pretty neat.
After this surgery, the little fella has proved to be the camera I could, finally, really like using. Its compact size suits my small hands perfectly. It’s well built out of metal with leatherette patches for grip. The viewfinder could be bigger but it’s plenty clear enough, the 40mm FOV is very versatile, and there is a bright aperture needle on the right hand side; just move the shutter speed ring to get the aperture you want – perfect! Focussing with the yellow RF patch is quick and, so far anyway, accurate. The winder operates smoothly and doesn’t need a huge throw. And the shutter makes a pleasing quiet snick sound. It all just feels right.
I’ve tried a few films through the 500G. Fomapan 400 gave lovely contrast and tones in both landscape and street scenes. With my favourite colour film, Lomography 400, I’ve got rich warm colours with a distinctly filmish appeal if that doesn’t sound obvious! My preference is for mono films, though, so some of my stock of Acros 100 is next in line and I can’t wait to see the results.