Sunday, March 23, 2008

Second First Impressions

So I had some free time this weekend and decided to use it to revisit my old friends in the closet, my camera collection. I went through as many as I could, removing stale batteries and exercising the lenses and shutters. In the process I discovered a few things, and was struck with what I can only call 'second first impressions' of some cameras that I haven't used for a while:

Discovery #1 -- old hearing aid batteries (1.3v replacements) can leak and leave a crystalline residue in your battery chamber. Easily cleaned with a damp cloth but good to know.

Discovery #2 -- it's a good idea to exercise the shutter of any old camera before loading it with film and taking it out for a spin, just to make sure it's in shape and up to speed. There were a few that were sluggish for the first few frames and got better quickly.

Discovery #3 -- there's simply never enough space. Shocker, I know!

Some quick standout impressions of some of my neglected friends:

Konica Autoreflex AC, light and impressively compact, the compact 40mm makes this a great package.
Konica Autoreflex T3, a solid picture taking machine.
GAF Memo, super-compact dark horse of a shooter.
Kiev 4, just f'n cool, so silent and smooth and stylish.
FED 2e quirky and cool, heavy.
Minolta SRT101, maybe the smoothest shutter release of the mechanical cameras.
Vivitar 400/SL ah what memories we made together. Nice solid workhorse.
Sears/Ricoh TLS, slightly primitive classic classic. Heavy!
Prakticas, KA-CHUNK.
Olympus Trip 35, so cute, understated easy shooter.
Ricoh 500G, Vivitar 35ES, Canonet GIII, Olympus 35RC (forgot I had that one!) what can I say, all great tight little packages, all good shooters.
Konica Auto S2, the Cadillac of rangefinders, almost too nice to use. Big.
Yashica Electro 35, which I have too many of, you wouldn't know to look at it that it could take the pictures it does.
Agfa Isolette, Franka Solida, Moskva-5, solid shutters (especially the M-5) and classy well engineered packages.
Kodak Retina 1a, a thing of beauty and a true marvel of engineering. Jaw dropping precision action.
Walz Walzflex, very nice action for a relative unknown.
and Argus A, who couldn't like that little art deco classic.

That's the off-the-top-of the head standout list, I have other ones around that I didn't touch but I was so impressed at some of these I just had to give them a little shout out.

I did take an Electro 35 out for a spin down to Ghirardelli Square, we'll see how those pics come out. You know, 'cause I'm rusty and all.

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