I’ve been looking to get a rangefinder camera for a while now, but so far I just don’t have the best luck with the ones I’ve come across. I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much about a camera I bought at the old thrift store for $6.00. Not too much. The first thing I’d say though, is that after shooting a roll through it, I noticed that the lens is absolutely lousy with fungus; I don’t think I would have bothered if I’d seen that earlier, even for that price, and so I still don’t know how a clean example would look. However, what I will say is this: it certainly feels and handles very nicely. The film advance is smooth and easy, as is the focusing. The aperture diaphragm has at least a dozen blades as well and was sort of the deciding factor for me (besides the price), not knowing much about Petri the camera company. There’s no light meter, but I felt confident enough to shoot Sunny-16 with a roll of Portra 400, and do a bit of street photography at the weekly farmers’ markets back in the Summer.
I can’t say that there are too many pictures I took that I am fond of here, that’s why I posted so few of them, and I wonder if these will do me more good than harm. Perhaps I just need to get the hand of using something other than an SLR, but it didn’t feel wrong when I was shooting, it’s just that most of the results seem forced.
Another annoying thing about this camera is its self timer, which is a lever on the lens itself and protrudes quite far, making it easy to set accidentally: there doesn’t seem to be a way to cancel it, resulting in a few wonderful masterpieces like these ones:
I’ve considered bending this annoying lever so it stops catching on things, but honestly I don’t think it’s worth the effort.
I also contracted a rare disease from this camera in which the user starts inadvertently to take pictures while pulling the camera out of his bag; unfortunately it took me a while to recover and it was several rolls after this one that the symptoms finally disappeared. I pray to never suffer a relapse, but unfortunately I will never get those wasted frames back…
With the right film, the lack of a light meter didn’t turn out to be a liability for me (actually I picked up a spotmeter at a garage sale while shooting this roll of Portra) so if I come across another rangefinder camera that doesn’t have one like a Canon P or something, I’m not going to immediately discount it. This was also my first roll ever of Portra 400 and while I still prefer the grainier consumer films, I have the feeling Portra’s colors would look real nice shot through my Spotmatic and will have to try it again someday.