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Tuesday Throwback

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by tonyturley, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    I grew up in an era when digital meant “relating to fingers or toes”, personal computers were the stuff of Star Trek, and cameras recorded their images on something called celluloid. I’ve long had a fascination with photography, and when my parents presented me with my first camera and a large, very stout aluminum tripod for my 18th Christmas, I was delighted. I quickly set about snapping away gleefully – or as much as my part-time job allowed me to buy film and developing, at least. I never really delved into the nuances of photography, but trusted the old Praktica’s light meter to get it right. The concept of exposure compensation was a foreign concept to me, but I still managed to capture some decent images from time to time. I used that camera for 20 years, never giving in to GAS. I was happy.

    Fast forward over 40 years, and I’m recording images with an Olympus E-M10 II and a Panasonic GX85 these days, mostly with native lenses. I’ve always loved exploring, and my camera purchases in the past few years have bounced between Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic, and Fuji, always searching out good deals on gently used equipment. I enjoy variety, and I’ve passed many cameras and lenses on to other buyers when I’ve been ready for a change. That included quite a few older manual focus lenses of various mounts. A couple of those old lenses I’ve kept, however, and one of those is a Flektogon 35mm f/2.4, whose rendering on my old Pracktica is beautiful. I also used it on my old Pentax K-30, but I never gelled very well with that camera on either attempt at owning one.

    Despite my preference for smaller cameras, I’ve had an itch to try another DSLR in Pentax K mount, but I didn’t want another heavy beast. This was to be a low key, knock-about fun camera. After much reading, it sounded like Pentax’s *ist D, their first DSLR, might be the ticket, with its low advertised weight of under 500g without batteries. Prices on eBay and Amazon were much higher than I wanted to spend however, so I kept looking. After many searches, I finally found a listing on KEH for only $65, and it was graded at EX. Knowing KEH usually rates items lower than I would, I surmised that an EX grade camera was probably in near mint condition, so I ordered it.

    I pulled into my driveway this afternoon to find a small box at my door. Lifting the box, my first thought was “Is there anything in this box?”. Upon opening the box and carefully unwinding the very generous bubble wrapping, I found myself holding a cosmetically mint condition mini DSLR. Why was I so pleased to have in my hands a 6.1 MP camera from 2003? Dunno, but I felt like I’d just uncovered a treasure. I mounted the Flek via its M42-PK adapter, and popped in a set of freshly charged Eneloop AA cells and a 16 MP Compact Flash card (Gotta thank Amazon for that one – I doubt I’d find one around here.) Having previewed the manual from Ricoh’s web site, I pressed MENU while turning on the camera, and discovered the firmware was already updated to the most recent. I spent about 10 minutes tweaking the settings to my liking, then took the camera and my dog out for his afternoon walk.

    There’s still something very satisfying to me about manual focus with an old lens – even when I occasionally miss the focus, like in the first image where I somehow got the leaves in focus and missed on the flowers. I guess it just harkens back to my days with that first SLR. I used green button metering with the center-weighted pattern. All images were at 200 ISO and f/5.6. The camera and lens balances very well together, and the weight isn’t much more than one of my micro 4/3 cameras. Fun times!

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    DMC-GX85    ---    60mm    f/7.1    1/60s    ISO 1600

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  2. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Not bad for an ancient lens and a camera from 2003 using only the overhead ceiling fan for a light source.

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  3. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    Steve
    I had an *ist D as my first DSLR. I really liked the size and the handling, although the AF worked best for still subjects. I ultimately upgraded to the 10D and K7 and gave it away. A camera I remember fondly.
     
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  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    6 Mp is all one needs for good image quality. Sometimes chasing down the latest and greatest, we need to remember that we started in it for the FUN. I've chased down a few old lenses and old bodies and enjoyed my results (and the experiences). In fact, I still get daily emails from eBay for new listings of Olympus E-P1 listings.

    One day, I'll re-buy my old E-P1 and 17mm lens and be back in heaven. But it's gotta be for the price I sold it for back when the E-P3 was all the rage and no one wanted that old, slow-focusing 17mm anymore.

    In the meantime, I have a new-to-me used A7ii and I want to order a m42 to Sony E adapter so I can slap some old Pentax Super Takumars and enjoy manual focusing some old lenses on an awfully nice new body.

    So viva la "old gear". Your shots show that there's plenty of old life in that old gear.....but you may want to stock up on compact flash cards....those may not last as long as the Pentax body does!
     
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  5. theoldsmithy

    theoldsmithy All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 7, 2013
    Cheshire, England
    Martin Connolly
    I agree about 6mp. My first proper digital camera was a Nikon D40, and I got some fantastic shots with that. It was also built like a brick outhouse and survived a number of drops unscathed. Autofocus gave you a choice of three points and lots of other things were poorly designed, but stick it in P mode with centre autofocus and it delivered.
     
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  6. gordo

    gordo Regular

    70
    Jul 6, 2017
    Arizona
    Nice acquisition!

    Count me as another who started with DSLRs in the 6mp days - a D70 with the 18-70 kit lens. Only setup I had for a while. It delivered as long as I did my part, with the occasional exception when the scene exceeded single-shot dynamic range or the AF capability. Not a thing wrong with 6mp files IMHO.

    As mentioned above, might be an idea to have a spare CF card or two. And maybe a spare card reader. Not sure how available batteries are for the older bodies these days, maybe a spare battery as well.

    Have fun with your new "vintage" DSLR. :D 
     
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  7. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    Steve
    If I remember correctly, these 6 MP DSLRs really pushed digital past film. Most everyone has their favorite. My entire trip to India was shot on the *ist D. However, last year I opened a picture from that trip. I did notice that the 6 mp files run out of crop space much faster than I'm used to these days.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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  8. I was still using my Olympus C760UZ when you were all DSLRing. I was a bit slow off the mark. Then, a friend bought an OLympus E5something kit and she never looked back. I could not afford such luxury so I went to JBHifi (a discount house here in Oz, which doesnt really discount much anymore) and landed the 10Mp K200D + 18-55 lens. I was so happy with that purchase, god knows why I thought a K-5 would bring even more happiness. I should never have sold my original, but I did. And have now rebought. I think sometimes the pursuit of "better" leads us to forget why we started photographing things in the first place.
     
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  9. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Many of us have made that same mistake, Sue. Why did I go through 2 decades of film photography with the same camera and lens, then develop a bad case of "more, more, more!" after going digital? Why do I still look at listings, when what I have is perfectly acceptable? Wish I knew.
     
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  10. addieleman

    addieleman Regular

    99
    Oct 20, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Well, for me it's about the sensor and the autofocus. I had neither in my film days whereas now I want to replace my camera when one with a substantially better sensor comes along; better autofocus doesn't really help with my MF lenses :) . I always explain to others that digital photography is much more expensive than film photography: yes, film is expensive, but not as expensive as replacing my camera every 3 years or so.
     
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  11. Matero

    Matero Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    697
    Jan 28, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Sure thing, wondering between systems, photography in the digital era is b**y expensive, pardon my French. And with modern gears with autofocus, tracking, post processing etc one can do wonders so easily.

    However I'm thrilled right now going backwards. Vintage or otherwise manual focus lenses are giving me inspiration again. And SOOC Jpegs, constantly looking ways to improve my photography with on camera settings and restrict PP to cropping, and rarely even that. I'm now trying to source Voigtländer to companion with my X-T1. I'd say pretty good compromise between modern and manual film era. More keepers. And the crocodile tears when you lost your moment with out of focus frames. So heartbreaking, but hey, we are living in an imperfect world, however we'd like to think otherwise. And one can always learn more and be better next time ;) 

    But to move back working with film? Not so much passion left, and SWMBO wouldn't tolerate the time needed. To use older generation digital gear, well not my cup of tea, either. I browse old images from begining of digital era, and feel sorrow that those weren't a bit better in the sense of quality. However, I've reached the point where quality of the gear is not restricting what I'm able to do. Happy bunny now, but lack of inspiration time to time :( 
     
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  12. marlof

    marlof Trying to focus Subscribing Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Marlof
    As I hate selling stuff, I still have most of my older cameras. Just for fun, I did Single in January 2016 with my EP1 that I got out of retirement just for that job. And yes, it was great, great fun. Sure, newer cameras operate faster and have technically higher IQ. And I was happy to use more modern technology when January was over. But I still wouldn’t mind having the EP1 as my only camera. When I take out a camera, I just want to have fun, not shoot something for National Geographic. That’s why I hardly ever use the EM1 with the very nice Pro line lenses I have for it, or didn’t upgrade it to mark II. It’s a useful camera with weather sealing and all, but using it never is pure fun to me. How different is that with my smaller cameras: EM5 (retired), Pen-F (Olympus premium primes) and GX9 (Panasonic primes; replaced a short lived GM5 that was in an unfortunate accident). Every time I pick one of these up, I’m having fun. I’m writing that here, to come back to when the EM1 mark III is released and I get techno lust.
     
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  13. addieleman

    addieleman Regular

    99
    Oct 20, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Enjoyed your album, nice project! I'm guessing the last picture is the Orleansplein in Maastricht, my daughter has lived there and I think I recognize the café.
     
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  14. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    It's a lovely looking camera and nice write-up! I love the fourth shot with the sunlight filtering through the green leaves. Just seeing that image puts me in a peaceful place inside.

    I remember reading -- when I was first making the switch from film to digital -- that 6 mp is all you need for decent 8 x 10 prints. And a whole 65 dollars for a camera in that condition?!! Put a Gold Star on your chart -- ya done good!

    Cheers, Jock

    Cheers, Jock
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
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  15. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Thanks Jock. I think I'm going to take the camera out on tomorrow's hike and see what I can get.
     
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  16. From a Leica Digilux 2, 5 megapixels. 2005 I think. A portrait to accompany an article a writer/friend of mine was writing for publication. It does make you kinda' stop and think for a minute.
    . . . David

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  17. tonyturley

    tonyturley Hall of Famer

    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    When I get the focus right, the *ist D and Flektogon 35/2.4 produce some pleasing images. Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed a tendency to backfocus. In one of my attempts from today, the flowers and basket are blurry, while the wall and red rocks are tack sharp. :hmmm:

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