Ok, recap: house is burning down. Praktica FX2 has been saved. All pets and relatives also safe too BTW. What 120 format camera to save?
120 format is completely different to me from 35mm format. Fewer shots, but also a larger and in some ways more attractive canvas to paint on. I have some very nice 120 cameras. The Lubitel 2 is very cute. The Pouva Start is for me my Diana/Holga camera (small, plastic lens, soft dreamy photos). The Mamiya C330 is enormous and sort of awesome. But there are two cameras I’d save (yes, you heard me, TWO).
First choice would be, bizarrely, my Welta Weltaflex. I say bizarre because it’s sort of unfashionable and doesn’t have the world’s greatest lens (a simple triplet). It was once memorably described online as looking ‘rather Eastern Bloc’, and is very much a camera of the 1950s. It’s way below the Mamiya or even a Yashica in overall build and lens quality. BUT, this is the camera I REALLY learnt analogue photography on, and also the one that really first sparked my interest in what the East Germans were producing. It’s a bit more solid than a Lubitel, (metal, not bakelite) a LOT easier to focus, (though with dim screen), and has a sensible as opposed to awkward shutter release trigger (by which I mean its side mounted and a decent size, rather than tiny and at the front as on a Lubitel). It’s all mechanical nature is what really first taught me the ins and outs of shutter speed, exposure, film speed, bulb setting and aperture setting, something you don’t then ever really forget. That learning curve alone I think will always cause you to hold that ONE camera (whatever it was) in extra affection. It’s the first camera I reviewed for LSI. Even as over time I’ve come to recognize the limitations of its simple triplet lens, I also still really like the images it can produce. So no way I’m ever letting this one go.
The second camera in my other hand? This one is really easy-the Pentacon Six TL. A totally bizarre giant SLR, luscious lens, and a whole variety of other lenses available which I haven’t even tried yet! Needs love and care, but again one I wouldn’t ever willingly let go.