Dinosaur Month


I’m going to spend the majority of the next month or two using some of the oldest and most primitive cameras in my collection, all with B&W film. The main criteria is that none of these cameras should necessarily make taking photographs very easy. What does this mean in practice? It means for example using the Zenit B that I was never able to sell. This is as primitive an SLR as it gets-everything is mechanical, even the viewfinder is less than impressive, and it has a weight on it like a small tank. I’ve got some Fomapan loaded in it now.

Credits: alex34

I have an original Helios lens to go with this now which makes it even weirder to use-it has a stop down system on the front ring which has taken me a day or two to get used to.
It also means using the Praktica IV I have (loaded with the first of my Silvermax B&W rolls), and the Zeiss Box Tengor and Lubitel 2, both loaded with low-ISO (50) B&W films. These films require good judgement to get to work, but are also pure time travel.

Why all this masochistic self-inflicted pain and primitivism?After all, even an ‘old’ camera can be one that still makes taking pictures very easy. My Werra Werramat, Praktica MTL3 and Praktica B mount cameras all fall into this category. When one considers that the Werra was made as long ago as the 1950s, this is little less than genius. They’re great cameras, and no doubt I’ll return to them with some relief after all this is over. But sometimes you want something that makes you ‘work’ a bit more to get a good picture. Sometimes the primitive mechanics are good to remind you that the best things in life need to be earned, that the camera is just a device that’s only as good as your own eye and brain, and that simple can also be beautiful. And sometimes, just sometimes, you get better pictures because of the extra effort ;-)

written by alex34 on 2013-03-18

One Comment

  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I have been wanting to use my older and/or more primitive cameras too. I am playing with some light meter programs for my smart phone trying to find one I like. I do not want to waste too much film on poor judgement. Then I will be doing close to the same, I hope.