Friday, June 29, 2018

Follow Up with the Asahi Pentax K2

In my last post I noted I was having issues with my new to me Pentax K2 dying on me during the day, screwing the battery cover in and and out sort of solved the problem but wasn't the permanent solution. I cleaned the battery box on the bottom of the camera with a q-tip and some pure alchohol (don't try this with the kind you drink as it will leave a sticky residue). The q-tip came out a mid grey colour.

So I go to where I usually test cameras, Bronte Harbour in the west end of Oakville, the K2 performed flawlessly. While I was down there I ran into and chatted with my brother Alex's former art teacher while she was painting one of the boats.

Camera: Asahi Pentax K2, SMC Pentax M 50 f1.7 lens, SMC Pentax K 28 f3.5 lens, Takumar (bayonet)
Film: Fomapan 100, Tmax Dev 1+4.

Bronte Condo Curves I

Bronte Harbour Looking In

Bronte Harbour Warf_

Bronte Inner Harbour

Bronte Sail Boats_

Painting the Rowboat

Bronte Beach in the Sun_

Small Cove

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Some Thoughts on the Asahi Pentax K2


Mid 1970s, Pentax was getting a little concerned, sales of its screw mount camera line were dropping off, M-42 was a great mount circa 1958, held its own in the mid 1960s but by 1975 was getting long in the tooth. Pentax collaborated with of all companies Zeiss Ikon to design the K mount in the late 1960s to come up with a joint lens mount The German partners decided to get out of the camera business altogether by the mid-1970s and Pentax made the K mount an open source technology. In an alternate universe if Zeiss Ikon kept making cameras, they would have K mounts but I digress.

Pentax dropped onto the market three cameras, the entry level KM which was a Spotmatic F with a K-mount for all intents and purposes (want to get one at some point), the KX which had a much better meter and the top of the line K2 which had a Seiko vertical Copal shutter which was electronically controlled with the ability to do aperture priority like the Nikkormat EL Minolta XE-7 and the Olympus OM-2, Canon was way off in left field with their EF and soon to be released AE-1 which embraced shutter priority.

The K2 was aimed squarely at advanced amateurs and the later and much rarer K2DMD which also had motor drive capability and a data back. While the KM was replaced by the K1000 by and large, and the KX was discontinued the much more compact MX in 1977 replacing it, the K2 remained in production until 1980 to be replaced indirectly by the LX which had a 20-year production run.

I got my K2 from a local camera show for $80 CAD and immediately put in some fresh Energizer 357's and an SMC Pentax M 50mm lens on. I wanted to try the camera out last week starting Thursday late afternoon downtown (photos below), it worked great. I finished the roll Saturday and the camera started flaking out. I had to remove and reinstall the batteries to almost "reboot" the camera. I got through the roll of Tri-X, processed and got, as usual, some great shots all things considered.

My theory was I was getting flakiness from dirty battery contacts, I should state up front there was no battery corrosion in the battery box which would have been really bad. To put that theory to the test I dipped a q-tip in some pure alcohol and cleaned the battery box as best I could, the q-tip came up grey. So, popped the batteries back in the camera immediately came back to life and fired consistently and the meter was giving solid readings. Another test roll is in order shot locally this time to draw a full conclusion.

Other than that, the K2 is a really nice camera it has the classic "Just Hold One" Pentax ergonomics with one glaring what the hell were the engineers and product designers were thinking, the film speed was on the lens mount like Nikkormat FT(n, 2 and 3). The film speed control on the K2 is known to become difficult to change and an opportunity to lose a fingernail if you're not careful. A CLA will fix this problem. The other weak spot is the exposure compensation is on the same lens mount, neat idea at the time, Pentax should have just copied with Nikon was doing with the Nikkormat EL and Minolta with the XE-7 with their film speed and exposure compensation controls and the K2 would have been perfect.

The market for K2s these days is all over the place, I got mine for $80 CAD, expect to pay more on Ebay, if you shoot K mount and you're looking for something a bit off the beaten path and LX prices are too rich for your wallet, give the K2 a look.

(Update June 22, 2018. It was dirty battery contacts, I shot a follow-up roll of Fomapan 100 with no issues.)


Camera: Asahi Pentax K2, SMC Pentax M 50 f1.4 lens.
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400, Tmax developer 1+4.

Asahi Pentax K2

Middle of Front and Bay

Bay St. Farmers Market

Temperance St. in the Shadow

Queen and York

Walking up the Alley

Barrio Cerveceria

Walking Past Riverside_

Resting Bulldog

Monday, June 25, 2018

Around Close to Home

Kodak Tri-X 400, a stalwart black and white film, Tmax developer originally designed for T-grained films. I never tried them together, oh boy do these photos look great! I shot around Oakville Harbour and the old part of town two weeks ago. The camera of choice was the classic Pentax Spotmatic F and of course the Takumar glass is amazing.

Up until recently I always processed Tri-X in either Xol, D76 or HC110 dilution B, what I got from my Fomapan 400 roll by using Tmax developer blew my mind so of course I have to experiment. What you see below I would print in the darkroom. Of course I bought another bottle of Tmax developer.

Camera: Asahi Pentax F, SMC Takumar lenses.
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400, Tmax Developer 1+4

Waterfront Trail and Fluffy Clouds

Off to the Boats

Line up of Sailboats

Patch of Ferns

Classic Mustang Convertable

Lakeside Seating in a Mini Park_

Where Water St. Becomes Robinson St

Very Late afternoon on 16 Mile Creek

Walking Along Lakeshore After Dinner

Serving Dinner Al Fresco

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ferrania P.30 in Port Dalhousie

Port Dalhousie was a port town on the south shore of Lake Ontario but these days is a suburb of St. Catherines. It was the starting point of the first and second generation Welland Canals and is now a harbour for recreational sailors and powerboaters. One place I can't reccomend enough is the Lock St. Brewery, it's a cool little spot in "downtown" Port Dalhousie and they make great beer. In some ways I was rushed with my visit and I want to go back with more time to wander around.

Camera: Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko 50 f1.8 lens.
Film: Ferrania P30, HC110 B.

Looking Down on Main St. Port Dalhousie Looking West

Gertrude and Canal Sts

9  Canal St

Canal St. Sidewalk Stairs

Looking Towards Howes Park

Port Dalhousie Harbour

Old Lock Door

Second Generation Welland Canal Lock

Old Textile Plant

Top of the Dam

Monday, June 18, 2018

Test Roll Ferrania P30

Film Ferrania, a storied Italian film manufacturer back from the dead. They made a big splash a few years back with a Kickstarter campaign with a crazy idea to bring their slide film back. Well, with that old cliche the road to hell was paved with good intentions, Ferrania got a six lane Autostrada for their troubles. The old factory had a ton of environmental issues (asbestos) which distracted the brain trust. Out of the blue they got a coating machine going and produced an Alpha Run of P.30, a black and white motion picture stock rated 80 ISO in daylight beloved by Italian filmmakers like Fellini.

I was gifted a roll of P.30 by Alex Luyckx to shoot and later talk about in an upcoming Classic Camera Revival Podcast. I used a recently overhauled Olympus OM-2n, and processed in HC110 B, yes D76 was the preferred developer but I didn't want to mix up a fresh batch as I'm halfway through some Xtol I mixed up recently. I exposed this film on a less than ideal morning down in Port Dalhousie with overcast skies. Now bear in mind I only had a single roll and would rather shoot a half dozen rolls of a particular film and process in different developing chemicals to come up with a more informed opinion.

Now I got pretty smooth negs filled with information that I could rescue in Lightroom if need be. A great plus is they dry flat as a pancake, great for scanning. I won't be printing from these negs, if Ferrania does another batch, I'll buy some rolls. The big challenge with P.30, it's not cheap, we're looking at $8 USD off the Ferrania website and that's before shipping. You will want to buy ten rolls to make postage costs worthwhile. My guess if Downtown Camera in Toronto were to sell this film it would list for $14.99 CAD per roll retail.

The other challenge P.30 faces is there are a fair number of medium speed black and white films out there that produce great results like Rollei RPX 100, Ilford Delta 100, Ilford FP4 125, Kodak Tmax 100 and if you want to go budget, another motion picture stock ORWO UN 54,  Fomapan and Kosmo Mono 100 in 35mm. Now if Ferrania could get some volume, the cost will go down if they get past their growing pains, that would be great. The truth of the matter Ferrania should have made slide film a stretch goal and focused on P.30 out first as the Kickstarter project, hindsight is 20/20.


Camera: Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko 50 f1.8 lens.
Film: Ferrania P30, HC110 B.

Port Dalhousie Peaking Into the Harbour

Mackie's

Old Concrete Stairs_

Balzac's Port Dalhousie_

Port Dalhousie Steps to the Sidewalk

Looking Down on Downtown Port Dalhousie_

Port Dalhousie House_

Looking Down on Main St. Port Dalhousie_

Friday, June 15, 2018

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park Spring 2018 Part Two.

My game plan is to get back up here much more often than in previous Summers.


Camera: Canon F-1N, FDn 28 f2.8 and 50 f1.4 lenses.
Film: Kodak Max 400

Fork in the Trail_

Old Fence Post_

Lower Trail at Mono Cliffs_

The Marsh at Mono Cliffs Two

Mono Cliffs Side Trail

Mono Cliffs Stream

Mono Cliffs South Pond Island Two

Mono Cliffs Bruce Trail Portion Heading Up

Mono Cliffs Former Orchard

Mono Cliffs Bruce Trail Through the Short Trees

Afternoon in Mono Cliffs_