asahi pentax spotmatic
I had been cured of GAS, briefly. I came across this beauty for a very affordable price and I had to have it. The Asahi Pentax Spotmatic itself wasn't what caught my attention at first, but rather the lens mounted on it - the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4! I couldn't believe my eyes. I assumed something must have been seriously wrong with the camera. I picked it up for a quick inspection; looked through the viewfinder expecting to see a giant fungus obstructing my view, but no, my view was crystal clear. I then went ahead to play with different shutter/aperture combinations and sure enough, absolutely smooth on every setting. I grabbed it, parted with very little money, and jumped on my imaginary getaway horse and rode hurriedly into the sunset.
After both my Prakticas broke and the Helios lens on my Zenit-E got slightly damaged, I'd been looking for another reliable SLR. I couldn't wait to take the Spotmatic out for a spin, so I loaded a Kodak Gold 200 film which had been sitting in a drawer for a while. I am not really sure how it got there in the first place, but it looked unused. So as I went about taking photos, I was unsure what I was getting in three different ways; the camera could be a dud, the lens could be a dud and of course, the film could be, well, a dud.
The shooting experience with the Spotmatic was really pleasant. The shutter release produced virtually no vibrations. And I enjoyed focusing at the Super-Takumar's glorious f1.4, however I didn't shoot anything I thought was 'important' as I wasn't really sure I was taking any photos at all.
I was both pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised when the photos came back. I thought the photos came out a little washed out and lacking in contrast. I had such high expectations for the Super-Takumar lens I think. I immediately blamed the film, perhaps rightfully. I don't know why I didn't check the expiry date before loading it, but it hadn't crossed my mind in all my excitement. It may have been expired. As far as I could see, the camera was doing it's job well - shutter speed and aperture-wise, so I was left with the film or the lens.
The very bizarre thing I can't get my head around is the grain. Not that it is present, but when and where. All the photos I took at f16 and f11 came out both underexposed and super grainy. These were taken in the blazing sunshine with the correct settings according to Sunny 16 (Shutter at 1/250). All shots at f8 - f1.4 were no where near as grainy. Again, this could all be due to the characteristics of expired film especially considering this was a 200 speed Kodak Gold.
All shall soon be clear. I have just finished another roll in the Spotmatic, this time using a fresh Agfaphoto Vista 200 film. I can't wait to see what happens. Perhaps I've found the reason why the camera was priced so low.