Notes From The Top Left Corner

Discussion in 'Competitions, Themes & Blogs' started by Chris Bennett, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I tried to avoid mentioning earlier in this thread that, in my bid to clear out a number of cameras, I managed to divest myself of one, but somehow acquired three. One of those was a little Sony that has been converted to full spectrum. The second one was the fulfilment of a long held wish.
    When the postman came to our front door, I told him that I had been waiting to hear that particular knock since 1987, because that's how long it is since I first decided that I wanted to own a Pentax LX.

    Pentax LX.JPG
    My wife has owned a beautiful Pentax MX, which I bought for her in the early 1990s and I am able to use this almost any time I please but I find it too small for me - despite having fairly small hands, I like my cameras to be a bit larger than that.
    I managed to get hold of this LX for a very nice price. It was serviced last year and had spent its life as a little used spare body owned by a retired professional photographer.
    For those who don't know, the LX is the only professional 35mm slr that Pentax made and it was stuffed full of innovation as well as most of the things that people expect from this level of camera. It has full weather sealing on all of the controls, interchangeable prisms and focussing screens, a body finish that is almost indestructible (black paint over black chrome!), mirror lock-up, a massive and bright viewfinder, brilliant metering system etc, etc.
    One thing you find out pretty quickly as the owner of an LX is that, although Pentax made a bewildering range of accessories for the camera, the prices they now fetch are pretty eye watering. One of these was a grip that attached to the accessory studs on the front of the camera, which sold for the price of £14 back in the 1980s. They are just a moulded plastic construction with a steel plate screwed to the rear, which are slotted to accept the studs and there is a screw fastening near the bottom. These are commonly priced between £60 and £100, which is clearly madness, so the grip shown in the photo above is a 3D printed device that was made for me by some enterprising soul in Poland.
    The camera is everything I hoped for. The size is perfect for me and it has a reassuring density without being too heavy. It feels utterly intuitive to use and the results I have got from it are great.
    Very happy!
  2. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Well, that's a positive review. We look forward to seeing what comes out of it. I dare say you have enough lenses that will fit, but that 50mm 1.4 makes as good a combo as any. What took you so long?
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  3. Dave Farnes

    Dave Farnes Well-Known Member

    That sure sound like a glowing review. Look forward to seeing what you can do with it.
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  4. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Hi Rob, yes I have quite a large range of good lenses that will work with it. Mischa has been acquiring some of the stunning Pentax Limited models of late, for her digital camera, but sadly these lack the aperture ring that I need for the LX.
    What took me so long? I don't know...other priorities, making do with what's to hand or cheap, opportunistic purchases, the desire to experiment in a low risk fashion, all that and more maybe. Whatever it is, I kind of feel as though I don't need to buy any more 35mm cameras now - perhaps ever, hence my resolution to clear a few out.
  5. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I'm over the moon with it, Dave. I have had it for a few months now, so there are quite a few photos here that I have taken with it, but I will try to remember to note the camera used when I post a photo from it from now on.
  6. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I decided to discover whether Ilford Delta 3200, shot at 1600, is preferable at night to Delta 400 at the same speed and my suspicion was that the 400 would be preferable. This would be an easy test to do with a camera with a normal range of settings, so just for fun, I took a Zeiss Nettar that only allows a choice of 3 shutter speeds and a maximum aperture of f/4.5. No tripod!

    I went to Lancaster railway station and shot a roll of each. They were both developed in the same tank of 1:100 rodinal for a semi-stand development, so there were no variables whatsoever from that aspect of the experiment.
    Images are unedited.

    FILM 1

    1 delta test.JPG

    2 delta test.JPG

    3 delta test.JPG

    Pretty sure there's some camera shake in this last one but I wanted to include it here because I took the same scene with the other film.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2022
  7. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    FILM 2

    3a delta test.JPG

    4 delta test.JPG

    5 delta test.JPG
  8. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I know which I prefer. I'll give it a couple of days before I reveal which film was which.
  9. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Just looking on my small phone screen, Film 2 looks brighter, though I prefer the grain in the first shot of Film 1.
  10. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Thank for your thoughts Rob. Am I correct in thinking that I saw something you posted here saying that you had a Zeiss Ikon Nettar at one time?
  11. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Yes, I did. It went in The Big Purge, when I sold everything except the Konica Hexar and a Mamiya 6 Folding Camera, and the money raised paid for a Leica Q2M.
    Looking at my files, the only Nettar image I can find was taken by Rhona, my daughter. I like it:

    Zeiss Nettar.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2022
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  12. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    That's great. Every time I use mine, I'm inspired by its capabilities.
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  13. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Active Member

    I'm thinking that set 1 is the Delta 400, I'm thinking the contrast and deep black shadows is resulting from the push.

    I rather like the last shot in set 2, nice angle and good lighting.
  14. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    It's the opposite, Wes - the first ones are the De.lta 3200 and the second are the 400.
    My preference is for the 400, so my hunch is confirmed.
  15. Dave Farnes

    Dave Farnes Well-Known Member

    I am a bit late here.

    From an image quality point of view, the second set are the best. But for atmosphere, the platform shots from the first set work best for me, they feel rather creepy.
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  16. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Film two for me. Nice experiment, and useful. Pretty crisp for hand held at night. TUO YAW! :)
  17. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Tuo yaw indeed!
    Thanks for your thoughts, Brian. I've been meaning to compare the two films like this for a while because I have often thought the whole existance of Delta 3200, which is alleged to only be an ISO 1000 film anyway, is a bit questionable. I like Delta 400 and see no reason to buy the 3200. I suppose one could repeat the test at 3200. I have one roll left....
  18. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    A fine set of studies of the empty station: I do love atmospheric images of places 'out of hours'. I do like Delta 400 and it was always my go-to film and I only reverted to the slower variant when there was too much light. I never really warmed to the high speed variant, but always proffered to push HP5 instead. As for these images, I prefer the extra atmosphere provided by the grain of the pulled 3200, but I prefer the contrast the the 400. Now if only you'd pushed some HP5 to 1600! ;)

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