Author Archives: neal

Gas Attack

I thought I was in remission

So after several years without any effects of gear acquisition syndrome, I recently suffered a gas attack. You see for many years I’ve pined after a Pentacon SixTL. You know the one, the east german medium format SLR that is known for it’s unreliability and was famously copied by the Russians when they released the more modern Kiev 60 series.

A very nice Praktisix IIa popped as if by magic into my Ebay watch list several weeks back, it had a few issues but the condition was lovely. I was taken by it and made the purchase. Upon further inspection and a failed attempt at correcting shutter speeds by myself, I decided to ship it off to Mainline Photographics in Sydney. I’ve used them several times in the past for CLA’s (Clean/Lube/Adjust) on my Rolleiflexes. Scott is always helpful and Hans (the technician) is Leica trained and always does a top notch job. While it was away I promptly ordered a replacement reflex mirror and a new waist level finder for it. The finder I had suffered from a busted spring so it wouldn’t stay open and the mirror had some crazing near the bottom edge. Then.. I waited.

The Praktisix is the earlier model pre-dating the Pentacon six but made in the same factory in easy germany. The model I have is of 1960’s vintage. It’s every bit the same camera; with a cloth horizontally travelling focal plane shutter with speeds from B to 1/1000th sec. It features a breach lock lens mount (shared with the Kiev60 series) and Carl Zeiss Jena made a slew of very nice lenses for this mount. My particular copy came with the venerable Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 Biometar. I’d like to add a Zeiss Flektogon wide angle very soon.

While I waited patiently for my P6 to come back to me I received an interesting phone call. A lady I met 3 years prior at the local library. I had a camera display there at the time and I had spoken to her about photography and art. She mentioned at the time that she had some old cameras in storage and would be happy to part with them. I gave her my number and we parted ways. Out of the blue she called me saying she’d love to donate her cameras to me. Her charge? a simple thank you. despite my offering to pay. Needless to say I was impressed to find a box full of dusty old gear with a few gleaming gems inside.

I’m sure you notice as I did, the Minolta Autocord and Mamiya 645. There are some other interesting bits in here: a folding polaroid 4×5, bulk loader full of mystery film, folding 6×6 camera, a pentax K1000 with some lenses and some random accessories too. Most of this stuff is in poor condition due to the caked on dust and years of storage, but I was very appreciative nonetheless.

I cleaned up what I could of the Mamiya 645 and the Minolta Autocord and found 2 cameras in really quite good condition, which is great considering they are the most sought after in the box. The Mamiya even came with a very wide 35mm Sekor lens. althought the standard 80mm has some coating damage on the front element. The Minolta Autocord has some chipped paint but is in otherwise great condition. I look forward to shooting with both of them.

Back to the Praktisix, It arrived only today and I already had the replacement finder and reflex mirror sitting here at home ready to go. I promptly got stuck into installing the new reflex mirror which was a little bit of a pain as the screws that hold the mirror tabs in place had become quite stuck over the years, I fired the shutter to pop the mirror in the “up” position, this allowed me to get a better angle at the top tab. I removed it and was able to shimmy the old mirror out and slide the new one in. Getting the tiny screw back in the tab hole took most of the time.

With the mirror installed it was simply a matter of popping on the waist level finder. It’s now ready for a roll of film and some inspiration. It doesn’t help that I’m woefully low on 120 film at the moment, I really need to stock up, but now the question remains. Colour or black and white?

Photography blogs

It seems to me of late that of the myriad of photography blogs I follow there is a general watering down occurring, that is to say that compared with say last year, or 3 years ago the kind of content I am seeing on said blogs is getting a little less about photography and a little more general. I won’t single any of them out and it isn’t “all” of them, but I’m starting to see more and more non-photography stuff showing up.

So what does that say about the industry/profession/hobby? I will say there certainly isn’t any less camera equipment and gear reviews, they are still rampant which of course makes sense, companies need to sell their gear and reviews bring big numbers to a blog, I know that here on Thorley Photographics most of our hits are for film and camera reviews.

Leaving reviews aside though for a minute, what is going on exactly? is photography reduced yet to a point where anyone with enough nous and a reasonably good quality camera no longer needs to sift through the internet in search of information and opinion on such topics? has the smart phone diluted our art enough that less people actually care about what is being said with photography and how those photos actually look in terms of quality and composition? maybe the few of us with a real passion for the art of photography already “know-it-all” so to speak and there are fewer of the younger generation coming forward to embrace it as an art/hobby.

I might be wildly misdirected but these are just musings at this point, my own life is far to busy to delve as deeply into photography as I have in the past, but I ask of you (if there is anyone out there) what is it you like to see when you read a blog post? What would best serve you from our blog here? more reviews? more tech articles? random photo related ramblings perhaps? I would love to hear from you, hit us back in the comments section below!!

Added to the collection!

My most recent acquisition, this beautiful black Rollei 35

Rollei 35

Rollei 35

You may recall some time back my brother reviewed his lovely little Rollei 35 S. The higher end version with Rollei HFT Sonnar lens.

This little black Tessar version is cheaper but still a handy little performer. Don’t believe me? go to flickr and search for images shot with them. The little scale focus Rollei’s punch way above their weight class thats for sure.

I got this one for just over $20, it was marked as faulty, after being dropped by it’s previous owner. I found that it wasn’t much work to get the lens barrel unlocked and back into swift motion. Ebay can be a goldmine of opportunities if you know what you are looking for. I’ve saved lots of money over the years buying “seemingly” broken cameras that need very little to get going.

Anyway, this little beauty has a film loaded and is ready to shoot, being as it’s Xmas I’d say i’ll be burning through this roll quite quickly.

Have a safe and happy Christmas and a great start to the new year