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The accidental addiction


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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The accidental addiction

10 Oct 2021 3:16AM   Views : 1055 Unique : 872


I suppose it started a couple of years back when one of those browses through eBay led me to owning a fine example of an Exakta VX-1000 that came all the way from Kiev. Last year, and Exa 500 joined it, and more recent recruits have included a VX IIa and an American market equivalent. As I write, a VX IIb is on its way from an eBay vendor, and there may be more to come.

I didnít actually intend to become any sort of collector, but it sort of crept up on me because prices seem to be quite low at present. I certainly donít want to become a camera collector in general terms, but I seem to have specialized in Exaktas. Please refer back to the article I wrote shortly after getting the first one!


Itís been an interesting learning experience, to say the least. It certainly taught me not to worry too much about imperfections: the instant return mirror that has a good long think about it before leading up to its name; the cracked shutter blinds that led light through if you leave the camera with the lens uncapped; the interesting variations in how you rewind the film or opened the back.

I wonder if this is what old age is going to be like, stiff Ė stiffer Ė joints, various bits that are no longer 100% reliable. And itís the same when youíre shopping, wherever you place the blame (and Iím placing a firm bet on the government): shelves that always used to be full now have days when you canít get everything on the weekly shopping list.


Itís easy to give in and give up when things donít work out perfectly. When we can blame someone else for our failure to get to the picture that we had hoped for Ė but if we do that, weíre letting ourselves, our art and our craft down. Human ingenuity and the ability to work with imperfect tools are wonderful things, and we should encourage them in ourselves as well as in others.

Now, Iíve got to go out and if after firing a few dozen frames the latest addition to the stable will close its shutter fully Ė at least, most of the time.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
10 Oct 2021 3:17AM
Nobody could ever claim that Exaktas are the world's most ergonomic cameras - but they are an awful lot of fun to play with...
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
10 Oct 2021 4:30AM
Well said!
Robert51 Avatar
Robert51 14 12 147 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2021 8:46AM
I can fully understand how you feel John. I think a lot of it's down to the engineering of old stuff. Things like steam engines, old cars and airplanes, all the workings were there to seen and the detail. When electronics came along we lost a lot of that and in doing so the beauty that went with it. Old cameras are a lot like that and may be not as good as modern cameras have become, but something has been lost. The feel in the hand, a use for your thumb to wind on long before it became a text message tool.
Good engineering will always be loved be some old sad bloke somewhere...
Imageryonly Avatar
Imageryonly Plus
3 203 11 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2021 10:41AM
Just the engraving makes them a thing of beauty, John, in the days when Image was paramount and not so much images.
My old Kiev iv 6 x 6 has that same attraction. Built like the proverbial tank, weighs a ton, ugly as sin but that quick, crisp click
as you change settings forgives all GrinGrin
I never set out to be a collector either, but each camera I own has memories for me, so here they still sit, all in their cases,
still to be enjoyed.
GwB Avatar
GwB Plus
3 119 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2021 3:15PM

I do love all things old, picked up this old tripod at a garage sale recently which has the legs click into place and held by sprung ball bearings, now looking for an old omd om10 for it, old camera's and photographic equipment feels so tactile. EM10 on it at the moment. Don't no whether I'll shoot film again, cant really afford it time wise and financially as I would be tempted to do my own film processing again. I find the Fugi and Olympus come close for the tactilability especially the Fugi with speed dial and aperture rings, The original em10 is so lovely to hold and will never be binned.
GwB Avatar
GwB Plus
3 119 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2021 3:35PM

Got to agree, I worked in light engineering for most of my life where our products labels were metal engraved and lettering filled with white wax, now it's all plastic printing or silk screen, even the tools we used were a pleasure to use, everything now is press a button and sit back instead of winding wheels adjusting dials and so forth, towards end of career it was more sitting by a machine reading a book drinking coffee rather than hands on . Photography for a lot of people has gone the same way, Push a button and let the camera do the rest. I very rarely shoot in auto mode would probably get better results if I did but that would take away the fun I think.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
10 Oct 2021 4:19PM
For tactile quality, get an OM-1, not an OM-10. It'll cost more, but isn't auto-only, and is much more solidly made...
GwB Avatar
GwB Plus
3 119 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2021 5:01PM
Back in the day couldn't afford the om1 had the 10 with the plug in auto thingy, my brother threw them away a couple of years ago, didnt realise they fetch a reasonable price, got the lenses though which I use with adapters, the 200mm f4 is lovely for portraits and flower photography.

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