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Tuesday, 01 August 2017


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Nice one.

Maybe put a roll or two of XP2 Super through it to illustrate the advice you gave on this film's exposure latitude a while ago?

Could be that the definitive Butters shot awaits in one of those rolls!

Mike, that's a lovely post, thanks! Just when I begin to mutter to myself that you haven't moderated my comment on a previous post, you come out with this and all is forgiven. Really! I love the 80's aesthetic of that design and the fact that you're re-acquainting yourself with a camera you love, and then to top it off, you show it sitting beside an LX and I swoon! The LX is my 80's heartthrob: first camera I bought with my own money.... but enough about that.

Take some time for yourself. Enjoy your new camera.

[näˈstaljə, nəˈstaljə]

a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
(Oxford Dictionary)

In another parallel between cameras and automobiles I have a sentimental longing and wistful affection for cars I have owned and cars I would have owned if I had the money. Every once in a while I spot one and see all the warts, inadequacies and dangers they presented to a young man back then. I am speaking mainly of air cooled Volkswagens and Triumph sports cars but even a Chevy Bel Air with nary a seat belt was a hazard on wheels.

We didn't know any better and neither did the companies building those cars. And so it is with cameras but at least they won't kill their operators or subjects.

I hope you're going to put at least a couple of rolls of film through it and then report back on how the lens (and camera) fared with respect to the one of memories. (I didn't realize just how humungous it is until I saw the picture of it next to the LX.)

Congratulations Mike on your reunion with a camera that makes your heart jump at least one beat. If I were you, I'd bring it to bed and just play with it for a while before I go to sleep for the next few nights.

Dan K.

Styling inspired by the Panzer tank.

I bought my Pentacon 6 while on vacation in Prague in 2001 in a set with the 80mm Biometar (MC), 50 Flektogon, 120 Biometar, and 180 Sonnar. All for the princely sum of ~$320. Of course,I then had to lug it all day. Ugh. I brought it home and had it looked over by Ace Camera in Burbank and the guy said it seemed in good working condition. I knew about the need to not let the film wind lever snap back and never had difficulty with it, though I sold it a few years later. Like you, Mike, I really like the angled shutter release on the front of the camera. It seems more ergonomic.


Mike, I'm glad you found the camera that you love. Despite its faults it did well; no camera is perfect, as we know, and yours helped your work along, which is as much as we can ask. (I still have the brochure for that camera, in deep storage; it's yours if you can wait for me to dig it out.)
It occurs to me, though, that one reason the Exakta 66 was not a sales success might be that people bought a Pentax 6x7 instead.

Many of us still refuse to call it anything other than National Airport! The transit authority was blackmailed by congress into renaming the subway station.

That's a beautiful picture Mike.

According to the inter-tubes, $17k in 1957 is the equivalent of $148,708.12 today. So please tell me what school did you teach at that gave you enough money to purchase this beast? I can guess why they only sold 800 of them. How could a company stay in business when they only made $118,966,496. Maybe they had contract with the Pentagon.

[Methinks we've got some wires crossed. The Praktisix was what came out in 1957. $17k was what I made for a year of teaching in 1985. The Exakta 66 cost $600 or $800 (? my memory for numbers has always been poor) in 1986. It was a significant chunk of my salary. --Mike]

Congratulation Mike! Interesting story!

He's a big lad, that Exacta.


For a moment I thought:
-"Why would he trade the clearly superior Mamiya, for that?!"
But, you wrote "... for an old medium-format camera much closer to my heart....", And right there I think is the main point. As I get older and little by litle I am able to afford some of the gear that I dreamed about, recently I bought the old (maybe classic?) Canon 17-40f4, it was the last of the lenses that as poor college graduate I wanted mated with my Rebels, since that is the only cameta I coyld afford, for many years, upgrading to a newer rebel when possible. But I have a soft spot for gear that was with me in the beginning of my photographic journey.
In my case the Minolta SRT 102, the first real camera I had, a gift from my step father, it was lost with most of my belongings. I bought it again 15 years later together with the 50mm f1.4 MC Rokkor, and had to sell it when I changed country of residence. I will probably buy if again if ever see it locally.

congrats. enjoy.

I've never seen an Exakta 66, but have to say that its utilitarian look, almost anti-design, has a certain charm along with the very spartan livery. Certainly it doesn't try to emulate more famous models!

I like that photo ... at least what I can see of it!

Wonderful old camera. Looking at the shutter speed dial makes me think this may be the end of the evolutionary line exemplified by the Graflex. Does using it feel like being Dorothea Lange standing on a high viewpoint?

Nice story... I saw those Exactas in advertisements but was wary. They certainly ~looked~ modern.

When I was young I worked as a framer for Light Impressions in Rochester... right at the height of Fred Picker's exacting recommendations as to the color of mat board and number of spring clips. Which I dutifully complied with. Whenever I saw a photo exhibit my eye went to the mat corners to see if they were cut at a true right angle or if the slacker eased their Dexter off to a subtle curve. Then I'd inspect the print surface for tell-tale thumb creases and lumpy Spotone. Only after the image passed my quality control inspection could I actually step back and admire the view... which was usually some dry New Topographics or Brett Weston knock-off.

Really fine darkroom work was pretty hard work, I remember days where I'd only get one final after 25 work prints. Printing commercially sped me up but still you had to commit to hours at a time to make the set-up and chemistry worthwhile. So it's bittersweet to see the hipster film resurgence where they purposefully highlight the dust, scratches, and hairs we fought so hard to eliminate. It reminds me of the horror of the Starn Twins using cellophane tape to stick overlapping RC prints together and then selling the whole unarchival mess for millions $$$.

Stifling times! But all that discipline paid off later, I think?

OMG, I need to haul out my Pentacon six Hartblei- nostalgia aplenty- wonderful Carl Zeiss 250mm 50mm and who knows what else. Still have it, lots of Hassleblad film backs that fit it just fine, never mind the focal plane shutter, a great old camera. Final piece de resistance, the Harblei tilt shift 45mm.

I don't find either this or the Mamiya 7 tempting&which makes it easier to simply be happy for you that you got your old favorite medium-format camera back.

Truthfully, what things like the Exacta 66 and the Kiev make me think is "I'm so lucky I never plunked down money on one of those!". I looked at medium format regularly throughout the 70s and 80s and never quite was ready to make the jump. So looking at the cheap options was something I did, and mostly they weren't very good. I did get a lot of good use out of my Yashicamat 124G, but that was a simpler camera that could easily be sold cheaper than the MF SLR systems and still be well-made.

Beautiful pic Mike

...and I might add -seen from the advantageous perspective of thirty years after- very Robert Adam-ish, if you allow the compliment. But perhaps from a time you were probably not that aware of his work?

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