My Brand New Really Old Cameras

Not long after my father passed away in March of last year, at age ninety, his wife told me she had found some “old camera stuff” of his  and asked if I wanted it. I told her I did, but until this weekend neither of us made the effort to do much about it. Finally, she delivered a tan camera bag and a white plastic shopping bag to me when we had lunch together yesterday.

Somehow, I had it in my head the “old camera stuff” dated from the early to mid fifties. Dad was into black and white photography then; he even did his own darkroom work. It still annoys my two younger brothers that he took a hundred photos of me as a baby and toddler and barely any of either of them.

Read all of VISIONS

I was wrong. I found two 35mm cameras which dated from the Seventies: a Pentax ME, and what I assume was a private label brand (“Focal“) which I can find no information about at all on the Internet. While I can’t be sure yet, both of the cameras appear to be in working order. Sadly, the regular lens on the Pentax appears to have a bad scratch; but Dad also had a telephoto lens for the camera (all metal, it’s incredibly heavy).

I really have no memory of my father being into 35mm photography in the mid to late Seventies. I was (with an entry level Minolta;I produced very pedestrian, often overexposed or out of focus photos). I also can’t recall ever seeing any photos of his from that time frame. Beginning about ten years ago he starting  using point and shoot digital cameras, and as late as 2009 he was still snapping away at family functions.

Right now I don’t know if I’ll try to use either of these heavy, all metal cameras. First, of course, I’d have to to learn to use them. Whatever I learned  using that manual Minolta thirty-five years  ago is  long gone. Still, it might be fun to shoot with one of  these vintage cameras, if only as  a reminder of a passion my father and I shared.

UPDATE: The Focal is a black Petri FTX rebadged by K-Mart a long time ago as the Focal TLR. Read more HERE.

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