My Grandma + I need a new Pentax

by Todd on September 22, 2011

That’s my grandma, taken a couple of weeks ago at her home in Fairfield. She’s 86.

This is a pretty rare shot here, for a couple of reasons. First, a great smile, looking into the camera. Grandma’s well-known in the family for being cameraphobic. Usually if I get a picture of her, she’s either looking annoyed or exasperated because she just realized there’s a lens pointed at her, or she’s turning around or ducking out of the way. :)

The second reason I’m calling this rare is because it’s the only damn shot on the entire roll I got in focus. I have my days, but I am not that bad at focusing a lens. I’m thinking I’m not accurately seeing the image in the viewfinder that’s focused at the film plane. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m going to randomly blame the old Pentax MX…maybe the focusing screen…or I need a diopter or something.

This was shot with the FA 77mm Limited lens attached to the MX, at f/1.8. Sure, I know that’s some pretty thin DOF, but I’ve become good at manual focus, and even get 75% (or better) keepers manually focusing this lens through the cropped viewfinder of my K-5. And many of the shots on this roll were significantly out of focus, so there’s something funny going on. In addition to that, the meter circuit, which I fixed recently, is no longer working, and there was also one instance of slippage on the film advance in this roll, which I hadn’t seen before. I may one day send it somewhere for reconditioning, but I don’t have the time to mess with it right now. My F100 is dependable and awesome, but I can’t mount the FA77 to it, and that’s my second-favorite lens. Thus, I need another Pentax film body. I’ve got the ME, of course, but it’s no more advanced than the MX, and rewinding film feels a little funny to me, so I’m thinking it’s probably a tragedy waiting to happen. I guess I’m in the market for a newer body!

This roll was processed in Rodinal again (I promise one day I’ll get around to trying alternatives, but I’m in no hurry, since Rodinal works so well, is easy, and gives me results I like) for 10 minutes, 1:25, but this time I tried a minor variation to the agitation: 45 seconds to start, then 2 quick inversions at 2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10 minutes. I’m not really seeing any difference from the once-per-minute inversions, but I don’t have many good frames from the roll to judge by! Looking at the in-focus areas of the mis-focused shots, I suppose this might be a tiny bit more grainy, but I’m not even sure…

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