I collect and use a lot of film cameras. I have close to 100 old cameras that I shoot with. As time rolls on, I find certains cameras in my collection get used more than the others. I suppose I call these ‘the keepers’. Its not that they are mechanically better or have more value, it’s simply that they work for me and I get satisfaction shooting with them and I am satisfied with the results.
With a lot of film shot over the past few years, I decided maybe it was time to share my knowledge and pass on some first hand experience to others who may be interested in learning more . Be warned, I am more visual than wordy and I am not a “technical geek” so don’t expect a science report on the cameras. Instead I offer real insights from a guy who shoots a lot of pictures, and of course, I’ve got the pictures to share as well.
For my first blog review, I decided to write about the 1958 Ricoh Diacod G. A beautiful medium format TLR camera. My reasons for choosing this camera first is simple, I shot with it yesterday :). In fact, I brought it along to a clients house for lunch and fired off a couple of lifestyle portraits of him in his living room. I used 400 ISO T-max and had enough available light to get these shots of him with his record collection.
The Ricoh Diacord G is a great camera with a beautiful lens. I am lucky enough to have two but sadly, both of them do not work properly on slower speeds below 1/25th of a second, which doesn’t bother me much because I hardly do long exposure shots but it bothers me a little because I know I can’t do long exposure shots, if I wanted to, except Bulb does work. I later found out that this is a very common problem with the old Diacords and a proper CLA may fix it.
The Ricoh has a great dual focusing lever system and with the bright big finder, it is easy to get your focus perfect. It also has one of the nicest shutter releases I have ever used. Soft, no vibration and easy to fire when ready. The film advance also works well and has double exposure prevention. All in all, it’s a great dependable camera and can take amazing photos. Best part is it can often be found for under $100 on Ebay.
Here are a few more samples.
This dog shot was taken with film that expired 30 years ago.