In high school, I learned photography on an Argus Matchmatic C3, a crude 35mm rangefinder camera that is truly painful to use. Argus designers obviously worked hard to create the worst possible ergonomics for the camera. The tiny windows for the rangefinder and viewfinder were specially designed to induce migraine headaches from eyestrain. The gear cut into the circumference of the focus knob ensures that your index finger would be scarred for life. The sleek brick shape of the camera body forces you to hold it in a claw-like grip, causing acute hand cramps for hours afterward.
So, the summer after my high school graduation, I received a Pentax K1000 35mm SLR. Believe me when I say that this camera was a revelation after using the Argus. Excellent ergonomics, comfortable grip, superior lens, the built-in exposure meter, a bright and comfortable viewfinder, the ease of focusing with the micro prism spot, its nearly self-explanatory control layout, and a beautiful finish was a stark contrast to my previous camera. The K1000 is a true joy to use. All these years later, it is still my favorite of all my cameras.
The K1000 convinced me to stay with the Pentax brand for all my subsequent camera purchases: the next was a K2, followed by an MX, a 6X7 medium format, an ME Super, an LX with several viewfinders, an ME-F (don't laugh), a SuperProgram, an Auto110 with four lenses, a 645 medium format (push button type), and finally - many years later - an MZ-S. Not to mention a dozen lenses, several Pentax flash units, and a wide variety of motor drives, autos infers, data backs, and many other genuine Pentax camera accessories.
The dawn of the 21st Century made me crave a special photography-related project. So, I decided that because I already owned several Pentax cameras that I would collect one of each K-mount manual focus Pentax camera.
So, in due course, I added a K1000 SE in brown, a K1000 SE in black, KM, KX, ME, ME SE, ME Super SE, MG, MV, MV-1, A3000, ProgramPlus, P30T, P50, and an MZ-M.
Along the way, I did pick up a pristine SF-10 and PZ-10 just to have one model from each series. I still haven't added the other variants of the P30 yet and may not; I've not decided. My friends say I should open a Pentax museum.
Besides my Pentax cameras, I also have (in no particular order): Graflex RB Series D, Graflex Pacemaker Anniversary Crown Graphic, Graflex Century Graphic, Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex I, Minox B, Calumet 45N with Schneider 210mm f5.6 ApoSymmar lens, Kodak Brownie 2A, Kodak Retina Ia, Olympus XA, Olympus XA2, and the awkward Olympus SuperZoom 300.
Add to that my family's past selection of cameras: Polaroid 102, Keystone Everflash 20, Polaroid 600, and a Kodak Tourist II. Plus, over time, friends have given me several other Polaroid cameras and various box cameras that I won't list here.
What are my digital cameras, you ask? Pentax Optio S12 an a Pentax K-x. Meh.
So, here's the camera list in one spot:
- 35mm SLR
- Pentax A3000 with 50mm SMC Pentax-A 50mm f2.0 lens.
- Pentax KM with 50mm SMC-Takumar 50mm f2 lens.
- Pentax KX with 55mm SMC-Takumar 50mm f1.8 lens.
- Pentax K2 with 55mm SMC-Takumar 50mm f1.8 lens.
- Pentax K1000 with SMC-Takumar 50mm f2.0 lens.
- Pentax K1000 SE (early production brown model) with SMC-Takumar 55mm f1.8 lens.
- Pentax K1000 SE (late production black model) with SMC-Takumar 50mm f2.0 lens.
- Pentax LX with 50mm f1.4 lens; FA-1, FE-1, FF-1, FB-1, FC-1, FD-1 and FD-2 viewfinders; plus several different focus screens and data backs.
- Pentax ME with 50mm f1.7 lens.
- Pentax ME SE with 50mm f1.7 lens.
- Pentax ME-F with SMC Pentax AF 35-70/2.8 zoom autofocus lens.
- Pentax ME Super with 40mm f2.8, the rare "pancake" lens.
- Pentax ME Super SE with 50mm f1.7 lens.
- Pentax MG with 50mm f2.0 lens.
- Pentax MV with 50mm f2.0 lens.
- Pentax MV1 with 50mm f1.7 lens.
- Pentax MZ-S with Pentax FA 28-90mm zoom lens.
- Pentax P30T with SMC-Takumar-A 50mm f2 lens.
- Pentax P5 with SMC-Takumar-A 50mm f2 lens.
- Pentax ProgramPlus with SMC-Takumar-A 50mm f2 lens.
- Pentax SF-10 with Pentax-FA 28mm - 80mm f3.5 - f4.7 lens and intervalometer data back. Perfect for time-lapse photography.
- Pentax SuperProgram with SMC-Takumar-A 50mm f1.7 lens.
- Ricoh KR-10.
- Vivitar V335 with 38-80nn f3.5 zoom.
- 35mm Rangefinder or Viewfinder
- Argus Matchmatic C3
- Kodak Retina Ia, a rare folding 35mm camera.
- Minolta Weathermatic 35DL
- Olympus Infinity SuperZoom 300 compact 35mm with zoom lens system.
- Olympus XA compact 35mm rangefinder with A11 flash.
- Olympus XA-2 compact 35mm zone-focus with the rare A16 flash.
- Medium Format
- Graflex Anniversary Pacemaker Century Graphic 120/220 roll film press camera; 6x6, 6x7, and 6x9 film backs.
- Pentax 6X7 with two finders and four lenses.
- Pentax 645 with two lenses.
- Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex II twin-lens reflex camera, 120 format, 6x6 cm, with 75mm f3.5 lens. This is the rare "lever focus" model made in 1935.
- Large Format
- Calumet 45N large format 4x5 monorail view camera with Schneider ApoSymmar 210mm f5.6 lens on Copal #1 shutter, for large format.
- Graflex Anniversary Pacemaker Crown Graphic 4x5 press camera.
- Graflex RB Series D large format single lens reflex camera, 3-1/4x4-14" sheet film, with 18-exposure "bag" magazine.
- Other Formats
- Keystone Everflash 20
- Kodak Brownie 2A - 127 roll film.
- Kodak Tourist II - 620 roll film.
- Minox B -- 8x11mm subminiature camera. Yes, a real spy camera!
- Pentax Auto 110 miniature 110-cartridge SLR.
- Pentax K-x (a Digital SLR)
- Pentax Optio S12 (a Digital compact camera)
- Polaroid 102 - instant pack film.
- Polaroid 600 - instant pack film.
- Polaroid Sun 660 Autofocus - instant pack film.
- Polaroid Swinger - instant pack film.
SLR cameras need lenses, of course. Here's a partal list of my lenses and related components.
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 28mm
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 35mm
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 40mm f2.8
- Pentax SMC Takumar-A 50mm f2.0
- Pentax SMC Takumar-A 50mm f1.7
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 50mm f2.0
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 50mm f1.7
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 50mm f1.4
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 50mm f4 Macro
- Pentax SMC Takumar 55mm f2
- Pentax SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 100mm f4 Macro
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 135mm f2.5
- Pentax SMC Takumar-M 200mm f4
- Pentax SMC Takumar 6X7 75mm f/4.5
- Pentax SMC Takumar 67 Macro 100mm f/4
- Pentax SMC Takumar 6X7 Soft Focus 120mm f/3.5
- Pentax SMC Takumar 6X7 150mm f/2.8
- Pentax SMC Pentax-A 645 45 mm F2.8
- Pentax SMC Pentax-A 645 75 mm F2.8
- Pentax SMC Pentax F 35mm - 80mm f4-f5.6
- Pentax SMC Pentax AF 35-70/2.8 (for ME-F)
- Pentax FA 28-90mm f4.5
- Pentax Auto 110 18mm f2.8
- Pentax Auto 110 24mm f2.8
- Pentax Auto 110 50mm f2.8
- Pentax Auto 110 70mm f2.8
- Pentax Extension Tube Set K
- Pentax Microscope Adapter K
- Pentax Reverse Adapter K
- Pentax Stereo Adapter 49mm anmd 52mm
- Tamron Adaptall-2 28mm f2.5
- Argus LC3 (for Match-Matic C3)
- General Electric DW-58
- Gossen Luna Pro
- Gossen Scout 2
- Minolta Flash Meter III
- Pentax Spot Meter V
- Zeiss Ikon Ikophot
I'm a flash unit hoarder too. Here's the list of flash units I own and use:
- Bowens Monolite 200
- Bowens Monolite 400
- Bowens Monolite 4000
- Bowens Monolite 8000
- Bowens Monolite 9000
- Bowens Monolite 15000
- Graflex Graflite with 5-inch and 7-inch reflectors, BC module and 3-cell handle.
- Graflex Graflite extension flash.
- Heiland Tilt-A-Mite
- Honeywell Strobonar 65A
- Honeywell Strobonar 200
- Honeywell Strobonar 202
- Honeywell Strobonar 770
- Honeywell Strobonar 772
- Pentax Autorobo
- Pentax AF14
- Pentax AF16
- Pentax AF160
- Pentax Af160P (for Auto110)
- Pentax AF200T
- Pentax AF200FT
- Pentax AF200FTZ
- Pentax AF400T
- Sunpak 7S ring flash
- Vivitar 285
- Vivitar 2500
And some of my other photographic equipment includes:
- Beseler 23C-II enlarger, with dichroic color head, condensor black-and-white head, and customized fine-focus system.
- Fully-equipped darkroom with both tray and tube processing of color and black-and-white materials.
- Jobo CPE-2 color processor with JoboLift, several tanks and processing reels for 8mmx11mm roll (Minox), 35mm roll, 120 roll, 3-1/4x4-1/4 sheet, and 4x5 sheet formats.
- Various light stands, umbrellas, light cubes, and soft boxes.
- Various camera accessories such as cable releases, camera bags, grey cards, filters, et cetera.
- Extensive collection of Cokin filters, which we highly recommend for serious photographers.