Daily Archives: 7 June 2007

New Toys From Old

Martex Rangefinder (by Steve Crane)I am fascinated by old cameras but don’t have the money to be a collector, as such. No fancy old Leica’s for me, but occasionally I manage to look in the right place to find something interesting, if not valuable. On Saturday I popped into Cash Crusaders to see if they had an interesting old cameras there. They had two SLRs, a Pracktica and a Zenit, but the Praktica was in much worse shape than the one I already have and was also rather pricey. The Zenit was quite cheap but also looked pretty battered. What really caught my eye was this Martex rangefinder. I’ve long had a hankering for a rangefinder and at only R145 there was no way it wasn’t coming home with me, even if I found it didn’t work. It was Sunday before I got round to buying a roll of film to try it out. After cleaning the camera, loading the film and figuring out what appeared to be the right way to use the light meter, which seemed to be working, I headed off down to the beach, my favourite haunt. It was near sunset when I got there and being winter there weren’t too many people about. I strolled around and shot off my roll of film before heading home again. As I was very keen to get it developed and see the results I popped the film into the Kodak minilab in the mall next door to our offices, rather than making the trip into town to the more professional (so I’ve been told) lab I would normally use. I picked up the prints at lunch time and was pleased to find that the camera works perfectly. The photographs were pretty much (it will take a little practice to get spot on) correctly exposed and accurately focused. I was worried about the focus as I’d never used a rangefinder before. The only disappointment was that I was offered, and accepted digital copies of the photos on a CD, and the quality of these was terrible. they were horribly grainy and as the prints themselves were fine I can only assume that the scanning process was not all it could be. In the end I made my own scans of the better shots from the prints. Here is a selection of the photos I took, not too bad for a forty or fifty year old camera. These photographs have not been digitally enhanced in any way.

Bench (by Steve Crane) Last Holdout (by Steve Crane)
Strand Beach (by Steve Crane) Pink Sunset (by Steve Crane)
Pink & Orange (by Steve Crane) Curvy Building (by Steve Crane)
99 on Beach (by Steve Crane) Strand Pavillion and the Old Jetty (by Steve Crane)
Monte Carlo (by Steve Crane)