In the run-up to my conference in Tallinn, Estonia in late August I of course had to make a decision about what cameras to bring (note the plural). I easily ruled out the Speedy G because of the hassle and space film holders and lenses would require. So, that meant sticking to medium format, Stella the Lensless, and the 35mm Pentax ME Super as a quick point-and-shooter. The MF would have been the Yashica Mat 124G, which is utterly reliable, lightweight, and takes good pics. But then something happened — I acquired a Kowa/Six 6×6 SLR and a Koni-Omega 6×7 rangefinder, both of which I quickly took a liking to. The trusty Yashica was thus passed over this time. The problem then became which between the Kowa or the Koni-O? Both had pros and cons. My last post detailed the manly appeal of the Koni-O, plus I liked the idea of the 6×7 format for pics on this trip. The Kowa, however, has more flexibility with lenses (55m, 85mm, and 150mm) and despite the big lenses was easier to pack given its box-like form. Overall, it struck me as a better outfit for the field which could cover various situations better than the Koni-O and the 6×6 format did allow two more frames per roll. After a brief pre-trip competition between the two, I settled on the K6 and didn’t regret it. A couple rolls of Adox/Efke 25 I shot there did show some kind of slight light leak along the edges, but I have since remedied that (it might have been the film, not the camera back anyways). You can see the shots from Tallinn here. I’m generally pleased with its performance as the “poor man’s Hasselblad,” especially in black and white (I’m not so keen on color, but Tallinn is colorful so I felt obligated to shoot a few rolls.) I’m learning it quirks and strengths, but need more time to get a real feel for it and how to use it for what.

As the Kowa ascends as the “serious” 6×6 MF camera in my stable, the Yashica Mat will likely become the grab-and-go compact MF camera as well as the one to do IR with. Similarly, the Koni-O is a grab-and-go and an excellent performer for IR stuff. There’s a real advantage of shooting infrared with a TLR or rangefinder — you can put the deep red filter on and forget about it since focusing doesn’t go through it. It’s too easy to forget to put on the filter after having taken it off to focus on a SLR or even when focusing through the ground glass on the Speedy G.

So, if we have a pairing of serious and casual 6×6 cameras, it seems as if I should have a serious 6×7 to pair with the “casual” Koni-O. Hmm, I wonder what I might come up with…. ?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.