Holiday camera choices

For any vintage camera enthusiast, holiday time always leaves you with a bit of a headache. You know that you will be presented with lots of photo opportunities over the coming few days and that starts you thinking about the ideal cameras to take with you, but when you have a collection of 100 plus it isn’t always simple to narrow the choice.

Since we are going away in a couple of weeks on a family holiday to Lincolnshire, I’ve started to think about the cameras I’ll be packing.

On the digital front it’s easy – I’ll take the new Fuji X-T1 which I got a few weeks ago.

When it comes to film cameras however the choice is not so simple. Of course the choice of camera is driven to an extent by the film you want to take, and for this trip I’ve decided I want to take 3 film types – HP5 for black & white, a good fast colour negative film and this year I also want to take some colour slide film.

The choice of colour slide film may sound a  bit odd – after all, there is less exposure latitude with colour slide, the colours are not necessarily any better than a good colour negative film and the processing is certainly more complex and will need to be done at a lab rather than by me. There is however a nostalgic side to film photography, and I think I’m remembering all the times as children my family would sit down a couple of weeks after a trip to view the pictures my Dad had taken being shown on the big projection screen in the sitting room. To try to recreate this I’ve invested in a couple of rolls of Agfa Precisa 100.

For colour negative film I have some rolls of Kodak colour plus 200 for general photography and a couple of rolls of Fujicolor Superia 800 for things like church interiors and dusk.

Because of these film selections I really want to take 3 camera bodies which will all take the same lens mount to limit the number of lenses I need to carry. As long as the lenses will also adapt to my X-T1, I can end up with a kit where I can use all the vintage lenses with any of the camera bodies.

The inclusion of the slide film means I want at least one camera with really good exposure measurement so my first thought was to use my Pentax Z-1 and Z-1P backed up with the Pentax MZ-3. After a little more thought however I’ve eventually settled on going fully MZ series and I’m taking a Pentax MZ-3, an MZ-M and an MZ-7.

This choice was driven really by the size and weight of the MZ series. Although the Z series cameras are fantastically well equipped with superb metering, they are bulky cameras to carry around and although I don’t intend to carry them all with me (realistically they will all be in the car and I’ll take a couple of bodies on any particular trip) the MZ series are just more manageable. I worried about the reliability issues of the MZ series, but I don’t believe all three cameras would breakdown on me in the course of a single trip.

For lenses I’m taking a Pentax SMC 28mm f/2.8, Pentax SMC 50mm f/1.7, Pentax FA 28-80mm zoom and Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro. These lenses should be fine for all the photography I’m going to do such as landscapes, portraits, and general sight seeing photography.

When we return in a few weeks I’ll post the best of the pictures I take.

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