king pentax

A phone camera can make a decent black and white image, particularly when used with a specialized app like Lenka.  But I’m pretty sure this medium format SLR can do a somewhat better job when loaded with monochrome film.

The Pentax 6×7 was the dream camera  of my youth, and it pretty much still is. I’d never had a chance to pick one up before; it’s huge and heavy, but it’s perfectly balanced and handles like a dream. The gorgeously worn Takumar 90mm f/2.8 is its basic normal prime, the equivalent of the “fast fifty” that was the kit lens for (comparatively) lowly 35mm K and M body Pentaxes like my own much loved K1000SE.

If there was a digital back available for the 6×7, I would go to silly lengths to own a camera like this. And I would carry it, too, doing the same kind of walkaround photography I usually do.  But if shooting regular 35mm film is an expensive labor of love these days, shooting medium format will probably have to stay a dream.

But it’s a pretty great dream, and this is its machine. Thanks to the people at Gary Camera and Digital for letting me handle and photograph the King Pentax, and for letting me dig through their junk boxes to find some lens caps for my little secondhand Fuji.

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