Over the weekend I popped in to my local second hand camera shop – Camera Centre – to look at medium format cameras. This afternoon I came away with a Konica EE-Matic Deluxe rangefinder from the late 1960s.
No, I’m not fickle! I saw the rangefinder and fell in love with it. After agonising over buying it all weekend, and reading around it on the internet, I decided I had to have it! I still want a medium format.
The EE-matic is a 35mm film rangefinder camera. It’s manual focus with two images in the viewfinder. You adjust the focus until both images perfectly overlap (i.e. creating one image) and your subject is then in focus. The deluxe version was apparently manufactured from 1963 onwards. It’s all-metal construction with a fixed Hexanon 40mm f/2.8 lens. The f/2.8 aperture means it will work nicely in low light, and the 40mm focal length – slightly wider than ‘normal’ – means I can get closer to my subject.
Surrounding the lens is a selenium photosensitive cell, which meters the light and selects shutter speed and aperture. There’s a semi-automatic aperture override. There’s no battery (so no problem with battery leakage and corrosion). The rangefinder on my model (pictured) is still bright. The shutter operates quietly and reliably, the winder is still in good condition, and as far as I can tell it’s still well-sealed (only a developed roll of film will tell!). After a good clean up with a mild solvent and lens cleaning solution it’s in very good aesthetic condition. The only problem with it is the timer sticks, but as I so rarely use that I’m not in the least bit worried.
I’m really pleased with it and looking forward to taking and posting some photographs with it. To that end I have a few rolls of film and a holiday coming up.
Update 15 May 2013: I’ve processed the film and uploaded the best to my Flickr photo stream. The colours are a bit purple but I think that’s probably because the film was out of date (I wasn’t about to use a new roll of Velvia now, was I?) rather than a fault with the camera.
Update 29 May 2013: I’ve just got two rolls of film back from developing. Based on some advice I got when I bought the rolls of film I set the ISO (or ASA) rating on my camera a 1/3 stop lower than the film is rated for (this would equate to the camera overexposing by 1/3 stop). This seems to have lightened the pictures so they’ve exposed correctly.
Mevagissey Harbour set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/phil-jones/sets/72157633794605336/
Gloucester Harbour set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/phil-jones/sets/72157633794757528/
Lostwithiel, Cornwall holiday set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/phil-jones/sets/72157633793428841/