New camera


While we were in Omaha, in addition to visiting Heather’s grandmother, we also visited a number of her other relatives. In particular, we spent some time with Heather’s Uncle Jeffrey, who has a reputation for having a large collection of stuff from all over. In fact, his house is like a museum. In any case, I mentioned to him that I was interested in photography and I showed him my K1000. It turns out that he had a K1000, but had given it, along with a number of lenses, to a friend of his. He was disappointed that he no longer had it because he seemed to want to give it to me due to my interest in it and experience with it.

The morning we were to leave, Jeff showed up at Heather’s grandmother’s apartment with a kind of suitcase and indicated that it was a present for me. Inside was a Konica Autoreflex T along with a flash and a couple of lenses. Among the lenses is a 57mm f1.4, which gives me 2 extra stops of low-light shooting over the 50mm f2 lens I have for my K1000. The camera has a mechanical timer, which will be useful for group shots where I also want to be in the shot. In addition, the camera is noteworthy because it was the first SLR to use TTL metering and what is now referred to as shutter priority for auto-exposure shooting.

I don’t think I’ll probably use this camera in shutter priority mode; rather, I expect I’ll shoot manually. However, the way I shoot manually with this camera could be different than the way I shoot with the K1000. This discrepancy has to do with the presentation of information inside the viewfinder.

In the K1000, there is simply a light meter that shows you if the exposure will be correct given your current film speed, shutter speed, and aperture. It doesn’t present any of those values inside the viewfinder, however. Thus, because it’s easier to change the aperture while composing a shot than it is to change the shutter speed, I generally shoot with my K1000 in a way that might be described as manual shutter priority mode. That is, I choose a shutter speed and then adjust the aperture on the fly while looking through the viewfinder in order to ensure that I’m getting the correct exposure. Occasionally, when I really care about the aperture, I’ll set the aperture and then dial in the necessary shutter speed to ensure proper exposure (which might be described as manual aperture priority shooting). However, this is more cumbersome than doing it the other way around, since I have to look at the shutter speed dial to ensure that I’m not picking too long an exposure, which might result in a blurry shot.

The Autoreflex T, on the other hand, has both a light meter inside the viewfinder and a display showing the shutter speed you set. However, the light meter in the Autoreflex T isn’t like the meter on the K1000. Instead of simply showing you that your current settings would provide a proper exposure, the needle points to an aperture value that would provide the correct exposure given your film speed and currently selected shutter speed. So, if I were to shoot like I do with my K1000, I would have to take my eye away from the viewfinder and look at the camera in order to determine whether the aperture I’m using agrees with the aperture value that the light meter is recommending. This seems cumbersome and would likely lead to missed shots. What I could do instead is set the aperture first and make a mental note of the value I chose. Then, I could adjust the shutter speed as I look through the viewfinder until the light meter points to the aperture value I set. This would be described as manual aperture priority shooting. In general, this approach is more difficult because you generally have fewer stops to work with when changing the shutter speed rather than the aperture. So, depending on the lens I’m using and the light conditions, I might have to change the aperture by a stop or two in order to find a shutter speed that will give me a properly exposed shot without risking a blurry image by using an excessively long exposure.

Anyway, I haven’t taken any pictures with it yet, but I’m looking forward to trying it out. I’ll post pictures once I’ve taken some and had them developed.  Oh, and if you’re reading this, thanks, Jeff.

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April 2007

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