A new camera in the Harthope Valley

A couple of weeks ago I had a little birthday money in my pocket and looked around the shops in Gosforth, a suburb of Newcastle which boasts TWO camera shops, both of which usually have a few second-hand film cameras for sale. On that day my purchase actually came from the Oxfam shop which had a Pentax ME Super on display, fitted with a slightly unusual 24-35mm f3.5 Pentax zoom.

I couldn’t see the price ticket so asked to see the camera and was surprised that the price was just £29. A few years ago this would have been fairly normal but the prices of film cameras have risen so much recently that it could now be considered a bargain. I wasn’t 100% sure that everything was working properly but decided to take a risk. The worst that could happen is that I made a donation to the charity.

Once I got it home I put two LR44 batteries in and it seemed dead. Time to look up the manual online and it turned out that the batteries go the other way round, with the + sign concealed. So now I had an apparently working camera, I shot a quick roll in the garden and in a few hours was able to scan the film and confirm that there were no light leaks, no frame spacing issues, no focus problems, and the metering was accurate.

The next step was to take the camera along on a walk in the Harthope Valley, in Northumberland’s Cheviot Hills. I loaded some Ilford HP5+ which I rated at box speed (ISO 400). The weather was a bit dull but I was able to take a selection of rural subjects plus an abandoned cottage.


Once I knew the camera was working OK, I was tempted to buy a 50mm prime to go with it, since the lens, whilst interesting, has a limited range; but since I don’t really need another camera, I’ve restrained myself from doing so. Anyway, I can use my Tamron Adaptall lenses alongside the Pentax lens; carrying the 90mm macro Tamron might complement the 24-35mm lens nicely.

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