Ko-Fi

Friday, 23 December 2022

My Top Three Cameras of 2022

*Edit* I have added four more excellent blogs for you to read at the end of this article.

My friend and fellow blogger Alex Luyckx wrote an article as a collaborative exercise with a few other bloggers about three cameras they enjoyed using in 2022 or maybe haven't reviewed yet and want to give a little taster of things to come in 2023. I had to be cheeky and ask if I could join in the party and Alex being a thoroughly nice bloke said yes go for it.
I will post links to a few of those blogs at the end of this article.

This week I am going to talk about three cameras that I have already raved about and want to rave about a little more. 2022 has been an interesting year that took my photography in a new direction with an unexpected gift, so my first choice is no surprise to my regular readers.

1: Goodman Zone Z1
Little did I know that "making up the numbers" would see me win this camera in a giveaway from PetaPixel.com in conjunction with Dora Goodman Cameras in December 2021. That's the mindset I had when I dutifully ticked the boxes to complete my entry, I figured I was making up the numbers and wouldn't win. When Dora emailed me telling me I had won first prize I had to read it twice before replying in case I was seeing things. Nope, it wasn't an illusion, I really had won! When it finally arrived I must have stared at it for an hour wondering why the Photography Gods had seen fit to smile upon me with such a beautifully made camera.

It took me a little while to fix the method of using this camera in my mind. It's a hybrid of a Large Format Schneider-Kreuznach 90mm f/8 Super Angulon lens and a 3D printed box designed to take a Mamiya RB67 Pro S film back or the bespoke 3D printed 6x6 film back the camera came with. I saved up to buy a Mamiya film back whilst I got used to using the 3D printed one. The "First Ten Rolls" learning curve definitely held true as I got aquainted with my Goodman Zone Z1. I went through a lot of Fomapan as I battled with my nemesis, the Dark Slide!

When I was able to buy a Mamiya film back I fell in love with its 6x7 format and used the camera even more. I was even gifted a Dark Cloth by a chap named Dan in Hong Kong. It was the missing link that finally pulled all the pieces together to make using my Goodman Zone an absolute pleasure. I love the #BelieveInFilm community, it's filled with folks like Dan who are a constant source of inspiration. I was so inspired I produced an e-book of photos I have taken with my Goodman Zone which is for sale in my Ko-Fi Shop.




 

2: Minolta X-700
My second choice surprised the heck out of me when I discovered the joy of using it. I purchased this from a friend for the price of a £50 donation to a charity here in the UK that we both support, The National Association for Bikers with a Disability. He had bought it from a mutual friend for the same donation, so I was happy to do the same deal. I had wanted to try a Minolta camera for a while and had already bought a fully auto all singing and dancing auto focus Minolta Dynax 500si that I really enjoy using, but I wanted a manual camera too. The X-700 was a whole new level of awesomeness.

It's a Manual Focus camera with Aperture Priority and Full Auto modes to chose from and boy does it deliver. I tried the full auto mode first to see what the camera could achieve and then tried to match it on manual. Let's just say the X-700 set the bar high. I was used to aperture priority with my Olympus OM-2, but the electronics in the Minolta X-700 have a decade more of development behind them and it shows. All my fully auto exposures were absolutely bang on the money.

I have since used it many times in manual mode and it's a joy to use. Matched with a Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7 or a Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 close focus lens it produces the goods time and again, advancing my skills in the process. It's a camera that a seasoned pro or an amateur like myself could load up with film and go out happy in the knowledge that it will reliably produce the shots we want. If this camera has a downside, I have yet to find it.






3: Pentax SP500
My third choice is an old favourite and the camera I shot my Frugal Film Project 2022 photos with. The bargain bucket Spotmatic may not have the hot shoe or self timer that its more capable siblings have, but don't let that fool you into thinking it isn't worthy of your time. The Pentax SP500 just works every time. I was fortunate enough to buy this camera back in 2017 when I returned to film after a 15 hiatus. It came with a Helios 44m-4 58mm f/2 and for a few months it was all I used. I could get Agfaphoto Vista 200 from Poundland for £1 a roll and I got through a heck of a lot of it as I learned the basics again. Developing was still cheap then too and I gt to know the staff at Max Spielmann in town quite well.

The Pentax SP500 is the perfect student camera. Cheap to buy and with an M42 lens mount, it opens the door to some of the finest lenses from that era. The Pentax K1000 always gets put forward for the crown of perfect student camera, but it also put the price beyond the reach of many, myself included. I bought my SP500 with Helios lens from ebay for £20 and I was lucky, the light meter works. Even if it doesn't you can pick up a Gossen light meter for £10 or less, or use an app on your phone.

Keeping it simple with this camera taught me the shutter triangle better than any of my fancy dan cameras with lots of bells and whistles. I like automation to keep me covered for any eventuality, but sometimes you just want to go commando! Pentax were bloody good at producing reliable workhorses, at 50 years old mine is still going strong. I used it for the Frugal Film Project 2022 with a Meyer-Optik Gorlitz 30mm f/3.5 Lydith lens and shot Ilford HP5. It never let me down all year.




 

That's my three cameras of 2022 that have taught me a heck of a lot, surprised me even more and given me the most joy as I have continued my journey. I have grown a lot as a photographer this year, thanks to my Goodman Zone in particular, and I know I can develop my skills even more as we head into 2023. I'm looking forward to it and I shall be back at it in January for the Frugal Film Project 2023. They will not be shelf queens in 2023 as I have a plan to use my favourite cameras as often as I can. I can't just go out with one camera, a guy has to have a plan B, right?

Check out the links below to see what my friends and fellow bloggers have been using in 2022 or what they will be raving about in 2023. M
aybe they can inspire you to try some different gear out or even pick up a film camera for the first time and share the joy we all have for photography. I hope you enjoy their blogs. I'm having a break for the holidays, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope you enjoy health and happiness in 2023.
 
Alys Vintage Camera Alley
Down The Road - Jim Grey
Camera Go Camera
Alex Luyckx
Photo Thinking
Mike Eckman 3 outstanding cameras from 2022
Kosmo Foto - Three Cameras For 2022
Canny Cameras
Johnny Martyr - Trois Cameras De 2022
Aperture Preview - Three Other Cameras Of 2022

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