Technically, I tested this camera back in spring of 2008, but I never used it again due to its lack of auto-exposure (and my lack of a working light meter). Since then, I’ve gotten much more comfortable with fully manual cameras, and I’ve gotten my accessory-shoe-mounted light meter working, in addition to having a Light Meter app on my iPhone as a backup.
My first test roll really only showed that the camera worked. This time around, I loaded up a roll of expired Tri-X with the intention of getting some artsy photos of the Lucas County Courthouse and Civic Center Mall.
One item of note: this camera should be carried in its case, as there are no strap lugs on the actual camera body, and it’s a hefty one. I generally keep all my camera cases in storage, so I was stuck with carrying this giant weapon of a camera in my hands for my entire walk. Luckily, I managed to find a couple of comfortable configurations, so it wasn’t as big of a problem as I’d anticipated.
I hadn’t realized how many of my cameras have wide-angle lenses. The Vitrona is a 50mm, which basically equates to WYSIWYG — doing that old-school close-one-eye make-a-frame-with-your-hands thing. I’m used to the super wide angle on my iPhone, or the moderately wide angle on the Olympus XA. Frequently, I had to step back and back and back… and sometimes not even get the shot at all.
Despite the photo-taking process being more laborious than I’m accustomed to — take a reading, change the exposure settings, compose, and shoot — I managed to get most of the way through a 36-exposure roll during my hour-long lunch walk.
quirk feature of this camera is that the frame counter doesn’t automatically reset. In fact, you turn the dial to the number of exposures on your roll, and it counts down the number of frames remaining. So, I finished my lunch walk with six frames remaining, which I attempted to use up later at home.
The photos that didn’t make it into this post are mostly examples of incorrectly guessing on the focus, or me not checking one or more settings before taking the shot. The exposures all seemed fairly spot-on, though, even if the focus was not. Baby steps.