Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Revisiting an old friend

I recently came into possession of an old East German Hanimex Praktica super TL 35mm SLR camera. It's a beautiful thing. Massive. Heavy. Dusty, inside and out. And it appears there may be some slight lens and mirror fogging around the edges. Sadly, the battery is dead and the thing requires a very specific kind of mercury battery that is no longer being made. Since I have been so eager to begin 35mm black & white photography again, and want to finally complete the Greek mythology project that has been gestating in my mind for decades now, I needed to invest in another camera. I was lucky enough to find this Minolta X-700 which is almost identical to my old, long gone Minolta XG-1, the camera I shot all of my prior photographs with. Here they are, side by side...

A friend tipped me off to a possible battery replacement, so I may get that Hanimex working yet. In the meantime though, last night I shot a test roll of black & white film and then developed it to see if the Minolta was working properly. Thankfully, it was. This is very exciting.


  1. Yes, film! I was surprised at how quickly it all came back to me. The temperatures for the chemicals, the timing for the developer and the indicator stop and the fixer. It felt really good.

  2. Hi Matt
    I do comix and black and white film too. I have two Minolta x-700s and they rank up with my favorite cameras of all my collection, including my Leica and Nikon models. The X-700 has the best & brightest viewfinder of any SLR I have worked with -- its true 1:1 view allows for shooting with both eyes open! Try it! The only problem with it is that the light seals in the back and around the mirror usually need to be replaced. Can be a major problem but you can buy the seal kit on ebay and it is not a hard job to do yourself. Good luck. I greatly enjoy your comix.

  3. Hello Zeitguy and thank you for visiting. It's always a pleasure to get feedback from people who share similar interests. I've been practicing quite a bit with the Minolta over the last few days and I like it a great deal. And you're right, the viewfinder really is very bright and true, which is a relief since I wear glasses. I haven't had a chance to print any photographs from my negatives yet, so I haven't been able to look at the image quality up close yet. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the light seals are holding steady, but at least the workaround is easy. Thanks for the tips!


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