I’ve put three more rolls of film through the Pentax 645 and I’m dialing in on how to make the most out of this camera.
I brought it along on my recent road trip along State Road 67 from Indianapolis to Muncie. A roll of Kodak Portra 400 was already in the camera, so I finished it. I found this 1965 Buick Skylark on a side-street detour around a one-way (the wrong way) section of SR 67’s original path just northeast of Downtown Indianapolis.
Let me back up to show you some images I made with the Portra before the road trip. This scene of my car in my driveway, vinyl-village suburbia stretching out behind it, has become one of my default first frames with an unfamiliar camera.
My sons came over one Sunday afternoon and with my wife and her daughter we played Scrabble. I made a bunch of images of us playing, and all of them were underexposed. I had similar results indoors with a roll of Tri-X. For whatever reason, this camera doesn’t do well in available light indoors, even on ISO 400 film.
The lab that processed this roll wrote “Use Flash Next Time” on the envelope containing the negatives.
I was bummed out that I managed to shake the camera when I made this photo of my family in our front yard. This is the traditional place we grab a quick snap after a family gathering. Damion has had that M*A*S*H T-shirt since I bought it for him as a teenager. He’s 26 now.
Back on that road trip with the 645, I loaded my last roll from a batch of Kodak Vericolor III that expired in July, 1986. I set the camera to EI 80.
You can see it a little bit in the image above — some strange mottling across the frame. You can really see it in this image below from inside Muncie’s Beech Grove Cemetery. Perhaps this film had finally started to go bad, despite having been frozen since initial purchase.
It didn’t affect every frame heavily, and some frames not at all.
I finished with a roll of fresh Kodak Gold 200 in the 645. This late-1950s McDonald’s sign is one of a single-digit number left in service anywhere in the US. This one is in Muncie.
Here it is from the other side, the sun fully behind me. The more I shoot this camera outside, the more I think I want a lens hood for the 75mm f2.8 SMC Pentax-A 645 lens that came with the camera. But looking at the reviews of this lens on Pentax Forums, I don’t see anyone complaining about flare.
The 645 is larger and heavier than I normally choose for a road trip. I like cameras that I can sling across my torso on a strap and hardly notice as I walk around. I simply carried the heavy 645 by its large, comfortable grip. To be on the safe side, I tended not to stray far from my car with it.
Finishing the roll at home, a Bradford pear tree that’s at the top of the hill just beyond my back yard was in bloom. I moved in to see how close I could get with the 75mm lens. This close, apparently.
I’m done with the getting-to-know-you phase with the 645. I’m ready to make more deliberate photographs with it.
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