film photography · Pentax Camera · Photo essay

The Pentax 67 – My First Thoughts

I’ve chosen the Pentax 67 camera for a photo book I’m currently working on. I hope to document what is left of my hometown that existed from my childhood. This project will include mostly buildings and landscapes. This fact quickly made me realize that the 35mm format wasn’t going to cut it for what I’m shooting. The 6 x 7 format is perfect for the theme of this book.

Pentax 67
Pentax 67

First of all, this article isn’t going to be a review of the camera because I want to spend a lot more time with it before I do that. Therefore, this is just going to show the first few rolls I have run through the camera, and my first thoughts.

Why the Pentax 67?

After researching medium format cameras, I leaned towards this camera because it is in the SLR style that I am used to. However, I wasn’t sold just yet because of the weight of the camera. Then I saw an instagram story from Chris Visser saying he was selling his CLA’d Pentax 67 with several lenses. Also, he posted that it belonged to Matt Day before him. I liked knowing that the previous owners were two people that love film cameras as much as I do. I jumped on the opportunity, taking it all as a good sign.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400

My First Night with the Pentax 67

Kelsey and I went out for a “date night” a few weeks ago on one of the few cool nights we get in winter season here in Florida. My love for this weather compelled me to take advantage of it to get out and shoot some film.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400

We went to a park near the water hoping, because of the pandemic, that it would be the safest place to go, but it seems everyone had the same idea. Fortunately, we had our masks on and kept our distance.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400

I think next time, I will bring my spot meter along instead of the small Sekonic L-208 because it would be more accurate with these types of landscapes.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400

We walked under the bridge to get a better view of the boats around the marina. However, I am very afraid of bodies of water, so it was difficult for me to get these photos. I completely panic when I have to walk over a bridge that is above water. On the other hand, I am proud that I made it more than halfway before panicking and turning back.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400

There were quite a few people on the bridge, many without masks, so I had to work my way around them in order to stay safe. Between worrying about Covid, and my fear of the water, I am surprised I got any coherent shots at all.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400

The evening sun was setting directly to our left causing the pictures to be a bit high in contrast, but I really like them. The large amount of detail is something I am not used to since I shoot primarily 35mm film.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 400

Sunset in Black & White

As the crowd began to make us nervous, we decided to walk over to the park to get a better view of the water and bridge.

Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400
Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400

I loaded up a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 this time to see how the setting would look in black and white.

Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400
Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400
Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400
Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400

As we walked, I spotted these rocks by the water with hearts drawn on them, which was perfect for our date night. I’m thankful to Kelsey for filming the video, and lugging around my camera bag for me on our night out because the camera was more than enough for me to carry.

Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400
Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400

There was a young woman who had strung a hammock between two trees and just relaxed while she and her friends spoke animatedly about drama club from what I could hear. I had to get a picture.

Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400
Pentax 67 Kodak TX 400

Shooting in the Sunset

Fortunately, once blue hour started to set in, the contrast let up, and the sky was beautiful. I’m glad I had Kodak Portra with me because I think it really captured the real colors I was seeing.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800

Finally, as the evening went on, we kept our distance as best we could from other people while we watched the sun set, but the crowd continued to thicken, so unfortunately we had to leave.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800

After that, we couldn’t go for dinner because the crowd was ridiculous. People were packed into the restaurants and most of them not masked. We just couldn’t take that risk. Kelsey wanted an ice cream so we watched the sunset closer to town. You can read about that part of the night in my previous article and see the night photos I took there.

Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800
Pentax 67 Kodak Portra 800

Final Thoughts

Although this camera is famously very heavy, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It takes more of a toll over time, and having a wide strap across my body helped to take some of the weight off my back. However, I definitely started to feel it in my shoulders and upper back by the end of the night.

I’ve also purchased a waist level finder to lighten the load a bit. The metered prism is broken, so it wasn’t worth the extra weight.

I definitely want to come back again at night with a tripod to take some of these same photos at night. It’s important to me to record this bridge because it has recently been starting to fall apart in places and I worry that soon it will be changing. I can still remember when this bridge was announced and built when I was a kid.

In the end, I am over the moon with my new camera. The mirror slap is so unique and satisfying. I love my first results, and am looking forward to shooting more with it. Stay tuned and sign up to get my articles in your inbox.

To watch the video we shot on this day go to my YouTube channel here.

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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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