Pentax ES II

I have mixed feelings about this camera. I absolutely love it, but I am convinced it gave me covid-19. I will get to that story later but first, just look at it. It is gorgeous, battered and bruised with great patina. The lens that came with it had issues, but it was ok enough to test the camera..

Not only was the outer ring on the lens split, the camera body had an intermittent mirror lock up issue. Bugger, I wasted my monthly camera allowance…or maybe not. I found this website with a possible fix. I followed it, a little worried when it said remove the circuit board. But it turned out it was very easy to remove as it was fairly independent from the camera. It was attached with one slot-in connector. Once out and disconnected, all it needed was a little lubrication with some clock oil.

It seemed to be fixed. I then loaded some Agfa APX 400 and went to Rievaulx Abbey the very next day. This would be my last outing before being testing positive for Covid. So where did I pick covid up? It was either buying the camera or the outing to the Abbey. These were the only places on my timeline where I could have got it. I have to say the abbey was quite good about social distancing etc, whereas the man on Facebook who I bought the camera off “didn’t believe in Covid”. Hmmmm. Hence I think I caught it when I went to pick up the camera. Even though I was careful and wiped the camera and gelled my hands, I suspect the other person was not being careful. Who knows really? But at the end of the day, I got it, I was sick, but now I am better.

Before I get to my test shot, I will tell you about the camera…nah…why spend the time when Mike Eckman, Kosmofoto, and Jim Grey are among the many who have written all about it. From those links you can get all the information you need and much more eloquently than I could manage.

As for me, I added an orange filter and had a super, not sick day out at an abbey before any isolation or lockdown. Here are my results.

As I said, apart from the first photo, I did use an orange filter. Still, the shots looked a little off to me, overly spooky. It could be that I was pointing the camera up towards the sky which fooled the early light meter circuit. Plus I wasn’t too sure about the quality of the lens.

I was not giving up though, this is the only camera I have with patina. So I decided to get a replacement lens and found a super f2 50mm SMC on Facebook. This time it arrived by mail and I was much more careful about washing my hands and wiping the lens before touching my face, though, I may or may not have immunity now.

By this time we were in another lockdown so I could just try the camera on my daily walk at the local nature reserve. Not a bad place to take a camera but I prefer castles, abbeys and distant walks. I loaded it with a roll of fuji 100 that I brought back from Japan and had kept in my freezer. Here some of the results.

Well, the mirror lock up issue seems to have been cured for now. This lens also works really well and I didn’t notice any real difference with losing the f1.8 setting.

What a super camera, it goes straight to the top of my current top ten list. It has a coupled light meter, plus it works manually on a variety of speeds. It looks amazing and has fantastic M42 lenses. Plus this camera is still relatively cheap to buy. In fact I have seen a few to buy at an exceptionally cheap price as they have a mirror lock up issue ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oooh tempting.

6 thoughts on “Pentax ES II

    1. Yeah, I like them. If I had a darkroom I would lighten the sky a touch to bring out the bird. I waited for some kids to scare them. I didn’t have the heart myself ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. I bought one recently and am currently shooting a test roll through it. I’m shooting the manual speeds first on half the roll then I’ll give the automatic feature a try on the remainder. I have a chrome model and yes I sure like the look of these Spotmatics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Next time I use it I will try that, the automatic obviously works on this one. I always try that first when testing a camera. If it doesn’t sound right then I switch to the manual.

      Liked by 1 person

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