Photos of Panama From the Pentax

On Tavo's BoatWe took two cameras to Panama last month–our workhorse Nikon D70 and Julie’s old-school Pentax K1000. We shot four or five rolls of film with the Pentax, and (after soliciting advice from you, my dear readers), I finally got around to getting it developed at the local Lens & Shutter (click-click, click-click).

The battery on the light meter on the Pentax was depleted, so for the first couple of rolls we had to just eye ball things. Compound this with the fact that some of the film was expired (we knew this, and embraced any wacky results), and our efforts were a bit spotty. Here are a few–I won’t say favourites. Here are a few that were not deleted with more certainty than the others:


  1. So the $64* question: having shot film again, were you happy to have done it, or did it convince you how much better a DSLR is?

    *Approx. value of a K1000 body today.

  2. @Ryan: I’d use film when, as in Panama, I had time to mess around with things. I actually like the way the Pentax renders colour a little better than our five-year-old Nikon. They seem more vibrant, and truer.

  3. My very first SLR was a Pentax K1000, I just loved the thing. Now I have a Nikon D80. Even when I use the D80 in all manual mode, it just doesn’t come close to the K1000, which was designed from the ground up to be a manual camera. Very satisfying to use, photography 101 in a box.

  4. The color rendition in the abandoned building photo is intriguing.

    The K1000 is also a sentimental camera for me, though the one I actually grew up with was a Pentax Spotmatic SP, the nearly-identical predecessor of that camera (the important difference was the Spotmatics had a screw mount, while the K1000 introduced Pentax’s “K” bayonet mount).

    How much “raw development” have you experimented with on your Nikon? My suspicion is that by manipulating those parameters, you can probably get pretty close to the vibrant colors of your Pentax. Even on my super-compact Canon SD1000, the in-camera color options let me go from unusually “neutral” to wacky over-saturation.

    Film has its charms, but it’s such a pain. On the other hand, I see your pictures (and Rachael’s) and think that maybe there’s something to this film thing after all.

    Then I remember that I took over 2000 photos last year, and I can’t afford to do that in film :).

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