Old things have significance

Dad's Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II with Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens and my Pentax P3 | Nikon D40 | AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II @ (32 mm, f/5.0, ISO400)

I updated my Facebook profile photo this week. Inspired, I took a self-portrait with Dad’s old camera, an Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II with attached Asahi SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens, as a prop. The camera-generated a few questions on Facebook, so I’m following up with a post about the camera.

A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness. Zadok Rabinowitz

When I was a boy, Dad bought the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II. I don’t remember too much about the camera, but I do know that this camera or a Polaroid camera was the family camera. Dad took many photos on family vacations, or when he would drive us on an adventure around the island, in whichever one we were living. We moved around the British West Indies quite a bit.

I’m not sure how I obtained the camera — perhaps my mom sent it to me, or maybe it was my dad — but I do know why I keep it; nostalgia.

I know what it’s like being a new parent and wanting to capture every moment of your child’s early life. I know I did. I imagine Dad running around behind myself or my younger brothers (or maybe Mom) taking photos of us playing on the beach in Bequia or riding our bikes for the first time. I’m sure my mom has those photos hidden away somewhere.

Dad’s Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II with Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens. —

Nikon D40 + 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ (24 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), © Khürt L. Williams

I think it’s interesting that Dad’s used a Pentax. I took a film photography course in college circa 1988, and I bought my first film camera; a Pentax P3. I remember being in love with black and white photography1 and the process of developing the film. I spent hours in the darkroom inhaling smelly chemicals. I think Bhavna has some negatives from those days stored in the basement. Time to do some spelunking.


  1. Was it Kodak Tri-X? 

2 comments

  1. When I was a kid growing up in the St. Vincent & the Grenadines1 my dad would take us on road trip out to the countryside. Note, this was on an island that is 345 kilometre 2 (133 miles2). A road trip isn’t more than a 10-15 minutes drive. But as a kid, it felt as though we were travelling for hours over great distances.
    Sometimes, these trips were to the top of a part of the volcanic ridge that bisects the island. Other times it was to a previous unexplored beach along the coastline. For me, it always felt like an adventure.
    My father often brought his camera, an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II film camera. The Spotmatic was introduced by Asahi in 1964 and was the first camera to sell well with Through-the-Lens light metering many ways, my dad is the first photographer I knew personally. My dad was an aloof father so I can’t say he taught me about photography but watching him take photos of us during our mini adventures left me with some pleasant memories.
    The camera in this photo is the same Asahi Pentax Spotmatic my dad used when I was a kid. My mom found it a few years ago while cleaning out for a move. I was excited to have it. But … it’s broken. I replaced the battery but stripped the screws on the battery compartment in the process. The shutter works but the latch that keeps the back door closed doesn’t work. Mould grew over the pentaprism making it difficult to focus the camera. The camera is broken.
    I love the controls on this camera. Want to change the ISO? Turn a dial. Want to set the aperture? Turn the dial on the lens. From my search on Google, the Fuji X cameras are the only digital cameras that operate this way.
    Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SP II with Takumar 50mm f/1.4. Captured with Nikon D5100 + Nikon 35 mm f/1.8@ 35 mm, f/2.8, ISO100, © 2017 Khürt L. Williams, All Rights Reserved
    Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.

    Saint Vincent is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is the largest island of the country Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located in the Caribbean Sea, between Saint Lucia and Grenada. ?

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