They say that memory is selective. And yet with me it cannot only be spotty but draw a complete blank.
My first serious camera (I had an Agfa Silette before it) was a Pentacon F which I purchased from Olden Cameras in New York City (from my boarding school St. Ed’s in Austin, Texas) in 1958. I paid 100 dollars. I could not spend more to get the faster lens, an F-2 Biotar, so that the shiny box that came to our school PX contained the camera with an F-2.8 Tessar lens.
About two years ago I noticed that the shutter did not work. I took the camera to Horst Wenzel for repair. He asked why I would want to have the camera repaired if I did not use it anymore. I told him that I would like to leave for posterity equipment that works. For me that is symmetrically satisfying and correct. I bought it when it worked; I should exit this world with it working also.
A couple of day later Wenzel called me that after lubricating the shutter it worked fine and he refused to charge me!
Today while sifting through my files so I can fill blogs in my September black hole (many still missing) I came up to a file called Pentacon F. In it I found negatives that I took with My Mamiya RB and Ilford F-P4 film of the Pentacon and my Canon with the rapid winder. I have no memory of ever having taken the photograph and I have no idea what the 11th Edition of the McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique Cameras was all about. Worse still the date on the catalogue is for April and the date for my envelope is May.
Whatever the explanation, I feel contented as a gaze at my Pentacon F (the shutter works) and how back in 1958 I could have never foreseen writing about the camera all those many years later.
I may be an old man now, but in 1958 my choice of the Pentacon F SLR was a good one. There were constant differences of opinion in all of the photo magazines if an SLR was a good choice over the then reliable rangefinder cameras. History answered that question.