5 Frames… Of Athens on Agfaphoto APX 100 Professional (EI 100 / 35mm format / Pentax ME) – by George Mertikas

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I’m taking photos almost all my life and even more nowadays through digital photography. I recently bought a Pentax ME and travelled years back to when film was the only option for photography.

The camera is small (it can fit in a large coat pocket), light with a robust build and a large finder. It has aperture-priority automatic electronic exposure control. The only manual settings are 1/100 and Bulb. You focus and pick the aperture, and the Pentax ME picks the shutter speed automatically.

It is considering an amateur camera and the built-in light meter (with large readings in the viewfinder) can help you to shoot with the proper exposure. You can control the ISO manually (no DX reading) and the exposure easily. It has also a smooth (single stroke) thumb lever. Generally, it’s a very easy to use camera. The frame counter is easy to read, with bold, clear white numbers and all even numbers are listed. The SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens is bright, light and compact without autofocus, of course. Its f/1.7 aperture can help shoot in low light conditions and it offers excellent bokeh for portraits

The first film I loaded was the Agfaphoto APX 100, which I shot at box speed. I loaded the film (very easily) without expecting much from the camera due to its age (almost 40 years). This film is cheap (5€ in Greece) so I had nothing to lose. I walked around my neighbourhood near Athens, Greece. Athens is a city, ideal for street photography with dark and colorful alleys, old and new buildings, with a clear and sunny sky almost all over the year, with a history over 3000 years.

Sent for processing in a nearby lab, I was amazed from the results I received back. The photos have a nice balanced contrast with retro effect, old school grain, beautiful tonality fine grain and balance.

I feel it’s ideal for everyday situations, including architecture, landscape, documentation, still-life photography and portraits. For the price, it’s a bargain (cheaper than Kodak’s top-class films but with similar results).

The camera is still alive. Film photography is still alive!

~ George

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