Vintage and Classic Cameras

Pentacon Praktisix, 120 roll film SLR. Photograph gallery.

Our Praktisix finally had it's first outing in April 2003 during a return trip to Napoli. Despite the weight the camera is pleasant to use, and I find that there are quite a few occasions when the ability to hold the camera over your head to look into the focus screen gives me valuable extra height. The Biometar is quite sharp and this one produces contrasty pictures.

frequently with 3       or more people on board

One of the striking things about Napoli is it's similarity to Hanoi in Vietnam. The buildings are distressed and the streets busy with small bikes and scooters...frequently with 3 or more people on board. We spotted up to five...and we have the photographic evidence to prove it, but that picture wasn't with the Praktisix. Another feature of the Praktisix I like (as with some other earlier SLRs) is the mirror remains up at the end of the exposure, this serves as a reminder to wind on. I don't use a prism either and I find this appears to relax people on the receiving end slightly, the reason behind this defeats me but it seems to be so. The large shutter blinds, on the other hand, produce a fair old clap as they gallop across the film plane and thump into their respective stops. It's got character though.

Island of Capri in the light       sea fog

The Island of Capri in the light sea fog and a layer of low stratus just after the rain had stopped.

Pompeii was destroyed beneath a pyroclastic flow brought down upon it during the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D.79. The normality of Pompeii is striking, elements of it seem so familiar to us today, streets, pavements, pedestrian areas, public baths, mains water in places, shops and bars. Even some of the shop signage written on the walls survives. The streets always fascinate me, the Romans built crossing points so that pedestrians could keep their feet dry when crossing undrained streets in the rain. Here we see three such stepping stones. the fact that they were there naturally channeled the carts between them...which eventually caused these ruts from countless cart loads of Roman trade and documented complaints as to the state of repair of the streets. Nothing really changes!.

Romans built crossing points so that         pedestrians could keep their feet dry

Besides the completeness of Pompeii, it's primary claim to fame are the vast number of decorative paintings and mosaics. Some were considered too important to be left out in the open and were removed to the museum in Napoli, but hundreds remain exactly where they had been painted 2000 years ago. One such painting is this proud chap to be found the "House of the Veti", he is Priapus - not unreasonably, the God of fertility.

Priapus is quite high up the wall in fact, the Praktisix having to be used upside down at full reach above my head to get this through a grate.

Also to be seen are the wall decorations, the best of these are to be found in the richer households, and there are many to be found.

Priapus - not unreasonably, the         God of fertility

Some of the mosaics are of such       extraordinary quality

Some of the mosaics are of such extraordinary quality they are now to be found in the Museo Nazionale, Napoli - having been lifted intact from their original sites. This allows you to see them in their original colour as, inevitably, those on site get covered with dust. The quality is quite staggering, especially when you compare it to, say, English art during the later dark ages.

 The original picture was handheld for 1/15th sec, but the weight of the Praktisix damps out vibration effectively, every individual mosaic piece is clearly visible on the transparency.  Some of the mosaics are of such       extraordinary quality

Herculaneum was another town destroyed during the A.D.79 eruption. This site is characterised by the buildings surviving to the first floor in some instances and also some of the organic material survives including charcoalised wood. I feel that Herculaneum is a nicer site than Pompeii, though both are absolute "must dos". Herculaneum is a peaceful, slightly poignant place, reflecting quietly on the thousands who were buried here. Herculaneum's only inhabitants now are feral cats scratching out a living from lizards and hapless rodents.

feral cats         scratching out a living from lizards and hapless rodents
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