Caption (image above): Agfa Optima Sensor Electronic (1982).
When I picked up the camera again, in 2018 – after a troubled period regarding my relationship with photographic equipment, in general, and cameras in particular -, I bought some easy going cameras: light, simple, with built-in flash.
My first purchase was an Agfa Optima Sensor Electronic, a model from 1982, made in Portugal. I enjoyed it a lot and used it ’till it broke. It was a great way to shake off the rust. As expected, the results transport us back to the 80’s: the parallax error, the bright flash, the blurring that results from the tricky manual focus system, etc.
It broke one night somewhere between the dancing floor and the taxi cab. I didn’t gave up on it entirely that day. I kept patching it up with different methods until I decided to move on. It still works, but I needed something else – a bit smaller -, that would better suit my walks through nature.
Next I went looking through auctions and started buying some bundles with analogue point & shoot and small digital cameras from the beginning of the millennium. After trying them all, I settled for two cameras – one analogue, one digital – and I started thinking about how both have very strong characters, but also about the particulars that make them so suitable to my needs.
My choice regarding the digital camera fell on a Kodak CX7300. I just love it. It makes low resolution images (about 3 megapixels) and has an amazing flash, with a good range of control choices. I always have the monitor off and either use the small viewer to compose or photograph without looking at it. It has an option to make video, but I never use it. I was surprised by this finding, particularly because in the bought bundles there were options that (concerning their brands and reviews) sounded like better options. But what it came down to was to find a camera that suited my being and this one does. One of the particularities I love about it is the delay between the moment you press the shutter and the actual register of the image. It’s about 1 second and this slowness makes for good surprises. It also speaks to my love for slow photography.
As expected, I wore that camera ’till it broke. Again, it happened at night, during a concert from The Parkinsons and it was worth it. That night, the battery cover broke. I kept repairing it with sticky tape and it kept travelling in my pocket. Then, the connection to the memory card went to shit and I had to drop it. This camera has an internal memory, but it’s just too small for the use I was giving to it.
Fortunately, some months after, in the same auctions, I found another one. A slightly different model, but I couldn’t be happier. I’m back at it, now with a Kodak C300. I can only hope that whenever this camera finds a similar destiny it will have been equally worth it.
Regarding the analogue point & shoot cameras, I tried a few (had an affair with a Minolta Riva that lasted for some months), but I kept going back to the one that I now always carry with me: a Pentax Espio 140V. It’s light and simple, the flash works great and the zoom has a surprising quality (38-140mm). I go on walks through nature about 5 times a week and this girl is the best companion I could have asked for, giving me enough range to photograph landscape but also details (again, with surprising definition). At first, some of its characteristics threw me off, namely the auto-focus (preventing me to shoot in some situations) and the lack of fill-in option in the flash, but I learned to let her do her thing and now we complement one another.