After the disaster that was my experience with Ektar down in Costa Rica, I decided to try the last roll I had on hand at EI 50. In my tracking spreadsheet, I named this roll “waste the Ektar” as I had 1) forgotten the good experience I had with it last Summer and Fall, and 2) attributed the C.R. fail to the film, instead of the broken LC-A. I figured the Ricoh 500 ME would do it enough justice and just wanted to get the film out of my refrigerator, so I planned to just shoot whatever, willy-nilly, as fast as possible.

Little did I know, the 500 ME had a few screws loose….

The focus ring was wobbly from the moment it arrived, and I wondered about it, but didn’t do anything about it. The camera performed beautifully for many rolls over many months, but something seemed even more off when I took it out this time. The focus ring was super wobbly, like it was about to fall off, and I thought about taking it apart mid-roll, but then worried about really wasting the Ektar, so I shot on.

As soon as I finished this roll, I took the lens apart and found that three screws that hold the focus ring to the body were way too loose, and the little fork-shaped tab on the focus ring had come off the finger-shaped flange on the lens had actually slipped off, allowing the lens barrel to spin around 360° and without having any effect on the focus. I tightened them up and the camera works perfectly now, but I ddidn’t think much about it until I scanned and started processing this roll.

It started out ok, but as the week went on, and as the screws got looser and looser and focus failed completely, they went from ok to what the? Sheesh.

I’ll give it to Ektar, though, it’s capable of some excellent color, and at EI 50, it’s really exceptional. Contra my opinion of it from my experience in Costa Rica, where the dead batteries in the broken LC-A were to blame, it’s a beautiful film that I look forward to shooting again.

So while I did, indeed, end up wasting the last (for now) roll of Ektar, I did figure out that it is usable, after all, plus, I managed to get a new, decent enough, selfy out of it too, so win.

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