As mentioned, the cheap 500 GX I bought has a non-functional meter, but works fine in manual mode. So after some fresh light seals, I loaded up a roll of Fomapan 200, and started shooting, testing my fully manual skillz.
And they worked, more or less.
I had a few blank frames and a few under or overexposed shots, but for the most part, I got it more or less right,* and I had a good bit of fun playing around.
I took quite a few selfies, and even played around with the self timer some.
I took the Ricoh 500 GX to my in-law’s house for dinner with my new-ish brother-in-law, Saad, and got decent portraits of him, my father-in-law and other brother-in-law.
I made a spooky, missed-focus picture of my sister-in-law.
And I finished the roll off with some randomness around the house. And yes, the Rikenon 40mm f/2.8 is still a great little lens, even with a non-functional meter.
There’s just one problem, and it only shows up in certain conditions: there’s something in the back door that causes fine little scratches on the base side of the film that appear to come from what appears to be superglue on the film pressure plate.
How do you get superglue on a film pressure plate?
I upped the sharpness and clarity in this to bring out the scratches. You can see them clearly in the dark trees on the right.
I can clean it off, I think, but this isn’t the first time a “fully functional, works perfectly except for this one little issue” camera came to me in need of a fair amount of work, and I see the value in someone like Japan Camera Hunter. Next time I get really serious about an older camera, I might have to hit him up and pay a bit of a premium to make sure I get one that’s in good shape.
This also marks the first time I souped Fomapan 200 in Rodinal, and it really brings out some nice grain. I went 1:25 for 6 minutes at about 70℉, with swizzle stick agitation for the initial 30 seconds, and 10 second for the first two minutes. I then went to 4 inversions/minute for the remaining 3 minutes. I like Fomapan in Ilfotec HC, but I can see some future for it in Rodinal too, and good thing, since I just picked up 100′ of it…
*Of course, the fact that I dslr scan and process in Capture One Pro, I’m able to deal with under- and over-exposure fairly well, so who knows.