The photos in the previous three posts are scans of 35mm Kodacolor prints, taken with this camera. Made by Kuribayashi Camera Industry Inc, in (where else?) Japan, the Petri 2.8 Color Corrected Super has a style reminiscent of a Leica, the preeminent 35mm camera of its day, which also had rangefinder assisted focusing.
The Petri 2.8 was my father's first 35mm camera, bought new in Japan when he was stationed with the army in South Korea during the mid 1950s. It was also my first 35mm camera; after his untimely death, I found the Petri among my dad's effects and sort of "self inherited" it, the only memento of his that I kept.
By the early 1970s, the Petri was already obsolete; in the 15 years since its manufacture, the state of the art for semi-pro and professional level cameras had become the single lens reflex interchangeable lens 35mm, popularized by the Asahi Pentax and Nikon F. The now out of date Petri had only a fixed-mount 45mm f2.8 lens, but as many photo enthusiasts have discovered it was, in a way, liberating to be restricted to the use of only one, normal field of view, prime lens. That limitation meant no telephoto shots of wildlife or wide angle panoramic views, but whatever one's own eyes saw, the Petri recorded that very well.
Compact enough to fit easily in the outside pocket of a sport coat or field jacket, the Petri was always readily at hand to grab a quick shot, and its whisper quiet leaf shutter was a lot less likely than a loud clanking SLR to suddenly freeze a rocking party cold dead. This camera didn't have a built in light meter, and I eventually bought a small Sekonic handheld, but I'd already gotten good at guesstimating exposure with the Sunny 16 Rule, and the meter was rarely used.
As you can see, even though it's ancient, this camera is still in very good condition. It used to have a beautiful two-piece brown leather form fit case, which did its job well - in fact that case died in the line of duty, literally falling apart while protecting its precious cargo. I gave the case, along with the original strap, a proper burial, with full honors, at dawn in Monument Valley. Coincidentally, after returning from that trip, I bought my first single lens reflex 35mm camera, a Honeywell (Asahi) Pentax, followed soon thereafter by a new Canon AE-1 with multiple lenses, and my photos were never the same again. More precise and accurate, certainly, but most if not all of the indefinable magic and mystery of the Petri's photographs had gone.
I ran a lot of rolls through it back in the film days, and what's interesting is- the Petri took very sharp and clear black and white photos (usually Kodak Plus X or Tri X, and sometimes Agfa), but with Kodacolor the prints were not quite exactly focused looking. Rather than being perfectly detailed, the Petri's color images were pleasing in a diffused, dream-like kind of way. Sort of how memories seem to be.
* * *
To see images taken with the Petri 2.8 rangefinder camera, go to:
Un jour à La Pointe de Fermin, 1972
One Evening At The East Rim Of Lake Abert, August 1973
Petri Kodacolor Portraits