Joy Riding the Petri Racer
Another day-in-the-life of vintage 35mm film shooter.
A couple of days ago Berg swoops me up at my place and head to the Bunk Bar for his band’s show. I get into the car and he hands me this retro looking rangefinder. He found it at a thrift store for $20. It looks so retro it’s difficult to believe it was built in the Sixties and it’s not some funky Eighties throw-away camera. Berg wanted me to give it a good run and let him know how it stacks up.
The test drive of the Petri Racer.
I did some Google-reconnaissance and I learned a little about it. The camera had a light meter, but it’s not tied to shutter or aperture. Shutter speed goes 1 second to 1/500 of a second and it’s all mechanical. It uses a mercury battery that is no longer in production. However, everything is mechanical so it doesn’t rely on the battery to shoot, unlike other fixed lens rangefinder cameras of this ilk. This version has a 45mm f1.8 but they made a 45mm 2.8 fixed lens camera too.
Five frames into shooting this camera, I was hooked. The rangefinder patch is a little tough but the distance scale on the lens barrel is easy to read so ranging in the distance is great too. The film advance is nice and positive and snaps back against the body and doesn’t poke you in the nose.
The most fun thing about this camera, the shutter button. The shutter button is on the front of the camera. It’s right on the body instead of the top plate. It took some getting used to, but it’s actually is quite a nice placement for it.
Here is a picture gallery. The film Berg loaded in the camera was Scotch 3M 200 35mm film. I bet the film was at least 15 years old. I exposed the film at e.i. 100, and managed to get a couple of keepers.
I stumbled on this more technical take on the Petri cameras. This is a great read.