Joining the Bicep Club: My Rollercoaster Ride with the new Pentax 67II

Joining the Bicep Club: My Rollercoaster Ride with the new Pentax 67II


Joining the Bicep Club: My Rollercoaster Ride with the new Pentax 67II

Pentax 67II with SMC 105mm f/2.4 and wooden grip
Kodak Portra 400, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4

Pentax 67II

So, I’ve finally done it! I managed to sell a bunch of old lenses and scrape together enough dough to get myself a shiny new Pentax 67II. Oh, and I’ve also joined “The Bicep Club”, by the way. I snagged a sweet deal that came with the wooden grip, a 105mm f/2.4 and a 45mm f/4.5 lens. The camera looked like it had never been used, pristine condition – I was over the moon! Little did I know, my smooth sailing was about to turn into a bit of a wild ride.

Ilford XP2 Super 400, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4

My first hiccup happened when I couldn’t advance the film lever. My heart sank. I’ve heard horror stories about these electronic cameras failing, and how some issues can be impossible to fix. Google became my best friend, and after scouring a few forums, I found a trick. I powered up the camera, waited a bit, then gave the lever a firm pull – voila, it worked! Huge sigh of relief. Finally, I could take this beast for a spin.

CineStill 800T 120, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4
CineStill 800T 120, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4

But then, I noticed something odd. The shutter sound wasn’t as light as my buddy Kevin’s camera – it was heavier and bouncier. I shrugged it off, figuring I was just not familiar enough with the camera. I went ahead and shot a test roll with some expired Kodak Portra 400. When I got my scanned images back, something was off. I only got 7 shots from a 6×7 camera that should’ve given me 10 on a 120 format film. I remembered some weird spring-like moments when the mirror didn’t seem to flip correctly. Back to Google and more testing for the next couple of weeks. I even switched to fresh GP CR123A batteries. Sometimes the camera wouldn’t let me advance the film, but after a battery change, it would. Weird, right?

Kodak Ektar 100, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4
Kodak Ektar 100, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4

Eagerly, I shot another test roll, this time with Kodak Ektar 100, around my local neighbourhood, Wah Fu estate. I forgot to switch off the camera this time, and, surprisingly, I got 10 photos! I thought, “Yes! The camera’s finally behaving.”

Kodak Ektar 100, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4
Kodak Ektar 100, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4

Just to be sure, I shot another test roll, again with expired Kodak Portra 400. But this time, I got 7 images, and one of them was half black. I was back to the drawing board, searching every corner of the internet for a solution. With no luck, I finally decided to return the camera.

Ilford XP2 Super 400, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4
Ilford XP2 Super 400, Pentax 67II, 105mm f/2.4

Dealing with these issues was exhausting, and I was on the verge of giving up. Between the cost of the films and developing, it felt like a money pit. But my wife, seeing my love for the images I had gotten, especially with the 105/2.4, convinced me to give it another go. I took a leap of faith and found an amazing Pentax 67II set on eBay, complete with an inspection form to assure it was in working order. I tested it with an Ilford XP2 Super black and white film and a roll of CineStill 800T. The results were drop-dead gorgeous. Worth every penny and every ounce of the frustration.

So, guess who’s coming with me on my trip to Scotland and London next month? Yep, it’s the Pentax 67II. Can’t wait to see the magic we’ll capture together. Stay tuned!

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