The best camera is the one you have with you

I do have a routine, and go to the same few places time and again.

These are all taken within a week or so on the same roll of film, with my Minolta AF-C loaded with Kodak ColorPlus 200.

My usual haunts are Shamshuipo and Wu Kai Sha beach.

That’s a cooking stove by a village house along Wu Kai Sha beach.

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They say the best camera is the one you have with you.

I have cult rangefinders such as the Canonet QL 17 GIII, Yashica GX and the Leica M6.

But nowadays I’m in a point-and-shoot and snapshot-aesthetics phase.

So it’s either a Contax TVS, Olympus XA2, or Minolta AF-C.

These are to me signs of life, these ropes and bricks, arranged as if for display.

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Sometimes, I strike up a conversation with people with my broken Cantonese.

This gentleman runs a BBQ site at Wu Kai Sha beach. He was trying to convince me to book a BBQ pit for my family for the coming weekend and as a bonus, he would throw in a few complimentary pieces of cuttlefish.

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At Shamshuipo. That’s one of my favorite pit stop. Whenever I walk past, I’d try to take a shot.

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It seems we oscillate between desire and labour all the time.

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We discipline ourselves to make sure the plumbing works.

Contax TVS

In a previous post on the snapshot aesthetic, I mentioned zone focusing with Olympus XA2 and auto-focusing with Minolta AF-C.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, behold my Contax TVS. It has an aperture priority mode and a program mode. There’s auto-focus (which you could override with a dial).

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This allows me to be more stealthy, and the motorized whirring is not too loud.

I consider the Contax TVS series to be the baby brother of the Contax T1/2/3 series of which T2 is much celebrated, or the Contax G series of cameras.

It has the Vario Sonnar lens which allows for zooming, for days when I’m too lazy to zoom with my feet.

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This lady popped out and I responded quickly enough…

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“Oops, what’s this?” I thought as I was looking at the negative.

The panoramic mode was activated without me knowing.

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Oh oh …

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The panoramic mode is basically a cropping of the frame by the camera, and the panels were unhinged.

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I felt there was an intuitive bond between me and the Contax TVS… was I imagining things?

It’s built like a tank, and I could take myself seriously when I’m holding it… I was so looking forward to serious days…

After a moment of reflection and in that rare moment of sanity, I returned the camera to the store.

There were 2 Nikon 35Ti‘s beckoning, and a Fuji “sardine can” Tiara as well.

It was then that I had a Prufrockian moment:

Do I dare disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

I waved goodbye (in my mind only) to those cameras.

The person at the store kept my number, noted my mournful expression, and 3 days later, I was told there’s another Contax TVS in the store, this one with the original strap, manual (in Japanese), case and lens cap.

I took it out for a spin.

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The panoramic mode here was fully intended. This was the only panoramic shot I took. I don’t expect to use it much. It’s a bit tacky I think…

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Happy happy joy joy.

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All is fine – I tilted the camera and shook it this way and that to see if the panoramic mode would kick in.

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I zoomed in and out and it’s fine.

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Zooming in … and it’s still ok.

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Yup, we have a winner here.

The Force is strong with this one…

O happy day!