Fujica ST605

This is a 35mm SLR film camera from 1977. Ity is very reminescent of an Asahi Pentax. Interestingly, Fuji (as Fujifilm) are one of the few companies to still make film cameras – the Fuji Instax.p1020469

So, this is an all manual film camera using the standard M42 lens mount thread introduced by eastern Zeiss Ikon in 1949. This is the standard adopted by Asahi for their Pentax cameras and is frequently known as the Pentax thread. You might also hear it called the universal lens thread. Use of this lens mounting thread means that there are thousands of top quality lenses available at low prices. Downside is there are virtually no zoom lenses or very long focal length lenses available.

p1020470

The camera has a TTL (Through The Lens) lightmeter whichis powered by two LR44 batteries. These are alkaline batteries (silver versions are available) and are readily available so this meter stills works as intended with no adjustmentys needed such as are required with meters designed for the obsolete mercury batteries. This meter is a stop-down meter which means that the viewfinder is rather dark as you are trying to centre the meter needle. The technique for doing this is to set your required shutter speed and adjust the aperture until the meter needle is centred. The background to the needle is stepped, allowing you to set the exposure at either + or – one or two stops if required.

Before using the meter, you need to tell it what speed film you are using. Film speed is measured in ASA (which is effectively, if not technically, the same as ISO speed). There is no DIN speed option. Film speed is set by lifting and rotating the shutter speed dial. Film speeds available are from 25 ASA to 3200 ASA.

p1020471

The camera is fairly heavy – the camera body is entirely metal – at xxxg with no lens. It measures 132 mm wide by 87 mm high and 50 mm deep. The top plate is entirely like an Asahi Pentax – see photograhs for comparison. The top plate is matt stainless steel. On the right is the film advance lever – metal with a black plastic tip. This is not on a ratchet so the film must be advanced with a full stroke of the lever – just over 180°. On the right of this is the frame counter. This counts up and is reset to ‘S’ (-2) when the back is opened. Only even numbers are shown – white in a black background.

p1020473

Next along the top plate is the shutter speed selector dial.Again, this is very like the versionon the Pentax. Available speeds are normal with a strange anomoly. The range is from 1.2 second to 1/500 seconds in one stop steps. The anomoly is the fastest shutter speed which is 1/700 seconds – not quite half a stop faster than 1/500 seconds. I am sure Fujica had a good reason for this but it entirely escapes me. 1/60 seconds is printed in red as this is the flash synch speed (i.e. the fastest shutter speed where the shutter is completely open rather than just a travelling slit).

Between, and in front of, the film advance lever and the shutter speed selector is the shutter release button. This is chrome plated in a chrome plated collar. The button is threaded for a standard cable release – this is a tapered thread; the cable release will screw in just far enough to bind the threads. In the centre of the top plate is, as you might expect,  the pentaprism hump. This supports an accessory shoe which carries a standard electrical contact so is a hot shoe. It is marked with a ‘X’ indicating tht it is synchronised for electronic flash.

Just to the left of the pentaprism hump is an engraved circle with a line throughit – this denotes the position of the film in the camera for critical work. At the left hand end of the top plate is the rewind crank. This also doubles as the catch for the back – you pull it up to release the back.

As always, the front is dominated by the lens mount. This is a M42 thread (42 mm by 1 mm pitch) variously known as the Pentax thread, Praktica thread or universal thread – it was introduced by eastern Zeiss Ikon in 1949. Just inside the mount, at the bottom is a curved plate that moves forward when the shutter release button is pressed – this closes the lens aperture for the exposure by depressing a pin on the lens.

p1020475

On the left side of the mount is a PC socket (Prontor Compur, not computer) for off-camera flash. This is synchronised for electronic flash only. On the other side of the lens mount are two items. First, a button which both closes the diaphragm in the lens and also switches on the light meter. This can also be used as a depth of field preview button, if you wish. Below this is the self-delay lever. You rotate this nearly 180° to set it. This also reveals a small chrome button which you press to stsart the timer. On my camera, the delay for firing the shutter is about 8 seconds. The only other item on the front is a straplug on either front corner of the camera.

The rear of the camera has two items on it. First, the viewfinder eye-piece. The view is fairly large and bright – this will vary depending on the maximum aperture of the lens in use, f/2.2 in this case. On the lower right edge of the focus screen is the light meter needle. As mentioned above, this is turned on by depressing the large button by the lens mount. Unfortunately, this closes the aperture of the lens, and at f/16 the screen is rather dark and it is difficult to see the meter needle. The meter is set by adjusting shutter speed and aperture until the needle is centred in the display. Should you want to use exposure compensation, the background to the meter is stepped  – the first step is one stop away from ideal and the second step is two stops away from ideal.

To the left of the viewfinder eye-piece is the battery compartment. On most cameras, this is in the base plate but occasionally you will find them elsewhere. The required batteries are two 1.5v batteries- the camera is currently loaded with two LR44 batteries which are still widely available.

The base of the camera is sparse. There is the standard tripod boss – 1/4 inch UNC thread – and the rewind button – pressing this in uncouples the film advance mechanism allowing you to rewind the film.

The lens that came with the camera is Fuji Photo Film Co’s own Fujinon lens. Focal length is 55 mm and maximum aperture is f/2.2 (minimum aperture is f/16). The lens looks to be well made and the glass is clear with no trace of fungus or dust. Research on the Interweb suggests that this is a four element lens. It focuses up to 0.6 m (two feet in old money).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s