How to fire a Pentax 67ii without film in the camera

July 1, 2019

Let’s get straight to it, here’s how to fire (release the shutter) on a Pentax 67ii without film, also known as dry-firing:

  1. Open the back cover of the camera, shut it, then cock the shutter advance twice*. The camera should now dry fire.
  2. If you want to fire the shutter with the back door open, hold down the multi-exposure lever while cocking the shutter once.

*If you try to advance further it should maybe go 1 ‘click’ forward then lock in place. This is a good indication it’s ready to fire.

Pentax 67ii with back open and instax pack where I needed to fire without film

I’ve wanted to do fire the 67ii without film in the past, learned how – and then forgotten the procedure – so I thought it might be good to document it here.

My reason for dry firing the Pentax 67ii recently is actually not ‘dry-firing’, I’ve been loading Instax as I mentioned in my last post.

So I hope this helps any Pentax 67ii users who want to fire their camera without any film. It’s useful for testing the shutter is working and the aperture and other things.

Also: a reminder to treat the winder with care, I spent £320 getting mine repaired recently.

Feel free to leave comments or questions below and I’ll be happy to help out.

And now some life updates…

I had a great time in Belfast for Becky’s cousin’s wedding but I didn’t really take pictures. I stayed up late on the converted school we stayed in, looking at the stars. In the pitch dark, silent, middle-of-nowhere and listened to lots of Radiohead in preparation for Anima.

If you’ve not yet watched it, I’d recommend the PT Anderson-directed ANIMA on Netflix.

Becky and I went to Clissold Park to drink gin and soak up the sun at the weekend. Hopefully we’ll get to do that more this summer and have a BBQ with some of the fab veg from the local shop, like we did last year.

We’re off to Edinburgh this weekend for another wedding – our loves Adrienne and Eoin – hopefully I’ll take some pictures this time!


I Bought a New Camera – Pentax Espio

July 27, 2018

A shot from my test roll using the Pentax Espio around Cammo (Scotland) last week.

Unless I’m heading out on a shoot, I don’t like taking my film cameras out as they are heavy and cumbersome. After some missed photographic opportunities and a nagging feeling of guilt (photographers should always have their camera with them), I was on the lookout for something lightweight and portable, with decent image quality.

“The best camera is the one that’s with you” and my iPhone is always with me and it works well. But I never want to share anything I shoot on it, except with family and friends or sometimes Instagram Stories. I just love the process and aesthetic of film photography and it’s what keeps me interested.

When I saw Harry F Conway speaking about the portable 35mm cameras he thinks are best (on his Instagram Stories), the Pentax Espio jumped out to me for 2 reasons: I knew about all the other cameras he mentioned and my two workhorse cameras are also Pentax.

I found one on eBay for a very reasonable £20, including a new battery and a roll of film (FujiColor x24). Here are some thoughts I have from my test roll:

Detail outtake from a recent street profile shoot for Chronicles of Her.

My favourite characteristic is the quality of the image with forced flash outside, as seen in this outtake above. The nails and the dress (by Mimi Wade) accentuate this look, which reminds me of the 80s and trashy (but fun) movies.

Another thing I like is the data back, which allows the date or the time to be imprinted permanently onto the image, as seen above. It’s something I’ve always wanted – I’ve often almost bought a Canon Command Back for my main 35mm camera for this very reason. However, the years digit on the Espio only goes up to ’19 and then jumps back to ’87, so I should use this feature while we’re still living within the available year range (another 18 months). I’m also disappointed it doesn’t start at ’86 (my year of birth) so I could at least put in my birthday as a replacement signature.

It’s small enough to fit in my pocket (or a bumbag which I’ve recently taken to wearing over the shoulder) and I’ve already taken it out with me more than any other camera. I’m looking forward to testing it with film that I like better and in different situations.

The two shots above are from a pond I visited regularly as a kid. It used to be filled with tadpoles and I’d grab a few in a cup and take them home and build a mini-pond from a plastic sand pit and try to grow frogs.

I hope you have a fab weekend.