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Asahi Pentax S2
Old 01-21-2020   #1
Rollmo
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Asahi Pentax S2

So...once a week I volunteer at a local church. Sometimes older SLRs are found in a box with among other items.

This morning, a very good condition Pentax S2 came in that had a light meter attached to the pentaprism. Also included were two lenses. A 55mm f1.8 and a tiny 135mm f3.5. A couple of flashes, cable release in a Pentax, brown leather bag.

The photo guy in charge at the church said make an offer. Because I wasn't sure if it all worked, I said ten bucks. Sold. When I left, he said that he thought I overpaid and should look through the other manual film stuff and grab something else.

I am much more of an Olympus guy but would appreciate any comments Pentaxians may have regarding this camera and lenses. Is the 55mm f1.8 a standout? What is the light meter worth?

Thanks kindly,

PADDY
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Old 01-21-2020   #2
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The S2s are cool cameras. There are almost no plastic parts on them, like there are on the later Spotmatics and SL. There was a later release known as the S2 super that had 1/1000 shutter speed and self resetting frame counter. Does your camera have those?

The 55mm f1.8 Takumar is a wonderful lens with great sharpness and very nice out of focus image area. I'm guessing yours is a Super Tak? This image if from an SMC Takumar 55mm f1.8, but rendering shouldn't be much different:

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Old 01-21-2020   #3
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Thanks...yes, 1/1000 is top speed. The lenses are labelled Takumar, no Super or SMC.

Are these A mount or K mount?

PADDY
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Old 01-21-2020   #4
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You are using 2 accounts here?

Pentax had 3 mounts for their 35mm cameras: M37, M42, and K. If your lenses fit your S2 they are M42.
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Old 01-21-2020   #5
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I used a different browser which has my old old account.

Thanks for your comments...

~ Hibbs
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Old 01-21-2020   #6
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Rollmo / Hibbs.

It was a bargain. Take it and be happy. I have found with this era of Pentax cameras though, that the slower shutter speeds can become sluggish with time and sometimes the mirror may lock up (when it should not). Both can be fixed with relative ease by a competent technician ( matter of cleaning and lubing) or even just by using the camera and giving it some exercise. Even if these things are happening it is worth more than what you paid. What's more the lens alone would be worth more than $10 unless in absolutely trashed condition. The 55mm f1.8 is a gem in all its iterations (When a lens continues for years with not much more than cosmetic changes through different iterations you know its basic design is sound. This lens is one like that). These Takumar lenses are also excellently built quite apart from the optics.
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Old 01-21-2020   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollmo View Post
... This morning, a very good condition Pentax S2 came in that had a light meter attached to the pentaprism. Also included were two lenses. A 55mm f1.8 and a tiny 135mm f3.5. A couple of flashes, cable release in a Pentax, brown leather bag. ... would appreciate any comments Pentaxians may have regarding this camera and lenses. Is the 55mm f1.8 a standout? What is the light meter worth? ...
I would think you'd want to keep the meter and body together to complete the set; I would't think the meter would be worth much by itself.

I had one of those when I was in Jr. High (mine had the same 50mm lens), but mine was a "Honeywell" Pentax. The meter placed a nice dent on the prism. As I recall the lenses were decent, but nothing great. I hated the camera at the time as I didn't like screw mounts (still don't), but it was the one I could afford. As I recall, I could have had a Leica M3 with a 50mm Summicron mounted to it for $50 more (a different time)!

Later I sold it and bought a Leicaflex SL with a 50mm Summicron; that was my shooter all the way through high school.
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Old 01-21-2020   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollmo View Post
I am much more of an Olympus guy but would appreciate any comments Pentaxians may have regarding this camera and lenses. Is the 55mm f1.8 a standout? What is the light meter worth?
Pentax Forums is a great resource for all things Pentax. Here are the pages for the S2 (and 'Super S2', which is probably the one you have) and 55/f1.8:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/camerar...tax-s2-h2.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/camerar...-super-s2.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensrev...55mm-F1.8.html

Generally speaking the S2 is a lovely camera. I have a pair of SV's (very similar) and personally I think they're a smoother experience than the later Spotmatics. The un-ratcheted film advance is up there with my M2 for feel.

Something to watch out for - check the colour of the 'R' on the rewind lever. Is it green or red? Bodies with a red 'R' are compatible with the Super Takumar 50/f1.4 8-element, which has a protruding rear element. Bodies with a green 'R' are not (although there's accounts of some that work fine).

The 55/f1.8 is an affordable and tiny gem. As Peter points out, there's a reason Pentax used the 55/f1.8 with unchanged optics right through to the start of the K mount, and then used an almost identical 6/5 optical design for the highly regarded 50/f1.7, which continued right up to the FA series (which was only discontinued in 2004).

Unfortunately, you're out of luck when it comes to 'worth'. The only M42 stuff that holds significant value are the rarities (like the 50/f1.4 8-element mentioned above). I would expect to find the whole kit you picked up, including lenses and accessories, for ~$50 in the local classifieds. Use it and enjoy it, but don't expect to re-sell it for much.


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Old 01-22-2020   #9
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My bad...it is an S3. Low light in the church basement and early onset of myopic edema is at fault.

The 55 1.8 says Auto Takumar but I have read that this is possibly a Super Tak. The 135 just says Takumar. No Auto, no Super.

The meter is in great shape and is the first version. I will keep it but probably use a hand meter.

~ Hibbs

P.S. - How do I go about deleting my old account. Just want one.
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Old 01-22-2020   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibbs View Post
My bad...it is an S3. Low light in the church basement and early onset of myopic edema is at fault.

The 55 1.8 says Auto Takumar but I have read that this is possibly a Super Tak. The 135 just says Takumar. No Auto, no Super.

The meter is in great shape and is the first version. I will keep it but probably use a hand meter.

~ Hibbs

P.S. - How do I go about deleting my old account. Just want one.
The name auto Takumar was applied to a couple of 55mm f1.8 lens types. The earliest "auto Takumars" had a small mechanical "switch" on the side to manually open up the aperture so the image could be composed at full aperture then stop down automatically to the operating aperture when the shutter button was pressed. For obvious reasons these are generally referred to as "semi auto" Takumars by most people as in truth they are only partly automatic. A later type was then sold which was truly automatic in line with all later lenses - it automatically opened to full aperture for viewing, then stopped down to the operating aperture and opened again as the picture was made ready for the next viewing. Later a succession of 55mm lenses (essentially the same lens with only lens coating changes and some minor cosmetic changes) were labeled successively: Super Takumar, Super Multi Coated Takumar and ultimately SMC Takumar.

You would image that the Version 3 (S3 or H3) Asahi Pentax was the 3rd main version of the body - but the truth is somewhat more convoluted. In fact there were up to 7 types marketed in total before the introduction of the metered Pentax Spotmatic which itself went through a number of versions.

See list here if interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...42_screw_mount

And a more complete list of M42 lenses here (I have not checked to see if anything has been missed):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...w_mount_lenses
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Old 01-22-2020   #11
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Thumbs up

Thanks Bill, Peter and nickthetasmaniac. I have no plans to sell. Just happy to breath some life back into this rig.

I managed to find an S3 manual over at Butkus. Towards the end there is mention of a LTM adapter. Are these difficult to find? I have several lenses for the Canon P and wondered about using them on the Pentax.

If were to add another wide angle Tak, what would be one to look out for? I recall reading in the MX thread about a particular wide that is highly sought after. 28 3.5?

~ Hibbs
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Old 01-22-2020   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibbs View Post
Thanks Bill, Peter and nickthetasmaniac. I have no plans to sell. Just happy to breath some life back into this rig.

I managed to find an S3 manual over at Butkus. Towards the end there is mention of a LTM adapter. Are these difficult to find? I have several lenses for the Canon P and wondered about using them on the Pentax.

If were to add another wide angle Tak, what would be one to look out for? I recall reading in the MX thread about a particular wide that is highly sought after. 28 3.5?

~ Hibbs
Leica mount cameras (including M39 cameras such as Canon rangefinder) have a shorter flange distance (the thickness of the camera body / distance from the back of the lens to the film plane). This means those lenses cannot focus to infinity even if they are adapted and mounted on the Pentax. Unless you find a lens adapter with a built in lens to correct for the above and provide infinity focus. I was not aware that Pentax made such an adapter back in the day but they are possibly still available from third party makers and sold on eBay today. Such adapters with lenses can degrade optical performance, however unless they are well designed and corrected.

Alternatively if you are interested in macro work such Leica Thread Mount / M39 lenses when mounted on an SLR camera (because of an SLR's mirror box they must be "fatter" than rangefinder cameras) may focus OK to close distances and therefore work as a kind of macro lens. For this purpose you can get a cheap (and I mean almost for pennies) simple adapter ring from M39 to M42). See below.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/M39-M42-M39...8AAOSw3ItbP2YG

As to wide angle Takumars the 35mm f3.5 is universally well rated readily available and quite cheap to buy. The 28mm f3.5 has a good reputation too though perhaps not quite so strongly positive as the 35mm. The 35mm f2 is also available but I would suggest sticking to the 35mm f3.5 version due to cost and image quality considerations. (I find my 35mm f2 a bit low contrast and softish wide open).
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Old 01-22-2020   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibbs View Post
Thanks Bill, Peter and nickthetasmaniac. I have no plans to sell. Just happy to breath some life back into this rig.

I managed to find an S3 manual over at Butkus. Towards the end there is mention of a LTM adapter. Are these difficult to find? I have several lenses for the Canon P and wondered about using them on the Pentax.

If were to add another wide angle Tak, what would be one to look out for? I recall reading in the MX thread about a particular wide that is highly sought after. 28 3.5?

~ Hibbs
Very little difference between the Super S2 and the S3.

As Peter says, LTM - M42 doesn't work if you want infinity focus. However, there are a number of M42 - Leica M adapters on the market (I have one). However I think these are a new thing that has emerged since digital M's could take an external EVF.

Regarding a wide-angle, I'm going to contradict Peter and say the 28/f3.5 is slightly better regarded than the 35/f3.5 Regardless, both are very good and generally cheap. I have the 35/f2 but probably wouldn't recommend it, especially for the price.

A great longer lens is the 105/f2.8, which is generally pretty affordable.


SV, Super Takumar 28/f3.5 and Portra400
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Old 01-22-2020   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
Very little difference between the Super S2 and the S3.

As Peter says, LTM - M42 doesn't work if you want infinity focus. However, there are a number of M42 - Leica M adapters on the market (I have one). However I think these are a new thing that has emerged since digital M's could take an external EVF.

Regarding a wide-angle, I'm going to contradict Peter and say the 28/f3.5 is slightly better regarded than the 35/f3.5 Regardless, both are very good and generally cheap. I have the 35/f2 but probably wouldn't recommend it, especially for the price.

A great longer lens is the 105/f2.8, which is generally pretty affordable.

SV, Super Takumar 28/f3.5 and Portra400
I would not cavil at what you say, Nick. I have always been uncertain about the 28mm because while I own one and am not inclined to sell it, I seldom use it so have never really formed anything other than a superficial opinion on it. (28mm is not my preferred focal length - my possession of a copy of this lens comes from my early days in photography when it was my heart-felt desire to own an example of every Pentax M42 lens ever made Now that I am much more mature I merely want to own an example of every lens that has ever been made in the history of the universe ). Perhaps I based my somewhat shallow assessment of the lens on the basis that the 35mm user opinions and reviews I have seen tend to rave about it (possibly with a shock horror I never expected this tone) while the 28mm user opinions and reviews seemed somehow less enthused. Or perhaps there are just more 35mm reviews because it is more widely owned.

I could not agree more strongly about the 105mm f2.8. It is often overlooked by comparison with 105mm lenses made by Nikon etc but in my experience it is pretty much as good producing images that are both sharp and "rounded" in that lovely manner which Sonnar designs have.
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Old 01-23-2020   #15
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The Spotmatics did indeed have plastic parts, "Delrin" a self lubricating material.
How shocking!
My 35mm Summicron of same vintage had lens unit encased in sealed ord. plastic making services nigh impossible!
The Spotmatics are still going strong though most no longer have working meters..
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Old 01-23-2020   #16
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Here's a link to a very comprehensive site describing early Asahi Pentax cameras and lenses.
http://www.klassik-cameras.de/Pentax_Main.html

Also, it should be noted that M39 and LTM are not the same thing. LTM is a 39mm thread mount with an inch-standard 26tpi thread pitch (borrowed from microscope standards) which was used by Leica's thread mount RFs and the numerous clones. It is often incorrectly labeled as M39. LTM has a register (flange to film distance) of 28.8mm. There was an obscure SLR mount that used the LTM diameter and pitch specs but used a 45.5mm register.

M39 should only be used when referring to either of the pure metric mounts which have a 39mm diameter and a 1mm pitch. This has been used by a few RF cameras with a 28.8mm register distance and on a few SLRs when it has a 45.5mm register. This narrow mount severely restricted lens design and was replaced by M42 with a 42mm diameter and the same 45.5mm register.

The SLR M39 lenses can easily be adapted to M42 with a simple adapter and will retain infinity focus. The RF lenses, whether M39 or LTM, can be adapted but are usable only for closeup and macro work.
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Old 01-23-2020   #17
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Where did you say that church was?
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Old 01-23-2020   #18
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Nick...thanks for the heads up on the coloured 'R' on the rewind lever. Mine is green so the 1.4 50 is [likely] out of play. Is it just that 50 or are there other lenses that aren't compatible?

Peter...the 55 is indeed an early model. There is a switch on the side moving from A to M. I guess this doubles as the DOF preview.

The 135 is in absolute, pristine condition. When I removed it from the small leather case, it looked as though it had never seen the light of day. No fingerprints, scuffs...nothing!

Thank you all for your input. I will now keep an eye out for a wide angle, the 58 and perhaps an 85.

~ Hibbs
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Old 01-23-2020   #19
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I believe it was just the first version of the 50/f1.4 (8 element). I haven’t heard about other lenses causing issues.

For what it’s worth, the red/green R is only significant on the S-series bodies. The Spotmatics are all green (I think) and don’t have any compatibility issues.
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Old 01-23-2020   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibbs View Post
Nick...thanks for the heads up on the coloured 'R' on the rewind lever. Mine is green so the 1.4 50 is [likely] out of play. Is it just that 50 or are there other lenses that aren't compatible?

Peter...the 55 is indeed an early model. There is a switch on the side moving from A to M. I guess this doubles as the DOF preview.

The 135 is in absolute, pristine condition. When I removed it from the small leather case, it looked as though it had never seen the light of day. No fingerprints, scuffs...nothing!

Thank you all for your input. I will now keep an eye out for a wide angle, the 58 and perhaps an 85.

~ Hibbs
Hibbs hi..

It may be a little younger than you think. The A-M switch that you refer to is a later addition to these lenses. The type of switch I was referring to came earlier and looks like the chrome thing in the photo shown below. In this lens there was no A-M switch as there was no true A (automatic). Instead, the user manually rotated the switch clockwise each time a photo was being taken and that action opened the aperture to full maximum aperture. When the photo was being taken it "automatically" closed to the set aperture but did not open again till the user repeated the procedure described above. Optically though there is little difference between that type of lens and later ones (other than, as I said in my prior post, the coatings were upgraded from time to time culminating in Pentaxes famous SMC (super multi coated) lenses. You will find this lens a little low contrast perhaps, prone to flaring if the sun is forward of the camera due to the older coatings used, but essentially sharp and able to produce very nice images.)

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Old 01-23-2020   #21
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Nobody has made much mention of your 135/3.5 but I can tell you that it is also a very good piece of glass. I only just recently acquired one and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I also agree with the assessments of the 55mm. Really nice.

If you find that your new S3 needs work I highly recommend Mr. Eric Hendrickson. He’s a Pentax specialist with great knowledge, great prices and great turnaround times. He worked on my SV and a Spotmatic and I was very pleased with his work. No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.
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Old 01-24-2020   #22
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I found the S1a, S2 and Sv to be unreliable..
However that was many years ago and few here roll 20+ rolls in an evening!
The Spotmatics were a whole other quality, like that "bunny" just keep going
I personally love Pentax in spite of a darker screen compared to my Nikon F.
Pentax just "feel nice".
Enjoy!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
I personally love Pentax in spite of a darker screen compared to my Nikon F.
Pentax just "feel nice".
Enjoy!
Do you mean the screw-mount Pentaxís, or Pentax generally? My MX and LX screens are certainly brighter than my F, although my SVís are a fair bit dimmer...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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Smile

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Where did you say that church was?
British Columbia...Vancouver in fact.
Come for the scenery...stay for the beer.
You might run in to Meghan, Harry and Archie in the woodland.

~ Hibbs
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
I found the S1a, S2 and Sv to be unreliable..
However that was many years ago and few here roll 20+ rolls in an evening!
The Spotmatics were a whole other quality, like that "bunny" just keep going
I personally love Pentax in spite of a darker screen compared to my Nikon F.
Pentax just "feel nice".
Enjoy!
The earlier focusing screen tends to have a much courser texture too which gives a somewhat courser image as you focus, if my memory of it is correct.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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The Pentax screens are coarser! Thank you.
Easy to focus but not for me at the time..
i was short sighted (myopic) and esp K1000 set for long sighted!
Pentax in spite of my love, caused major headaches..
Nikon-F was a breeze, even if camera body very unfriendly!
My Leica M's hid the truth about my eye sight.
In my early 60's eyes changed and i needed longer arms to read!
I was now far sighted, never needed glasses..
So Pentax was there, as I don't sell friends!
I am a hoarder, i am a hoarde...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibbs View Post
British Columbia...Vancouver in fact.
Come for the scenery...stay for the beer.
You might run in to Meghan, Harry and Archie in the woodland.

~ Hibbs
I love it up there, I'm originally from Seattle. August 4th or around there 1954, my dad gave me a choice Gold Cup race or go see Roger Bannister and John Landy run the mile at the ABGs. Stupid, I did the boat race. But I've been up since: beautiful place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP_NzZP_LK0
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Old 1 Week Ago   #28
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Here is a photo of the whole kit. The 28mm f3.5 at front was bought recently.



~ Hibbs
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Last edited by Hibbs : 1 Week Ago at 17:46. Reason: Photo link was broken.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I love it up there, I'm originally from Seattle. August 4th or around there 1954, my dad gave me a choice Gold Cup race or go see Roger Bannister and John Landy run the mile at the ABGs. Stupid, I did the boat race. But I've been up since: beautiful place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP_NzZP_LK0
This event produced one of the most important or recognized sporting photos of the century.
Bannister overtaking Landy while Landy shoulder checks the wrong side.

https://www.vancourier.com/opinion/m...map-1.23198896

Charlie Warner, a local photog, took the shot with his Speed Graphic.

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-...ily-newspapers
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Asahi Pentax S2
Old 1 Week Ago   #30
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Asahi Pentax S2

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Originally Posted by Hibbs View Post
Here is a photo of the whole kit. The 28mm f3.5 at front was bought recently.



~ Hibbs
Sorry, the link does not work for me.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #31
charjohncarter
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Location: Danville, CA, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maigo View Post
This event produced one of the most important or recognized sporting photos of the century.
Bannister overtaking Landy while Landy shoulder checks the wrong side.

https://www.vancourier.com/opinion/m...map-1.23198896

Charlie Warner, a local photog, took the shot with his Speed Graphic.

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-...ily-newspapers
Thanks for that last photo, that was the one I was looking for. Sorry, off topic.
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