Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Mamiya/Sekor DSX 500
When I test some of these older cameras I am so used to the meter being dead or needing a no longer made battery that usually don't check it and just grab my hand-held meter. That's what I did when I took the photos for this post. With the Mamiya/Sekor DSX 500 that was a mistake. While reading up on the DSX 500 for this post I found that it uses a still available silver-oxide SR44 battery. I also read that to turn on the meter you pull the film wind lever back slightly. When I did this the needle for the meter responded. Now this camera came from a bunch of cameras from a defunct photo club. I would guess it hadn't been used in twenty years. So I was very surprised that the battery would still be powering the meter after all that time. I checked the meter with by hand-held meter and it seems to be working okay.
So seeing that the meter was still working and used an easy to get battery was my first surprise. My second surprise was that the DSX 500 offers both spot and averaging metering. That's something you don't often find on an economy camera. Selling for around $229 the DSX 500 differed from its brother the, DSX 1000, in having a lower top shutter speed and lacking a self-timer.
The Auto Mamiya/Sekor SX f/2 lens seems to be a good performer. The SX lenses are unusual in that while they are a M42 lens they also have a locking mount. There also is a pin in this lens that allows one to meter without stopping down the lens. You can use non-SX M42 lenses, however with these you will need to stop down to meter.
Weighing in at just over two pounds the DSX is solidly made mid-1970's all mechanical classic. The DSX 500 with it's two metering modes and easy to get battery would seem like a good option for today's film shooter. Although if you want the 1/1000 shutter speed and the self-timer you can look for the DSX 1000. Just from a brief look on Ebay there isn't much difference in price and the DSX 1000 seems to be more common.
My admittedly superficial check of DSX prices got me to thinking that maybe cameras like the DSX 500 were offered in the same way that medium soft drinks are offered. And that is because for some reason having a choice between small/medium/large seems to increase the sales of the large drink. At least it seems like more DSX 1000s were sold.
With a lot of these older cameras I use them out of curiosity, but end up without a desire to use them again. The DSX 500 falls into the category of one that will get further work. It may not reach the level of a goto camera like several of my Canons or the Olympus XA, however after a first use I am impressed with it.
I used Arista.EDU 100 for these pictures. I have never been that happy with that film, however because it is cheap I have kept trying with it. This time I use a dilution of Rodinal at 1/100 and one hour stand development. And that finally is a combination that I am happy with.
I also tried the Auto Mamiya/Sekor SX f/2 lens out with an M42 adapter for digital. Since the lens doesn't have an auto/manual switch I was only able to use it at f/2. Here is one of the results.