Getting to know the Pellix at sunset

I finally laid my hands on a camera I’ve wanted for ages – a Canon Pellix from the mid-1960s. Mine is the QL edition from 1966. It’s like most other manual focus Canon SLRs except that it has a fixed pellicle mirror, rather than a moving mirror. It diverts 1/3 of the light to the viewfinder and 2/3 to the film, so overall you lose about half a stop of exposure. To compensate for this, the standard lens for the Pellix is an FL-mount 50mm f/1.4 rather than the slightly slower f/1.8 you might usually expect.

The light meter in my Pellix doesn’t work reliably so I avoided using it at all, and used an iPhone app and my intuition for rough metering. There were a couple of glorious evenings last week so I made these exposures shortly before sunset in the nature reserve near my house, using Ilford FP4+ film.

I love the dreamy image quality from the FL 50mm f/1.4 lens. It flares easily when shooting into the sun (I deliberately was, as the sun was low in the sky) and it produces lovely bokeh when shooting wide open – for example in the picture of the hat. I love this camera and lens 🙂

Unlike moving-mirror SLRs, the mirror in the Pellix is in the optical path when taking a picture. The mirror in my Pellix has some scratches from where I presume a previous owner was a bit over-zealous in their cleaning. This could probably be contributing to the flare and haze too.

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