In 1966 my father decided to take a big jump in technology, leaving his precious Wittnauer to my hands and moving up to a Petri Flex he purchased at the Post Exchange on Anderson Air Force Base in Guam.  After we came back to the “real world” in 1968, and he retired from the USAF a few years later, his life became quite busy and the Petri ended up being mine to use whenever as I wished.

I purchased a pre-set Soligar 400mm lens and found that I could fund my steadily developing photography addiction by taking pictures of the local high school football players.  I became quite proficient at B&W film developing and printing, and, with the help of several of my darkroom buddies, slowly began to understand and utilize the Zone System concepts.

The Petri served me well, until, that is, the mirror began to stick in the up position and I decided that I knew enough to take the camera apart and clean the springs.  Of course, as you have probably already surmised, I didn’t know enough and the camera ended up being useful only as a paperweight.  Pa was pretty pissed off, as was his right, but he finally calmed enough to tell me, “You’ve got to go out and replace the camera with your own money.”  I bought a Kowa leaf-shutter single-lens-reflex, a rather odd and rare machine, but neither of us were very happy with its rather delicate mechanism and clunky-sounding operation, so it wasn’t too long before I was taking pictures with a Mamiya 500DTL.


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Petri Flex