Black Dynamite Returns

The Emergence of Konica Pop-10 From an Ancient Travel Chest

3 min read by Brian Purdy. Published in Film & Photography.
Once upon a time, photography saved my sanity… I picked up a cheap 35mm camera and found each click of the shutter could advance me across the darker places, give me something other than myself to think about.

Once upon a time, photography saved my sanity. In my mid-forties I broke up disastrously with my long-term love, lost job and self-confidence and entered a maelstrom of depression. By chance, I picked up a cheap 35mm camera and found each click of the shutter could advance me across the darker places, give me something other than myself to think about.

Later, in 2008 with digital imaging already well established, I bought and assembled a healthy group of compact film cameras as a sort of ‘thank-you’ to the photographic arts for therapeutic aid received. These stayed, mostly unused, in an ancient travel chest until six months ago. I wondered what it might be like to use some of these plastic-fantastic ‘chestnuts’. Did film photography still retain for me its warmly-remembered magic?

One camera in that chest was a Konica Pop-10, recently dubbed ‘Black Dynamite’ by photography enthusiasts far younger than I. On brief examination, it seemed a kissing cousin of the dead-simple compact camera that had served me so well twenty years earlier — so I fed it a roll of Fuji 200 and took a walk, expecting little.

The images captured surprised and delighted me. Though not startling, the high standard of resolution from the Pop 10’s f-4 fixed focus lens and its ability to render contrast and colour are commendable. It had far more on the ball than I’d anticipated. But, best of all, the camera was great fun to shoot with, simple and unobtrusive in the best possible way.