Digital cameras are great. You can take loads of pictures as you are limited only by the amount of space on memory space. You can see how the picture turned out pretty much instantaneously. Shooting digital is quite a bit cheaper since you don’t have to pay for film/developing/printing/scanning or spend hours doing it yourself. Today, lots of cameras can shoot at least five frames per second, have blazingly fast autofocus, you just have to point the camera in the right direction and it will do pretty much all the work for you. And that’s the problem. I mean I will not stop shooting digital, not by a long shot. I wouldn’t have been able to take some of my best action shots with a film camera (partially due to lack of experience, granted, but the point stands). However, all this “easiness” has recently started to bother me a little bit. I like the pictures I take and I am improving steadily, but sometimes I am not sure how good my pictures would look without all the gadgetry in my cameras. I felt like I wasn’t learning as much as I could.
I have always been fascinated by old things. It also applies to cameras. Last year, I brought my dad’s old medium format camera over. However, I haven’t really been using it. I realised that I am not quite ready to use it yet. It is completely manual, even without metering, so you have to either guess or carry a separate light meter. You cannot change lenses on it or focus at a distance shorter than one metre. It feels like a specialised tool and not so much like a camera to have fun with.
So I thought long and hard about what I wanted in a camera and I ended up with an old Praktica. And so far, it seems perfect. It is fully manual but it has a light meter, so you can check if your exposure settings are right. It has interchangeable lenses that I can use with my Sony NEX with an adapter. It shoots 35mm film, which is still pretty available and not too expensive. And best of all, it makes me feel like I am actually creating the photographs rather than just being a glorified tripod. I mean I have a long way to go as a photographer, but I have learnt more by shooting this one roll of film than I have in the previous half year. And it’s fun :)
Once in a while, you will see this kind of a post. It will have been shot with an old-school manual camera on film. Once I get all the equipment, I also plan to do the developing and scanning/printing. Probably B&W photos only, as I simply cannot afford the equipment and do not have the time or space for developing colour. The pictures may not be perfect, but they will be mine. No digital magic and sorcery involved. I will have created them from start to finish. They will show things and people that left an impression on me. Little reminders of things I have done, feelings and moods. Memories. They will be me.