I admit it. I’m as addicted to new gear as a geek can be. Reading about new cameras results in a constant temptation to run to a camera store and get it.
And so, recently, I was in my favorite camera store at Rennweg in Zürich and got a new Nikon. Black. Sexy. One that was built in late 70, early 80.
Because you know, I also love shooting film now and then. I got myself a 50 year old Leica M3, just because I turned 50 as well this year. And I also wanted to have an old SLR. A Nikon to be precise. You know one of these old, small ones, all black. And when I saw that they have a used FE2 for sale, I just couldn’t resist.
So, after having lost the argument with myself how little I need it, I was there and handed over the money for the little Nikon, together with a Nikkor f1.4/50mm. And so I got a new camera with state of the art technology. Just like – 30 years late 😉 And much much cheaper than it had been back then.
You may wonder why I pay a few bucks for these old bricks. After all, our digital gear is so much better, isn’t it? And you’re probably right, digital has many, many advantages. Like immediate results, better resolution, the ability to change your ISO between shots and so on.
But you know, there are also a few things, digital can’t do for you.
First, it can’t slow you down. You can always shoot, shoot, shoot, and if you shoot crap you delete it. Let’s face it, you select your shots at home at the computer. With film it is a bit different. You have to slow down. Not only, because you have to focus manually, but also, because you only have 36 shots on a roll. And you payed for each of them. So you think a bit more before you press the button. Does the shot make sense? Has it the potential to be a keeper? And you don’t press the trigger, if you think that’s not the case.
Then there is the character of film. It’s hard to describe, but shots taken with film can suddenly have a very special touch that is hard to achieve in post production if you shoot digital. And then, each film has its own characteristics as well, inviting you to experiment and play with it. Like with this shot. No postwork on it, no nothing, just scanned the slide shot with Fuji Velvia 50.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t say film is better than digital. I still shoot the majority digitally. And if you’re experimenting or taking your first steps, digital is the way to go, as it allows you to shoot, check the shot, shot, and learn with every shot you take.
But for me, the slow speed of shooting film is like going to a good restaurant, where they slowly prepare your food. You wait for each dish, enjoying your company and a good glass of wine. When you’re done, in essence, you just filled you belly with food. And yet, it is very different from a dinner at MacDonalds, isn’t it?