First Light …

I woke up one Saturday morning thinking that maybe digital photography isn’t totally where it’s at. I was realising that the amount of time I was spending chasing the next ‘better’ camera with more megapixels, more auto-focus points, and more dynamic range … let alone searching for the next almost no-compromise lens was becoming an obsession.

Do I have a passion for photography – yes, was I enjoying the ‘photography’ itself … hmmm, not really, it was becoming very automatic. When I say that I mean, I was noticing that I was fighting against the camera, reading blogs about how my images were probably not adequate enough, not sharp enough, not blurred enough … and only the next improved camera & lens would resolve this gap.

So I did a bit of research, and quickly decided that a Nikon Nikomat FT2 with 28mm & 35mm prime lens was the way to go … and headed over to eBay. Wow … so much choice, so many different prices, and so many EXEC++++ items listed but with fungus & dust, etc.

Make no mistake, and hence the three reference pages I’ve created here on Irish Analog Adventures – there was a lot of trial & error:

  • How to attach the lens to the FT2 … not straightforward !
  • How to adjust the ISO lever and use the mirror lock-up … not straight forward
  • How to actually focus without AF points … big learning
  • Without matrix/evaluative metering, how to adjust to center-weighted metering … the skill required in that

However, when I got my first two rolls of film developed, and received my photos back, it was a revelation … 35mm film can actually produce really nice photos … whodathunk !??

What I began to appreciate immediately were the following:

  • The grain has a secret benefit – it fools your eyes into thinking there’s more detail in the vegetation & brickwork
  • Film can handle over-exposure soooo well – those clouds are there, not like digital
  • Film does not like under-exposure all that much … need extra care when photographing those sunsets accurately
  • Because I was having to manually focus, and manually set my exposure … dare I say, I was concentrating on the environment, and lost in the experience, it was refreshing !

So what a great first first-run, fantastic ! Here I am now, writing a blog sharing my experiences 1.5 years later … plenty more to follow 🙂

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