Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Convenience of Film Photography

Taken With Pentax Zoom 90, Fuji Superia ISO 200

As I happened upon this scene just when I was exiting the car to make a quick trip to a local computer dealer, I was so glad to have a real camera with me. One very intense rain shower had just blown through and another was about to begin. What really caught my eye, aside from the brooding sky, was the reflections in the pavement. This was a perfect photographic moment that ended two minutes later as another downpour commenced. My smartphone battery was completely dead, and my 7D DSLR was home, where it usually is. So, thanks to my Pentax Zoom 90 being in the car, I did not miss this amazing shot that was handed to me on a platter. For me, this isn't just any old building either - it is the other part of the recently demolished Wesley Memorial United Church - the Church Hall built in the early 1950's, where I attended Sunday School and Boy Scouts. I had a lot of personal history in this building when growing up - a lot of fond (and perhaps not so fond) memories.

So, do you see what I'm getting at? You always need a camera with you at hand at all times; otherwise, you'll miss! Smartphones are good, but often they're dead, or otherwise engaged in some other activity, and, more importantly, there is no way a smartphone would ever make a photo this good straight out of camera. The micro-camera in a smartphone, as remarkable as they are, is still no match for 35mm full-frame (said to be 25 Mega-pixel equivalent when shooting film).

My advice about a camera you'll always have with you is very simple, and I've repeated it here many times and in many ways. It needs to be pocketable, preferably operable without batteries, or with a very long life Lithium battery (good for 3000 shots). It should also have a premium lens that is fast enough for occasional night shooting without flash. Above all, it needs to be convenient and ready to shoot at a split-second's notice. This altogether rules out every type of camera except for the film viewfinder / rangefinder 35mm compact. 

A photographer needs a small arsenal of cameras really. Aside from the super ready-at-hand convenience mentioned above, a DSLR has it's place when events are pre-planned, and a Medium Format film camera will provide you with the ultimate in image quality for your artistic planned shooting. But nothing yet (except maybe this if you have the money and it doesn't come with a viewfinder) comes close to a 35mm compact film camera for those impromptu shooting moments that often, as if by magical serendipity, present themselves to you. Here are a few more shots to show you what I mean:

Pentax Zoom 90, Fuji Superia ISO 200

Pentax Zoom 90, Fuji Superia ISO 200

 Pentax Zoom 90, Fuji Superia ISO 200
Olympus Trip 35 with Fuji Superia 400

For this last pair, I happened to have both of my film compacts with me. The comparison of the two is entertaining, and when you get right down to it, I think the Trip 35 made the better shot (although I had to rotate and crop it a bit). This is why the Olympus Trip 35 is my favourite film camera of all that I've tried so far. It is also more "pocketable" than the Pentax Zoom 90, does not require a battery, and has a far better viewfinder.

Let there be light - and film!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reader's comments are welcome, and are subject to moderation by the author.