About Me

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I take pictures of things. Mostly with film. Mostly with cameras. I am an engineer by trade. What really makes me happy, though, is to find an old camera at a swap meet or antique store and bring it back into working order with a few hours at the workbench. I then like to take them out and shoot some film. This blog is in large part the result of that activity.

Friday, August 31, 2012

low tech

I have a Nikon D7000.  It is a marvelous camera.  It can do many, many things brilliantly, almost automatically.  It certainly has the capability to take better photos than I can take.  It is High Tech.  Extremely automated.  A computer with a camera grafted on.  But I can't use it. 


Nikon D7000 Nikkor 35mm f1.8G

I have tried and tried.  I've read the manual.  I've re-read it.  It has too many features.  Too many definitions to understand, too many interacting combinations of features that I barely understand to begin with.  I finally ended up setting it to aperture priority, one single, central focus point, single focus and center weighted metering so that it works just like my F4.  This way I can use it.  If I want the focus locked on something not in the center of the frame, I aim at it, half press to focus, leave it half pressed to keep the focus and recompose, just like I've done with autofocus film cameras for years.  It works.  So I can use it.  I've taken some good shots with it, but I only use about 10 percent of what it can actually do.  For somebody.  Just not me.


Nikon FM2 Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Ilford HP5+

I'm a computer programmer.  I should (and do) understand complicated interfaces, confusing subject matter, tech stuff.  But this is photography.   There is too much going on with my brain to have to worry about what the heck the camera is going to do when I press the shutter button.  This is why I like my manual film cameras.  I have to think about light, framing, focus, timing, set the aperture according to the meter and watch what is going on in the viewfinder to choose when I'm going to take that shot.  That's photography to me.  Not hoping the computer figures out what I'm trying to do and focuses on what I want in focus, selects an ISO that makes sense, an aperture that gives me what I want and meters on what I want metered.  Just let me take care of all that.

Viewfinders.  That's another big one.  When I've spent any time at all looking through the finder of the D7000 and then I pick up one of my manual film cameras, particularly one with an absolutely HUGE finder like a Nikon FM or a Pentax MX or an Olympus OM1 I just want to put the Nikon in a box and never look into that train tunnel of a finder again.  The OM1 lets you SEE.  The FM2 lets me see.  The F3HP lets me see EVERYTHING.


Nikon FM2 Nikkor 24mm f2.8 Ilford HP5+

When I was about to graduate from college back in the Cretaceous era, my parents wanted to buy me a camera.  There were all sorts of automatic cameras available back in 1987 (did I say that out loud?).   Canon was just introducing EOS, Nikon was about to introduce the F4, but what I wanted was a fully manual camera like my Dad's Pentax Spotmatic from 1968.  My wonderful parents dutifully went to a camera store and bought a Pentax K1000.  I still have that camera today.  It currently has a roll of film in it.


Nikon FM2 Nikkor 24mm f2.8 Ilford HP5+

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