I’ve looked longingly at my old film camera, wondering if it’s worth getting fixed. I bought the camera more than a decade ago, and it stopped working a few years ago. It was about that time I got my first digital SLR, so it wasn’t a big loss to me.
But I still wish I could shoot film at times. And then it dawned on me — I could commandeer my dad’s old SLR. Or ask him to borrow it. He’s not using it (he doesn’t even use my old digital SLR), so why not?
His SLR (I can never remember the brand) has seen the world in his travels to Europe and elsewhere. It’s also the camera on which I learned to shoot in college before I bought my first SLR. The big difference between my first SLR and my dad’s camera? His is fully mechanical. That means I have to set everything on it, which I haven’t done since, well, the last time I used it.
The electronics and technology of digital cameras — even my old film SLR — makes it extremely simple to meter and set your camera. And if you don’t get it right, you can see it right away in the back of your camera and fix your settings. That’s not the case with a mechanical camera.
That doesn’t mean I don’t know f-stops and other settings. I just am rusty in having to set everything by hand because the last time I used this camera was in, oh, 1998ish. We’re talking 15 years (and boy do I feel old right now). And it’s good that I’ll have to go back and remember everything I learned in my basic photography class because those are skills I shouldn’t be losing, even if technology makes it easy to forget them.
And I thought finding film would be the hardest part of this exercise.