Sunday, June 17, 2007

New Camera (sort of)

It's probably an awful thing to admit too, but I've never taken a photo on film that hasn't been from a disposable camera. I'm probably part of the first generation of fairly serious hobbyist photographers for whom this is the case. All this is going to change, however, as now I have access to, and part-ownership of, a beautiful old film SLR - a Pentax ME. Behold its might!:

Pentax ME

Ok, that's not the most informative picture, but I want to build up the suspense slowly, so by the time the camera is fully revealed you will be weeping at its beauty and lauding me as the bestest blogger writer on the Whole World Web. Here's a slightly more informative picture, but it is in black and white and a close-up, so it's still 'arty' and 'cool':

Pentax ME (3 of 3)

Pretty, huh? Here's the last one, because I need to get this over with so I can buy cigarettes before the shop closes:

Pentax ME (2 of 3)

I'm largely terrified of it: I have no idea how to take photos successfully, and it's very difficult to fathom not being able to review your picture immediately afterwards to see if it's ok. Thinking about the camera has really led me to gain a new respect for photographers who use film - imagine being so good and confident in your ability that you could take just one or two exposures for every shot, perhaps knowing that this could be the only time you will experience the moment? Digital has taken all the risk and suspense out of the craft, something of course helpful but at the same time it is sad to see it go. Never again will there be an extraordinary event such as happened when Robert Capa's photos of the D-Day landings were almost ruined, but resulted in some of the most iconic imagery of the 20th Century. For me photography will always be about perfection and confidence, and no matter how much I use a film camera, digital will still be my medium - I'd be kidding myself if I thought any different. Oh well, I'll just have to embrace it!

Onto the camera itself - what struck me first was the the looks of the body (did I mention it's pretty) I really love that style, it makes my new-fangled Nikon D50 look cheesy and uncouth. I think any camera produced up until the mid-eighties had this timeless style, something now long lost for mainstream cameras. Unfortunately the lens is far too bulky, but seems to be of good quality - it's a very useful zoom range and has a great widest aperture: 1/2.8. This is something that can be easily fixed, however, as brilliantly I can buy a brand new Pentax lens and it will work perfectly on this camera.

The last thing that struck me was the quality of the viewfinder - it's large and bright. It's a real pity that they don't put these on cheaper DSLR's today, although I suppose 90% of the people using these cameras aren't going to manually focus and that is the main reason for needing one.

Hopefully someday I'll put up some photos I've taken with it!