Setting myself up for a fall

I don't imagine a huge audience, waiting with baited breath for my posts but my apologies for the time since my last post, no excuses really.

I'm of an age where, like many photographers, I straddle both film and digital eras. That said, during the film years, my use of film was limited to holiday snaps and disposable cameras, although, I did have a childhood friend who, being a little older than me had more mature hobbies, photography being one of them. I often dabbled alongside him in his makeshift darkroom, taking enough interest to participate but never fully fathoming or comprehending what I was really doing. I enjoyed the process as much as, if not more than the results, the chemicals, the anticipation, it was fun. Then my friend moved away and my coat-tailing came to an end.

It seems a lot of photographers have a phase of revisiting film, some for the nostalgic joy of it, some to genuinely learn more and to slow down their shooting and others, well, just for the hipster nonsense of it – deliberately accidental light leaks on expired film in plastic lomo cameras and all that stuff.

You can probably already see where this is going can't you? Yup, you're absolutely right, I've been shooting film. Let me back up a bit to the decision to try it. I'm already not much of a 'spray and prey' shooter, I'm pretty conservative with my shutter count, always try to get what I need in an efficient way so already, almost a film shooter mentality.

I'm happy enough with my current digital gear, I do suffer from gear acquisition syndrome like everyone else but not to the same degree as most shooters, but I do have the occasional yearning for old-school rangefinders and dslr's. I don't fully understand modern digital cameras that are designed to look old or 'classic' though, to my eye, they never truly pull it off, looking good from the front and top but ugly as all hell on the back, an awkward hodge-bodge of screen and buttons  in sub-optimal positions for use, shoehorned on there, and be honest, which side of the camera are you spending 99% of your time?

To be fully fair, there are some beautiful, although still not perfect ones out there, the new Olympus Pen is an elegant example, looking and feeling almost hand made, lovely knurling and details on the dials but it's still a bit, well, awkward on the back.

Sorry, I've wandered off-topic slightly, where I'm getting to is – I've bought four film cameras, a Zorki-4 from the 50's, a Pentax SV from the 60's, an Olympus OM10 from the 70's and a Canon A1 from the 80's – each with 50mm lenses. Nothing too remarkable there I hear you say but the remarkable thing is, they're all in great shape, are mechanically sound, function beautifully and I bought all four, including their lenses for less than £100 (about $145).

Even if none of them worked, they are beautiful objects and although a bit of a photographer cliché, would make lovely 'decorator items' or 'shelf art' – they're simply nice things. The fact that they work is amazing. The only exception being, I have my suspicions that the longer shutter speeds on the Zorki are not entirely accurate but considering this camera is 60 years old, it's a very minor worry and a small miracle there aren't more significant issues.

So, this is my first post containing no images at all, it's simply me, setting myself up for a terrible fall. I have four films currently being processed and I'll report back when they're in. A few things are likely... my claims that the cameras are in great shape may be shattered when glaring mechanical issues present them selves in the form of light leaks and sticky shutters. What will also be under the microscope will be my ability to even use such old camera's with the limited or complete lack of assistance they provide. The Zorki is a rangefinder with the smallest viewfinder ever which I can barely see through as I wear glasses, the focussing is sketchy at best. The Pentax, like the Zorki has no light meter, so exposures are calculated (approximated?!) in my head... these aren't excuses, well, ok, maybe they are a little bit but I'm fully prepared for whatever comes back, they may be completely blank negatives – anything is possible and I can't wait!