Saturday 26 July 2014

Back to Film, At Least For a Bit

Nikon FM2, Nikkor-P.C 105/2.5, Ilford HP5+

A little over a week after picking up the FM, I now have 4 rolls though it (66% of this year's film shooting and 40% of what I shot last year, it's been a while since I've shot a lot of film) and have added a 135/3.5 AI to the kit (I'll also be borrowing a Tamron 19-35 to round out the kit for now). I really have been reminded why I like shooting with classic manual mechanical SLR's.

And why is that? Simplicity. I was speaking with a friend over beers last week and had the FM with me. They mentioned that they were looking for a simple camera, and I noted that there is nothing simpler than a manual, mechanical camera like the FM. There's no automation beyond a mechanical instant-return mirror, the electronics assist but are not essential and there's only a few controls. What the friend was actually looking for was a camera that would do everything for them (easy, not simple), but it did remind me of my preference for simplicity. I don't want the camera doing anything for me, I don't want to have to worry about the charge on my batteries or whether I've dumped my cards. I simply want to grab my camera bag, dump a few rolls of film in and go shoot.

Does this mean I'm giving up digital? Nope. There's too much it does better than film today, and I do enjoy shooting with the X-E1, even if I haven't bonded strongly with it. And I love those Fuji lenses. on the other hand I'll be shooting more film if it all works out.

Saturday 19 July 2014

Summer is Here and Living is Lazy

Nikon FM2, Nikkor-P.C 105/2.5, Ilford HP5+

Haven't posted in a while, as usual I've been busy with work and while I have been shooting, it's been relatively light.

After struggling with shooting near-macro stuff on the X-A1, I ended up selling it off along with the 16-50 and my FM10 kit and purchased an X-E1 at the end of May. The X-E1's proved to be a better fit for my shooting than the X-A1, and I wasn't really shooting much with the FM10 anyways. I've around 500 shots on the clock on the X-E1 now and while I can't say I love the body (it's decent, but not one of the bodies I've bonded strongly with) I do love the glass, especially the 18/2. Despite a LR5 based workflow I haven't had any problems with X-Trans RAW conversions yet, which is a good thing. The Fuji kit is working pretty well overall although I will either end up getting the X-T1 or I expect I'll do another system shuffle, although to what I couldn't tell you. Sony lacks a body I want, m43 has interesting bodies and primes (especially now that the 15/1.7 DG-Summicron is out) but continues to lack the 24-105-equivalent zoom that I really want as an everyday lens. That said, I suspect if I do get the X-T1 eventually that I might actually stick to a system for a while.

On the film front, the FM10 just wasn't doing it for me, which was a bit of a headscratcher as I've always liked the body. Some of it was lenses, my setup (28, 50 and 100 Series E and a 35/2.8 AI) nailed the focal lengths but not the lens performance, of those I'm only really fond of the 100, but some of it was the body. I've been getting the film bug back more than a bit of late, so I stopped by the Henry's Outlet and picked up a replacement for the FM10, I ended up with a near-mint black FM and a 50/2 K (non-AI lens with AI cosmetics). Taking it for a spin reminded me both why the FM10 wasn't doing it for me and why I do like the FM10. Both come down to haptics. The FM is a far more hefty and solid body than the FM10 and that's what I was missing. On the flip side, because I was missing that I wasn't experiencing the strength of the FM10, which was its small size & weight, especially when paired with a 35 or 50 Series E lens. I suspect I'll buy another FM10, probably with the 35/2.5 Series E, but only as a second body to an FM or FM2(n), it's not going to be a primary film body for me. The FM just feels better. Only downside to the FM is I'm losing a stop of shutter speed (max 1/1000 instead of 1/2000), but I'm sure eventually I'll find the right FM2 and that will be solved.

Next steps on the film front will be a couple lenses (28 and 85 or 105) and maybe replacing the 50/2 non-AI with an AI version, or my other favourite Nikon 50, the 50/1.8 AI (not the pancake model which I don't like nearly as much as the older designs). on digital it's a wide angle, sometime this fall there will be a 14/2.8 added.