Yoo hoo! I upgraded today.
A Nikon FE SLR with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. Great condition, $150.
OK, so maybe a Nikon FE from, I am guessing, 1981 or 1982, is not an upgrade. But in some ways it is, and that is what I want to briefly talk about.
First, though, what is missing on a film camera like this Nikon:
- “Each click costs $1”.
- No instant feedback so I do not know if the picture worked.
- After pictures, I need to wait a week to see my images.
- A lack of virtually all technical functions.
- No autofocus, no matrix metering.
- No program mode, no shutter priority mode, no scene modes.
- On-off switch is the wind lever, and for a left-eyed person like me, that is inconvenient
- Just 36 clicks and you have to mess about changing films!
And some of those are huge drawbacks, the first two in particular; and that is why we shoot digital now.
But now we come to the benefits, and why in many ways this is an upgrade.
- The camera is small and light. No ten pound brick, and yet it has full SLR functions and a full frame sensor… well, negative.
- It is incredibly well made, Workmanship, engineering, materials: solid.
- It has a “split screen” viewfinder with manual focus. That kind of manual focus is so accurate, and is such a pleasure to use, that I totally miss it today.
- It has an analog meter, not a display consisting of little LEDs. That means fast response and great precision.
- Its battery lasts for years. Not “a day”. Talk about retrograde steps in technology.
- It is beautiful.
- Above all: it is simple. It allows me to adjust ASA to match the film, and to set aperture and shutter speed in one stop increments. Shutter can also be automatic, so that is Aperture priority mode. (I.e. “M” and “A” are the only two modes). Those are the basic controls; that is exposure!
- In addition, I can set exposure compensation; it has AE lock; a self timer; a mechanical backup of 1/90th second only, Bulb mode, a sliding battery check button, and an aperture preview. And that is it!
With a film camera, you have to get it right, So, just to show I can still do it, I bought a roll of Tri-X and I’ll take some photos in Toronto tomorrow. And then I’ll hunt down someone who can develop and “digitize or print”.
Fun fun fun~!