Feeling a little nostalgic today, so I’ll talk a little about gear that I used to own and missed dearly. On top of the list will definitely be the Nikon FM3A. A friend of mine sold this camera (Nikon FM3A + Nikkor 50mm F1.8E) to me, and this is the starting point of me venturing into photography with film. This is a very well made and sexy camera. Feature wise, I would consider it to be pretty “advance”. It has built-in light meter, able to sync with flash, aperture priority, DX automatic ASA setting and so on. It can run with or without battery, which made it a very versatile camera.
I can still recall at that point of time I wasn’t really sure whether shooting with film is something I’ll like and enjoy. I shot a few rolls with it for a few months, and then I realized that “Yes, shooting with film is something I would love to continue on”. However, the cost of the film, development and scanning was rather high to me. So I ended up selling off this kit and head back to digital.
At the end of the day, the bug of shooting with film came back to bite me, and after about a year later, I got myself a Zeiss Ikon and a film scanner. I was in a better financial position too, hence I decided to make a return back into shooting with film. I’m glad that I did, but I do feel a little regret for selling off this great piece of camera. Perhaps someday I will own this back in my collection, perhaps someday…
After completing all my film rolls, I decided to let go of this film camera. This camera has accompanied me for quite a few months, and I really enjoy shooting with it. It’s a great camera, really. Handling is smooth (except the rather odd exposure compensation dial), metering is rather accurate, and it’s not heavy or bulky at all.
During these months of shooting with this camera, I dare to say my shooting habit has changed a little. I have become more selective in shooting. I’m not sure if my framing has improved, but certainly I have grew to enjoy shooting in 50mm focal length, which is a focal length that I’m not used to before this. Other than that, I do get a taste of “full frame” depth of field with this camera. I have also improved in terms of handheld slow shutter speed shooting, which can be useful for me as most of my lens do not have image stabilization built in.
It’s a sad and heavy decision to make. The main reason I decided to let go is mainly due to the cost of shooting film, developing and scanning them. If I were to develop or scan the film myself, I can still see a point to keep shooting. But as the cost keeps increasing, it’s getting less economical for me to continue. Perhaps is time for me to move on to a new chapter. The time I spent with this camera will definitely not get wasted.
When I was young, I did a few rolls of film on a candid point and shoot camera. They are just daily shots of my high school life. Nothing serious about photography and nothing technical at all. I know a lot of people of my generation or older started their photography journey on film. For me, I don’t have such privilege. I first started on digital and until today I’m still on digital.
In this modern era, one may ask why there are still people who shoot on film. Hmm, I wonder why too. Perhaps the nostalgic feeling they have by getting back to their roots, getting back to where it all started. Come to think about it, perhaps my love for photography was really started from the days when I loaded the film into the point and shoot camera, started snapping away, sent the film to shop to develop, patiently waiting for it and finally holding the prints in my hand when it’s done.
And so, I got myself a film camera – the Nikon FM3A with Nikkor 50mm F1.8 AIS lens. For me, it’s not too much on “getting back to where it all started”, it’s not “just another time passing toy” either. With this new acquisition, I do hope I can learn a bit more about shooting on film, which is something absent from my photography journey, and something I would like to experience more. And I’m virtually upgrading myself to a “full frame” camera!
Well, there must be something about shooting on film that keeps film camera and all sorts of film still alive in this digital era. Yes, I tend to agree that there’s something special about it. I shot a few rolls of film on a toy camera prior to my decision to get myself a better film camera body, and I have done a few rolls with my FM3A. I’m still trying to figure out some of the limitation of the equipment, but so far everything seems pretty positive.
I’ll share more about my film shooting experience in future post. Till then.