Back To Basics

There are lots of good things about digital photography and I certainly wouldn’t be as enthusiastic or competent as I am now if I hadn’t moved from film to digital. The ability to experiment and instantly see the results without having to pay to get film developed is a godsend. However that same ability has a downside, it doesn’t force you to think too much about what you are doing. Is it framed correctly? Is the exposure right? Is the shutter speed fast enough? Basically digital photography allows you to just snap away if you wish without asking yourself “is this shot worth taking and will it come out right?”. If it doesn’t come out right then you can just delete the file and try again. There is nothing wrong with this approach but you won’t necessarily learn how to take a good photograph this way and you don’t get as much satisfaction when you do get it right.

There are more reasons why in some ways film is better than digital – when got right film will still produce a better quality image than any digital camera, digital cameras are expensive when you buy them but rapidly lose their value, you can pick up a top quality film camera for a fraction of the cost and it can last you a lifetime.

I have posted previously regarding whether to move back to film and it has been playing on my mind again recently. I would love a Leica rangefinder camera such as a M3, M6, or M7 but I know that it is unlikely I will ever be able to justify spending that amount of money on a camera never mind on a Leica lens to fit it. With that in mind I have been looking for more realistic options and I think I have found an answer – I am going to purchase a Nikon FM3A. Here is why:

  • It is a manual focus camera.
  • Exposure can be set manually or you can use aperture priority mode.
  • It is beautifully built and will last a lifetime if looked after well.
  • I won’t need to buy any lenses as my 50mm f1.8 will work perfectly on it.
  • Top quality examples sell for between £300 and £500.
With digital you don’t get the excitement and suspense when you get your photos back from the lab, open up the envelope and see how your shots turned out. I miss this. All I need to do now is find a Nikon FM3A at a bargain price or save up a bit more. Wish me luck!

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