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Reasons to love cameras #183...

There are lots of reasons to love film cameras. However one of the real hooks is the physicality of actually working and using them. Some people like fold-out cameras. Some like rangefinders. All cameras do the same thing (take pictures), but do it in different ways.

There are many reasons to love film cameras. If you are a user rather than just a collector however (i.e. they don’t just sit on your shelf), I think it’s the different physical aspects of each model in use that form one of the key attractions. Some models in my opinion attract you, whilst others, though there is absolutely nothing technically wrong with them, (they may even be top-of-the-line), are almost impossible to warm to. Cameras are akin to a car or perhaps even better a guitar or a musical instrument this way- all instruments make a sound, but some speak just to you more than others.

Photo by alex34

One of my favourite small cameras to use is the Werramat. I don’t use it as much as a lot of my other cameras, but it’s a beautifully designed example of form meeting function which always gives me great pleasure when I do take it out. I think of it as an East German Leica. To advance the film it has a unique arrangement where you twist the ring clockwise around the lens. The result is you can take quick shots (the built in light meter here also really helps) and the physical sound-ZONNNK-click!-combines with the pin sharp lens to make a really great overall camera in feel and performance.

Outside how a camera feels and sounds, I think every photographer learns pretty quickly what kind of lens they generally prefer. I generally prefer a sharp photograph. I have a Pouva Start which gives lovely ‘soft’ photographs, but it’s an exception within my overall collection. I don’t need double exposure, sprocket holes, or panorama shots particularly, whereas of course other photographers can’t live without those capabilities. Generally I like a good simple all-mechanical camera with top quality German glass in it-Carl Zeiss of Jena more often than not. To me that’s a generally unbeatable combination, and drives you back to your photography 101 basics in a healthy way-framing, exposure, composition, and use of light. But I’m not a lens snob either. Both my Weltaflex and Lubitel 2s have cheaper and technically inferior ‘triplet’ lenses typical of mid-level 1950s TLRs, but I love them because of how they look, perform & handle. So with cameras, to me it’s the complete package and how every individual then responds to it, making it almost impossible to stick with something that just doesn’t speak to you. This is also in my mind where much of modern camera design has gone wrong, leading to a soulless ‘march of the clones’. But that’s a rant for another day…

written by alex34

5 comments

  1. wuxiong

    wuxiong

    I quite agree with you . Sometimes a cheap camera can be a adorable one as long as it serves you right. I have a Voitlander rangfinder which bears a very sharp 30mm lens, and it's my most expensive in my collections, however I have only used it once years ago, and have been long sitting on my shelf...<:) And my most used camera is my holga 135/ 135 bc... They are my hard working mates...^..^

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  2. bkspicture

    bkspicture

    Agree to a large extent.

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  3. goomba

    goomba

    I agree completely, I use my Agfa Clack way more than for example my Agfa Isolette V, just because the Agfa Clack speaks to me more in terms of it's quirky design and 6x9 pictures. I like vintage looking photos a lot, and therefore develop a lot of pictures in Caffenol for an old look.

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  4. jean_louis_pujol

    jean_louis_pujol

    I completely agree with you. This seems to be a very nice camera. I suppose it is in 24 x 36? Excellent blog entry.

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  5. mapix

    mapix

    to a large extend i think just exactly the same! youre totally right, the physical issue distinguishes the analog ones from those working digital. digital is not bad per se, but it never could be experenced physically. i love Prakticas, an eastern product too, although it was not at all at the level of devellopment. but for me its amazing how simple they are constructed and on the whole easy to use. a new camera instantly provokes my curiosity, i really like to discover it and learn how it works (physically) - another point is the age! recently came into an olympus slr from my uncle, who used it over 30 years (he owns a giant slide collection...) it works like at the first day - phantasic! you can really feel the time, for me this machine inheres an own character!
    thanks a lot for your entry!

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