Reasons to love cameras #183...
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.
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…
alex34 on 2011-10-15