When I felt the need to venture into a more formal photography, I knew the best way would be to get myself a trusty analogue SLR sidekick. Then, I met this handsome Nikon camera. We’ve been inseparable ever since.
Although I had a teeny affair with a manual Canon SLR during my college days, I never quite got the hang of it. Most of my photos were either blurry or overexposed. Maybe I was simply not ready to commit to it, as we were scheduled to part once the semester was over. So I learned what I had to and eventually forgot about it. That was, until I was introduced to the wonders of Lomography and film photography.
I started out with a Holga 120 CFN, but it was not long before I felt the need to reacquaint myself with a film SLR camera. What I found a heavy, complicated, difficult to use equipment in the past suddenly became an interesting contraption to me. So I started visiting Hidalgo, Manila’s camera haven, looking out for a nice model. I narrowed it down to a Canon AE-1 or anything from Nikon. I wanted a Nikon FM3A, but the price was beyond my reach, so I ended up with a handsome and heavy Nikon FE2. It was in black and chrome, in good condition, with really nice prime lens, and it felt nice in my hands. No scratches, no dents, and seemed like it was hardly used. I started shooting everywhere shortly after.
Given my background on SLR photography, I didn’t struggle much on learning the controls. Also, it helped that it had an aperture priority mode, which allowed me to get a grip on the proper shutter speed according to the aperture I selected. I looked for an instruction manual and scanned it a bit before giving my first SLR camera a go. I took him out on a couple of photowalk sessions, loaded it with Fuji Superia Reala 100 first, then Kodak Ultramax 400.
Here are some of the best shots from the first two rolls:
I find this a great camera which I bring along with me nearly everywhere. However, as with majority of SLR cameras, it needs a decent selection of lenses to make it an actual all-around camera (that’s why I’m planning to buy a wide-angle/zoom lens for this in the near future). Also, since it requires manual focusing, it’s not really my camera of choice for spontaneous street shots. I use it mostly for portraits, close-ups, and landscape photos.
Two years and countless film rolls later, the Nikon FE2, which I decided to call Ken (yes, I have this bad habit of naming my cameras), remains one of my favorite and best-loved analogue goodies. Some of my photos which I consider my best ones so far were taken using my trusty Nikon FE2.