Agony of Downsizing my Film Camera Collection

Not my collection, but you get the idea

Not my collection, but you get the idea

Having over many years purchased a lot of top-notch film cameras (at insane prices compared to what they cost when new), I’m now faced with “thinning the herd”.  I could never have afforded most of these gems at their original prices.  However, thanks to the ruthless efficiency of our “throw-it-away, gotta-have-the-newest-and-best” societal mindset driving prices down, these beautiful photographic tools became very, very affordable.

I’m now at the point of deciding that perhaps more than 50 cameras could be a few too many.  Continue reading


Nikon F4s

I have finally acquired a pro-level Nikon film camera body – an F4s.  This past weekend yielded some better weather and lovely quality of sunlight, as I have been dying to go off into the hinterland to take some photos with this amazing instrument.  Many photo experts feel that this was the most innovative and game-changing camera that Nikon has produced, before or since, as most have been incremental changes over their predecessors.

For some great reviews and other resources on the Nikon F4, see:

Ken Rockwell’s review of the F4

Nikonian’s Review of the F4

Nikon's F4S - the most innovative Nikon ever?

Nikon’s F4s – probably the most innovative camera Nikon ever made

The F4s weighs a lot, and feels so very solid and competent in the hand.   I was recently able to get a Type E replacement focusing screen for it, which has faint grid lines overlaying the viewing field/focusing screen.  This will help a lot with my perpetual problem of getting the horizon just slightly askew (which can also be attributed to not taking enough time on the shot to know that I have all the variables just so), and will also aid in thinking through compositional elements better.  Realistically nobody needs grid lines to do these things if he can take his time, but sometimes the moment passes too quickly, so the shot must be taken regardless.

Basia and I went to lovely Niagara-on-the-Lake Monday afternoon, and I took a number of shots with the F4s while there – looking forward to getting those developed when I finish the roll.

Will scan and post some of the better shots into this article later.

Photography using film

With digital photo equipment flying off the shelves, and greater and greater pixel densities (Nikon’s new D800 has a 36-MegaPixel sensor), I’d like to make a plea in favour of ensuring that film continues as a beautiful, expressive photo medium.

Fuji Superia 35MM Film Cassette

Fuji Superia 35MM Film Cassette

I believe film should not be permitted to die of loneliness, particularly after is has been used to capture the world’s history and memories for the last 100+ years.  Tragic enough that venerable Kodachrome has gone from the market after decades of being the medium of choice for the world’s best photographers, now it could be that Kodak itself is at risk of disappearing unless it can work some miracles through its Chapter 11 woes.  More remarkably, Kodak’s film division remains profitable (which I find worthy of rejoicing). In a way, that’s not surprising.  Despite the quick uptake of digital cameras, there must still be millions of film (35mm and other) cameras still out there, and still capable of taking as good pictures as they ever did.

Have you ever been amazed at the quality of the photographs in (say) National Geographic Magazine?  The majority were shot on 35MM slide film, and some on print film.

Continue reading

Travel to Bratislava, Slovakia

In early December 2011 I had a chance to travel to Europe (Bratislava, Slovakia) for work, and I ended up staying the weekend in Bratislava and in nearby Vienna, Austria to do some sightseeing.

Here are some pictures from Bratislava, Slovakia, a very beautiful old city that I recommend as being well worth a visit. The weather was overcast and cold, but I was still fascinated to be there.

Bratislava Bus Station below the Novy Most (New Bridge)

Bus Station below the Novy Most (new bridge) in Bratislava, Slovakia

This first one shows a series of tall poster images on the support pillars holding up the Novy Most (New Bridge) as it’s about to join street level.  I thought the colouring very interesting in the sodium lamps, as well as the seriousness of the faces.  I don’ t know who these men are.

The second is of carving of a bearded Knight set into the outside wall of a large church, and a crypt (presumably that of the knight in the carving) located outside the walls of a very old church in Bratislava.  This one struck me, as it’s a remarkable combination of ornate carving and a rather odd looking physical posture of the knight who looks like he has difficulty standing (I presume from some old wound or too much time spent astride a horse).

Continue reading