The web is full of excellent pages written by film geeks and people with far too much disposable income.
I had hoped that getting into film would help me stop obsessing over cameras and just get out and shoot. But now I’m pouring over retro camera blogs and second hand dealers, because it turns out, old film cameras are even more beautiful than digital cameras.
Yashica Ts, LEICA Cs Contax Gs, Olympi (plural?) and Konicas are all calling my name. The annoying thing is that most blogs speak of finding cameras like the oly mju ii for under £10. Then you check the date and find that today; a decade later, the same camera will cost you around £100.
This is the price inflation of the film revival – amazing that old analogue cameras are appreciating in a way digital probably never will.
Another factor is that charity shops have got smarter. Many now have expert led websites or eBay shops where cameras are properly valued. Gone are the days of finding a bargain because the shop assistants don’t really know the value of the device. Presumably the internet has also informed pricing. In the long run this is good news for the charities, just not for hard up collectors.
I recently became the proud owner of this lovely wee camera. I’ve spent hours pouring over similar specimens online and also incredible refurbished versions such as sold by Tripman. I finally purchased this from the veritable Aladdin’s cave of secondhand cameras that is Ffordes.
Here’s the thing. It’s a fully automatic camera which chooses the exposure for you, all you have to do is choose the correct zone focus setting. When using it I’m not the least concerned by this, in fact it’s quite freeing. But then creeps over me slight uneasiness at my feelings of pride and superiority when I lend a mft camera to a family member who always requests it set to intelligent auto mode.
Shame on me for this double standard, as if replacing a digital sensor with film suddenly makes auto mode more ‘technical’.
A few years ago I picked up an old OM 50mm 1.8 with a mft adapter. It was fun to use and nice as a portrait lens (100mm equiv.)
The adapter was poor quality and eventually the coating started to come off. Concerned that it would mess up the inside of my camera I left the lens aside.
So, yesterday I bought an old OM-10 and some ilford film to begin an experiment in going analogue.
I’m not sure how the OM-10 will fair in street photography it has the loudest shutter action I’ve ever heard. But time will tell.
The image above shows the similarity between the OM-10 and the EM10.
So it’s out. The new OM-D EM10ii has arrived! And a beautiful little camera it is too.
Is it much better than the EM10? Probably not. It’s got new improved image stabilisation, a new improved viewfinder and the buttons are bigger and more shiny. Will it take better photographs? Again probably not.
It’s interesting to me that it has been released much more quickly than the new EM5ii. I’m sure the gap between the 5 and 5ii is at least twice that between the 10 and the 10ii. Why the shorter gap? Has it something to do with how well the EM10 sold? I read somewhere (Digital Camera Review) that the EM10 has sold either more units or more quickly than its elder and bigger brothers.
I remember buying the EM10 and being delighted. It was a step up on the Lumix G3, which was my first mft camera. Image quality was certainly a little better and the stabilisation, wifi and build quality were a bonus. Adverts and reviews raved about the quality of this lovely retro camera. And now the same adverts and reviews are saying similarly nice things about its upgrade.
As I look at the camera I once liked so much, I can’t help feel that the shine has been taken away just a little. It’s now the older model; the slightly less desirable version.
It’s crazy really to think this way. But that’s exactly how the industry want me to feel. To be slightly less happy than when I first purchased my camera. To be slightly less satisfied and to consider replacing it with the newest version. A new version which appears to have few, if any, ‘improvements’ that I need. And which will likely make little or no change to the quality of the images I make.
This is the nature of electronic equipment in the 21st Century. Old within a year and outdated within three. However, despite the reviews and the magazine adverts and articles, I do wonder if the endless effort towards newer, bigger sensored, higher resolutioned, smaller bodied and faster processed images does much for the art of photography. Are we producing better work? Or are we too preoccupied with gear to really see beyond it?