Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Cameras, analogue

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I like taking photos and have done so for many years – around two decades I guess. And while this is the case, I have never actually owned a camera. In turn, this means that I have taken photos with a great number of different cameras – particularly since the beginning of the digital age which makes it easy to take photos with a borrowed camera and then immediately grab them and return the camera without extra hassle for the camera’s owner.

A list of the cameras I used follows, the order is chronological:

The analogue age

The very first camera I ever took photos with was a box camera using roll film which had been my dad’s first camera as well a few decades before. Nothing to focus, no aperture or exposure time to set, just photos by flicking a little lever. I’d date my first photos with that camera to around 1984. And while we have those gorgeously large negatives in it, their quality isn’t the best. Just for the fun of it, I bought another roll film for the box and it’s sitting in my room now waiting for some photos to be taken (after the first ones were ruined when a friend looked at it and it wasn’t quite clear to him how easily the case opens…)

Afterwards I graduated to get my dad’s (erm, are you starting to see a scheme in the camera’s origin…) first proper camera with an actual lens. I think it was by Kodak and is a compact affair with a separate viewfinder. To take a photo with it you had to manually measure the light intensity using a little metre on the top of the camera and the set the exposure time and aperture accordingly. You also had to focus manually by guessing (or measuring with another, separate device which I wasn’t very good at using) your distance to the object. The camera had a really low-resistance exposure button and I made a number of good photos with it.

At some stage I was old enough to use the ‘real’ cameras. Getting my hands on my dad’s Canon EF while he was using his newer Canon T-70 which I soon started using as well. We have a number of rather good lenses for those Canons, including a 1:1.4 50mm, a 135mm, a 24mm, a 500mm mirror tele and a not-so-brilliant zoom lens. Both of these cameras are currently living with me as well and I’m trying to use them as much as possible. Unfortunately, both of them are a bit broken.

Something is wrong with the EF’s power supply (which isn’t strictly needed for taking photos but is needed for the automatic aperture adjustment according to the light situation). As new batteries are almost €10 a pop and they (the camera needs two of them) keep going flat quickly when inserted in the camera, I’ve pretty much given up hope there. Which is a shame as it is a really nice, solid, mechanical camera.

The T-70 has a battery related problem as well: Some little plastic thing responsible for holding what keeps the battery flap shut has broken. It’s exactly the kind of thing you can’t replace easily or even get for a reasonable price 20 years after the camera was built. And the camera really needs those batteries as it was the first model to be fully electric for film transport. In the last year I’ve mainly used the T-70 along with various types of tape. But this battery compartment is a really tricky thing to tape as the camera won’t notice that the batteries are in unless they’re pushed in really hard and taping something with great force on a rubbery rounded surface just doesn’t work too well.

Last and least comes a small all-automatic Olympus camera that I inherited from my grandma. It’s, errr, OK. At best. Just that recently it’s battery went flat and a new one would be horrendously expensive… so it’s just sitting somewhere and not being used right now.

And tomorrow comes the digital age

Collection of cameras and lenses

February 10, 2006, 0:14

Tagged as photos.

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