Since I was born at the brink of the digital era or at the end of the 'Digital Revolution', I always had a curiosity towards analogue cameras. So one day, I decided that I wanted an analogue camera.
I've (temporally) put my loyal digital camera aside to dive into the brink of photography. I wandered of a lot of secondhand websites to find my new jewel, the Ricoh Singlex TLS, a MMM SLR Camera with a 55mm f2.8 lens. I've bought it for just €14,-, including shipping!!! After some research I found out that the camera initially costs around ƒ140,- to ƒ200,- and it was released in 1967. So I got a great price for this amazing camera.
So, what is the difference between analogue and digital? Well, throw away your live-view, automatic settings, autofocus, electric shutter, instant playback, (almost) endless shooting, burst shooting, high ISO's and many more. Because an MMM SLR is a Metal, Mechanical and Manual camera. You are the one who has to do everything, since the camera isn't doing it for you. For example: if you take a picture, you cannot take another one right away, first you have to advance the film-wind lever to the next film slide. Make sure you correctly set the shutter time and aperture to get your perfect picture.
So many buttons!
A lever, a push button, several rotary buttons, awesome!
One of the first things that got my interest when I just had it, are the sounds that the camera makes. Ticking, clapping and the clicksounds are amazing, it feels like you are really doing something with your camera (duh, because you are!). But it's way different than my DSLR, there you just look on a screen and adjust your settings. With this bad boy you are actually moving internal parts of the camera by adjusting your settings since it's completely mechanical.
When I took my first picture with this camera I can still remember looking at the backside of it to see the picture I just took. Normally your photo will pop up on your screen, but now I only saw a black leather backside of my camera. Whoops! I caught my girlfriend do the same thing though, so I'm happy it's not just me.
Whenever I showed my camera to my parents, they were just like: 'Uhh, yeah, it's just a camera.' But no, for me this camera gave me new photography experience. I know how a camera works on paper, but since I'm using this camera, I am more aware of what I'm doing with the camera and what the consequences are for the photograph.
I must say that there are a few down sights on having a analogue camera. One of them is pretty obvious, you cannot see the picture right away. You have to get your film developed (or develop the film yourself) to see the pictures, which gets me to down sight number two: it's super expensive! Yes, I got the camera for just 14 euros. But If you want to develop 36 color photo's it's cost you around €11,- and black and white photos even cost around €20,-! Keep in mind that I take around 300 to 500 photo's on one fashion shoot, sometimes even more. The analogue photos do have a big pro though! The look and feel of the photographs is amazing and super retro!
The biggest down sight of all is that no one uses analogue. If you want to show someone a photo you took, you actually have to bring that person the photo and show it to him. Nowadays you just whatsapp a picture or send by email.
Moral of the story, if you are a photographer, make sure you looked into analogue photography once, because you'll learn a lot from it. But don't expect the camera to be a good replacement for your digital cameras. Because it isn't.