So, after nearly 20 years of careful storage in a foam-added aluminium camera case, I took out my trusty mechanical Nikon FM2 35mm camera kit.
I replaced the batteries in its five frames per second MD12 motordrive, flicked the on switch and pressed the mechanical shutter. It whirred instantly into action with the sweetest sound that would make a celestial choir proud. The thing worked perfectly after this time of inactivity.
I put a brand new lithium battery into the camera and turned the power on. No joy with the LED info inside. At least not yet.
My next act will be to clean the contacts and make sure the contacts and exposed metal or stainless steel points are clean of mould or other nasties that might have accumulated over time.
Mechanical Camera Photography
This moment has been a long time coming. I’ve contemplated returning to taking photos with a mechanical camera and developing my own black and white photos again just like I did when I first started back in the day.
I am amazed with the new digital cameras but I have never lost my love doing things the manual way with cameras that weight a ton but could work in practically any situation without a battery. By contrast, please excuse the photographic pun, a simple magnet placed in a strategic position could render even the most expensive digital camera useless.
The best compromise is always to find a way to enjoy the best of both worlds. The benefits of digital cameras are impossible to ignore. You get your image immediately after you press the shutter. You even get to preview every shot before releasing the shutter. There’s no messy chemicals or solutions to assault your nose or stain your clothes. To top it all it’s much cheaper to operate even if the equipment, initially, is a lot more expensive to obtain.
Traditional photography is a legitimate art and once you’ve mastered a few techniques you’re in a better position to apply that knowledge in the taking of the photograph.
That process has not changed fundamentally. Until digital imaging arrived. But, even that is just doing the same thing only in a different way. You press a shutter button, an image is formed in the camera and through a process you produce a faithful rendition of that image digitally or mechanically.
Where we go from here will be interesting. Watch this space. Click!