I’ve never been a gearhead in the usual sense. I don’t need the newest or fanciest of anything, one of my favourite activities is to lurk around craigslist and eBay for things I don’t really need but might want someday, all my camera gear is used.
I never met a film camera I didn’t like, though. When it comes to cameras the best ones (in my humble opinion) aren’t new, they’re very old.
I like things that are simple and solid and that last (I once remarked to my partner that I loved anything old and well made. They looked at me all agape and said, “Is that why you’re dating me??”) I like cast iron pans and analogue watches and leather boots and—I bet you can guess what’s next—film cameras! And this is where I run into trouble. There’s a Rubbermaid tub under my bed full of old srls and point-and-shoot cameras along with an assortment of lenses, filters and flashes. I have a bit of problem.
So I nearly lost it with excitement when a good friend told me they had a medium format camera their grandfather bought in the 60s, and not only that, they were going to let me borrow it.
Despite outward appearances, it doesn’t get much simpler or more solid than a Hasselblad camera. It’s all mechanical, no batteries required, no electronics to breakdown (RIP Nikon F4). People tend to think film photography is harder or more complicated than digital, but once you wrap your head around a few key differences, it’s actually simpler in many ways.
That means this impeccably crafted tool gets out of your way, lets you focus on what you see in front of you and create beautiful pictures. (Having very attractive friends who join you in the sunshine and let you photograph them at length certainly doesn’t hurt either.) These are a few from my first two rolls of medium format film, Portra 400 and Fuji 400H!