GAS - In My Hands Again (Manual Focus Ride Again)

Started Apr 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
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user_name Veteran Member • Posts: 3,134
GAS - In My Hands Again (Manual Focus Ride Again)

No, it's not the Dƒ.  It's a new to me FM3a film camera.

My girlfriend gave two rolls of film as part of my birthday gift, suggesting I try shooting film for a changer of fun.  Well, I was game as I love excuses to try new gear and found a used FM3a to replace my faulty N90s.  I haven't shot film for so long I forgot how to load it.  Thankfully it comes with a manual, but that was about all you will need a manual for.

Oh, before we go any further, the FM3a does not have video, a flip out LCD display, menus, rechargeable batteries, nor dual slots.  It also lacks auto focus and matrix metering.

However, Nikon sure did a great job with the viewfinder.  The screen is a snap to change, but the stock K3 makes life with manual lenses simple and easy.  Focusing my Zeiss lenses has never been easier.  The eye point is not good if you wear glasses, like I do, but useable.  It's bright, maybe slightly brighter than my D700.

Since the FM3a is a fully manual camera, you either select Aperture Priority or manually select the shutter speed and aperture combination that suits the situation.

What makes it work so well is the analog meter on the left of the viewfinder.  It makes selecting the right combination of aperture and shutter speed so simple and quick.

Having used DSLRs for so long now you forget how simple things were in the film days.  I find most of the extra features in my DSLRs not very useful for my shooting.  In fact, they tend to get in the way.  DSLRs have taken on the same disease that plagued VCRs with an overabundance of features stuffed into the box, not because we needed them, but because they can.  Secondly, people buy based on the useless features - the more the merrier - yet only a small percentage of users ever use them.  That leaves the minority minimalists like myself out in the cold.

So far I see only two things that are discomforting.

1. If you are like me and appreciate the finer things associated with instant gratification, shooting and waiting for film to be developed and scanned is going to be a real paradigm shift.

2. Nikon doesn't have a DM3a model nor will there ever likely be one.  Too bad because the size, weight, and the simple manual focus performance of the FM3a is first class, but such a camera would never sell any of Nikon's current lens lineup.

I suppose I could cave and buy the porkier Dƒ, which is 200 grams heavier and significantly thicker to accommodate the LCD, sensor, electronics, and battery.  The Dƒ lacks the focusing screen, which makes focusing with my aging eyes so much easier.  Oh well, we have been over that here ad nausium…

Anyway, trying film again may have been a bit of genius on my girlfriend's part.  It should provide a new and fun perspective to photography for me and a better appreciation for where we once were as well as an appreciation of where we are.

Got film?  Maybe you should drag that dusty film camera out and reconnect with the roots of photography.

 user_name's gear list:user_name's gear list
Leica M8 Nikon D700 Nikon D800 Leica M Typ 240 +1 more
Nikon D700
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