film friday: the return of the nikon fe (and film vs. digital, redux)



After going on and on the other day about using manual lenses -- the ones I purchased for my very first SLR camera -- curiosity got the best of me, and I began to wonder if that camera still actually worked.  I'm not sure why I was so fixated on trying to use it again, especially since it's not like the camera hasn't been sitting out in the open on various shelves in various homes staring at me every single day, but suddenly, after writing that post, I was hell-bent on using it.  I mean, I was dogged, man. 

The problem?  When I blew all the dust off of it, I discovered the little lever-thingy that opens the door in back of the camera to load film was incredibly stiff and cranky, and I was afraid that in its dormancy, perhaps it had rusted through or something.  So I did what any person would do in my situation:  I gave it to Marcus.  Because, no lie, Marcus can fix anything.

"Can you fix this?"

He looked at the camera, and the stiff little lever-thingy.

"Sure," he said and disappeared.

Five minutes later, he returned.  "Here you go," he said handing me back the camera.  I gently pulled the little lever-thingy, and the camera back popped open with ease.

"Oh my gosh, you fixed it!" I exclaimed.  "How?"

"Karen," he looked at me gravely, "everything in the world can be fixed with WD40 or duct tape.  Everything."


The little lever-thingy now in working order, all that was required were some batteries and some 35mm film.   My local drugstore was well-stocked with batteries, but was (unsurprisingly) out of film, so I ordered some Fuji 35mm ISO 400 film online.

The film arrived on Friday.  This past weekend, I ran the film through the camera, dropped it off on Monday to my awesome local film processor, George, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  The camera is, after all, about 35 years old.

Yesterday I picked up the results and shrieked with delight -- the camera works!  In fact, it works a treat.  What's so interesting, however, is how different these images are from the kinds of images that come out of my digital Nikon D4.  I've mentioned this difference between film and digital before, but while the Hasselblad quality doesn't feel that different from the digital, this ancient 35mm certainly does.

I shot 36 images on this first roll of film in all, in Galveston last weekend, and in and around our home.  These are a few of my favourites.  


I actually shot almost identical images to the following 2 photos with my digital camera, ones I had previously shared with you on Monday.  Take a look:


Totally different vibe, right?  For me, the digital ones feel more journalistic -- a more accurate depiction of what I saw.  But these film ones more accurately convey what I felt.  Both represent 99.9% of the experience, but not necessarily 100%, you know?

Or something like that, anyway.

Okay, carrying on -- a few more from gardens near our home:

Focusing is obviously still an issue for me with this manual camera and lens.  Nonetheless, I like this "mistake," so I thought I'd share.  Sometimes, focus is overrated, I think.

Focusing is obviously still an issue for me with this manual camera and lens.  Nonetheless, I like this "mistake," so I thought I'd share.  Sometimes, focus is overrated, I think.

Managed to get the focus a bit better on this shot.

Managed to get the focus a bit better on this shot.

And finally, a few obligatory take-photos-of-the-family-lying-around-the-house-to-use-up-the-film shots:


(These last three shots really were simply to use up the film, but they're my favourites off the roll, especially the shot with upside-down Alex. In fact, I might actually get these printed.)

I'm beyond thrilled that it appears I have two working film cameras now -- the Hassie and the Nikon FE -- although, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to use them for.  I'll likely bring them along with me on personal travel for sure (which means my carry-on bag just got a bit heavier), but I know that I'll want to practice with them more often than that.  In any event, "Hasselblad Friday" might become just "Film Friday" going forward -- just to force the practice.

And now a bit of housekeeping:

I opened up registration for the Path Finder this week, and already I've had so many people sign up from all over the world -- thanks so much!  I've even had a few repeat participants register, which is incredibly flattering.  If you've been thinking about joining us, I hope you'll take the leap -- it really is a fun time together, and I'd love to have you.

You can register for Path Finder here.

Also, as always, I've been writing in other places as well -- check out my post on how to get amped up for regular exercise on Style United (related: I've just completed 30 days of yoga, and I'm not ready to stop -- which is such an odd statement, coming from me!). 

And finally, at long last, I made a new April playlist:

It features music for warmer weather, hula hoops (why not?) and tax season -- by folks like Kimbra, Michael Jackson, Solange and Dido.  Simply click on the little triangle in the image above to start playing (and click here to listen to all my previous playlists, if you'd like).

And with that, happy Friday, friends.  May your weekend be full of peace and joy.