I guess they finally turned their back on digital gear a couple of years ago. I was wanting an affordable f1.4 lens, and went to eBay looking for something old but sound.
When the lens arrived I noticed immediately that it was emblazoned with “Property of Hedrich Blessing, Chicago Il.”
A special lens. Who has used this before me? If I bought one of the many Hedrich Blessing books, which wonderful architectural photos would have been taken with “my” lens?
I put the lens on my digital D5000 camera. It was impossible to focus through the viewfinder – it seemed there was another, smaller aperture making the field look deeper than it was. It was a little more accurate focusing in live view, but this was not easy.
I took many, many nearly beautiful, nearly focused shots. I embrace mistakes and chance – but these were just faulty takes. I gave up. My lens was too good for my camera. So I went back to eBay.
Classic cameras are trendy now (thanks Hipsters). But recent models from the 90s are not collectable. They have ugly styling, are automated and using them is too much like shooting with a DSLR. So I found a very affordable Nikon N90S, an ugly but hefty and very fully-functioned automatic SLR. Manually focusing the 1.4 through the huge N90S viewfinder is a dream.
Recently my friend Bob bought a beautiful Seagull TLR at a swap meet, and our respective families got together at Sandy Point for a TLR shoot. Bob with his wonderful “new” 4A, me with my horrible Lubitel.
But I don’t go anywhere without my N90S/Nikkor 1.4
The grain of the 400 speed film really adds something to these shots, which were taken with the aperture right at 1.4, in afternoon light. I wanted to slice up the sea. I think it worked and that the film grain really anchors the shots. I can’t imagine these looking as “real” if the looked more “realistic.”
Or am I beginning to suffer from anachronistic hipsterism?