I have a secret love for analog photography. Secret, because I don’t think my friends know I’m into shooting film. Maybe they think I like taking photos because they’ve seen me with my Nikon D3300, an entry-level DSLR. I dare to bet they’d be very surprised if I told them I also own a Russian wayfinder from the 70s and a Minolta X-700, back in the 80s quite state-of-the-art SLR, though! 😀 I believe I love analog photography so much because it juxtaposes art and technology, exactly what got me into video games too.
This love for film started during my stay in Prague. It was a windy day in June, about a week before I would go back to the Netherlands. While exploring the city I stumbled upon a flea market on the banks of the Vltava river. There were a few tables on a boat, and my eye fell on a table filled with vintage cameras. The guy behind the table saw my DLSR and we started talking. He was so enthousiastic, so in the end I did what I could never have guessed I’d ever do: I bought a Zorki 4, a Russian Leica clone, fully mechanical, build in the early 70s.
I bought it not just for the looks, I wanted to use it too. The reason I bought a DLSR was partly to learn to shoot in manual mode, adjusting the shutter speed and aperture by myself. Up to now I had been lazy, shooting all my photos in auto mode. With the Zorki, there is no lightmeter or program mode to help me decide which settings to use. This thing doesn’t even have an on/off button!
The first film I shot through the Zorki was on holiday with my family to Ireland. Sadly, the shutter had some issues, so only a few photo’s turned all right from that roll. It made me wonder, did I have to have my Zorki checked and cleaned by an expert? Understandingly, the thing is fifty years old, one cannot expect it to work flawlessy anymore. On the other side, a CLA (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust) would probably cost more than I paid for the camera itself.
I decided to roll with it, see if the problem persisted. I tested the shutter at different speeds with no film in it, and after a while it was behaving normal again. It also did it’s job with a piece of test film. Problem solved?
The real test came a month ago, when I decided to take my Zorki to a one-week holiday to Maastricht. This time I used a black and white film.
No shutter problems anymore! I have to say there was one photo on this roll of 36 that did have a white bar over it, but the photo was so dark I couldn’t figure out what it was again I tried to photograph. Either way I’m very happy with the results of this second try!
These photos here were my favorites, some turned out too dark or underlit. But that’s part of the learning process! After all, I have to calculate the right combination of shutter speed and aperture for each photograph individually, bound that I get it wrong sometimes. Next time I’ll try a roll with my Minolta, can’t wait!