I’ve always been fascinated with photography. When I got my first DSLR (a gift from my husband), I thought that I needed to spend so much on lenses to be able to produce good photos. That’s until I tried film photography. I realized that I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get decent film cameras. In fact, my first analog camera was a Yashica MG which I bought for a little more than Php2000.
Then, back in 2010, so many things happened and I had to rearrange my priorities. I had to stop shooting because I had no means to continue it. I would have used my DSLR again (despite the very meh kit lens), except that it got damaged in an accident. Fast forward to last month, when I decided that I’d try to start photography again for the funny reason that I wanted to take better photos of my pens. Haha.
So I bought a very basic Olympus Pen E-PM1 with its standard kit lens. Then my friend (who also has an Olympus micro four thirds mirrorless camera) taught me how to use adapters so that I can try out vintage Soviet lenses. Before I know it, I’ve fallen head over heels in love again.
Using manual vintage lenses on a modern camera body gives me the best of both worlds. I have no time to fuss with film at the moment, though that’s basically the idea, eventually. My friend was right. Each camera lens has its own personality.
I cannot help but notice that similar to my enjoyment of vintage pens, I enjoy vintage lenses more than modern ones because they slow me down and make the experience of shooting a photograph a more thoughtful one. Without autofocus, some photos aren’t perfectly focused, some are. I don’t really care anymore. Aside from the very obvious advantage (price), vintage lenses are unsurprisingly well-made. Sort of like how vintage pens, for me, are made to last. The quality of the workmanship is just excellent. This is my favorite lens, the MC Mir 24M 35mm f/2.
Compared with newer lenses, it makes almost ethereal images straight out of the camera. Here’s an example:
I’m in love with vintage lenses in the same way that I’m in love with vintage pens. So much pride and thought went into making them, and decades after they’re made, people like me are still enjoying them. They have their own history–imagine what photos could have been taken with the 24M and the others before I got my hands on them. For me, the thought is so fascinating.
There’s a lot of debate about autofocus, manual focus, sensors, full-frame, half-frame and whatnot. I don’t want to overcomplicate my photography with any of that. I’m just enjoying slowing down and taking my time with the shooting process. I’m savoring every moment of it and celebrating simple joys in life.
Some people can get so caught up with which pens are limited edition, which are expensive, which ones are rare, etcetera. Photography hobbyists sometimes focus more on the equipment rather than the experience of shooting. Sometimes the fever of acquisition and the thrill of the status that comes with acquiring expensive toys make you forget the purpose of acquiring them anyway. Cameras become too expensive to take out and shoot with utter abandon.
Just shoot and enjoy it. Just write and enjoy it. 🙂