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going back to film

This week I bought a used Nikon FE 35mm film SLR camera on eBay for $62 (shipping included). That’s an awesome deal for an FE in great shape. I had budgeted to spend twice as much. Tomorrow’s post will have a checklist of things to look for when inspecting a used SLR camera. I checked all the camera shops in the Chicagoland area that sell used cameras and no one had the NIkon FE. So I went the online route.

WHY?
A couple weeks ago I decided to begin photographing with film again partly because I wasn’t entirely happy with the current SLR options offered by Nikon. So I’m going rogue and thumbing my nose at Nikon’s current digital line (though I still use my D100 frequently). But it’s mostly because I have vague ideas for making art with contact sheets, negatives, and possibly slides. Plus, I saw my Dad pull out his 35mm SLR a couple weeks ago and I though it was cool.

MY OLD SLR IS DEAD
I dug out my old Pentax ME Super from college, but the mirror became stuck with the shutter blades closed and the film advance lever wouldn’t work after I hit the shutter just once. I read a trick online where you can use a shutter release to try to get the shutter to fully trigger. Well, I broke the plastic shutter trying to get the shutter release attached. So now there’s two broken things on that camera. Actually there’s three. I remember the camera being off by an f-stop or two when in college. It’s too bad because a little bit of research online revealed that the Pentax ME Super was actually a nice camera. And the lens I have the camera is pretty nice too. f/1.4 50mm prime Double Super Coated.

THE BUDGET
So it was time to look into getting another 35mm film SLR. Nikon only offers two new 35mm SLR cameras: Nikon FM10 (about $300) and Nikon F6 (about $2800). $100-125 was my budget from the outset. Anything more would start to take too much money away from my long-term DSLR visions.

WANT LIST:
– brick-style body (great vintage look)
– analog needle light meter (very responsive and continues the vintage feel)
– aperture priority mode
– auto-focus or manual focus?

NOT-WANT LIST:
– body style with the lumpy grip on today’s SLR bodies
– LED light meter (I’ve used both needle and LED meters in the past and I like the needle better)
– auto-focus or manual focus?

MANUAL FOCUS
Based on my want list, not-want list, and budget, my decision was automatically made for focusing system. I had to go with manual focus. I suppose it goes hand-in-hand with the idea of kickin’ it old school.

CONCLUSION
The Nikon FE fit the bill. To confirm my findings, I asked my dad his opinion and I found out his 35mm SLR is not a Nikon F as I originally thought. He has a Nikon FE. Perfect! This was a very nice coincidence. We’re on the same wavelength. Like father, like son.

Now I just wait for my FE to arrive in the mail.

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Matt Maldre
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who or what is gonna develop all your film?

Mark R
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Mark R

Although you proved me wrong by getting this camera, I still contend that it will be nothing more than a toy/novelty.

Oh well… Enjoy your new camera.