How many cameras do you have in your collection?
I have around 50 cameras that I rotate on a regular basis, but I married my husband who has about the same amount of cameras… so we’re now around 100, excluding lenses.
How long did it take you to get to this point?
Possibly around 10 years. I grew up in the early 90s so I am familiar with film for the most part, but I started using it as a preferred medium of choice around 2007-2008 - the collection grew from there.
What are your favorites subjects to shoot?
Travel and portraits, although I do the latter mostly on digital as they are paid work and are more often than not, time-sensitive.
Which one in particular is your go-to camera and lenses? Why?
Currently my go-to cameras are the Nikon FM2n with 28mm or 35mm lens, Konica Hexar AF, and Lomo LC-Wide. The FM2n is a very reliable camera unit - with a small battery in it to help me meter, I’m pretty much ready to roll (pardon the pun). I hardly use zoom lenses and 50mm is a bit tight for my POV so I always go with either 28mm or 35mm.
I just recently obtained the Hexar which is one of my ‘white whale’ cameras - this is a great travel camera with a fast fixed lens. The battery is a bit scarce but has interestingly very long lifespan.
As for LC-Wide. It’s very pocketable, ISO goes up to 1600, has surprisingly sharp (albeit slow) wide angle lens and with batteries that can be easily found - it’s the perfect on-the-go camera body which fits my busy lifestyle.
Scenario: Evacuation. If you can only save one of your cameras which would it be?
I’d go with Rolleiflex 2.8E as this was my husband’s wedding gift to me.
What is your ''Spirit Camera" (If you were a camera, what would you be?)
A compact camera with a sharp prime lens!
What is your Holy Grail Camera?
Those unjustifiably expensive prime compacts (Contax T2 or T3, Fuji Natura, Fuji Tiara). Although with my husband’s subtle convincing I have successfully stayed away from these, mostly because they’re electronic and spare parts are difficult to find if they ever break.
(That didn’t stop me from getting the Hexar AF though.)
What film camera can you recommend to newbies?
I would recommend the classic Canon AE-1 as they can learn to shoot manual but have the flexibility to shoot by aperture priority.
Another recommendation is Pentax K1000; although I haven’t shot with this personally, this camera is all-manual which will greatly help someone to learn the basics of photography.
What is your current film stash count?
Personally I’ve never really counted… Suffice to say we have two small wine chillers that contain our film, and an unopened 400 ft roll of Eastman Double X in our food fridge.
Films you cannot live without.
For fresh stocks - Kodak Portra 400 and Ektar 100 as they are tried and tested and very reliable. When I travel I always make sure I have these so that I don’t feel the anxiety of “will my photos come out OK?”. I also like Fuji Superia 400 and Lomography CN 100 as they are inexpensive and not difficult to find. For E6, my favourites are the Lomo Xpro 200 and Fuji Velvia 50.
I haven’t shot black and white as often as I used to because of time constraints (normally I process these myself at home) but I have an affinity towards Arista Premium 100 and 400, Ilford HP5+, and Fomapan 100.
For expired stocks - I really, really love Fuji Proplus II 100. The colour and sharpness it provides are unmatched! Sadly, this is long discontinued so I have been saving mine on special occasions. Another favourite of mine is Ferrania Solaris in 100 and 200. Amazing colours - both films give your photos the fuzzy feels. I prefer using these during the fall season. When there’s a ‘lomo’ itch, I always go back to my ever favourite slide, Kodak Ektachrome 100.
You realized you were too obsessed with cameras when:
When moving out inter-provincially a few years back, I found out I have two big boxes of cameras and needed a good friend of mine to help me wrap them with bubble wrap. Not to mention a box full of films that had to be transported as well. Oh, did I mention the film fridge? Yup, I brought it with me as well. Hurray for trucks!
Why do you shoot film?
I really like the process that it entails. It might be cumbersome to some people, given the ‘right now’ culture that is currently very prevalent, but it’s a very hands-on take on creating images. I especially enjoy the process of printing my own images, although again, time is very scarce at the moment and have been unable to do so since 2011.
I also love the community! In general, its members are very friendly and helpful.
Who do you look up to for inspiration in your photography?
I normally get my inspiration through Instagram - I follow a lot of Japanese photographers as Japan seems to maintain a healthy photography culture. In addition to that they have the certain feel of the ‘snapshot aesthetic’ that I really like the most. Possibly a legacy of Hiromix.
I also listen to a few film photography-themed podcasts as they interview photographers that are great to check out.
What is the worst thing about Film Photography?
Nothing major - my pet peeve is when some of my shots using 120 format ended up exposing the markings on the paper backing. I have also learned to shrug opinions of ‘high brow’ photographers as I go along in life. :P
What in your opinion is the greatest misconception about film photography?
That it is expensive and dead!
What's the Best advice you received from another film shooter?
What's the Best advice you can give to a new film shooter?
Research! Google is your friend. There is now a plethora of information on the internet which will further enhance your knowledge and experience in shooting film. Connect with fellow film shooters as they are nice and give great tips, not to mention amazing GAS enablers. :p
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