Camera Doesn’t Matter, Or Does It?

That’s the one thing that stayed with me in my film photography days, do all the work outside of the camera first before you make the photo.

Camera Doesn’t Matter, Or Does It?
Photo by Eduardo Barrios / Unsplash

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My body is betraying me. I knew that it would happen one day but I never thought it would be this soon. I used to say that camera doesn’t matter when making a photo, but this past May I realized that it does matter in some situations.

Let me explain.

I put my cameras down right before the Covid19 pandemic. I was busy with work and so were all my friends. We tried to schedule photo walks and shoots together but the timing never worked out. Then Covid hit and no one was going anywhere.

But this time I couldn’t get my eyes to work right.

Then my friend hosted a “lighting for the human form” workshop and asked me to come down to shoot the model he hired, spend a few hours with her so she could make some extra money because Covid hurt so many working creatives.

I said sure and we made a plan to shoot at his studio in May.

The day came and I drove down to Pennsylvania with my trusty film and digital cameras.

I got there, talked with the model, and set up. I started with my film camera first and after the first few frames, I realized something was wrong.

My film camera is all manual. There is no autofocus, there is no auto metering, it’s a pure blissful black box that holds the film. You load the film, attach a lens, set up the scene, do your metering, and click the shutter.

But this time I couldn’t get my eyes to work right. I felt that I couldn’t focus sharply on the model’s eyes, a must if you do portraits.

My eyes were failing me. A mere 18 months ago I could manually focus this manual camera and get sharp photos, but now?