October 03

When I talk to other photographers about cameras and their camera gear, I always joke and say that when I win the Lotto, I’ll start spending it by buying the whole top end range of Nikon film cameras, from the original F up to the F6. (The only problem is: I don’t even play the Lotto – I think I only once bought a ticket and this was about 12 years ago!)

I don’t know why, but I just love these cameras, especially the F3 and F4, they are beautiful solid workhorses that have been used by so many legendary photographers across the globe. One of my favourite film photographers has to be Bang Bang Club member, Ken Oosterbroek, he was nominated the South African Press Photographer of The Year three times and won numerous World Press awards.

Anyways, I was fortunate enough to learn photography and start out on film cameras. My first a Pentax SP1000 and later a Pentax P30T, both manual focus cameras. But technology evolved and soon auto focus cameras were available. I got my very first auto focus camera, the Nikon F801s. This was later followed by the F90x and F5.

I think every photographer should start off by using film cameras, there is just no better way to learn the basics of photography, gear and composition. It has become way to easy to just be able to look at the back of your camera and make a few adjustments accordingly. In my “Pentax-era”, I was shooting mostly black & white, using Ilford FP4 and HP5 film. Now, my eldest brother went on to be a newspaper photographer and conveniently, I was lucky to be able to send the film off to him to be developed in his darkroom. The prints he sent back were usually accompanied by a long letter with some tips on how to improve my photography skills (no email in those days…).

Up until today I am still very grateful to both my brothers for their influence on my photography career. When my eldest brother and his family came to visit us from South Africa a few weeks ago, I was over the moon when he brought me his old Nikon FM2 with 50mm f1.4 lens – the perfect way to give my film adventures a kick start!

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