Photography has never only been about the end product, whether it’s an Instagram post, a slide projected on a screen, or a print. It’s always also been an art form dependent on technology, process, and gear.
Assume you’re about to get into film photography for real. Maybe you’ve exclusively shot with an iPhone so far. Maybe you have a DSLR, a digital point-and-shoot, or a mirrorless camera. Or maybe you’ve dabbled in Lomography and would like to see what “regular” analog photography is like (provided there is in fact a difference, but let’s leave that aside for the moment). Maybe you don’t have money to burn, or even if you do, you’re not inclined to. Where do you start?
It’s easy to get lost in the thicket of reviews and if recommendations, of opinions what’s great and what’s crap, and what you must absolutely have. IctusOculi is here to help. Next week, we will inaugurate a column about the Second Tier Superstars of Film. Each installment will put forward, for your consideration, an affordable camera that – with just a bit of talent and technique – will allow for professional results at a reasonable price.
How do I know? Am I a professional? Why, no. But that’s exactly the point: you don’t have to be a professional using professional grade gear in order to make great pictures. All you need is a good eye, a decent camera, and a decent lens. And some film, because we’re keeping this column analog for now. I’m orienting myself somewhere below the €50 mark for how much the whole combination should cost to begin with. Sure, if grandma Alice gives you her Leica for free, snap it up, say thanks in the nicest way possible, and be forever thankful. But if you’re not that lucky, you may want some advice.
We begin with something that many who are into digital photography already may be looking for. We’ll pick a Nikon autofocus SLR that works with modern lenses, feels solid, is reliable, as well as easy and fun to use. And less than €50 with a lens. Are you curious?
P.S.: Suggestions welcome for contenders!