Film on Medium Format here we come!

Beach huts at Muizenberg, South Africa, taken with my Canon 7D. © Dan Eglin

Here I go. Wish me luck. A journey into the unknown of (i) medium format film photography and (ii) blogging.

The turn of a new decade and my 40th birthday last month got me thinking about my photography. (Perhaps this is a midlife crisis…?) I found my old Canon EOS 300 35mm camera during our recent house move and so tossed it in my bag for the annual pilgrimage to La Loire with the family. I hadn’t used it in nigh on 16 years – it was my first camera when we were just married. Digital was gaining pace back then but I made a conscious decision to purchase a film camera intending to learn the basics before getting too comfortable with the ‘fire-and-forget’ nature of digital cameras. I like to think this was a good decision but it didn’t last long as the lure of a 350D was too great and thus began a 15+ year relationship with Canon digital cameras. I progressed to a 50D and am now very happy with a 7D and several Sigma lenses. It is getting on a bit now and I imagine the shutter hasn’t got much life left in it so an upgrade to a 5D has been at the back of my mind for a while….

BUT, the EOS 300 does something to me. I’ve taken a few rolls of Porta 400 and am relatively happy with the results and promise to post some soon. I am sure I can get more out of it when I am familiar with the conditions under which it works best and this challenge offers something I have not felt for a while. However, it is more than that. I THINK and LOOK more when I am composing a shot with it. I am more mindful of the craft of photography and more conscious of the result of the art of photography. Get it right and the result is so much more aesthetically pleasing than a digital shot.

Even more than this though: I love the delayed gratification. Taking the last shot on the film and sending it off to be developed and printed generates a tingle of excitement akin to saying goodbye to your girlfriend knowing you’ll see again her in a few days’ time. It’s an authentic feeling which has been lost in the ever-progressing days of digital photography, and dare I say it is little different in the ways of postmodern courtship.

I can’t just go back to my EOS though – I need a new toy. (I mentioned the midlife thing, didn’t I? And I can’t afford a Porsche.) So after a Christmas holiday’s worth of research, I’ve gone and bought a Pentax 645N from Japan on ebay! Who knows? It might even pay for itself…

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