The last two nights I’ve used my Pentax SP500 (film SLR) camera, and I’m more than a tad annoyed at myself. Less so tonight than yesterday, but there we go — either way, it’s not good. I hadn’t really used the film camera since about January this year (I know, it’s appalling; more as a result of time than desire, however, as I haven’t had many planned opportunities for good photography sessions), so this was the first time I’d really used it since getting the digital toy (because, really, despite the optical zoom, that’s all it is).
It’s created three major problems, in terms of my photography skills. Firstly, I’m snap-happy. It’s ridiculous (ridiculously expensive!). Last night I went through a roll of 35mm film in one performance (didn’t cover the whole show, either), and tonight, when I was trying to cover the bit I missed, I went through another roll in under 15 minutes. Yeeaaahhhh.
That’s not so much a technical issue as a stylistic one, however. Far more importantly, I quite literally forgot that adjustable F-stop rings existed. Needless to say, when I remembered, I kicked myself rather hard. Stupidity++.
I’d also forgotten to use the spot meter until about halfway through the night (and, honestly, it’s pretty useful to have! Complain all you want about how they’re inaccurate and don’t truely measure what they’re seeing, but it’s a great reference point — I’m not saying follow them blindly, but they certainly help), which probably resulted in a whole number of too-dark photos (or too-unneccesarily-blurry photos — the shutter was set to quarter second exposure for most of the night!)
Speaking of enormous exposures, I’m really loving having a CHUNKY camera to hold again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tiny Optio (it fits in my pocket perfectly), but not for night photography sans flash. It’s just too small to hold steadily, unless you’re braced against something incredibly solid, or you get lucky with the subject moving as your hand does (cool focused subject with blurred background — nothing to do with depth of field, just motion). The SP500, however… drool. I haven’t had time to get these two rolls put in for developing yet, but it just feels good to use. Ridiculously good. It’s like moving from a disposable camera, almost (a GOOD disposable camera, but still).
This is why when I got the digital I tried to convince myself I’d never use it for anything serious — because I fully recognise it’s a dinky little toy. It exists to be taken nearly everywhere, to capture anything, just for kicks. Like this police car, for example…