What Are You Going To Do With That Old Film Camera ?

Hey, I’ve got an idea, put that old film camera to good use. Pull it out of that closet, put a roll of film in it and make some pictures. Ok then, if you have no interest in using it yourself, you could always sell it or donate it. There are plenty of camera geeks out there who still have a passion for the “old school” film process. Don’t believe me? Go to Twitter, Instagram, Flickr or any other social media site and search the following tags #film, #35mm, #120, #filmisnotdead, #believeinfilm or search your camera model ie. #minoltaSRT101, #nikonFE #CanonAE1 etc. You will be amazed at the number of images you will see related to your search.

I myself have a small collection of old film cameras. Some I have owned since my early interest in photography, some have been handed down to me, some I have been gifted and some I have purchased.  I was recently gifted two Canon cameras by my friend Tom, who no longer had interest in using. The first is a Canon T50, which I will highlight in this post. And the second, is a Canon Rebol EOS, which I have yet to shoot with. I have been mostly a Minolta and Nikon shooter and have never owned a Canon so I was intrigued to add these two to my collection.

Canon T50

The Canon T50 was introduced in 1983 and discontinued in 1989. The T50 is basically a point and shoot SLR manual focus camera with “PROGRAM” mode (auto exposure) ONLY. Taking it off of “PROGRAM” mode will lock in the shutter speed st 1/60, which is how you set up to use the Canon 244T speedlight. The T50 has a built in power winder which gives you a continuous shooting rate of 1.4 frames per second. The big drawback here is that it is LOUD. So, there is no chance of going unnoticed in quiet locations. One major plus for this camera though is that is runs on two AA batteries. So, if you forget to bring back ups you can pick some up just about anywhere.

Here are a few shots from the first roll of  film (ILFORD HP5 Plus black and white) that I made with the Canon T50.

A funny story goes with the following photos. I recently noticed the most beautiful color after sunset coming though the woods across the street from me. As any good photo addict would do, I jumped up from my chair, grabbed a camera and headed across the street to what I thought to be the best vantage point to make some abstract long exposure color photos. I shot off the last 17 frames on the roll and strolled on home with a grin on my face, since I was sure I had something good. My joy quickly turned to disappointment when I opened the camera back and realized that I had a roll of black and white film loaded in this camera. Guess I forgot…duh.  Well, the disappointment turned back to joy again when I received my film scans back from the film lab and what I thought was going to be trash turned out to be treasure.

You may notice this last image has a saucer shaped blip in the upper right hand portion of the sky. What looks like a flying saucer or perhaps a water spot on the film is actually an airplane passing through the scene. I used some creative soft focus to render the scene more dream like and this was the result. The magic in the Canon T50 for me is the manual focus. I’m OK with letting the camera determine exposure in certain circumstances but I always want easy control over focus since I often use soft focus creatively. Overall, I like the T50. I did get a little squeamish at not having full control over the exposure, but, you can’t beat the ease of use (a Ron Popeil “set it and forget it” kind of easy). And, the image quality is much better than I expected.


This entry was posted in art, cameras, film, long exposure, manual focus, street photography.