Film photography

March 29, 2014 0 By Mike Elek
Rolleiflex SL35 camera

Rolleiflex SL35 camera

One of the things that I like about “real” cameras is that they don’t deliver instant results.

With film photography, there is always a wait, especially with older cameras, such as the one here. This camera has no autoexposure, so you must first meter the scene and then set the shutter speed and aperture (lens opening).

After making sure that you’ve advanced the film, which tensions the shutter, you focus and press the shutter release at the precise moment. If you want to take a second photo, you must advance the film to the next frame and repeat the process. It’s a deliberate process in that every part of it requires you to think and be aware, and you are limited to 36 shots.

After you finish the roll of film, you have to rewind it and have it processed. If it’s black and white film – yes, you can still buy black and white film – I will take it home and either develop it right away or slip the roll into a drawer and hopefully get to it sometime within the next three months. If it’s color film, it will either go to a drug store or sent via mail order to Dan’s Camera City in Allentown, Pa, , which does excellent work.

These days, after I develop the film, I then start the task of scanning it into a digital form. If there is a shot that I really like, I will then make a real print in the bathroom, which can double as a darkroom/enlarging station at night.

It’s a lengthy process and one that I don’t mind. As the world gets ever faster and more instant, it’s nice to slow down and take part in something that requires your undivided attention.

About the camera: This is a Rolleiflex SL35. It was the first in a series of single-lens reflex cameras using 35mm film. The earliest cameras were made in Germany before Rollei shifted production to Singapore. This particular camera was made in Singapore and is mechanically identical to those made in Germany. Cameras and lenses made in Germany usually command a higher price these days. The lens is the f/1.8 50mm Carl Zeiss Planar. Zeiss has often said that the Planar was the most plagiarized lens design in history. Most 50mm lenses are based on the Planar.

Delilah

Delilah