I’ll admit, this one is tough for me.
The thought that the camera, the film, the lenses, all of it, aren’t that important is a tough one for me to swallow.
But it’s true.
Believe me, I have spent way too much money on gear that was, and is, considered to be the top-of-the-line, the pinnacle of the format and the best of the best.
Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with this stuff.
In fact, reputations are often earned and well-deserved.
Leicas, Hasselblads and the like are incredible machines built to last lifetimes and perform at this level for years and years.
But…. it just takes the picture, it doesn’t make it.
That’s on you and I, actually.
Think about it, some of the most iconic photographs of all time were taken on cameras that would be archaic by today’s standards.
Editing was done in darkrooms where the precise combination of timing, vision and knowledge were needed to produce an image with richer contrast, clear focus or perfect exposure. The process would take hours and hours.
Today, we often do that with the punch of a key or the adjustment of a few slider in Photoshop — a half-of-a-second worth of adjustments and you’re done.
Some would call this progress.
I’m not so sure.
Either way, if you’re a film shooter, or your hope is to become one there is really only one rule you need to adhere to:
Simple as that.
If you have a Leica M6 or a classic Hasselblad… great.
If you don’t then use whatever you have.
Having shot with all kinds of film cameras, including the aforementioned, I can honestly say, a great photograph is created by the photographer and not the camera he or she is holding.
Sure, reliability and precision are important, but one of my favorite images was taken on a Nikon FM body with a 50mm 1.8 E series lens. In total, the outfit cost me less than $125.
So please don’t wait until you have that M3 or that 500 c/m.
Please don’t wait until you have the fastest most perfect lens on the planet to start shooting film.
Instead, just shoot.
One of the true treasures in shooting film is this very quality.
As long as the camera works, regardless of what brand or price range it falls in, it’ll work.