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Starting My Film Photography Odyssey: Gears, Beginnings, and Discoveries

My venture into analogue photography is a captivating journey. It all began during the depths of the COVID lockdown, and it's been a profound addition to my creative identity, which already included music, writing, film, and graphic design.

My first film camera, an Olympus PEN EE-3 from Japan via eBay, opened the door to this world. This lightweight half-frame camera allowed me to shoot double the frames, making it a constant companion. The only hiccup was a lens with some fungus, resulting in a unique, dreamy quality to my sunny day shots.

Soon, I acquired a Yashica Electro-35, the same model as Andrew Garfield used in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). Unlike the PEN EE-3, this rangefinder gave me control over the aperture. The catch? I had to track down a battery adapter since the original 5.6V mercury batteries were no longer available. I shot without power at first, at a 1/500 mechanical shutter, but the photos turned out surprisingly well.

My journey into analogue photography took a turn when I got my hands on a Fujica STX-1N, a lesser-known 1980s SLR aimed at amateurs and students. Equipped with a 50mm f1.9 lens and LED light meter, it provided a different experience compared to the earlier point-and-shoot cameras. The viewfinder's match with the lens offered a unique perspective, something you don't get from rangefinders. It might not be top-of-the-line, but it's perfect for a beginner.

The Fujica STX-1N served as a gateway to a more comprehensive photographic experience. Shortly after, I upgraded to a black Olympus OM-1 with a 50mm f1.4, courtesy of eBay Japan. The OM-1 offered enhanced functionality and build quality. Despite being released earlier in 1972, it remained stylish and compact. The Zuiko lens delivered superb optical performance, and this camera became my constant companion. This journey has been a remarkable exploration of the analogue realm, embracing different cameras, each with its unique charm and character.

The following are some shitty photos I shot at the early stage of my film photography journey.

Olympus PEN EE-3:

Yashica Electro-35:

Fujica STX-1N:

Olympus OM-1:

Reflecting on my film photography journey, I initially used many Fujifilm film stocks, but most are now unavailable or discontinued. It's disheartening to see the film industry changing so rapidly alongside inflation and rising dev & scan costs. However, I'm heartened by the growing interest in film photography. Just as classical music has seen a resurgence (on a side note, I am a classical musician myself), film photography is experiencing a renaissance. Trends are cyclical, and what was popular will come back around. As I write this, Pentax is developing a new film camera, and more brands are reintroducing or creating new film stocks, generating renewed public interest in the medium.

Film photography is on the path to regaining its former glory. Mark my words.


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