Cheap, cheerful and fun

Last week I mentioned writing with pen and paper, the way it was done for longer than word processors and computers have even existed. Not that anything would ever get published without technology, but there’s a lot to be said for slowing things down and thinking before committing words to paper.

So when it came to our summer holiday, I found myself thinking along similar lines about what camera to bring. There is not a scenario where I go somewhere without a camera of some description, even if it’s just the one in my phone, which has done me more than proud in the past when I suddenly saw something I had to take a picture of. This time, there’s no particular event that requires a particular type of camera, and I’m long since through with the tourist photos of Berlin. So what I wanted needed to be different. And feel different. Oh yes, and not cost much if I wanted to try something else out, mainly because I just want to be able to throw it in a bag and not worry about it, but also because I don’t want to be worrying about someone trying to steal it. So indestructible and small and light and cheap.

Right, that ruled out anything made since I was born then.

Which was just fine with me, because I wanted it to be a film camera, and I’m limited to black and white this time – I have more than enough colour photos of Berlin.

Hello, eBay (please tell me you see the irony of using an internet giant to find something pre-technology).

The answer in the end was really simple.

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A forty year old Olympus with manual focus – just the job. But it also has automatic exposure setting, which should please the rest of the family as I don’t have to mess around with measuring the light all the time. Or guess it, which is a fun exercise.

And for the photo geeks – an f1.7 lens, how good is that?

£80. That was it. About as much as a couple of filters for a Leica.

Plus film is cheap in Berlin (what, you thought I hadn’t checked?) – about a quarter cheaper than the best I can get in the UK. So I don’t even have to take loads of film with me. It turns out Berlin is quite the place for photography. Not sure how I missed that before.

About week after it arrived, I had my first roll of film through it, answering the first question – it’s fun to use. And it just felt right, everything where it should be – and where it used to be when I was first messing around with cameras.

And I managed to get some shots I was pretty happy with. My hit rate was certainly better than I was expecting.

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Yes, it’s hanging off the side of a building.

 

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The side of Edinburgh you don’t see on postcards.

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