I was spoiled in a way that I got exposed to photography when I was young. My dad gave me a point and shoot automatic film camera and a little booklet to me to learn how to take photos. We used to go out on a weekend afternoon to take photos. After a while, he showed me what a SLR is like and taught me some basics of how to use it. My dad taught me about depth of field, metering, how to use a flash, what ISO means. It was a lot of fun and I still remember how we used to go out to different places to take photos. My dad was a busy man but he always likes to play with cameras and would make time to do so. Back in the days, processing films took time and money. I was totally dependent on my dad to help me pay for all the films and the developing cost. But because of the cost associated, I was extra careful with how I took the shot.
When my parents sent me away to study overseas, my dad gave me my first SLR – the Olympus OM-1. It is a great camera. I was so amazed what I could do with my limited understanding of aperture and shutter speed. Being alone in a foreign country can be lonely sometimes. But photography kept me happy as I was able to record and show my parents what it was like living in a different country.
I didn’t know what it meant as having a fast standard lens, well I guess I was spoiled as the camera is already equipped with a 50mm f1.4 lens. The picture quality was great and the bokeh from the lens is very nicely rendered. These days, most of the lenses are no where near f1.4 unless you pay a lot for it. Most lenses are f3.5 and slower. Even a f2.8 would cost a lot of money.
Later on my dad also got me the film winder to make it more fun to use the OM-1. Guys who like gadgets would agree that just adding the film winder alone made an old camera just like a new toy again!
I used this camera for a long time until I got into university, then I discovered the internet and there went all my spare time :P
The first digital SLR I used is actually my wife’s digital SLR, we bought it around 4 or so years ago. It was shockingly expensive but we went ahead with it anyway as most point and shoot digital cameras were very slow and picture quality was a lot lower compared to a DSLR. My wife still uses it almost everyday. Initially we had only the kit lens and a macro lens. Then I decided to really start to take photos again and bought myself a DSLR, too. And after that I have been collecting more lenses. Lenses are expensive and I think I might have already spent too much on this hobby since I am not using my equipment professionally.
Personally, I really enjoy taking photos. I have tones of photos that I am afraid to show people because they are blurry or badly composed or improperly exposed. But I am sure the more I practise, the better I will become. I think there is just endless amount of techniques I could explore and learn with this hobby. I have to thank my dad for introducing such a wonderful hobby to me.
Have you ever used a film SLR? What was your experience like?