Saturday, 16 June 2007
In Praise of the Old and Manual
In the old, old days of photography the camera was on a tripod and you threw a black cloth over your head to take a picture. Then things improved with hand held cameras producing superb quality. Next came automatic cameras that were extremely complicated and difficult to use and produced much less certain quality. I hated mine. And now we have digital cameras with digital screens that you can't see in bright sunlight... so if you want to do more than guess at what you're shooting, you have to throw a black cloth over your head to take a picture.
My favourite was my manual Pentax SLR bought in the Tottenham Court Road in 1974 which got taken by a thief who broke into my house in Exeter while I was asleep upstairs. Thank goodness I didn't wake up because it might have proved fatal had I surprised him downstairs. If I'd seen him taking my Pentax I'd have surely killed him.
It was heavy and lumpen but it was totally predictable, just like an MGB, and it did exactly what it said on the tin. You could get superb pictures with the greatest of ease because focus and exposure were so simple, and it never let me down.
As I've ranted at such length about all of this, in praise of the old and manual, perhaps I should show you a few examples taken with my Pentax in Nigeria in the early seventies, using a long 200 Tamron lens. Yes, those were the daze!