The Under Dog
I wonder about the artist who believes a sable brush is a secret behind a great painting. Many hold the belief that high-quality tools will turn a desire to excel into a reality. Buy the best tools for longevity and quality, but never believe the most exceptional quality will replace ability and practice.
For some time, I have used low priced cameras and lenses, rather than my expensive Nikon, Leica, and Bronicas. I prefer Fomapan film to Kodak or Ilford, and my scanner is a cheap Plustek. Of course, I have a darkroom with excellent equipment: however, the scanner makes more sense for online applications.
I am currently working on an online 35mm camera course, and I decided to use the most basic of equipment for instructional purposes. For most of my work I have used the Pentax S1a and 20mm, 28mm, 35mm 50mm and 85mm Takumar lenses. However, I have chosen the Former Soviet Union FED 2 camera with the Industar 50mm f3.5 for the course.
It seems to me if I can demonstrate that basic and cheap equipment can give excellent results. Then the student will concentrate on technique and composition rather than the camera and lens. I was once asked by a man with a Leica pendant (camera): ‘What is your favourite camera and lens?’ My reply ‘Ten cassettes of film’ had him perplexed. I explained ten cassettes of film would return 360 negatives: each one is a lesson in the art of photography. He still did not realise the implication that practice has more importance than equipment.
I smile when reading ‘experts’ opinion of the Leica lens resolving power. A Bronica lens will better the Leica, and a Hasselblad will make the German’s images seem whippy ice-cream soft. Most 35mm cameras are suitable for 9X6 inch prints, no matter what the brand. If you want bigger go medium format!
I came to the FED 2 camera after reading an article about rangefinders. The one used for this article is a twenty pound eBay purchase. The film is FomaPan 100 developed in Rodinal for nine minutes @ 20 degrees C.
Yesterday was a dullish day, and most exposures are either 1/60 or 1/30th second, and the aperture is f4.0. I have not tweaked or adjusted the 300dpi scans. More to follow…
See You Soon