I do miss the smell. Someone needs to make a darkroom incense with the smell of the developer, hypo and that tang of acetic acid.
I had to give up my SRT101 and what was the other…X700? Bad eyes led to bad focus. I was at a communal darkroom years ago and someone was looking at my prints and said “You’ve got astigmatism!” so I got an autofocus SLR. Now I had good focus and exposure, but all that automation and machine intelligence took a lot of the fun and mystique away.
I love the OM-1. It’s just about the perfect camera.
My 35mm SLRs:
Canon AE-1 Program
My 35mm rangefinders:
My first SLR was the Canon AE-1 Program. I got some great shots with just the standard 50 mm lens that came with it. Compared to all of the other SLRs – including the Pentax K-1000 – it seems clunky today. But still a great camera.
Every 35mm shooter should have a Pentax K-1000. I like the simplicity, and that you used to be able to get new kits from Kmart for $100. I like cheap things that work.
The Olympus OM-1 is the smallest of the bunch, and that’s what makes it my favourite. I seldom expose film anymore, and when I do I always have to decide between the OM-1 and the FM-2. The Nikon is very similar to the Olympus, but sometimes I just want the smaller package.
The Nikon FM-3a is great. Go old-school manual, or let the electronics help out. It’s still fully functional in manual if the battery dies, except for the light meter of course.
The Olympus OM-4 was science fiction when it came out, and I was thrilled to get one. Maybe it’s a little too ‘advanced’. I grew lazy and never used the manual options, which is why I got the OM-1. Great camera, like having it in the collection, but it doesn’t get used.
I think that is my motivation right now. Sure, my digital cameras allow me much more latitude - but awaiting for that final print, priceless. To see if it actually captured the moment one desired is compelling. Call me irrational, I have been called worse names.