ARE LUDDITES ALWAYS WRONG?


One thing I have learned from reading the web forums is that, as they stand, all cameras are woefully inadequate and in drastic need of redesign and upgrading. There are a great many people, it seems, who need or want more gadgets and gismos that our cameras now provide.

There are constant posts on the forums wanting more and more features while a very few yearn for simplicity. I am firmly with the latter. I have a couple of Nikon Fs, a Nikon S2 , F601 and a Nikon D100 The F and S2 models are paragons of simplicity and I’d quite like the D100 to be the same.

Choosing my shutter speed by turning a dial while selecting the aperture on the lens suits me fine. I would like a good metering system. I quite like the D100’s choice of spot, matrix and centre-weighted metering, but to be truthful it is not as consistently accurate as the centre -weighted system on the Contax 139 Quartz I bought in the Eighties. A roll of film on the light box was almost boring in the evenness of the exposure from frame to frame.

Until I bought the D100 was not able to check individual exposures without the aid of a Polaroid test and I never felt that I was lacking anything. The F601 introduced me to auto focussing and I found it clunky and slow so I mostly focussed the old-fashioned way. Now I’ve gone digital and I still focus manually when it is critical … I had a special pair of spectacles made so that I can focus on the ground glass screen accurately, despite no longer having the eyesight I had when I bought my first SLR in 1961.

I don’t really need auto focus; I don’t really need LiveView; I don’t need a motor drive in any shape or form. What I do need is a camera that isn’t the size, weight and shape of a house brick; I’d like a few more pixels but 12-18MP is more than sufficient. In short, an up-to-date metered light weight digital Nikon F, or Leica M3 with a small selection of very fast lenses between 28 and 85mm that I can fit in a small bag and not feel like a packhorse.

Would I be giving anything up? Not really, after all I got by with the analogue equivalent for forty-odd years, and never felt the need for anything more. If that means I’m a Luddite, so be it.

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