Monday, February 6, 2012

Bucket List - Cameras

Like half of today's population, I too, am into photography --- minus any form of post processing.

So cameras, I'm reaching for the skies here, I have to make this something of a , sort of a “lifetime goal” if I may say so, because obviously, I can never afford all of these in a year's pay check. Consider me lucky if I can at least buy one, or two... maybe all.

Panasonic Lumix DMC - GF1 - because my old buddy (Canon PowerShot A570IS) no longer works as brilliantly as it used to. The GF1, said to be the lightest and smallest interchangeable lens camera, bears the capabilities of an SLR in an easy-to-carry, compact body. And let us not forget the pop-up flash.

Of course I thought of getting another Canon but based mainly on some of the reviews I read online, Lumix is about 3 steps ahead. My other option was the Panasonic Lumix LX5 but it’s more expensive.

And there’s another one, the Leica D-Lux5 which I don’t even want to discuss the price; though skimming through specs and shots; I'd say it's totally worth the bucks.

Tripod - this is the Sony VCT R100 Tripod, something I just pulled out from the internet for photo’s sake. I really have no specific brand in mind, any tripod would do, even those in CDR-King, as long as it can support the weight of my Canon and the Olympus, especially the Olympus.

35mm Film cameras:

These cameras are pretty much easy to find, especially if you are in Manila. You can go to Hidalgo St. in Quiapo where there are several camera shops with the cheapest price tags. You can also stroll the side walks (Carriedo station as your starting point) for a lucky find, trust me... you can. Just be very careful, it’s Quiapo for chrissakes.

If you are in Makati area, which I am, you will find tons of thrift shops selling everything imaginable; books, century old ashtrays, furniture, Marilyn Monroe lighter, Coca-Cola collectibles, Nokia 5210, and of course cameras. Bangkal, Makati is a haven for collectors (and people who just wants to buy cheap stuff, including me) patient enough to check out every shop in view, I’m not kidding, thrift stores are almost in every corner, every street. Okai, that was exaggerating.

Also, there is one shop in Makati Square, I forgot the name but it’s on the second floor, you’ll know it when you see it because the store has glass walls where you can see guitars for sale; drums, amplifiers, and all other musical instruments you can come up with. The shop also has this amazing display of old cameras (main reason why I’m telling you all this), including medium formats, which I am positive that I will never know how to use, much less understand. Anyway, their cameras (they have digital too) are around 3,000 mostly. They do have some 1,500+ cameras but the good ones, good brands I mean, are usually priced 3k and up.

The only problem here, is that you have to buy them AS-IS. If you are just into collecting cameras and a big aficionado of film cams for the sole purpose of display, then its no big deal; but if like me, you plan on actually using them “one day”, that’s a huge bump.

Unlike digital cameras, you cannot easily test film cams if they still work, of course I’m a noob talking here. So um, here are a few 35mm cameras I would really love to score. This is a tentative list, mind you.

 Minolta XG1 -  the camera first appeared in 1979. Dubbed as “quite advanced for its time”, XG1 has its share of pros and cons. Several features such as TTL metering and electronic focal point shutter made it on the bucket list of many photographers and hobbyists of its generation.

Vivitar V 3800 - ideal for SLR beginners (hah, perfect). The Vivitar V 3800 comes with a self-timer, manual focus and manual multiple exposure. It has a detachable flash, TTL metering system, bright viewfinder, and an ISO of 25 to 3200. Might be just the thing if I really want to carry a film camera during a concert, that is instead of opting for the very expensive ISO 1600 - 3200 films. I don’t know, I’m not sure, but as they say “quality is in the film, performance is in the camera”, guess I can live with that.

Pentax K1000 - “a top choice for use by students of photography”, I’ll trust you on that mainly because this camera has been on the market for more than 30 years. Pentax K1000 is a manual camera. Which means, you do all the work yourself; light meter, aperture, exposure settings and whatever needs to be tinkered. It’s a classic, without a self-timer.

I’d also like to try on a Yashica J. I’ve read good stories about it, too. But, you know... I don’t want to stick to that list, as I may not exactly find them.  I might just settle for whatever I find and work on it. After all, I'm only in this for fun. I don’t have any desire to be one great photographer one day (as if!). I just want to do what I love to do, if ever it leads to something amazing, then fine, great. If not, I’d be happy knowing I did what I did, which I still have to do.

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