Cousin J bought an incredibly kick-ass 2008 Nikon D300, I instead won an auction for a 15-year-old lens for a Minolta X-700, my old manual film camera. That's right -- no digital, no auto-focus, no motor drive -- basically just a heavy metal box for film that you mount lenses to. The lenses don't even zoom.
So yes, I'm a Luddite, and I'm cheap...but there's a source of happiness hidden in the madness. Shooting with that old Minolta this week was pure joy, and the last couple of rolls of film I put through it yielded wonderful results. Those old glass and steel lenses let in a lot of light and don't mess up what you see with your eyes. They feel good in your hands, solid and vintage and old school.
But I think there's something else going on here, and it has more to do with time. It's great to see your digital photos immediately, deciding what to keep or delete on the spot. Almost everything about this old stuff is slow -- winding the camera between shots, turning the ring back and forth to focus, adjusting the exposure settings one at a time, and then waiting to fill up the film before finally getting it developed. It slows me down in a good way. Like slow food vs fast food. I ride my bike over to Eric's Photo in town instead of speeding digital uploads to Future Shop. Deferred gratification is out of style, of course, but I'm rediscovering the pleasures of anticipation. I'll get a new camera eventually, but I hope it doesn't make me forget.
Unfortunate Update: This week Eric's Photo Lab officially stopped developing film. Seriously. Methinks this backwards hobby of mine may get harder and harder to pursue. In other news, the lens I got on eBay has "lens fungus", which may or may not affect the images. I also got a brand new one that was a lot more expensive, so I may just keep that one instead...it's a super sweet 135mm f/2.8 and weighs a ton.
Update 2: The guy I bought the lens from gave me a full refund and let me keep it. After developing photos taken with it, it appears that the cracks/lines/fungus/whatever don't affect the pictures at this point. So, good news on that one.