S1a is my father's camera: the camera of my childhood.
He purchased it while he was in the Navy, stationed on Guam.
It's had a broken film counter for as long as I can remember,
and the speeds are off except around 1/125 and 1/60, but he's
never bothered to fix it. Growing up, my father's Pentax was a
somewhat forbidden piece of technology to me, and by the way he
treated it, I knew it held a somewhat reverent place in his
life, so I never pestered him about its inner workings.
while on a hike to half dome in yosemite, my father eventually
revealed the workings of the Pentax to me, and just before I
graduated high school a year or two later, I started to
experiment a little with low light exposures and manual
exposure in general. I distinctly recall some christmas
pictures taken on ISO 200 film with a bounce-flash on the
Pentax that came out exceptionally well. hopefully one of
these days I'll be get ahold of some examples of both half-dome
and the christmas candids which somehow avoid the standard
blaring cliche flashed-out christmas pictures. (or maybe they
are cliche, but in a different way.)
my father still has his Pentax. he also has some new digital
wazoo camera these days, and I suspect the Pentax isn't getting
the attention it deserves. hopefully the black and white film
I sent him for christmas will serve as a catalyst, but it's now
march, and I haven't seen any film to develop in my mailbox...
I, however, don't have a Pentax.
my freshman roomate was versed in darkroom mole procedures, and
spent time with his K1000 capturing things like spider webs and
odd corners of the Reed campus. he taught me darkroom
rudiments, and coupled with a cheap fixed plastic-lens kodak I
had been given as a graduation present, I was able to capture
some interesting tidbids of college life.
ten years later, I rediscovered film photography via polaroid
packfilm. I realized that my wife's neglected minolta XD11 in
the basement was a good camera, and that there was an abandoned
full darkroom at work begging to be re-activated. I got the
XD11 serviced, new chemicals mixed in the darkroom, and hopped
on yet another trailing edge of technology.
I hold no preconceived notions that film may eventually die, or
at least turn into some eccentrics' vice. I have a nice 5MP
nikon camera which is capable of producing very nice output.
however, it just doesn't have the same tactile feedback as the
XD11. a digitized click is a poor substitute for a solid
mechanical kerchunk. I'd trade graininess for jpeg artifacting
any day. 35mm doesn't lag when you press the trigger.
perhaps most of all, digital just doesn't smell the same. I
don't know if in 30 years I'll have the same attachment to the
digital stuff. we'll see.