I recently bought a Nikon F80 for £22.50 to add to my ever-increasing collection of street photography cameras and have been eager to get out and test it.
Nowadays more and more of us have jumped on the band wagon of digital cameras with bulging megapixels that cost megabucks, all in the endeavour to help us create the perfect image.
I opted for Ilford Delta 400 film a safe bet, bolted my trusty 50 mm F1.4 lens on and set off to Redcar, which is about 20 minutes’ drive away.
I chose Redcar because it’s just had a major facelift that has cost tens of millions and right in the middle of the facelift is the very old Regent Cinema, which stands close to the new vertical pier. A perfect contrast of old and new, sharing the same space, equally as important.
I picked one of the hottest, brightest days of summer, which would have been more suited to 100 ASA but I wanted to test it with 400.
First task was to take a shot of the old cinema. Just as I got there two kids were using the steps of the cinema to skateboard off, so F80 quickly to the eye, shutter pressed for the one and only shot.
Seconds later, I was off; 50 yards walk on the seafront to my next location. My thought was to take a shot of the brand new vertical pier. The contrast shot, along with the new vertical pier is the new sea wall defence and new benches with a man laying on one fast asleep in the sun, F80 once again to my eye and the second shot bagged.
In 5 minutes I had the two images I wanted, right, off to the darkroom to process and print it.
I had under exposed the film by 1 stop which is my preference in very bright sunlight, I used ID 11 to process the film, one to one dilution for 12 minutes, 30 seconds’ plain water for the stop, 5 minutes in the fix and a 30-minute wash to finish… perfect.
There is for me still something that is so beautiful about using film combined with a traditional darkroom print; it’s a real work of art, a labour of love.
As more and more of us take the journey to produce the ultimate quality print from a camera system with bulging megapixels, have we lost the sight of the fact that content is king, the true art that is photography.
The Nikon F80 cost £22.50. Cheap as chips as someone once said. Don’t get me wrong I do own and love very expensive camera systems, never the less the F80 is as valuable to me as it still gives me the opportunity to express myself, particularly with street photography, and produce beautiful black and white darkroom prints.