01 February 2013

Digital TLR? Pfffft.

A few months back, I bought a new digital camera. I had wanted something compact, but with the level of control I have been accustomed to in the last ten years or so of using SLRs. After briefly toying with the idea of just buying a compact digital camera and giving up on the idea of manual photography, I ended up settling for a Nikon Coolpix.

Awful name aside, I was attracted to the camera's ability to let me take the photo I wanted, without having to wrangle complicated menus designed to shield neophytes from ruining Aunt Beryl's wedding with overexposed snaps. In short, what I ended up with was a solidly built camera with manual control, a fairly good wide-angle lens, the ability to shoot in RAW*, and an intuitive interface.

So, how does this possibly relate to my promise that I will still use film? Well, it doesn't directly. However, this week I realised something about the way I shoot with this camera. The live-view screen on the back can be moved around a little. Without thinking too much about what I was doing, I realised I had been sitting the screen at a 90-degree angle to the camera body, and shooting while looking down. Yes, just like you would with a TLR.

Ignore the fact that nothing is mirrored, and it feels like using a top-down viewer. It's a nice way to compose images, it feels kind of natural.

Is there a point to this point? Not really, although perhaps I'm just thinking that the act of photography is still photography, regardless of whether you are using a Hassy with a nice digital back, a vintage Ricoh TLR, or a decent mid-range "enthusiast's" compact. It just took me a little by surprise to realise that despite the comforts and practicalities of digital, the way I use a camera hasn't changed an awful lot because of that...

*I shoot in RAW+JPEG mode mostly - as much as I like to have the RAW files as a high quality "digital negative", I don't have the skills yet to tackle editing in RAW