Shooting Film

A-1 on A-1 on Flickr

Sure, a modern digital point and shoot can shoot circles around a film SLR. Camera tech's come a long, long way, but there is something so appealing about shooting with an older camera like the Canon A-1.

Plastic can be wonderfully durable, inexpensive, and light weight, but I really admire the metal body of the A-1. The black wears off on the sharp edges, showing a copper-colored surface underneath. Beausage, if you can palate the portmanteau.

Since high school I've had my grandfather's Canon. When I first got it I remember the shutter would emit a terrible squeal as the inner mechanisms worked through their practiced routine. I took it to the local filmsmith who promised a remedy with a few carefully placed drops of special lubricant. I was at the time becoming most comfortable with the machinations of bicycles, but the interior of a camera threatened me with its delicate precision, so I gladly let the shopkeeper tune it up. When it was returned a few days later the squealing shutter was much quieter, but it has continued to whistle a short note when triggered.

My mom recently decided to give me her A-1 as well, along with a trove of lenses and other accessories. The fine scratches on her camera's body indicate that my grandfather may have been a little more careful with his camera, but the shutter sound tells a different story.

Whereas the brief chrip of my grandfather's camera allows you to imagine the ground mirror lifting up to reveal the film before gently returning down again to rest, my mother's A-1 snaps like a rifle. Trained by the older, lazier camera, I almost expected recoil from such a snap. The body may have suffered a few more blemishes, but the inner workings were serviced often and well.

March 2, 2011

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