I have vivid memory using my dad’s Mamiya ZE Quartz which I very much wanted to learn how to use, but never did. Years later, as I started my first job, I decided to put conscious effort in learning film photography and started off my quest using an Olympus OM-10 with a 50mm Zuiko lens which was gifted to me. It was the turn of the century, and AF-capable SLR cameras were the state-of-the art. With my first pay cheque, I bought myself a Nikon F65, months later G.A.S had the better part of me and upgraded to a more capable Nikon F80. This was my main camera for 8 years before I switched to 100% digital and remained so up to very recently. I’ve to admit that digital photography’s instant feedback made me a much better photographer and helped me with composition and digital darkroom techniques. Alas, deep down, I longed for the simplicity of film and the joy of the delayed gratification one gets when the film prints get back from the lab days later.
Last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find a local film processing lab (Downtown Camera) which was just a block away from where I worked. My interest in film photography was re-ignited and I figured it would be nice to try film photography again. After hunting on Kijiji, an online classified advertising platform popular in Canada, I managed to collect a number of classic film SLRs like the Minolta XG-M, the Nikon FE2 and the Nikon F80(!) — a camera which I had regretfully sold off cheap years ago. However, there was one camera though which I really wanted to own for many years — it was the Nikon F100 — possibly the best “prosumer” autofocus film body that Nikon had ever produced. This was the reliable workhorse of many photographers, smaller and lighter than the F5 , yet equally capable. To my luck, one came up for sale on Kijiji for only $100 and included the well-regarded 28-105mm AF Nikkor kit lens. That was an awesome deal that I just could not let go (F100s tend to sell ~$250 upwards on eBay) and a few phone calls later, I landed myself a mint F100.
The best thing about the F100 is that it is compatible with virtually all existing Nikkor lenses. I could even use my Nikon SB-600 flash with no issues. It is equipped with Nikon’s tried and tested 3D-matrix metering system, spot metering and a top shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second! I would have absolutely no need for ND-filters to shoot wide open on a bright sunny day using ISO-400 film. This camera doesn’t get in the way, pretty much nails exposure each time so there are less things to worry about and I could just concentrate on composition.
I used to prefer Fuji Superia 100/200 for my color shots as I like the cooler tones and saturated colors, but this time though, I went with the consumer-grade Kodak Colorplus 200 film. This film may not be as well regarded as the Ektar 100, but considering its affordable price (Downtown Camera had a pre-paid development option which heavily discounted the cost of the film roll) I guessed it wouldn’t hurt trying.
Here are a few frames from a walkabout around Toronto. I was pleasantly surprised by the color rendition which was slightly muted and warm.
Dhanesh R. is an amateur photographer living in Guelph, Ontario. He works as a computer scientist when not out doing street photography.