Friday, February 22, 2013

A Year With The Fed-5B, Part 1

About a year ago, Peek! generously offered to let me test-drive a Fed-5B camera for a week. A week somehow turned into a year. I finally finished the roll in January, gave the camera back and got the roll of film developed.

It has been an interesting experience working with the Fed-5B. I found it incredibly difficult and challenging. Some photographers would enjoy this camera, being able to fully control the aperture and shutter speed but I found that tiresome. I probably should engross myself more in these technicalities to create better photos but I just can't seem to bring myself to it. With the Fed-5b, I tried to figure out all those aspects at first. I downloaded an app that would help to measure the exposure value, aperture and shutter speed. For later shots, I guesstimated. While I was terrified that those shots wouldn't turn out, I decided to leave it to luck and trust my gut feelings.

Another problem I had was the focusing. Because I am a specs-wearing myopic, I found it difficult to align the double images in the lens hole to get the exact focus. In the beginning, when Peek! was teaching me how to use the camera, it took me quite awhile before I managed to figure out how to align the double images. The photographs in this post were the only photographs that were focused correctly. The rest were out of focus or shots set on infinity (in the next post).

The Fed-5B is a demanding creature, you need patience and smarts to fully master it. This is not a camera made to shoot from the hip or stealthy street photography (a little bit difficult when you are holding a huge chunk of metal to your face). But who knows, one day in the future, as my photography tastes changes and I grow up a little more, I might fully appreciate the beauty of this camera. And despite my whinings about it, I do think this camera produces amazing photographs.

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