The beauty of manual SLR photography.

Almost everyone gets to the point sometimes where you are fed up with the tons of pics that take up all the space on your hard drive, and you don’t even wanna bother looking through all of it. The time when you are bored with going through the manual of your DSLR again cause you don’t know what all the buttons are for.

That’s when you would consider to pick up again that old manual SLR from your bottom drawer and rid yourself of all the beeping and flashing that modern cameras tend to come with and just go back to basic once again… or for the first time, depending on your own photographical history.

Time to find out how great it can be to use a manual SLR and about the countless possibilities that come with that!

Increase the possibilities of your pictures

There are many reasons for photographers to want to try out how they would do with a manual SLR. You might discover that the normal point-and-shoot film camera, that you have been playing around with for a while, limits your progress as a photographer, as it doesn’t come with the focusing options you would need to take… let’s say sharp close up portraits.

Photo by Mr Jeff

Simplicity that makes you concentrate

Sometimes it is hard to comprehend all functions of your semi-professional DSLR, which makes you want to go back to a simpler camera, to be able to concentrate on the essentials of focusing, framing and the right exposure. Also, since film and developing of the pics will all cost money, you are likely to choose your objects more carefully and spend more time with composition and the right framing.

Photo by Cai Shun’an

After doing that you can pick up your DSLR again with greater confidence, after mastering the basics on a traditional model that makes you actually do the thinking. Instead of training yourself on a fancy DSLR, that makes you worry to much about mode of metering and hundreds of white balancing options, you can fully concentrate on your object and still get great images without too much post production.

Photo by Shawn Hoke Photography

Used by professionals

Traditional SLRs are still used by many professional photographers who value them for their robustness, which makes them unimpressed with difficult weather conditions. So you might very well come across photo-journalists who like to include an old SLR in their setup.

Photo by brook9457

You might be remembered forever

Today, traditional SLRs like Nikon’s FM2 or Canon’s F and A series – though out of production – are still easy to find on online bidding platforms at reasonable prices. For those who want to dig a little bit deeper in their pockets, you might as well go with one of the famed Leica models. Most of the pictures still regarded ahead of their time today were taken with these cameras, just like Steve McCurry’s “Afghan Girl” was shot with a Nikon FM2.

Photo by Steve McCurry

Put you and your objects at ease

But still, the biggest treat of using a traditional SLR is how it makes you calm down and puts you at ease. The preparations for a day out are enough to put you in the right mood. Take your camera out of where ever you keep it. Look at it from every angle to see if there are any new scratches from the last time of usage. Pull the film advance lever slowly to see if it goes smoothly, and then press the shutter release button to hear that down-to-earth sound, which is just loud enough for you to know that your camera fired, but silent enough to not make you the center of attention. Then you fill it with life (meaning the film) and you are ready to go.

Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Maybe you will stumble across one of those rare moments meant to be remembered forever.


18 responses to “The beauty of manual SLR photography.

  1. I’ve been meaning to take an introductory photography class for ever, and I must one day. It should be on my bucket list i think. I just love the idea of capturing still pictures especially when there can be meaning attached.

  2. Thanks for the visit and film is still alive. I haven’t shot any for a couple of months, but I am putting it on my schedule for next month. Night shots – probably. I love B&W grain. FM2n or Mamiya or both!

  3. This is all so perfectly stated! You’ve captured all the good things about manual photography — the thoughtfulness, quietness, control — that keep it from becoming extinct.

    • Thak You, Luddy.

      This is a really good article that I found (see the source on the bottom of the article), and I’ve decided to share it here.

      Has I said in various comments to some followers from the blog, film photography has some kind of magic that it’s hard to explain in words. 🙂

      Regards and stay fine.

    • Hi. That’s a really great portrait, but for me “The Afghan girl” from Steve McCurry, it’s an ode to photography.

      I’m a huge fan from Steve McCurry. For me it’s maybe the best photographer ever. 😉

      Kind Regards, and thanks for passing by again.

  4. “, that you have been playing around with for a while, limits your progress as a photographer”

    fully agree. I was stuck with top of the line P&S (S90, G11) for a long time. I finally decided if I really want to take great photos, I need an SRL. Got myself one this year start.

    • Hi, Benjamin.

      Today isn’t so expensive like that to buy an SLR. Try eBay or other sites who selling SLRs cameras, and You’ll find good and nice cameras with a very low price. 🙂

      Let me know what brand and model You bought.


      • nope. I would like to my gear minimal 🙂 The last times I shot with film camera, I had no idea about aperture, shutter speed, iso etc.. 🙂 I just clicked. It was Yashica I remember.

      • If You’ve no idea about the basic skills how to shoot with a SLR, the best gear for You it’s of course de digital.

        Let me say when I’m starting shooting, I had not no clues about the basics of photography. After research a while on the web the basics of photography, I figured out how easy is it to understand, the shutter speed, the aperture, the ISO and so on… 🙂

        If I can, everybody can. 😀


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