The Troubles of indecisiveness.
I’m visiting Copenhagen for a few days, as part of a birthday and Christmas present for my girlfriend, Emily. Before we go, however, I have to decide which camera and which film would be up to the job of capturing the landmark city.
Keeping it simple
My first thought was black and white. In December, without much sunlight to warm the scenes, the light would be ideal for some moody black and white photos -it never matters if it’s a cloudy day. And I happen to have some Kentmere 400 and Ilford FP4 ready to go. However, as Emily was quick to point out, Copenhagen is vibrant and full of colour, something you don’t want to leave out. I’ve also previously used HP5+ on holiday in Dublin, and whilst black and white can give some interesting pictures, I found as a novice it slowed me down or even stopped me taking a shot. If you’re just after some holiday snaps and not banking on arty pictures, it could leave you pretty disappointed having those memories in monochrome.
My next problem is which colour film to take. I have one in date roll of my usual Fuji Superia 400, a roll of Kodak Ektar 100, and countless Agfa Vista 200. I really want to try the Ektar – but at only ISO 100 I have a difficult balance. Do I shoot it at ISO 100 and risk blurry shots in low light winter weather, or do I push it and hope it reacts okay? Looking at reviews, the film has a bad rep for misbehaving colours, especially favouring red tones. As ideal as it is for capturing colourful buildings etc., it can be an issue with portraits, and I plan on taking a fair few of Emily. Being pushed, this problem apparently worsens. So maybe I should save it for now.
Pick your weapon
So I have a choice: my fully manual (and heavy) Nikon FM2n SLR, the aperture priority Nikon EM SLR, and the automatic Voigtlander VF 135 rangefinder.
Initially, I thought the rangefinder would be a great choice as a quick shooting, lightweight snapper for travelling. But when I have to rely on its choice of aperture/exposure, and me remembering to focus it properly [LINK], this would be a gamble as a main camera. Then, if I was taking my EM, I may as well just take the FM2n instead, it’s better and the reliable light meter makes it barely any slower to use.
The final verdict
The FM2n will be over my shoulder the entire time carrying some Superia with a boatload of AGFA spare, and the VF 135 will be in tow with some Kentmere for some black and white options. How I managed to stretch this decision into a lengthy post I don’t quite know, but there we have it.