The Favourite Camera Series – Spencer

When asked, Spencer replied:

1. If you were to choose a favourite film camera from your collection which would it be?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite! I could choose the one that I think is the coolest and lets me do things none of my other cameras can (my Graflex Century Graphic), or the camera I reach for on a nice day when I feel like going out and shooting for the pure fun of it (a TLR; previously my Yashica-A, now my Rolleicord Va), but I think I’ll choose the one that I’ve used the most, that I can continue to use in the widest set of scenarios, and the one that got me excited about photography again and got me into shooting on film: my Nikon FM2.

2/3. How long have you owned this camera? How did you come to own it?

About 5 years ago, I needed a 35mm SLR to use for an intro class at Emily Carr. My dad kindly lent me his FM2 with a 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for the semester. I loved shooting with it and fell in love with with the process of shooting film, so the few month loan turned into 5+ years and counting.

From my dad:

“I purchased ‘your’ Nikon in July 1989 at Cameras N Things in Ithaca, NY. It caught my eye as it was at a good price of US$400, a considerably better deal than the chrome FM2 that I purchased in Toronto about three months earlier. I wanted a second body so that I could have both colour and black & white film going at the same time. Your camera’s first big trip was to Kashmir in India for a three week trek in September 1989. It performed brilliantly along with the 35-105mm that you also have. Its next significant trip was our honeymoon in 1991 and it was my primary camera until 1994 when I moved to Nikon’s autofocus camera. I never loved the Nikon autofocus so switched to Canon shortly afterwards. Even though I traded in the chrome FM2 and a couple of other Nikon lenses, I kept the black one and the 35-105. I guess I just ‘knew’ you’d like them (almost) as much as I did!“

4. What things do you enjoy most about this camera?

It’s so fun and easy to pick up and shoot with. The meter is really easy to read, it’s easy to adjust and see settings while still looking through the viewfinder, the split-ring focusing is so fast and clear. I like that I can just pull the zoom lens forward and back to zoom while twisting to focus at the same time. I like how it feels in my hands, especially when pulling the film advance lever. It’s the only camera that I have multiple lenses for (also a 50mm f/1.4 and a 28mm f/2.8). It’s easy to use and control, it’s fun, and it’s easy to sling on my shoulder and be useful in almost any situation. That’s why it’s my favourite.

The photo of the camera was shot with my Graflex on Harman direct positive paper. The photo below was taken with the Nikon FM2.

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