Changes

A lot has changed in my life since I’ve last written on this blog. I lost my job last month, and my family and I have decided that, with the amount of time that Doublejump requires of me, going back to university full-time and working a part-time job is not going to be feasible. My girlfriend’s family recently got their permanent residency, so she’ll be returning to Melbourne really soon. To say that I am excited about this would be a serious understatement, I’ve missed having her live close by.

It’s been five years since I graduated from high school, and the fact that I still haven’t finished a degree irks me. I don’t know if I would’ve been the person I am today if I had stayed in my original degree, and I’m not sure if this is a bad thing; I’ll let those close to me decide.

Another thing that has changed is that I have sold my trusty Nikon F4S, the camera with which I fell in love with film, and have bought a mint condition Nikon FM2/T. I realised that the electronics in the former would fail one day, and that a fully manual camera would last much longer. The FM2 cameras were used by professional photographers as backup bodies, so I knew that they have a reputation for being reliable machines. They also contain a shutter that can shoot as fast as 1/4000th of a second, so I can shoot with wider apertures in bright conditions. I went from looking for a black body, to a chrome one, to the special titanium alloy-bodied FM2/T.

My Nikon FM2/T with my Nikon AI-S 50mm f1.4.

My Nikon FM2/T with my Nikon AI-S 50mm f1.4.

Honestly, the camera looks even better in person, and the use of a titanium alloy means that the camera is ridiculously light; especially when compared to the beast that was the F4S. It is also much smaller, and I’m hoping that it will be less intimidating when I am shooting in the street. I’ve only shot a few frames with the camera so far, but I have liked my experience with it. I have swapped out the standard K2 split-prism focussing screen with a K3 split-prism one from the FM3A - hey, I can’t resist an upgrade - and have attached a dark brown Figosa leather neck strap. Unlike the F4S, the viewfinder of the FM2/T doesn’t feature 100 percent coverage and the split-prism finder is set horizontally, as opposed to at a 45 degree angle of the former’s K screen. These differences will take some getting used to, but I am looking forward to getting familiar with my new camera! It doesn’t hurt that it’s a gorgeous thing as well!

In addition to the changes in my single-lens reflex system, I’ve also decided to commit to a rangefinder system with a brand new Voigtlander Bessa R3M body and a Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm F2 lens. I have developed an appreciation of using a rangefinder with my Minolta Hi-Matic 7S, and I have been interested in entering the world of Leica’s M-mount, but without investing in expensive Leica bodies.

The R3M’s availability is currently limited, so I won’t be getting my hands on it until at least the end of the month. I’ve already taken delivery of the lens, and boy is it tiny! I see why a lot of documentary photographers prefer using rangefinders because both the bodies and lenses tend to be smaller than comparable SLR setups.

All in all, I am excited to see what I can make of 2015. I’m looking forward to returning to university, my girlfriend returning to Melbourne, and taking Doublejump to another level in terms of content. I am going to capitalise on the time I’ll have at my disposal without a job taking up my Sundays and Friday nights. 2015 is going to be big, I just know it!

Abir Chowdhury