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  • Writer's pictureIgal Schneider

SLR cameras

Shot with Minolta X-700 on Kodak Portra 800

SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. It means you have a single lens, and the light is captured on the film by lifting up a mirror behind it, that allows us to focus directly through the lens. This way the photographer sees the actual image as it will be shown on the film (assuming the viewfinder has 100% coverage).

Shot with Zenit E on Kodak T-MAX 100

As I already said in my previous posts, I started my mindful journey into the film with Zenit camera that I got for free from a friend of a friend. I already had a digital SLR (it was back in 2006) , and the focusing screen of Zenit was a real mind-blowing experience, compared to what I could get on the digital.

Shot with Canon EOS 5 on Kodak Gold 200

The screen has a split prisms image that you must bring together in order to have the area you see through the prisms in focus. This, along with seeing the out of focus areas while focusing, is a truly helpful feature of the film SLRs, though some of them might have different focusing mechanism, like split image.

Shot with Minolta X-700 and Nikon FG on Kodak Gold 200

Because of these focusing screens (split image or microprisms) it is much easier to focus than using the focus points we have today on most of the cameras. It brings one disadvantage as well - if you want to focus on something in the corner of the screen, you would have to first focus then compose the image.

Below you can see some examples of playing with shallow DoF while shooting flowers and leaves.

Shot with Minolta X-700 and Nikon FG on Kodak Gold 200

Whenever I want to shoot portraits or need precise focusing while out in a wild, or when I'm out with kids, or photowalk with my wife - I take one of my SLR cameras.

Shot with Canon EOS 5 on Kodak Gold 200

While most of the SLR cameras are much bigger than an average rangefinder or scale focus camera, they do serve their purpose. Shooting squirrels with them is also way easier and faster.

Shot with Nikon FG on Kodak Gold 200

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