WEEKLY

THE RENAISSANCE OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY
菲林復興

於你而言,菲林相機是不合時宜的產物嗎?有人認為現時數碼相機日益普及,手機攝影亦逐漸崛起,菲林相機固然要遭到淘汰。但有些人卻反其道而行,堅持以菲林記錄生活,更有不少藝術家至今仍以菲林作為創作媒介。菲林攝影的歷史源遠流長,這回Chessman Post將會著墨介紹小、中片幅的其中一些經典老相機,逐格重溫菲林的古舊與樸實。
一張菲林之所以能呈現影像,感光物質是最關鍵的一環,其起源可追溯到19世紀。當時湯姆斯‧維吉伍德把葉子放在塗滿硝酸銀的紙面上,並置於太陽下曝光,最後得到葉子形狀的影像,此實驗奠定了攝影術的基礎。在昔日,菲林照片的沖曬過程絕非三言兩語能道盡,除了要有一間密封的黑房外,也要準備藥水、燈泡、相紙等,每一個步驟都是耐性的試煉。如今有機器的輔助,沖菲林的過程已沒以前那麼繁複。儘管時間能減省,但偶爾也會碰上失焦、曝光錯誤等情況,因而看不見影像,回憶宛如被吞噬般,着實教人有點沮喪。

說到這裏,你可能會奇怪,為何今天仍有人本著「菲林不死」的精神去冒險拍照?為何香港仍有小店默默耕耘,只為宣揚菲林攝影?其實,每一格菲林都背負着某種情懷,每一次拍攝都有驚又有喜。不論你是否攝影愛好者,當你看到一張沖曬出來的菲林照,相信都會被那獨特的溫度和質感懾住。

菲林相機有不同片幅之分,其中廣為人知的便是135片幅的菲林相機。135菲林的尺寸為24x36毫米,上下兩邊打有齒孔。這個格式的菲林種類頗多,也較容易在市面上買到,而沖曬的費用也比中、大片幅來得便宜。初試菲林相機的新手,可以選擇Canon AE-1作起點。沒有奢華的外表,AE-1的設計簡單直接,半自動及全手動模式皆備,讓新手能慢慢熟習菲林攝影的技巧。如果想追求更高級的相機,則可入手135 的經典銘機Nikon FM2。它是全世界首部快門高達4000分之1秒的全機械式單眼相機,可以準確地拿捏好每個「決定性時刻」。另外,FM2亦設有多重曝光按鈕,就是讓相機多次曝光,用創意將不同的畫面封存在同一格菲林之上。Olympus PEN-F是史上第一台單鏡反光的半格相機,一筒36張的菲林,瞬間變成72張,大概是隨拍的最佳旅伴。135格式中還有令文青和攝影老手均趨之若鶩的旁軸相機──Leica系列。雖說銀、黑兩色各有千秋,但黑色體現了復古的氣派,拿上手更顯優越感。Leica的機械操作順暢,觀景窗清澈明亮,自然是不少人的終極夢想。隨著電子化興起,輕便相機亦於市場佔一席位,德國代表Contax和日本代表 Fujifilm分別有不少擁護者。輕便相機提供全自動的模式,不消幾秒鐘已捕捉了影像。以「感覺先決」拍照,何樂而不為?

中片幅120的相機體積比較大,常見的規格有6x4.5、6x6、6x7和6x9。雖然沒有135相機如此輕便,但120菲林的成像富有立體感,使人過目難忘。中幅數碼相機十分昂貴,中幅菲林機與之相比起來則划算得多。Hasselblad 500C/M是經典中的經典,用來拍6x6厘米的正方形照片。銀黑色的磚頭,身材嬌小,做工卻相當扎實,配上蔡司鏡頭令成像更見銳利。但Hasselblad不是人人能負擔得起,取而代之可考慮「東洋哈蘇」Bronica S2。120的單反相機中還有一架坦克車Pentax 67。雖然背著它半天已覺疲憊不堪,但6x7厘米的照片又比6x6更上一層樓,用過的人都對它愛不釋手。另外,雙鏡頭的相機看起來也別具文青氣息,Rolleiflex 2.8F和Mamiya C330是世界各地菲林攝影人的心頭好,不過國產牌子海鷗也是便宜的好選擇。而120片幅最精彩的部分,就在於大部分相機都採用腰平觀景窗,視野更大,能用另一個姿勢和角度感受事物。透過腰平看世界,所有事物都別具層次與立體感,就像能觸摸到被攝體一樣。除了135和120片幅的相機外,還有被稱為「間諜機」的110片幅,和大片幅的4x5及8x10相機。菲林如此多樣化,當你探索越多時,便越容易落入這個無底深潭。

菲林相機的特別之處,就在於我們不能馬上看到影像。但拍了菲林之後,便能初次意識到,顆粒、失焦也許是一種美。與其追趕新科技產品的熱潮,倒不如學習謹慎地看待每一個瞬間。菲林相機看似落伍,但正因為它們沉澱在歲月的洪流這麼久,才顯得如此歷久彌新。

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Do you think film cameras are obsolete? With the advent of digital and mobile photography, it might seem that film camera are being phased out, slowly and subtly. Yet some people swim against the current by using film cameras to record their daily lives, while some artists even use film as a creative medium. This week, Chessman Post will focus on introducing some of the classic cameras in both small and medium formats. Let’s take some time to be nostalgic about the antique charm of film photography.

An image can be exposed on a frame of film with the presence of light-sensitive chemicals, thanks to the endeavor made by Thomas Wedgwood in the 19th century. At that time, Wedgwood put a leaf on a paper coated with silver nitrate, and then placed it under direct sunlight to capture the silhouette image. The photogram, which showed the silhouette and internal structure of a leaf, provided a solid foundation for the development of photography. The process of developing film was said to be very complicated dating back to the old days. People had to prepare things like chemicals, red safelight bulbs and photo papers, and had everything worked out in a darkroom. Fast-forward to today, the developing process is relatively shorter. Nevertheless, sometimes we may find that there is no image appeared on the film, because we have made mistakes on focusing and exposure settings. This can cause us to be frustrated, as if our memories are being stolen.

Now having said all that, you might wonder: why some people still bother to take film photos and embrace the attitude of “film is not dead”? And why some small shops still slog away to promote film photography? Indeed, each frame of the film represents a connection between one and a piece of memory. Whether you are a photography enthusiast or not, you will be mesmerized by the warmth and texture of film.

Film cameras have different formats, of which the most well-known one would probably be the 135 format. With some tiny sprocket holes running along the top and bottom, the 135 film has a size of 36×24 mm. There is a fair amount of 135 films to choose from, and they can be found easily on the market. Compared to medium and large formats, 135 is a small format that helps people save pennies in developing films. For complete novices, you can opt for Canon AE-1 since its design is rather simple and intuitive. The AE-1 features the programmed automatic exposure, shutter priority automatic exposure, and manual modes, which allow you to get accustomed to the operation of the film camera. If AE-1 cannot fulfill your needs, simply go for another classic and elegant camera, Nikon FM2. It is the first SLR camera equipped with 1/4000 second shutter speed, plus the shutter is completely mechanical. Faster shutter speeds may assist you in capturing more “decisive moments”. Also, FM2 comes with a multiple-exposure button that let you play around with two or more of the same subject on the same frame. Olympus PEN-F is the world's first 35mm half-frame single-lens reflex camera. With half frame cameras, you can have 72 exposures on a 36-exposure roll. Doesn’t it sound magical? And among all the 135 cameras, nothing can beat the Leica series. The perfect and timeless design of Leica is extremely appealing to both hipsters and sophisticated photographers. There are silver and black bodies, but I would definitely vote for the black one as it looks more vintage in style. With smooth operation and clear viewfinder, the Leica cameras are the greatest extravagance of many people. Following the rise of electronic devices, the compact cameras started to become popular too. Contax from German and Fujifilm from Japan were some of the most famous brands. Many of the compact cameras offer a fully-automatic program mode for users to do snapshots depending on their moods and feelings.

The 120 films have a number of sizes including 6x4.5 cm, 6x6 cm, 6x7 cm and 6x9 cm. Though bulkier in terms of size, the images captured with medium format cameras are unsurpassed and they allow you to delve into the details and depth of the images. The digital medium format cameras can be overpriced, but the film cameras are certainly not the same case. Hasselblad 500C/M is known as one of the best of 120 cameras which is used to take 6x6 cm photos. It is small enough to bring along with, yet solid and powerful enough to capture stunning images, especially with Zeiss lens mounted on it. However, if Hasselblad is not affordable to you, Bronica S2 can be an option as well. Apart from the above mentioned, I would also highly recommend the tank-like Pentax 67. Although carrying this heavy camera around could be a nightmare, the images captured gives you a new definition of “details”. The colors and the images look flawless on 6x7 films. Another must-have camera would be the twin-lens reflex camera. Rolleiflex 2.8F and Mamiya C330 are the all-time favorites of many professionals and amateurs, but the Seagull cameras from China can also give you a taste of how the twin-lens reflex cameras work. To me, the best part of medium format cameras lies in their waist-level viewfinder. All the objects become brighter and more detailed if you look at them through this type of viewfinder. Besides 135 and 120 formats, there are 110 format cameras that widely known as the “spy cameras”, and also large formats which take 4x5-inch and 8x10-inch photos. You will discover more as you venture into the world of film photography.

There is something beyond extraordinary about film cameras. They cannot display captured images immediately, yet they yield a unique quality of photos that make us realize the beauty of grains and losing focus. Instead of following the technology trends, why don’t we learn to cherish every moment? Film cameras may be said as old, but they are never obsolete.

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #162

THE RENAISSANCE OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY

 

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