Analog Man Revisited

Did you ever buy a piece of technology that you regretted not that much later? Something that became obsolete long before it became a piece of junk? Maybe it was a Betamax video recorder, or a boom box, or an 8 track player. For me, it was my Nikon F80 SLR.

I had been using Nikon SLR cameras for about 20 years when my eyesight got so bad I couldn’t focus my tank-like FE any longer. That was in 2002. So I replaced it with the easy to use, lightweight, autofocus and autoexposure F80. In those last days of film the most popular prosumer Nikon was the F100, but that cost 3 times as much as the F80 and I didn’t think I’d need the extra features.

I picked up a nice stable of autofocus lenses to go with the camera body and figured I’d be set for a couple of decades. Digital imaging was out there of course, but it was very expensive, rather primitive, and nowhere close in quality to color film. I figured I could just shoot analog, and scan the negatives if I needed any digital files.

Well I was totally out to lunch – buying into a relatively good film system just as digital took off and left my plans (and camera) in the dust. It took me 15 years to catch up to the same level of digital quality. I used the film system for about 4 years – culminating with a couple of cruise holidays in 2006. Then I succumbed to the inevitable and the F80 went to the top shelf of a bedroom closet.

In 2010 I discovered some neglected Fujicolor 400 film in that closet and pulled out the F80 for a last hurrah. Analog man rides again! Above you can see 15 month old Teddy.

Here’s how the house looked then. The trees have certainly grown.

And here is magnificent Sammy – age 11 and before his hyperthyroidism sapped his health and strength.

In 2010 things were changing in downtown Almonte too. Here an antique shop has replaced a pharmacy and a furniture store is going out of business after 56 years. To the right a brand new pedestrian mini-mall is taking shape. Out with the old…in with the new. Sorta like photography I guess.

Today I was rummaging around in the closet and rediscovered the F80 with its lenses. On a whim, I popped in a couple of long-forgotten CR123A batteries and switched it on. The camera sprang to life. I had a roll of absolutely ancient Fujicolor handy so I loaded it in and the autoadvance wound forward to exposure #1. I went out front, focused the camera on that now big Linden tree and pressed the shutter. I heard that lovely “thunk, whirr.” Analog man is back again.

I suppose when the weather improves I’ll head out and finish shooting the roll. heaven knows where I can get it processed now. But for just a moment I was transported back in time…hmmm.

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