When I was 15, my uncle gave me his old Nikon film SLR. This sparked in me a love for film photography from high school through college. However, life got in the way and I put my hobby on hiatus.
Now in my late twenties, I recently picked up film photography again out of a desire to do more creative activities. I brushed the dust off the old Nikon and started taking photos of my travels and daily life. I am enjoying the process of re-learning film – slowing down, taking time to compose the shot, and thinking about the final image rather than “running and gunning” like I often do with my smartphone camera. It feels like the creative part of my brain has been revived.
To my surprise, my uncle offered me another old camera of his when I told him that I had gotten back into film photography. A “Contax point and shoot,” he said. At that point, I had never heard of the brand Contax.
A point and shoot? No way that would take better photos than a SLR! (That was what I thought). I refused. I really didn’t want it. But he insisted – so I hesitantly took his Contax T2 and started playing with it. I bought some cheap expired film on eBay – a few rolls of something called Ferrania Solaris 400 (At that point, I had never heard of this brand either) – and went about taking photos. The results:
I was blown away. All the photos came out incredibly crisp, possibly some of the sharpest I have personally taken. As for the film, I love how ‘punchy’ it rendered the images. Lots of visible grain, contrast, and saturation. And the reds really pop! In fact, all of the photos seem to have a golden-red profile unique from anything I have shot.
Sadly, Ferrania Solaris is no longer being made. However, if you can find an expired roll (sometimes packaged as Clark Color Film), I highly recommend giving it a shot.
Happy shooting. And be nice to your uncle.
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