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Submitted on
June 18, 2013
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I once met someone who was determined not to use a D-SLR until he had mastered a Manual Camera first. I thought he was a bit stuck up, maybe a little arrogant of his own abilities too...but actually, he was right. You will not truly value Photography until you go right back to basics and learn how the legendary pros did it first. So here are five top reasons why you should teach yourself photography on a manual camera!

Camera by skit-so

1) It's Cheap

Many people think that Film Photography is expensive. If you're going all out and developing your own photographs rather than taking the to a developer then it might well be expensive! However manual cameras are a dying breed and you can pick up most of the bits and pieces you need to get started, quite cheaply.

2) Manual Focus

It's the simplest reason, but it's so true. Manual Focus will save your life. Learning how to focus your camera the hard way will make you a much better Photographer in the long run.

Russian Camera by tumbler591

3) Appreciate Modernisation

Spending hours in a darkroom can be fulfilling, I've done it, and I loved it. But it can also make you appreciate modern photography that much more. Yes it's great to use a manual camera here and there, but it's even better when you can just pick up, snap and post to instagram in a few short seconds. Yes, instagram! Manual Photography will make you appreciate what we have today, so much more.

4) Iso!

Most of the pros of using a manual camera are that it's not all done for you. How easy is it to whip your camera into Auto and let it do all the work? Too easy. With a manual camera, you have the same ISO throughout a roll so you need to get it right the first time in order to get the best exposure.

5) Cost Effective

Not only is it cheap, as mentioned in point number 1, but having a manual camera will not tempt you with all the awesome and fantastic upgrades, add ons and other bits and pieces that modern photography now has. You'll save money, AND be an awesome Photographer, what more could you want?!

Old Petri camera by Pamba

Manual Photography isn't for everybody. I will say that you'll need a little more patience than usual and an interest in getting results. You'll have to plan carefully to ensure that you don't make mistakes as manual is unforgiving. But it's worth it, and if you fancy learning the basics then why not give it a go? Check out This article for more detailed tutorials.

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MJP67 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I suppose I am the minority here but I don't agree. I used to shoot manual and now I shoot only digital. You can learn all the main requirements shooting digital and you can capture wonderful images with digital. You can capture wonderful images manually as well. If you are trying to emulate manual style photos with a digital well then I might agree as there is no real perfect equivalent but I think one can learn on and produce absolutely wonderful art with a dslr. I used to drive a stick shift too.. but I prefer my transmission to automatically shift now. ;)
pearwood Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent.  If you want to go cheap, shoot in black and white and do your own developing then scan the negatives.  The Epson Perfection V500 flatbed goes for a bit more than US$150 and scans my medium format negatives at 3200 dpi.  That's a whole lot of pixels.   A full darkroom costs real money, but a black bag and developing reels can be had for a hundred or two, total.  Add that to the Yashica-D my sister-in-law gave me and I'm first class for very little money.
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Good tips :)
pearwood Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
PixlPhantasy Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Film isn't that cheap to develop any more here.  If you are able to develop it yourself then fine but if not, taking it to even a place like Walmart is expensive and can run you over $20 just to get it developed into prints.  Lot's of places don't even develop film anymore.

I do agree with everything else though.  I remember learning photography with an old Pentax..unfortunately I forgot half the stuff I learned. :XD:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Hmm I guess it depends on where you are:nod:
FlynnRyder Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Student General Artist
OH MY GOD!!!!!! I completely agree. I love knowing how to use my camera on manual. I use both film and digital. It just breaks my heart and makes me want to cry when I see people with a $1,200 camera and a $2,000 lens and they have no idea what they are doing with it. I see it all the time.
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It's an amazing gift really! :)
miontre Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Great article :D
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
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