Back to the good old days

The return of analog

I recently re-joined a photo club, namely Foto klub Kamnik (FKK Kamnik). I don't actually know what led me to this, the fact was a new acquaintance with the Kamnik photographer and archer Dušan Letnar, whom we met last fall, got along well and was also the key person for me to become a member and become active.

I was positively surprised by the enthusiasm, club spirit and approach to photography cultivated by this club. At the same time, I was additionally pleased by the fact that they have their own beautiful premises in House of Culture Kamnik, as well as a photographic darkroom, where they preserve the knowledge and activity of making black-and-white analog photography.

I myself gave up analog photography fairly quickly when sufficiently capable and high-quality digital cameras came on the market. The reason is probably of a purely practical nature, as we all know the advantages of digital photography, from the incredible ease of the photography process itself, and a big plus is, of course, the extremely low costs, of course we don't need film, darkrooms, chemistry... The boom in photography literally exploded for these reasons and photography has become a fashion trend.

But...when I entered their (now I can say-our) darkroom, I was a little bit enchanted by the analog again. No computer, no pixels, no staring at the screen. The photo is literally created before your eyes and it's a magic that you never tire of.

Fortunately, I didn't manage to sell all the analog gear I used to own. I kept a Hasselblad medium format camera in mine, which is a top-of-the-line device, but I thought I'd keep it just for old time's sake. Well, it turned out that he will take office again.

I was a little skeptical about my return to analog waters, but I got a good encouragement in the club and I thought, "why not?" needed batteries to run the motor (this model is motorized), it was a little dusty and dirty, but that's the least of it. I also quickly designed and built an electric wire trigger to help with longer exposure times. And so I reincarnated my analog experiences. But what about all the materials a person needs for this thing? Analogue photography is apparently experiencing something of a renaissance, as quality film, photo paper and all the developing chemistry can be purchased online. To begin with, he decided on Fomapan films and papers, which despite the quality are very affordable, but later I may return to Ilford again, especially for selected photos that might find a place in an exhibition.


Having been involved in photography with advanced analog cameras for a good 15 years, and later with their digital cousins for a good 20 years, activating my "hazzi" was quite a sobering experience. The thing is completely analogous! No automatics, no light metering, manual focusing, and on top of that, through the shaft and not through the prism. The shortest exposure time is only 1/500 of a second (but synchronization with the flash is possible at all times!).

Photographing this otherwise brilliant dinosaur therefore requires a much more calm and thorough approach. This is also supported by the fact that we can take only 12 photos with one film, which is ridiculously modest for today's times. But…

All in all, this means that we don't take photos there in one day, but we carefully choose the motif, perhaps we also have a story created in the background that we will present. So a lot more thinking and preparation than I was used to, or rather I spoiled myself. And that's good on the one hand.

The biggest prize is, of course, a unique analog recording and the creation of an equally unique photo in the darkroom. In addition to the sheer pleasure of using a photo enlarger, we are impressed by the incredible softness of the tones, the lighting control on the enlarger and, of course, the tangible result in the form of a photo on paper. The coarse grain of the photo becomes an added value and not a defect, as we consider noise in digital photography.


In any case, the very process of analog photography forces us to take a more calm and thoughtful approach when capturing the image itself, and at the same time offers us the opportunity to create complete uniques, which have an increasingly intense influence in the world of author and artistic photography. Let's also not forget the fact that photos made in this way are much more permanent than printing their digital sisters via a printer. It's true that each shot earns us a few tens of cents for the film itself, but nothing happens. There will be fewer pictures, but those will be more selected.


What does analog reactivation mean to me personally? Absolutely no return to this technique in general, because especially in professional photography, the advantage of digital is very big: We can immediately evaluate the shot, the sharpness is uncompromising, we can store thousands of high-quality photos on the card, processing and retouching via computer is easy, fast and efficient . Above all, everything is done with minimal costs. So why analog? Perhaps the easiest way to answer this question would be with an analogy: like driving a modern car every day, but one Sunday you would get into an old-timer and go on a trip. In this case, the spark between the living being and the technique is reignited. We become one with it and feel it as an extension of our own body and mind. Pure pleasure.


Tomaž Berčič





A little more history about Hasselblad cameras and some technical facts about the 500LMX


History of Hasselblad cameras

Hasselblad is a company with a long tradition, founded in 1841, which has become synonymous with superior medium format photography. The 500 series was introduced in 1957 and quickly became the standard for professional photographers. Models like the 500 LMX continue this legacy by offering superior technical features and exceptional build quality.
Although digital photography dominates today, analog cameras like the Hasselblad 500 LMX still offer a unique photographic experience that many photographers appreciate for the aesthetic and technical value of film photography.

The Hasselblad 500 LMX is one of the premium analog medium format cameras produced by the Swedish company Hasselblad, known for its exceptional quality and reliability in the world of photography.


Features of the Hasselblad 500 LMX

  1. Medium format camera: As part of the 500 series, this model uses 120 or 220 film rolls, allowing for a larger negative surface area compared to 35mm film. This means higher resolution and better image quality, which is highly valued in professional photography.
  2. Modular design: The Hasselblad 500 LMX has a modular design, which means that various parts of the camera, such as lenses, prisms and film magazines, are interchangeable. This allows photographers to customize the camera to their specific needs.
  3. Lens quality: Hasselblad cameras are often equipped with Zeiss lenses, which are known for their sharpness, contrast and color accuracy. This ensures superior image quality. In addition, these lenses have a built-in central shutter, which, due to its design, enables synchronization with the flash even at the shortest time, i.e. 1/500sec.
  4. Manual focus and adjustment: The Hasselblad 500 LMX is a fully manual camera, meaning that the photographer controls all settings, including focus, aperture and exposure time. This allows full control over the final result.
  5. Installation of additional equipment: The camera allows the use of different accessories, such as different prisms (for different viewing angles) and film magazines (for different types of film or faster film changes).
  6. Motorized drive: This model incorporates a motorized drive for transporting the film and simultaneously tensioning the trigger. The camera is triggered via the button on the front or via an electric wire trigger. The motor is powered by a Hasselblad 6v battery, which can be successfully replaced with two modern 123 A batteries using an adapter.

Advantages and use

  • Professional use: The Hasselblad 500 LMX is very popular among professional photographers, especially those involved in portrait, fashion and landscape photography. Its ability to capture highly detailed and high-quality images makes it ideal for print and large formats.
  • Reliability and durability: Hasselblad is known for the extremely robust construction of its cameras, which means they can withstand years of intensive use.