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Photo Challenge: Using a 15-Year-Old DSLR for a Modern-Day Portrait Shoot


It’s easy to forgot how easy we have it shooting digital in 2016, because when digital cameras first started picking up steam they were not easy to use. How difficult were they? Watch as Jared Polin of Fro Knows Photo takes the 15-year-old Nikon D1X out for a modern day on-location portrait shoot.

Warning: The video above contains some strong language, user discretion advised.

This particular video, part of Fro’s “5 Min Portrait” series, is different than most of the challenges like it we’ve seen because he takes you along for the entire (sometimes painful) process. From unboxing, to finding era-appropriate lenses, to struggling for focus, to the finished prints on his studio floor.

The full video is over an hour long. It’s not short, but it’s a great weekend watch if you want to (1) be reminded of how good you have it with your fancy new D5 or whatever you’re shooting, and/or (2) refocus on some of the photography basics that you maybe started letting your new camera take care of automatically.

Fro certainly had to change his mindset and adjust to shooting “vintage,” but some of the shots he captured—candids as well as more traditional on-location portraits—turned out really well. Here are a few of our favorites:








“As you can see there were a lot of challenges facing this shoot but the old rule is you work with what you have and it’s your job as a professional photographer to get professional results,” explains Fro on his site. “That’s exactly what I set out to do and after a while you fall into a rhythm where the limitations of the gear float away and you focus on capturing the images in front of you.”

You can check out all the full-res JPEGs on Flickr here, and if you’re REALLY curious, Fro even uploaded the RAW files for your pixel peeping pleasure. You can find those here.

But before you do any of that, make some time to watch the full photo shoot up top and read Fro’s thoughts on his site. Who knows, it might even inspire you to dust off the old “first digital camera you ever bought” and take it for a spin.

Photo credits: All photos by Jared Polin/Fro Knows Photo and used with permission.