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Just one more camera then…

I really do have enough cameras already, so did I need another? Well I was curious as to why people like rangefinders so much, a Leica M series are all over £500 yet you can get R series SLRs for as little as £200 if you’re lucky. So I read around and got to understand the limitations and advantages of a rangefinder.

Many different makes out there, and mostly expensive, but I noted that of the cheaper varieties, mostly old and/or Russian, the one that stood out was the Konica auto S2. It seems the Hexanon lens is by all accounts comparable to a Leica lens of the same era (mid 1960s).

£20 later and I had my very own:

The light meter doesn’t work so I’m using a Scottish adaptation of the Sunny 16 rule to estimate shutter speed (more on this in another post). I put a roll of Kentmere 400 though it and I have to say the results were pretty good (though perhaps a tad under-exposed).

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The Grain in Spain

I finally used up a roll of (rather expensive) Kodak Tmax P3200 that had been in the Nikon for far too long (switching to colour for that camera now).

I developed with Rodinal (1:25, 8 mins) which isn’t ideal (X-Tol or something apparently is better for this film) so I knew it was going to be grainy. Nonetheless, I was pleased with the results, getting some nice interior shots from Barcelona:

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Leica in Action

In the month since taking possession of the R6 and 4 film have been shot and processed (XP2, HP5, XP2, XP2). Now developed, tickled in Photoshop, and into Flickr.

Roll 1 – A number taken on Dumgoyne – a steep hill north of Glasgow – nice sunny day. Very happy this the results: the camera works! Exposures look good, no sign of light leaks.

See the gallery: Mono #7

Roll 2 – Down to Northumberland and bright, cloudless day at Dunstanburgh Castle. Last time I was there is was foggy and dark. Now the weather’s too good, so difficult to get the moody dark images I was hoping for. The photos, on development, seemed a bit light leaky? Or perhaps more likely (given previous and the next 2 films were clean) this was a processing artefact.

See the gallery : Mono #8

Roll 4 and 5 – Back yet again to Barcelona. very happy with the results:

See the gallery: Barcelona 2018

Still to come are the Nikon F3 photos taken in the evening using Tmax P3200 but will discuss in a different post

Right now the R6 has Fomapan 400 so let’s see how that works out.

I’ve hardly taken an digital images in the last month. Film has me captivated. When I do pick up the A57 it’s the cropped sensor that seems the oddity of going back. I sense this is ultimately leading me towards a replacement (perhaps next year when I can afford it) a Sony a7 full frame mirrorless digital camera.


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Dreams do come true

One significant birthday later and look what I got…

I can’t afford a Summicron-R 50mm lens just yet (min £300 I would say), so have an Adaptall2 SP 28-80mm (027A) for the time being. Give it a year or 2.

Two rolls of film already through it, though not yet developed (one XP2 the other HP5, so will have to process separately). Details to follow, so as yet I don’t know how well it works, if it leaks light, and all the other anxieties I have: if there’s anything not working right I don’t think I can afford to get it fixed. Owning a Leica is probably like owning a Ferrari – even once you own the car you have to be able prepared for the garage bills too.


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A Nice Problem to Have

I realise that I appear to suddenly be in possession of many cameras: Sony a57 (my only digital), Minolta x300, Nikon F3, Zenit EM, Holga 120N, Brownie 6C, and from next month (following a significant birthday), a Leica R6. Honestly, that’s enough. No more.

For now at least. (I’m sure I used to have an Olympus Mu, but where did it go?)

So the [nice] problem is what to do with the 35mm SLRs at least (the Holga can travel, the Brownie just a bit specialist). The Zenit, bless it, my first SLR from when I was 15, is not very usable so can be excluded. So that leaves 3 very nice cameras, Leica, Nikon and Minolta. I feel like each needs a preferred purpose, so if going out and I want to grab a camera then I pick up the one that’s going to be best for the occasion. All three are very similar in functionality (90% manual) and I have same range of lenses (30 – 70mm zoom + a 50 prime, roughly speaking). So what’s left?

Film type.

And that I is the solution that I’m thinking about at the moment:

Minolta = Colour film – I love this camera – it’s light, has a great view finder (and best metering functionality of the 3), but perhaps the least reliable in that in the cold the battery seems to fail. It’s also only a matter of time before the capacitor conks out. Given that I mostly shoot mono, then this is going to be best to use for colour film that will get occasional use, rather than a regular go to.

Now the trickier problem, Leica and Nikon are 2 great, classic SLRs – arguably the best 2 manual SLRs ever made – here’s what I’m going with for now at least:

Leica = XP2/HP5 400 – This will be the principal camera for a day trip somewhere, or to pack on holiday. Standard film and the usual types of images that I take (buildings, scenery, still life).

Nikon = Kodak Tmax 3200 – This camera has 2 features that the Leica lacks: 2000th sec shutter speed, and A mode*. Neither of these really matter to me particularly, but if I’m using fast film then a quicker top speed will be useful. The other thing is that using fast film with A mode on would be better for grabbing a quick shot if shooting street [when do you ever do that? -Ed]. Tmax 3200 is usable in lower light so that’s the main decision point though. Going to a museum, something indoors, Scottish winter? Then it’s Nikon time.

Not necessarily problem solved but let’s just go with it for now. The Tmax arrives tomorrow but the Leica’s not in my hands for a month, so will just have to hold my water till then.

[*A mode – aperture priority]

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You can’t have too many cameras – especially if one of these

Out for meal last night with some friends and I start talking about how I want to get a Leica for my birthday, and that I’ve just bought a Holga, and I’ve been unsuccessfully bidding on eBay for Minolta X-700’s and X-500’s (luckily so since my  X-300 is perfectly good) when Gus says “Oh I have a Nikon F3 in my drawer gathering dust, do you want it?”

Do bears take their ablutions in forested regions? And look what got dropped round this morning:

So now my film SLR camera list is getting rather long. Once the Leica arrives (in May) what will I do with all these cameras? I thought (until today) that the Minolta could be reserved just for colour film. I may still stick with that, but what do I do with two top-rated pro cameras?

My only thought is that I will get a feel for each and, when about to go out on an expedition I look at both and think… hmm, today feels like the  _____ will be the best camera for this. Meanwhile my wife thinks I’m losing my mind, or having some sort of mid-life crisis taking an unhealthy interest in vintage cameras. But that’s true, and doesn’t solve my problem.

Oh, and to make matters worse, I’ve started thinking about a Sony α7 ii as an eventual replacement for my α57. Like I have £700 to spare….

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