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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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