Going analog

Why?

I must admit this caught me a bit by surprise as well, but it all happened in December 2020. After spending too much time at home, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. When I first got into photography, back in 1987 I think, I found my first true love in the used shelves at my local camera shop. It was a Pentax LX. I got two lenses for that one, 35mm f/2.8 and 100mm f/2.8 Macro. Both very nice lenses. I used that camera for more than 10 years before I sold it. Anyway, nostalgia hit, and I found a used LX with a 50mm f/1.4 and a 28mm f/2.8. This one had the issues almost every LX has. The rubber that dampens the mirror had failed. But I got it fixed, so now it works fine. I also bought some HP5+ and a bottle of Rodinal and went out shooting.

From this experience I came back with the following:

  • I truly enjoyed holding an analog camera and shooting film.
  • I love how I have to wait to see the negatives.
  • I still hate Rodinal. Did back then, still do.
  • The LX was not all I remembered. Good but no longer the love of my life.

Then I got hold of a Hasselblad 500C/M. That was something else. The experience is so different, and I had a lot of fun with it. I must have shot 60-70 rolls with that camera so far. But as good and fun as it is, it is also heavy and cumbersome. This is a camera I most likely will continue to use, but I also needed something lighter and smaller.

Chance would have it that I found a Konica IIIa from Japan for next to nothing. I started using it, and soon found that I enjoyed to use a range finder. Never tried that before. The Konica has a super nice 48mm f/2.8 lens, probably the most beautifully rendering lens I have ever used. But that camera is a bit of a hassle. No light meter I can live with, but the shutter button wasn’t all that reliable, so it was easy to miss a shot.

Then, at last, I got myself a Leica M6. I have never really lusted for a Leica, so this was a bit surprising to me, but after using the Konica and finding that I enjoyed the range finder, I thought it would be difficult to go wrong with a Leica. And so far that has really been the case. It’s not as perfect as the fan boys are claiming, but it is a very enjoyable camera to use. It is small and light for a pro film camera. The ergonomics suits me well. I love the light meter. Just the way I want it (almost like my old Pentax MX). But it is the viewfinder that I enjoy most. Imprecise as it is, I find it very “transparent” and unobtrusive. It is like it isn’t there. And also, the focusing patch just felt very natural to me. And I can use it event without correction for my failing eyes. That didn’t work on SLRs.

So, for the next year now, it’ll be Leica and only that. I will miss the Hasselblad, but that would not have been the right camera for this project.