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(N.B. I'm spending a year with a Leica M6 and a single lens, inspired by this post. While I'm sure some posts documenting that year will end up over here, like this one, the bulk of them will actually be over on a blog that i've set up to focus on my photography - Focal Intentions)

Leica m6 w/Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4The UPS man showed up earlier today with this, my Leica m6 with a Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4 lens. Over the course of the morning, in between working (hi, boss!) I shot off a roll of BW400CN film as a test. Some of the shots were actual, you know, 'shots', while others were test strip type shots - e.g. meter a shot, then shoot all up and down the range of apertures or exposures to compare results. I then, over lunch, gave the film to my friendly neighborhood walgreens with a "rush, please, and gimme on a cd!"

I have to be honest, here. I have zero interest in shooting 35mm film. All of my film shooting up over the past 10 years has been 120 medium format or 4x5 large format. Digitally, I shoot with a Canon 5d mk II, and shot with a 5d for over three years before that. My thought process was something along the lines of, "I have a digital camera that beats the resolution one gets out of 35mm film, so why waste my time with it?"

I think I now have a reason to waste my time with it. Before I go into some of the shots from that first test roll, I have to say, shooting with this camera was a dream. Everything just fit in my hands and flowed very naturally for me. The only bit of awkwardness was the initial film load, though even that became natural when I swapped out the first roll and put the second roll in. The camera has some heft to it, it's heavier than I thought it would be, but still lighter than anything but my WWII era folders. When I hold it in my hands to shoot, I feel like my fingers can reach everything without having to reach - focus, aperture, exposure, film advance, even the adjustment lever for the framelines.

I think I'm going to enjoy living and shooting with this camera.

2009-06-02-R1-03The first shot that I'm grabbing from my roll, over here on the right is a sculpture that's in my apartment complex made from the old fire control system that was in place when the building was a warehouse/factory. This sculpture has been on every first test roll of every camera that I've gotten over the past 3 years. It's practically a tradition, at this point.

I'm already comfortable focusing with this system, even though I've never used a rangefinder before today. Partly because I use a split image finder on my medium format cameras (a Hasselblad currently, and Mamiya 645 and RZ67 cameras before that). If you've never used one before, it can take a little bit of getting used to, but once you do it's great for rapid manual focusing of a scene. The short version is, you find a vertical line in your scene, and center the rangefinder on that line. Through the center of the range finder, you'll see that the line is broken, a small segment floating off on its own. You adjust the focus on the lens to bring the floating segment of the line back in line with the rest, et voila! You have a focused image!

While I liked the responsiveness and immediateness of getting my film developed at walgreens, unfortunately they scan their film at a sickeningly low resolution (and I suspect they may be scanning their prints, not even the negatives, but don't quote me on that). I need to find someplace that will develop my 35mm film -and- provide me with decent scans. They don't need to be massive, but I'd like something in the 6-15megapixel range - not the mere 2 that walgreens gives me.

More random shots from the first roll )

There are a few more images in the Flickr set for my first roll.

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July 2014

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