Kodak sells off its film business and I still own a Leica. Looking into the future, what are we to do?
This seems to be a constant question us film users seem to always be asking. The inevitable selling off of film or its hopefully non-death makes us think of what we would do without our medium of choice.
I, for one, love film. I love my Leica. I love my Hassy. and I love my Mamiya. I have glass for all those things. How can I ever get rid of my Leica 35mm Summicron V4? The Bokeh King of all 35mm lenses? Or how can I ever let go of my Hasselblad 201f and the gorgeous Carl Zeiss 80mm f/2.8? And the perfect Mamiya 6? The perfect travel medium format.
Now this is what I’m going to do( if left with no film to shoot with ). I’m going to submerge myself in the world of digital. But I’m going to look for gear with character. Cameras that will add to my vision of creating images that I feel speak about my vision.
With my Leica M mount lenses, I’m going to look for a camera that will allow me to incorporate these amazing lenses. Now I say this with the obvious answer, being an M9/8.2/8. But really the majority of people are looking for another answer. And this is mine….
This is for the new upcoming Olympus Pen Camera and it will allow me to use my Leica lenses with it with an adapter. What makes this on my tick list is that it is rumored to have focus peaking. For those who don’t know what focus peaking is, it’s a visual contrast form of focusing on highlights. Focus peaking is why the amazing Fuji X-Pro is not on my list( and I love the Fuji ). With my existing lenses, I can add them to this camera and manually focus using focus peaking to obtain image sharpness. It also has an EVF as an accessory. This was why, the Pentax K-01 was knocked off my list. I continue to use my Viewfinder and prefer not to look at my back LCD as my way to compose an image. The Pentax K-01 does not have an EVF available for it so I felt that my normal work way was going to be intruded by not having one( side note the Pentax K-01 is a camera I really want ). The new Olympus E-P5 is said to be touted with the same sensor as the Olympus OM-D. There are a ton of reviews that praise the sensor and how it is the new benchmark for MFTs cameras and my favorite part of this review…
is that it states, that we now no longer need to worry about MFT’s camera image quality. And if we do, we simply need to go FF to get an improvement worth talking about.
I am in the belief that MFT and APS-c are the new 35mm/135mm format in digital terms. And that FF is starting to breach upon 120 range. But I digress….more of this later.
I love that this camera is super portable like my Leica M6 and that I can use my existing M Mount lenses. But let’s not forget that MFT’s have current lenses that are being praised! ( i.e. the beautiful Panasonic 45mm 2.8 ) There is a slough of lenses under the Olympus and Panasonic brand that are available for us to choose from, the selection will be enormous.
And what of my Hasselblad 201f?
This is what I am going to do, I’m going to buy this……
or some other version of a digital back that would allow me to continue to shoot with my amazing camera. I would love to get a digital back for my existing Hasselblad that feels so much like an extension of my arm. I am comfortable using it. I can operate it in the dark or with my eyes closed. I just know that camera and love the way i shoot with it. And really thats the only reason why. Yes yes yes…getting a leaf/phase one back would be the ultimate in image quality for my Hassy but really I love how I operate/work my medium format. I love the view I get from my waist level finder( WLF ). I love the process of slowing down and looking down into the finder and focusing on a diagonal split screen. I love the sound of pushing in the trigger. It’s just amazing to me and I want to continue this feeling for as long as I can.
Really, if I was going to do it again, money should have been on getting a Pentax 645nii. That camera was a dream to use. I borrowed one from a girlfriend of mine and I loved it. It was like using a large slr but with amazing larger negs. That feeling of using it was like me using one of my Nikons. I would have by now have invested in a gang of lenses and would have been accustomed to having it by my side. And then….I would have bought one of these for the digital transition.
These are so dope. Image quality is superb.They continue to use older 645 lenses and existing accessories. I wish I had personal experience with one to talk more but it seems that this would have been a great way to transition into the digital world. But that’s if I didn’t have the money to have started with the Hassy. If i was on a budget, I would have gone the Pentax 645nii route back in the day. It just seems like such a smart route. As a matter of fact, I probably will swoop in and grab one anyways. I love old film cameras and this one would be awesome to have. Then if and when I got a 645d, my lenses would already be in place:)
So that takes care of my Leica lenses and my Hasselblad. But what about my Mamiya 6. Have you ever seen one? Have you ever used one? Imagine using a Leica rangefinder with 6x6 negs. That’s what it is like. With the extra fancy feature of being able to shrink down to a skinny little package. And in truth, I will be out of luck there. No real digital replacement. How very sad for me. That’s why I think this camera is so special. It is a perfect camera to have by your side at all times. You can catch those rare moments with this…the image quality is gorgeous and it is super compact. This is why they are so rare to find in great condition. They are a Shooters camera, meant to be brought along and used.
Finally, what about my workhorses for film? My 35mm film cameras. My Nikon FMs? Those random Pentax Spotmatics. And what about that thing I said about character. About gear that helps me forge my vision?
I have actually already started on this….
I currently own a Nikon D800. And it is just the spectacular camera everyone is making it out to be. If you don’t have one and you are on the fence about getting one, take my advice, get one. But here is what I am working with now.
It is the famed Leica 80mm Summilux R. I converted the R mount lens to fit the Nikon’s F mount. And paired with the Nikon D800, it is a Killer with images. You want character? You want something that could be part of your vision? This lens is it!
I have posted images already of things I have shot but here is another.
Actually, any Leica R lens will be a spectacular star in your line up; personally, I have these:
Leica 80mm Summilux R
Leica 180mm Apo/Telyt R
Angenieux 35-70mm f/2.5 R
I’m gonna look into a
50mm Summilux R
35mm Summilux R
I think once I get those 2 other lenses, I’ll be pretty settled with a great range.
And this is on top of what I currently own in regards to Nikon glass. I already have a wonderful set of Nikon glass, I think this will just increase my range of what is available to me in terms of a visual look for my work. I can either shoot with my D800 or slide them on my Nikon Film Cameras, either way I’ll be extremely happy with my images.
As all the reviews of the D800 continue to come in they really are touting it as a medium format replacement. I feel that it really isn’t the same which is why I continue to shoot with the Hassy( or that Pentax 645Nii if I had it ). But for a work camera, I think the D800 has the ability to produce image sizes for what all my clients are looking for and need.
I would take a peek at Japan Camera Hunters site( http://japancamerahunter.com ) and ask him questions or ask him for help looking for something to help you and your work. Or you can try your luck with eBay. Regardless, find something that enhances your work or your vision of shooting( or how you do it ).He has a wealth of knowledge in regards of Film and the Film Culture. I consider him the Guru of the Film Lifestyle.
And in truth…I’m not really sure how to end this so, if I think of anything else or a better way to end it, I’ll just add more to it. But in terms of ending this, I think