Leicas, free film and a pixelated future

It’s an odd day here in Athens. This morning, I took four boxes of frozen Fujicolor film out of the freezer and brought them to work. In a few short hours, I’ll be handing out the seven year old film to some of my students who are experimenting with their parents 35mm cameras.

I’ve moved this film from freezer to freezer since 2002, leftovers from when my newspaper went digital in 2001. With the sale of my beloved Leica M6 in January (and subsequent purchase of a Nikon D200 – the most amazing camera I think Nikon has ever made), I have no use for 35 mm film anymore. Sure, I still have my original Nikon F3HP – brassed beyond recognition – on a shelf, along with a battered FM2 and a well worn N8008s, all workhorses of my shooting days. And the Pentax Spotmatic that my dad taught me to shoot on is still in my possession, along with a couple of point-and-shoot play things.

But my days of being a film photographer are pretty much over. The Leica sale came after the realization that I had shot 12 rolls of film in 2006. One a month. Hard to justify keeping a lot of money tied up in one camera for one image a day.

And then, today, over on The Online Photographer is an entry praising Leica for creating the M8 – the digital rangefinder (that I admit to lusting after, but the price … the price …). And I think the piece is a good read, because it talks about learning the craft, of experimenting – something I’m not sure a lot of us are doing any more.

When was the last time you went out and played with light? But images down to just see the images?

That’s what I thought …

(And in a semi-related tone, Greg Mironchuk up in Massachusetts has a great series of pages about equipment and craft, well worth spending some time on. I’m a big fan of Mironchuk.)

Mark E. Johnson

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