My first Leica was an M6 TTL. I sold it in the mid-2000s and have since gone through a number of Leica bodies, from an M3 to an M8. For the past several years I’ve used an M3 and M4. I love them, but I sometimes missed having a meter in the camera rather than on the camera.
So I bought an M6
It’s the perfect M6 for me. It is one of the last 10 “Classic” M6 bodies ever produced (1998). It has had the finder optics upgraded to the flare-free “MP” version. The only framelines displayed are 28, 35, and 50mm. This makes for a bright, beautiful, clutter-free viewfinder.
I chose the M6 “Classic” version because they are generally less expensive than the newer TTL models, with no real disadvantage. I prefer the direction of the shutter dial to be the same as my older bodies.
I’ve put one roll through it, and it’s just as smooth and solid as the M3 and M4. Don’t let the forum trolls convince you otherwise.
As handy as having a built-in meter is, I found that I spent more time obsessing over the meter’s lights than I did looking at the subject. I didn’t expect that. I also ended up with a few badly-exposed shots due to a backlit subject. I would normally have just guessed the exposure. Instead I listened to the meter. I’ll have to re-learn when to stop trusting it!
Here are a few shots from the first roll. It’s Tri-X, shot at 1250 ISO and developed in Diafine, then scanned on the Pakon.
A few of us stopped at a nearby bar that isn’t Founders for a change: The Tin Can. They sell just about every canned beer imaginable. I snapped a few photos with the Fuji X100T that I now seem to carry with me everywhere.
While many move toward carrying only an iPhone or small, mirrorless system, I’ve been thinking bigger.
A Hasselblad is big enough on its own, but add a prism finder, longer lens, and that big awkward flash unit and it becomes downright unwieldy. It’s also awesome. Most of my favorite images from recent years are from the Hasselblads. I blame the Zeiss lenses. I love the look they produce and have yet to find anything matching it.
The flash, a Hasselblad D-Flash 40, is a recent addition. With the 503CXi body, it’s fully TTL and meters directly off the film. This means getting a decent exposure every time without doing much of anything. I just set the camera to f8 and 125th second and shoot.
This is terrific for shooting indoors. I just don’t have the eye or the hands for handheld natural-light shooting indoors. I’ve always preferred natural-light photography, but using the Hasselblad handheld with an on-camera flash creates a different look, and I’m learning to enjoy it.
A photograph becomes real only when it’s printed. I love photographic prints of all kinds. This is why I’ve loved the Fuji Instax cameras. All you get is a print. No muss no fuss.
The Fuji Instax 210 has been fun, but let’s face it, it’s kind of ugly. The later versions are better, but still not great. I loved the Lomo’Instant Wide the moment I saw it. Especially the “Central Park” version, so I bought one.
It’s great. Here’s why I like it (compared to my old Fuji):
It looks great.
Zone focusing on the lens rather than via menu
Controls are on the back, and are buttons and led indicators. No LCD.
The lens cap doubles as a remote shutter release. Genius!
Comes with various lens attachments (Close-up, super-wide, etc)
It’s plastic, but not as “plastic-ey” as the Fuji
There’s a PC sync port. I can use an external flash!
Super fun, cute, and more versatile than the one it’s replacing. I’m happy with it.
The new Leica M-A puts you squarely at the cutting edge of 60-year-old technology, as to all intents it’s the same camera as the 1954 Leica M3, but 60 years of constant technical development, has given the M-A a slightly more cluttered viewfinder and a marginally less precise rangefinder.
It’s completely irrational to want an M-A, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I mean just look at it. How could you not want one?
There’s something wrong with my process or my equipment. I took this photo of a bench vise today using the Speed Graphic. It was lit using the Foldio, shot on HP5+ and processed in R5 Monobath from New55
I metered carefully, but it still ended up underexposed. What’s worse, is that the right one-third of the image is darker than the rest, and slightly discolored. I corrected for the coloration problem, but something is still wrong. I don’t trust the R5 developer. I’ll try again using D76 and see where I get.
I’ve gotten lazy when it comes to recording information about film rolls. This, combined with my infatuation with notebooks, led me to PhotoMemo Photographer’s Memo Book at Shoot Film Co. After reading this review at 35mmc I’ve ordered a couple of the notebooks to try. Maybe I’ll get better at logging things or maybe I’ll just end up with a few more unused notebooks. Either way, I’m happy to support the effort.
Privacy concerns aside, I’ve really come to like Google Photos. I’ve been syncing my entire photos folder and it’s seamless.
The problem I’m finding with publishing my entire ~/Photos folder is that photos are copied to Google before I’ve finished editing them. Even then, the Lightroom edits aren’t included. This means the published photos don’t include my carefully-applied cropping, color corrections, etc. I’m also finding that I don’t need every photo published to Google Photos. I already have a solid backup process. Google Photos is meant for finding and sharing my favorite photos.
I solved the problem of selective publishing using Jeffrey Friedl’s excellent Folder Publisher Lightroom Plugin. I have the plugin configured to publish to the appropriately-named “Publish to Google Photos” folder. Friedl’s plugin uses collections to determine which photos to publish. I have a Smart Collection that collects all starred photos from my entire library. When I Publish, all of the images in the Smart Collection are exported using configured settings to a directory tree that mimics the original files’ locations. The Google Photos uploader is watching the “_Publish to Google Photos” folder.
The result is that Google Photos only contains specific, edited photos that I’ve determined worthy of publishing. If my criteria for which photos to include changes later, I only need adjust the Smart Collection and republish.
One shortcoming of this approach is that if I modify a photo after publishing, the plugin will re-export the file, but Google Photos does not update the published image. I just need to make sure to wait until I’m certain that edits are complete before publishing the first time.