When I started photography, I chose to shoot film, only because the entry point in digital photography was still quite high.
Three years ago, when I was admitted in the Photography DEC at the Cégep du Vieux Montréal, a little Nikon D5100 with a kit lens cost me over a thousand bucks.
A cheap Minolta SLR was “full-frame” and helped me get into photography.
It was worth 50$, with a 50mm f/1.8. Try to beat that.
I still had to buy that god awful D5100.
Sold it to some guy in Nicaragua through eBay 6 months later.
So I shot with the Minolta for some time in highschool. Then I read about rangefinders on a photography forum.
Lust is a sin. I ain’t no believer;
but sometimes the Bible can teach you a thing or two.
This brings me to my long (and costly) rangefinder journey.
I longed for these magic cameras that were supposed to make you the next Cartier-Bresson. I was young and foolish.
I got a Zorki 4k, an old russian Leica screwmount copy.
I never liked using it.
I thought it was because of it’s cheap feel.
So I bought a Kiev 4am, a Contax ukrainian copy.
The thing was built like a tank.
Still, I didn’t like using it.
So I got myself a Minolta CLE.
Now boy, we were talking. That camera was superb.
The lens; stellar. Aperture priority. What would I needed more?
I dropped it once and there it was: a nick in its chassis.
That camera was fragile, and I’m rough with my stuff.
By then, I had managed to save some money (I don’t know how I did honnestly.)
I was ready to put my hands on my holy grail.
So I went deep in my student pockets and bought a pristine looking Leica M6, and a 35 1.4 lens.
And you know what? Since I got it two years ago, I must have put through it about thirty rolls of film.
30 rolls of film. Let that sink in you.
Only 30 rolls of film. That’s about 1080 pictures.
And maybe fifty good looking street pictures.
The thing is, and a friend made me realize that a month ago, that Leicas (or any rangefinder)
aren’t for me for these three, very simple, reasons:
1. I wear glasses.
2. I’m a left eye shooter.
3. I don’t like film all that much.
You can’t shoot a Leica if you can’t see your framelines because of your glasses.
Your eye sits too far from the viewfinder. Don’t even try to convince me to wear contact lenses.
I simply won’t put a finger in my eye.
You can’t truly enjoy a Leica if you shoot with your left eye. My right eye is weaker and I can’t see a god damn thing when I use it to shoot. And if you can’t benefit from the extended view shooting with a Leica with your right eye, you’re better off with an SLR. At least you won’t have any parallax issues.
His last argument was hard to bite into. But he was right.
I mean 35mm film.
I just think it is a lot of hassle and trouble; all to get a lesser quality image than you would have got with any decent digital camera you can buy today at Best Buy.
And you know what? I don’t like grain all that much.
I must be less romantic about photography than I was.
So tonight, after two years of looking at my Leica on my shelf, I’m selling it to another photographer who’ll actually use it.
You know, a right eye shooter, who likes film,
and who isn’t nearsighted.
Cameras are strange.
You get some kind of relationships with them.
Memories of moments you shot with these.
But like any relationship, you get to end some.
And friggin’ move on with your life.
Goodbye Leica. It was a fun journey.
I’ll just get some airplane tickets with the money.
And actually live something.
And stop dreaming about some old French guy in Paris.
By the way, that friend who made me pull the trigger on this sells Leicas for a living.
That’s how deep I was in that hopeless relationship.
A guy who sells Leicas sold me on getting rid of mine.