Category Archives: Film

[Guest Post] Aaron C Greenman and the Mamiya 6.

Aaron writes:

“Peter, as you know I have been a Leica M shooter for most of the past 15 years….. until the past three years, when I have been wrestling with the (as of now somewhat false) promise of portable mirrorless digital (the Hasselblad X1D). Back and forth, it has been a struggle to decide between the wonderful image quality and color fidelity of the Hasselblad with the obvious handling, fluidity and OVF advantages of the Leica
Anyway, I have neither now, as I await an X2D equivalent, and I’ve found and am using what I pray every night for exactly in digital – the Mamiya 6, along with its 75mm and 50mm lenses (approx. 50mm and 28mm equivalent).
For any Leica M enthusiast, the Mamiya 6 (or 7, if you want to shoot 6×7), is a wonderfully familiar experience: a big nice optical coupled rangefinder, compact design for its 6×6 image size, a collapsible lens mount, and quality, lightweight lenses with sharp and characterful rendering. I have also always wanted to shoot square natively, and it is a simple joy in a square, uncluttered viewfinder – never having to turn the camera takes one more variable out of the composition equation. 
The accompanying photo was taken with the 6, the 50mm and Ektar 100 on a recent trip in United Arab Emirates, and shows the Mamiya excels in the most key area – an instantaneous shutter that allows its owner to precisely capture the moment. 
All in all, it is an experience of pure photographic bliss…… just be mindful of the limits of 12 shots per roll! 😉”
Aaron, thank you for your thoughts, which I’m sure will be helpful to photographers out there contemplating getting the Mamiya 6.  As an aside, I never thought I’d see you shooting film, and it’s nice to see you indulge in some colour photography!  Keep up the great work.
For my part, I have really wanted to get back to film (and almost did so recently) but the constant announcements of film stock discontinuations and ever-tightening shipping restrictions on chemicals for developing have made me hesitate to (re-)commit.  It’s images like this, however, and what I see over at Mark’s site that keep the idea of film photography alive for me.
Lastly, regarding your comment…
“…it has been a struggle to decide between the wonderful image quality and color fidelity of the Hasselblad with the obvious handling, fluidity and OVF advantages of the Leica.”
…much like you, my ideal camera would be designed like a Leica M with a proper (OVF) rangefinder, but would contain a medium format sensor, in a body no larger than a Mamiya 6 (or Hasselblad X1D).
Leica, if you’re interested, we can help you do it!
(one can hope…)
—Peter.

Hug.

Leica M3, Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH, Fuji Superia 1600.

Leica M2-R (Test Images).

Yesterday, I posted some images of the Leica M2-R I was fortunate to acquire.  The photos were taken with a Leica M10 and processed in Lightroom with relative ease.

In contrast, today I set upon the boring and arduous task of testing the M2-R without — of course — the immediate feedback of digital photography.  As I subsequently stood in my basement processing the film, I must admit that I had second thoughts about whether all of the hassle was worth it.  It’s especially frustrating when the effort of processing and scanning is undertaken only to find out that the camera is in some way defective.

Fortunately in this case, all is good.

And as I watched the images magically appear — first on the negative as it was unspooled following its final wash, and then in more detail on my monitor as the scanner did its thing — I realized for the 1000th time why I keep coming back to film: even mundane test shots look better on this antiquated “sensor”.

The following images are not meant to be interesting.  However, they are useful to me.  In them, I’m verifying:

  1. Shutter speed accuracy (in various types of light)
  2. Rangefinder precision (in near, mid, and far distances)

Technical:

  • Lens: Leica 50mm Summilux
  • Aperture: f/1.4 (except the last image which, because of brightness, necessitated f/2).
  • Shutter speed range: 1/60 – 1/1000 sec.

—Peter.

(focus is on the small word “Elect”, above the J)↓

(focus is on the number “50”)↓

(focus again is on the number “50”)↓

(focus is on the letter “G”)↓

(focus is on the poor sap )↓

(focus is on the faint word “KeepRite”)↓

(focus is on the round thermometer)↓

(focus is on the door of the house across the street)↓

Leica M2-R + Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH f/1.4.

Leica M2-R.

A warm body for those cold winter months.

—Peter.

 

Portrait in Guelph, 2018.

Overcast.

—Peter.

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

Swing, Too.

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

The Birthday.

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

Three.

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

Swing (Guelph, 2018).

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

Bubble Boy.

Shock and awe.

—Peter.

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

House-Road Blues, 4.

The darkness on the left side is, ahem, part of my camera strap.  I could tell you that it was intentionally placed there, but then you’d know I was lying.

Unfortunately, there were no do-overs on this one… it was a candid moment.

—Peter.

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summicron Dual Range, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

Field Generals.

Leica M3, Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH, Fuji Superia 1600.

The Past Behind You.

Leica M3, Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH, Fuji Superia 1600.

Waiting.

Leica M3, Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH, Fuji Superia 1600.

E, 2018.

Leica M3, Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH, Fuji Superia 1600.

Night of the Choir Solo (7 images).

Leica M3, Undisclosed Lens #1, and Fuji Superia X-tra 1600.

Vaseline – Test Shot.

People sometimes write and ask me how I test a given Leica lens + rangefinder combination for focus accuracy.

Well, for near distances I trust the good people at Vaseline.

On a related note, I dislike the grunt work of testing film equipment.  The arduous process of developing and scanning film seems even more arduous when the test results are off.  That is why I rarely sell gear that I know is working well (ha, ha…).

Fortunately, this time everything looks good.

—Peter.

Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.

Pharmacy.

Leica MP, Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4, and Fuji Superia X-tra 200.