NY Diary: The City in Glorious, Raw, Gritty Black and White

All images by Federico Chiesa. Used with Creative Commons Permission.

When you think about a lot of the more famous photos of NYC, it’s easy to bring to mind the grit that you’ve known about it. That’s what Federico Chiesa seems to be conveying in his series, NY Diary. While toting along his Leica M9 and a Voigtlander 25mm lens, he documented a lot of happenings in the city while on a trip here.

Many of his images convey the emotions of people and are a play on various factors within a scene. These factors and elements are only brought together better using black and white.

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Sample Image Gallery: Leica 28mm f5.6 (Leica M Mount)

Perhaps one of the more exciting lenses to come from Leica in years isn’t a fast 50, but instead the Leica 28mm f5.6. Now, why is such a slow lens so fascinating? Well for starters, it all has to do with street photography and documentary photography. The Leica 28mm f5.6 is very small and slim. That low profile body lends itself to not giving the camera that it is mated to a “look at me” demeanor. In addition to that, it renders a very classic look. Want some controlled lens flare? You’ve got it. What about a low contrast and not super saturated look? That’s all right here. Additionally, most street photographers are just going to stop the lens down any way. So when you consider the unique look and the fact that you’re not going for beautiful bokeh here, you start to understand why it’s so appealing.

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Review: Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film (35mm Format)

To begin this review, I’m going to say flat out that Lomography XPro Slide 200 film has to, hands down, be the weirdest film I’ve ever worked with. But it’s also been a pleasure and a very fulfilling learning experience in my own pursuits of bettering my photography knowledge. To say this wasn’t a challenge is an extreme understatement. Within three rolls, I tried to “get it right”. Pretty simple you’d think, right? Well, yeah–even I’d sit there and call me a dumbass. Except that Lomography XPro Slide 200 film isn’t a conventional film at all.

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4 Rangefinder Inspired Digital Cameras For Those Tired of The DSLR Lifestyle

What does your camera look like? What does that style and appearance say about you as a person, as a photographer? It is not uncommon to care about what your camera looks like, though this aesthetic preference usually takes a back seat (as it should) to other more important issues with a camera, such as image quality, performance, etc. But assuming your threshold for desired performance is met, what style and design qualities are important to you in your next camera?

For many, the same old SLR/DSLR look and build is boring and uninteresting. Functional and practical, sure, but generally not the most stylish. Rangefinder cameras on the other hand, at least the latest models, have come into their own in terms of style and performance, leading many to ditch their SLR styled cameras in favor of smaller, lighter, and more stylish rangefinder inspired designs.

Let’s take a look at some of the best of these rangefinder inspired cameras that one may like to consider… Continue reading…

4 Fixed Lens Cameras You Can Actually Use As Your Primary Shooter

It’s easy for those of us with interchangeable lens cameras to look at fixed lens cameras with a bit of a scoff as we think to ourselves about how limiting and basic they are. It is true, for a long time fixed lens cameras were very much a staple of the consumer, and therefor less advanced, segment of the camera market. But for a while now there have been some great fixed lens offerings from several manufacturers which offer incredible performance in a small, and portable package.

These are cameras that can produce exceptional, professional quality images, with their only downside (if you see it as one) being their limitation to a single focal length and field of view. If you are someone who constantly changes lenses, or is constantly zooming, a camera like this may not be for you. But if you find yourself utilizing the same lens for long portions of a shoot, and that look happens to be covered by a fixed-lens camera we mention below, then you may just want to pay attention, because these are some killer cameras. Continue reading…

Field Report: 24 Hours with the Ricoh GR II Shooting Candids

Every photographer romanticizes in one way or another years on down the line about a camera they’ve used and loved. For many of us, it’s their first camera. When photographers speak about said camera, they’re describing the equivalent of a sensory experience of sorts. In many ways, when you talk to the photographer about the experience, it’s often a poetic wax of some sort to a more nostalgic time in their lives. For some photographers, that camera is and will be the Ricoh GR II.

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An Inquiry into Digital vs Film – Featuring the M10 vs M9 vs M6

This is a syndicated blog post from Horatio Tan, Street Silhouettes. It and the images here are being republished with an exclusive permission statement.

Modern digital photography gets a bad rap, when it comes to the way we assess the character of digital capture. We think it’s without character.

The problem with digital photography is the uniformity of rendering. But it is understandable why this is the case. In reproducing reality, camera manufacturers endeavor to produce optics and sensors that would optimize capture as close to real life as possible. That has become the yardstick of achievement. That is why digital photography looks more or less the same across different systems.

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Review: Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZM (Leica M Mount)

Upon purchasing a Leica CL, I figured it was time to dive into reviewing more M Mount glass; and what better place to start than with the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZM. For years now, I’ve been smitten with Zeiss lenses and most manual focus glass in general. Their lenses are fantastic, and are often highly regarded even amongst the M mount community of users. Offering a 35mm field of view in addition to being rangefinder coupled, the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZM ([amazon_link asins=’B00TDL05XO’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5782977b-fddb-11e6-9692-8d1f0c3f6ca6′]) works well with both mirrorless digital cameras and M mount camera bodies.

Oddly enough, though I’ve always loved Zeiss lenses, they’ve never made a 35mm lens I’ve seriously been smitten by. Upon handling and using this lens though, that has changed.

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Daniel Valledor: Street Photography Inspired by Cinema

All images by Daniel Valledor. Used with permission.

If you were to liken any sort of photography genre to cinema, it would be tough to do so with street photography–but Daniel Valledor is sort of putting that claim to rest. You see, Dan is a photographer and DP based in Madrid. During the day, he’s a Telecom Engineer but he’s worked in advertising and commercial photography. To his extra credit, he’s shot a number of award winning short films and has won over 50 awards and 100 selections in international film festivals.

So when you take a cinematographer and blend his work with street photography you get something with a classic, beautiful feel.

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Vintage Camera Review: Leica CL (Leitz Minolta CL, Minolta CLE)

Years ago, I owned a Leica CL when I was getting into photography. Trying to balance an understanding of both film and digital, I toted this around with my old school Olympus E-510 DSLR. They were perfect together for a college student. But then I needed money, and unfortunately had to sell my Leica. Very recently though, I took the plunge before my 30th birthday and bought myself another one. You see, the Leica CL is the same camera as the Minolta CLE and the Leitz Minolta CL.

Some consider it not a true Leica because it wasn’t made in Germany. Instead, the Leica CL was a collaboration between Minolta and Leica. It was a camera that sold very well and perhaps too well. In fact, it’s rumored that sales were so good that they discontinued the camera because it ate into the sales of the Leica M5.

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Jarle Hagan’s Documentary Style Portraits of the Sami People of Norway

All images by Jarle Hagan. Used with a Creative Commons License.

Lots of documentary projects seem to simply do just that: document. But Jarle Hagan’s documentary portraiture goes a step beyond that as he’s previously demonstrated with his photo project involving Norway’s Sami – a protected indigenous people and the most northern dwelling indigenous people in Europe. Typically, just the idea of doing a documentary project on their lands just sounds tough.

To create the images, Jarle used the new Leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux lens on the Leica SL camera to create the portraits. Considering just how tough that camera has proven to be, it seems very much like the right choice.

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Review: Leica 40mm f2 Rokkor (Leica M Mount)

Most affectionately known as the lens that comes with the Leica CL, the Leica 40mm f2 Rokkor is also a bit of a hidden gem. To this day, it’s one of the sharpest Leica lenses ever made and perhaps a lens that has held its value so well vs many other options on the market. Due to it being Leica M mount, it’s easily adaptable to many mirrorless cameras. If photographers who own Fujifilm, Sony, or Micro Four Thirds cameras are looking for a solid manual focus lens that is also compact it’s very hard to invalidate what the Leica 40mm f2 is capable of.

That, and it’s crazy affordable price point.

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A Look at How Digital Cameras Lose Their Value Compared to Film Bodies

If you’ve even decided to click on this article then you’re probably aware of some of the frustrations some of your fellow photographers feel. Let’s preface this: four or five years ago you may have purchased a Fujifilm X Pro 1. Last year it was updated, giving it a sufficient four year life span. Now you want to upgrade, and you’re finding they’re still going for at a ridiculously low price brand new and only a few hundred used. But the newer cameras like the Fujifilm X Pro 2 costs around $1,699. Fujifilm isn’t exclusive to this: so too is Sony and the Micro Four Thirds coalition.

Now if you look at some of the film camera bodies, you’ll start to realize just how well they hold their value–especially if the system is still current.

Continue reading…

Film Photography for Street Photographers: The Basics (Premium)

Fifth Avenue, New York, 1978. © Mason Resnick

Street photography has, over the past few years, seen a revival thanks to the rise of relatively affordable “street-savvy” digital cameras, and the fact that the cost of taking a picture is a lot less when you do it digitally. Since street photography is a high-risk, high-reward approach, which means you have to take a lot of bad pictures to get to good ones. So, since the cost of film is so high, street photography has, for the most part, gone digital.

And yet.

Some of the greatest street photos ever shot have been on film. Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt..the list of iconic film street shooters goes on. Even today, many street photographers continue to shoot film. Jeff Mermlestein shoots color film; Bruce Gilden goes back and forth between color and black and white film.

1U3A9819

Chinatown, New York, 1980. © Mason Resnick

The skyrocketing cost of film can make shooting film more expensive than digital in the long run, but there are ways to mitigate the costs. One is to bulk-load. A 100-foot roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, for example, can cost under $60. You can pick up a bulk loader and reusable film canisters on eBay. You can typically get around 30 36-exposure rolls out of a 100-foot roll, reducing your cost to about $2 a roll, which is pretty good compared to the $3.50-5 per roll you’d have to pay for a pre-loaded roll of 36 exposure ISO 400 film. You can even experiment with low-budget films such as Kentmere 400, which costs $39.95 for a 100-foot roll.

1U3A9823

New York, 1978 © Mason Resnick

You can also save a lot by riding the retro DIY wave and processing everything yourself. This may require some adjustments to your living space that are beyond the scope of this article.

Why go to the trouble when digital is relatively cheap, you can check the results immediately, and doesn’t require designating a room in your domicile for stinky chemicals?

I put it to you that the key reason for doing street photography on film is that there is none of the instant gratification that comes from shooting digitally. There’s no LCD monitor; you can’t check the photo you just shot (come on, we’ve all done it). Without that distraction, you can be more present—more in the moment. It frees you up to be perceptive to new possibilities.

1U3A9825

Outside Democratic Convention, New York, 1980. © Mason Resnick

Since you need to wait to process your film, time can go by, separating you from the experience of taking the picture, which can bias your opinion of your photos. You’re more likely to look favorably on images you shot on a warm, sunny day while in a great mood than photos you shot on a gloomy day when you were mad about something…even though the images themselves, seen by somebody who didn’t have your picture-taking experience, may have the opposite reaction. So, letting time go by and approaching the images “cold” helps you do a better job editing your work.

1U3A9824

New York, 1980 © Mason Resnick

Winogrand’s process

This isn’t just my opinion. Some of the greats, such as Garry Winogrand, left thousands of rolls unprocessed for a year or two in his prime, (When he died in 1984, he left around 2,500 unprocessed rolls and over 6,000 contact sheets that had never been printed.) I was lucky enough to see Winogrand’s process film shooting process, which has pieces we could all learn from. I’ve written about of a workshop I took with Garry Winogrand in the past, but never went into detail about how he shot and processed film.

Until now.

Fortunately, Garry went into great detail about his shooting and film developing workflow during the Master Workshop I took with him in 1976. While the casual observer may consider Garry Winogrand’s shooting technique to be haphazard, it was actually anything but that. From looking for vertical (rather than horizontal) points of reference to working at intimate distances from the people populating his photographs, Winogrand didn’t follow the traditional rules of composition, or developing.

1U3A9828

Flushing, New York, 1981 © Mason Resnick

Garry exposed everything manually. He used bulk-loaded rolls of Kodak Tri-X exclusively (it was in the days before T-Max, and Ilford HP-5 was not widely available then), and knew the film so well he could accurately set exposure without a meter just by looking around. He was intimately familiar with his gear and could change exposure settings without looking, allowing him to focus on the scene around him. Since he used a Leica M camera and a 28mm lens, he also knew when he was in focus before looking in the finder by simply moving the focus ring tab. He was precise and fast.

His camera bag had dozens of strips of white photo masking tape affixed to the top. Every time he completed a roll of film, he would jot down notes on one of the strips, attach it to that roll, and drop it in the bag. This information would include lighting conditions (cloudy, sunny, hazy sun), scene contrast, location and perhaps a note to pull or push process. It was in his own time-saving shorthand code and provided valuable exposure and shooting environment information to help him process the film appropriately.

1U3A9818

57th Street, New York, 1979. © Mason Resnick

Back in the darkroom, Winogrand would develop film anywhere from 6 months to two years after taking the pictures. He’d choose his developer based on shooting situations. High-contrast sunlit scenes were processed in a lower-contrast solution; push-processed film was done in finer-grain developer. He processed by inspection: Halfway through developing the film, he’d unroll it each roll a few frames and look at it, illuminated by a green safelight (which is the only light source that is safe for film), and adjust development time according to what he saw. When shooting in lower light, he would push-process up to ISO 1600, using a finer-grain developer.

Moving on to printing, Winogrand would make work prints by batch-processing, to save time. He would print entire rolls in one batch, exposing the negatives that he wanted to see larger, and then store them in a safebox. After exposing 25-50 frames, he’d process them all at once, constantly shuffling the images while they sat in the developer tray so they would be fully processed.

He’d then go through each print and divide them into “yes” and “no” piles, and then fine-print the “yes” images.

Other street photographers work differently. Cartier-Bresson, for instance, had no interest in processing his photos, and simply handed his negatives to a master darkroom technician, who processed and printed the photos for him, so he could continue taking pictures.

1U3A9820

Broadway, New York, 1979. © Mason Resnick

Film for Street Photography

Since typical street shooters need to capture fast-changing moments, the faster the film the better. Kodak Tri-X and Ilford HP-5 Plus, are excellent choices because they can handle being push-processed from their native speed of ISO 400 up to ISO 1600. Both have a wide dynamic range and are more forgiving of exposure errors or impossible lighting that often comes up on the street. Ilford XP-2 is another choice. It’s a chromogenic B&W film, which means you can take it to any print lab and have it processed in the same way as color film. The negatives are remarkably fine-grained, and you can also print them in your home darkroom.

1U3A9822

Lower East Side, New York, 1982. © Mason Resnick

8 great film cameras for street photography:

Here’s my short list (and brief explanations) of classic film cameras that are small, quiet, precise, and ideal for street photography. I have, at one time or another, used every one of these on the street. Price range based on a recent look on eBay.

Leica M2 or M3 ($750-10,000, body only)
This is the camera used to take some of the most famous street photos you’ve seen, and is still the only way to go for some street photography purists. I used mine for almost 40 years, until its shutter finally gave way.

Rollei 35 ($75-400)

Tiny, two-handed camera (shoot rightie, wind leftie) has a collapsible 40mm lens, and you have to guestimate focus. You get used to it. Optically superior, gave me big-camera images. The German-made models are better.

1U3A9814

New York, 1983. © Mason Resnick

Olympus XA 4 ($185-300)

The XA’s clamshell design was groundbreaking, and its pocketable size and quick focus and is virtually an invisibility cloak. The XA4 is the only XA with a 28mm lens.

Leica CL ($350-$800 body only)

Jointly produced by Leica and Minolta, the CL is an honest-to-goodness rangefinder and takes most M-mount lenses (including the specially-made Minolta M Rokkor 40mm). Leica joy at a fraction of the Leica price!

Minolta TC-1 ($720-1,600)

One of the last brilliant posh compact cameras of the film era, the TC-1 features a 28mm f/3.5 autofocus lens and manually-set aperture and shutter speeds and spot metering. This felt good in the hands.

Canon Canonet GIII QL17 ($85-200)
The “Poor Man’s Leica” has a built-in 40mm lens with a focus tab, honest-to-gosh rangefinder focusing, manual everything, and a nice, low price. Don’t point it towards the sun, though; the uncoated lens flares like crazy.

Yashica T3 ($150-350)

It might have been an auto-everything camera, but the T3 had a unique waist-level viewfinder, which lets you actually compose hip shots without guesswork. I got some really interesting pictures with this one.
Editor’s note: All photos accompanying this article were taken by the author with either a Rollei 35 or Leica M3 with a 35mm lens and either Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP-5 film.

Film Photography for Street Photographers: The Basics (Premium)

Fifth Avenue, New York, 1978. © Mason Resnick

Street photography has, over the past few years, seen a revival thanks to the rise of relatively affordable “street-savvy” digital cameras, and the fact that the cost of taking a picture is a lot less when you do it digitally. Since street photography is a high-risk, high-reward approach, which means you have to take a lot of bad pictures to get to good ones. So, since the cost of film is so high, street photography has, for the most part, gone digital.

And yet.

Some of the greatest street photos ever shot have been on film. Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt..the list of iconic film street shooters goes on. Even today, many street photographers continue to shoot film. Jeff Mermlestein shoots color film; Bruce Gilden goes back and forth between color and black and white film.

1U3A9819

Chinatown, New York, 1980. © Mason Resnick

The skyrocketing cost of film can make shooting film more expensive than digital in the long run, but there are ways to mitigate the costs. One is to bulk-load. A 100-foot roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, for example, can cost under $60. You can pick up a bulk loader and reusable film canisters on eBay. You can typically get around 30 36-exposure rolls out of a 100-foot roll, reducing your cost to about $2 a roll, which is pretty good compared to the $3.50-5 per roll you’d have to pay for a pre-loaded roll of 36 exposure ISO 400 film. You can even experiment with low-budget films such as Kentmere 400, which costs $39.95 for a 100-foot roll.

1U3A9823

New York, 1978 © Mason Resnick

You can also save a lot by riding the retro DIY wave and processing everything yourself. This may require some adjustments to your living space that are beyond the scope of this article.

Why go to the trouble when digital is relatively cheap, you can check the results immediately, and doesn’t require designating a room in your domicile for stinky chemicals?

I put it to you that the key reason for doing street photography on film is that there is none of the instant gratification that comes from shooting digitally. There’s no LCD monitor; you can’t check the photo you just shot (come on, we’ve all done it). Without that distraction, you can be more present—more in the moment. It frees you up to be perceptive to new possibilities.

1U3A9825

Outside Democratic Convention, New York, 1980. © Mason Resnick

Since you need to wait to process your film, time can go by, separating you from the experience of taking the picture, which can bias your opinion of your photos. You’re more likely to look favorably on images you shot on a warm, sunny day while in a great mood than photos you shot on a gloomy day when you were mad about something…even though the images themselves, seen by somebody who didn’t have your picture-taking experience, may have the opposite reaction. So, letting time go by and approaching the images “cold” helps you do a better job editing your work.

1U3A9824

New York, 1980 © Mason Resnick

Winogrand’s process

This isn’t just my opinion. Some of the greats, such as Garry Winogrand, left thousands of rolls unprocessed for a year or two in his prime, (When he died in 1984, he left around 2,500 unprocessed rolls and over 6,000 contact sheets that had never been printed.) I was lucky enough to see Winogrand’s process film shooting process, which has pieces we could all learn from. I’ve written about of a workshop I took with Garry Winogrand in the past, but never went into detail about how he shot and processed film.

Until now.

Fortunately, Garry went into great detail about his shooting and film developing workflow during the Master Workshop I took with him in 1976. While the casual observer may consider Garry Winogrand’s shooting technique to be haphazard, it was actually anything but that. From looking for vertical (rather than horizontal) points of reference to working at intimate distances from the people populating his photographs, Winogrand didn’t follow the traditional rules of composition, or developing.

1U3A9828

Flushing, New York, 1981 © Mason Resnick

Garry exposed everything manually. He used bulk-loaded rolls of Kodak Tri-X exclusively (it was in the days before T-Max, and Ilford HP-5 was not widely available then), and knew the film so well he could accurately set exposure without a meter just by looking around. He was intimately familiar with his gear and could change exposure settings without looking, allowing him to focus on the scene around him. Since he used a Leica M camera and a 28mm lens, he also knew when he was in focus before looking in the finder by simply moving the focus ring tab. He was precise and fast.

His camera bag had dozens of strips of white photo masking tape affixed to the top. Every time he completed a roll of film, he would jot down notes on one of the strips, attach it to that roll, and drop it in the bag. This information would include lighting conditions (cloudy, sunny, hazy sun), scene contrast, location and perhaps a note to pull or push process. It was in his own time-saving shorthand code and provided valuable exposure and shooting environment information to help him process the film appropriately.

1U3A9818

57th Street, New York, 1979. © Mason Resnick

Back in the darkroom, Winogrand would develop film anywhere from 6 months to two years after taking the pictures. He’d choose his developer based on shooting situations. High-contrast sunlit scenes were processed in a lower-contrast solution; push-processed film was done in finer-grain developer. He processed by inspection: Halfway through developing the film, he’d unroll it each roll a few frames and look at it, illuminated by a green safelight (which is the only light source that is safe for film), and adjust development time according to what he saw. When shooting in lower light, he would push-process up to ISO 1600, using a finer-grain developer.

Moving on to printing, Winogrand would make work prints by batch-processing, to save time. He would print entire rolls in one batch, exposing the negatives that he wanted to see larger, and then store them in a safebox. After exposing 25-50 frames, he’d process them all at once, constantly shuffling the images while they sat in the developer tray so they would be fully processed.

He’d then go through each print and divide them into “yes” and “no” piles, and then fine-print the “yes” images.

Other street photographers work differently. Cartier-Bresson, for instance, had no interest in processing his photos, and simply handed his negatives to a master darkroom technician, who processed and printed the photos for him, so he could continue taking pictures.

1U3A9820

Broadway, New York, 1979. © Mason Resnick

Film for Street Photography

Since typical street shooters need to capture fast-changing moments, the faster the film the better. Kodak Tri-X and Ilford HP-5 Plus, are excellent choices because they can handle being push-processed from their native speed of ISO 400 up to ISO 1600. Both have a wide dynamic range and are more forgiving of exposure errors or impossible lighting that often comes up on the street. Ilford XP-2 is another choice. It’s a chromogenic B&W film, which means you can take it to any print lab and have it processed in the same way as color film. The negatives are remarkably fine-grained, and you can also print them in your home darkroom.

1U3A9822

Lower East Side, New York, 1982. © Mason Resnick

8 great film cameras for street photography:

Here’s my short list (and brief explanations) of classic film cameras that are small, quiet, precise, and ideal for street photography. I have, at one time or another, used every one of these on the street. Price range based on a recent look on eBay.

Leica M2 or M3 ($750-10,000, body only)
This is the camera used to take some of the most famous street photos you’ve seen, and is still the only way to go for some street photography purists. I used mine for almost 40 years, until its shutter finally gave way.

Rollei 35 ($75-400)

Tiny, two-handed camera (shoot rightie, wind leftie) has a collapsible 40mm lens, and you have to guestimate focus. You get used to it. Optically superior, gave me big-camera images. The German-made models are better.

1U3A9814

New York, 1983. © Mason Resnick

Olympus XA 4 ($185-300)

The XA’s clamshell design was groundbreaking, and its pocketable size and quick focus and is virtually an invisibility cloak. The XA4 is the only XA with a 28mm lens.

Leica CL ($350-$800 body only)

Jointly produced by Leica and Minolta, the CL is an honest-to-goodness rangefinder and takes most M-mount lenses (including the specially-made Minolta M Rokkor 40mm). Leica joy at a fraction of the Leica price!

Minolta TC-1 ($720-1,600)

One of the last brilliant posh compact cameras of the film era, the TC-1 features a 28mm f/3.5 autofocus lens and manually-set aperture and shutter speeds and spot metering. This felt good in the hands.

Canon Canonet GIII QL17 ($85-200)
The “Poor Man’s Leica” has a built-in 40mm lens with a focus tab, honest-to-gosh rangefinder focusing, manual everything, and a nice, low price. Don’t point it towards the sun, though; the uncoated lens flares like crazy.

Yashica T3 ($150-350)

It might have been an auto-everything camera, but the T3 had a unique waist-level viewfinder, which lets you actually compose hip shots without guesswork. I got some really interesting pictures with this one.
Editor’s note: All photos accompanying this article were taken by the author with either a Rollei 35 or Leica M3 with a 35mm lens and either Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP-5 film.

Three Years Ago, Hasselblad Announced the Sony a99. Let’s Be Thankful They’re Not Doing This Anymore

A few years ago, the weirdest thing happened: Hasselblad announced the Hasselblad HV–which as much as they claimed otherwise, is a rebadged Sony a99 camera. In fact, my headline upset them and cut me off of their press list for a while. Now what Hasselblad did isn’t exactly new. Companies have been working together on collaborations for a while. Leica and Minolta did it years ago to create one of the most famous ones: the Leica CL. Leica also works closely with Panasonic in a similar respect. Hasselblad decided to try this with Sony and unfortunately for them, it backfired pretty hard.

We all laughed, all of us. If you enter forums, Reddit, or other conversations on the web you’ll read someone saying that they’re so glad that the Hasselblad of today is actually trying to innovate. And they truly have with the Hasselblad X1D. With their old CEO out of his position though, the company is going to see some new steering and we’re going to need to see how they pan out. But I’m sure that we won’t anything like the Hasselblad HV happen again.

Continue reading…

Want to Shoot Film with Sony Lenses? You May Want a Minolta a9 With SSM Support

If you look at the surviving DSLR manufacturers out there, you’ve got Canon, Nikon, Sony (Minolta), and Pentax. All of the brands have made big advancements and changes in the years since digital took over film, but none probably as much as Sony. In fact, using a camera like a Canon 1v, Canon EOS Elan 7, or others are very straightforward and compatible with most of the newer lenses. Sony lets you do the same thing with the Minolta camera bodies, but if you want to utilize the SSM technology in some of the lenses then you probably need a Minolta a9 with SSM support.

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This New 17mm F4.5 Lens Makes Your Pancake Lens Look Huge

Leica owners have a new 17mm F/4.5 handmade lens from MS Optics to spend their hard earned money on, and this lens makes pancake lenses look huge. The Perar Ultra-Wide 17mm f4.5 Retrofocus features a viewing angle of 100 degrees and weighs almost nothing at 60g.

MS Optics notes in their press release that the lens itself features four elements in four groups, with a wide open aperture of F/4.5 and minimum aperture of F/16. The Perar Ultra-Wide 17mm f4.5 Retrofocus can also focus on subjects as close as 0.4m meters to infinity.

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Review: Leica M10

The Leica M10 has to be one of the worst kept secrets from Leica in a while. Perhaps it’s because it generated a whole lot of excitement, and indeed it’s worth the hype. For the purist photographer, this is bound to be a tool that they’ll closely look at. With a 24MP CMOS full frame sensor, this camera is the company’s smallest M digital camera and this was done by creating a camera that more or less is super densely packed. It’s around the same size as the company’s film M cameras.

We’ve been playing with the Leica M10 for a while now, and in truth, we really like it.

Continue reading…