Saturday, February 7, 2009

What's in a Camera

I just wanted to post this photo to show that composition and timing matters more than the camera. I took this photo with a little Canon SD800 in the Outer Banks last May. "f/8 and be there," as they say.

That being said, I've had my eye on the world of film lately, especially rangefinders. In particular, I was drooling over the Leica M4P and M6, thanks mostly to the recent rants of Ken Rockwell. I was especially interested in the light weight, high build quality, and excellent optics that the Leicas had to offer.

Luckily I took a deep breath before buying anything. I realized a few things:
  1. There are other high quality options that cost less and offer more features.
  2. I needed to think about the kinds of pictures I really want to take with film (as opposed to digital), and where I was planning to take those pictures.
  3. The Leica is just the main example Ken Rockwell is using for his fanatic crusade against the Nikon D3X. Leicas are still expensive (and obviously give a very healthy kick-back for referred sales).
Eventually I decided that I wanted to focus on landscapes when it came to film. Leica's reputation for street photography is alluring, but the idea of taking pictures of strangers on the street doesn't seem right, plus it's too experimental for anything but digital. I also don't have any upcoming trips where electricity and batteries will be scarce, which is another situation where the Leica would excel.

Inspiration! After reading many posts on, and looking at many rangefinder photos on flickr, I came across the Hasselblad Xpan. A film camera that can be switched into true panoramic mode, perfect for landscapes. On top of that, the optics are excellent, and the build quality is very high. I was particularly moved by Mathew Joseph's work, and his love for this camera; I believe the quote was, "Lost for words..."

My Xpan should be here next week. I'm anticipating a bit of a learning curve due to the panoramic format and the reintroduction of film in my work. Hopefully I can get comfortable with it this spring in time for my cross-country road trip this summer. I'm really looking forward to some panoramic Fuji Velvia.

In other news, I've been working on a way to get a lomographic look from the 5D in-camera (no Photoshop). I thought about buying an LC-A+, but I have trouble justifying the recurring costs of film for experimental snapshots. Anyway, I think I'm almost there with the 5D. I'll be sure to post my findings once I refine the idea a bit.


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