My oh my, here it is!
Welcome to the longest post yet! Today we'll talk about all sorts of new fun things. My new-to-me camera kit (finally!), how I came to choose it, and a quick blather about how Animal Crossing has supplemented my need for a more entertaining reality.
So sit down and rest awhile! Maybe even follow my lead and make yourself a nice fresh cup of coffee! This is gonna be a doozy but man, am I excited to talk to you today :)
If you're a regular on my blog, you might remember when I geeked out over the new Fujifilm X100V, gushing over its fancy new features like weather-proofing, new lens, and a tilt-screen. After placing my initial pre-order, I anxiously waited weeks for my shipment to arrive. But on a fateful night before my digital camera was to be shipped, there I was, curled up in my bed and sleeping when a fateful dream came to me...
I found myself sitting on the north shore of my hometown lake. Resting upon a boulder and wading my feet in the cool waters when an old man came up to me. He stood there at my side, waiting for his presence to be acknowledged. When I finally turned my head, his sharp eyes looked into mine as he spoke:
Young man, you know it in your heart that the digital format does not tug at your heartstrings as film does. These features and gimmicks will distract you for mere moments, but you will still find yourself chasing that dream camera. Go now and reevaluate what you want.
Yes, I know how ridiculously pretentious this all sounds, but I swear to god this all really happened.
Anyways, I don't know what came over me but I immediately woke up in the dead of night and ran over to my laptop. Hopped onto my favorite used film camera store website and there it was, newly listed, in prime condition, and at an amazing price. The tool that I've lusted over since I was a boy... my dream camera.
It was the Leica M3
In a heartbeat, I canceled my digital camera order and I bought the Leica M3 and the Voigtlander 50mm f3.5 Heliar lens to pair with it.
But why this specific set up for my dream kit?
Allow me to indulge you :)
Since my first experience with true rangefinders (my Olympus-35SP), I've fallen in love with this style of shooting. A rangefinder patch is much faster for me to focus and achieve candid shots when compared to an SLR focusing screen. I also especially love how I can see what is happening outside of the frame when composing my shots as I tend to take candid photos in busy environments. When it comes to old rangefinder cameras, none are as legendary as the Leica company.
My Leica camera model of choice was the M3, the first of their coupled rangefinder series introduced in 1954. I wanted a fully mechanical camera that was robust and guaranteed to outlive me. The M3 was my perfect choice as it was designed for a 50mm lens with its 0.91 viewfinder magnification, which happens to be my favorite all-rounder focal length.
With the 50mm focal length chosen, now came the hard part: Which lens to choose? The Leica M mount system has an incredibly robust and vast lineage of 50mm lens spanning over an innumerable amount of variations. I wanted a lens that was not only sharp, had some character and most importantly was within my budget because I'm a poor man who just bought a Leica camera. Thus arrives the fateful Voigtlander 50mm 3.5 Heliar.
The Voigtlander 50mm f3.5 Heliar (I swear this is the last time I'm ever going to fully type that out) is a cute little lens that packs a beautiful punch and is wicked sharp for its price. The five-element formula is actually over a hundred years old itself and yet the lens is still being produced today. Though its slower f3.5 aperture may deter many, I thankfully utilize a semi-stand workflow when it comes to developing my black and white film. What this means is that I can change my b&w film ISO anytime I want and this allows me to accommodate for my slower lens speed.
The Heliar lens produces incredible results. When I first looked at my scans, I was blown away but its character and just how sharp it is. It's such a joy to use and sits beautifully on my camera. If I were to nitpick at it, I would only say that I wish it had a clicking aperture so I could easily change my aperture settings without having to look down. However, this is something that would never deter me from using such a great lens.
In use, this camera kit is everything I've ever wanted out of a camera and more. It's a small package, fully mechanical, but at the same time incredibly quiet. Each camera action feels fluid, confident, and rock solid. And it's shutter! The quiet cloth shutter is a stark difference to the SLR mirror slap I've known for years and I can now easily shoot at slower shutter speeds and still yield a sharp image.
The images in today's post are all from the new camera kit! When I first got my camera, I immediately ran outside (pre-quarantine era, of course) and burned through four rolls of Ilford HP5 Plus in a single weekend. I wanted to put the camera and lens through its paces, shooting at every shutter speed and aperture possible. Having a camera as fun as this really makes you go out there and get those creative juices flowing.
Man, remember when we could freely go outside without fear of killing our fellow neighbors?
Speaking of neighbors and the world pandemic, the quarantine life hasn't been too bad! I mean, I've been dying (no pun intended) to go outside every day, but I've kept myself inside and busy with a couple of new hobbies. Learning how to process my photos has been a blast and the process from development to scanning is a lengthy one, but also very meditative. Also meditative is escaping my reality by buying a Nintendo Switch and playing a whole lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
My town is... beautiful :')
I'm a bit late to this game compared to others, so my place is still super basic. I've only got a single bridge built, my front yard is an eclectic mix of items my neighbors have given me, and I still owe Tom Nook a couple hundred thousand dollars for my home... but it's nice.
I often find myself just spending a lot of time weeding my little island, fishing, and planting a lot of fruit trees. Also! As can only be expected from me, my favorite place on the island is the museum! It's super-duper cute and it is now my life goal to find all the bugs, fish, and fossils to help complete the gallery!
Well uhh... that's about it! I've kind of run out of things to say for today. I'm not gonna lie, writing a long post like this is kind of tiresome. There always comes a point where I feel like I'm mindlessly rambling.
Guess it's time to go make myself another cup of tea! I hope you enjoyed the photos today!
Until next time!