Taking a Break

by Terence

I’ve been on leave the last 2 days, and it’s been a long needed break.

I’ve surprised myself with the fact that I’m still shooting with film and a rangefinder, and even more surprised that I’m actually enjoying the experience. I only miss digital for the fact that post processing is a lot more convenient. Other than that, I actually like the freedom of shooting and not having the temptation to chimp my shots.

So far, my verdict is that when it comes to colour, digital is a clear winner. For black and white though, I’ve not been able to get the same rich tones and level of dynamic range that film is giving me. Then on to the subject of rangefinders. It’s like discovering life all over again… it’s a totally different paradigm of photography. Everything is just so simple and uncomplicated. Oddly, I don’t miss the autofocus, or the zoom lenses. I feel more creative working within the boundaries of the prime lens. And all this goodness within this tiny little package of camera body and lens, no bigger than the body of a digital SLR.

By rangefinder standards, the f/2.0 lens that I’m using is already considered slow, with f/1.4 and f/1.0 lenses readily available. I think is also the reason why I can get away with using ASA400 film and still handhold shots. In addition, the rangefinder is quiet and discreet. I love the quiet whisper of the shutter, and the old school requirement to cock the shutter before each shot, just like a hunter cocking his rifle.

Now if only I could save up enough to get myself an M6, and maybe even a 35mm Summicron or Summilux… that would be heaven. I’ve been thinking about getting the M8 digital rangefinder too, but at the moment, there are quite a few limitations with it that make the price I’d have to pay for it a little impractical. For one thing, it’s not full frame. I’m not sure I can get used to shooting a cropped frame camera again. I like my shots a little wider so that there is some context to the shot, and sometimes you get interesting little back stories in the background too if you’re lucky.