35mmc is a blog dedicated to reviews, thoughts and experiences with 35mm compact cameras, rangefinders and their lenses.
I love cameras, and I make no excuse for that. I love buying them, playing with them, learning their foibles and working within and around their limitations. I also really enjoy writing about them… which of course gives me a perfectly valid excuse to buy more of them… …
My particular interests lies with 35mm compact cameras. As history has proven, Oskar Barnack was really on to something with his work in the popularisation of the 35mm format. A format that to my mind offers the sweet spot between big enough for quality yet small enough for cameras to remain light weight, and often even pocketable.
Of course, some of the 35mm cameras manufactured since the early Barnark Leicas could be described as anything but compact. But the ones that interest me most – and are therefore the subject of this blog – are those which have been designed to be compact.
Hence the name of the blog – 35mm Compact, or 35mmc.
Whilst Barnack supposedly had health related reasons for not wanting to carry large cameras and equipment around with him, my personal reasons are due to the feeling a large bag of kit imposes on me. More often than not I either carry a rangefinder with a single lens or a fixed lens compact of some sort. Sometimes I will take both, and on really special occasions I might even take an extra lens. Much more than that, and I find the kit very distracting. And actually, more often than not, I find carrying more kit diminishes my chances of taking a good photo rather than improves upon it. I find a limited amount of options serves to focus and free my mind for the task in hand.
This minimalist approach with respect to the range of kit I carry also has implications on the type of kit I carry. For example my preference is largely for cameras with fewer options, setting and controls. Whilst on many occasions I appreciate being able to completely control a cameras focus and settings, I also get significant enjoyment from shooting a very basic point & shoot camera. The limitations a very basic compact camera impose on me actually become their very attraction. I find being able free my mind of almost everything but the art of composition a very pleasurable way to take photos.
I suspect this is largely owed to having started my journey taking photos at the age of 9 with a very basic compact camera and, in fact, if memory serves, I didn’t own an SLR until my very late teens, maybe even my early 20’s. I think those early experiences had a long term effect how I approach photography, although it’s fair to say, I perhaps didn’t realise this until late 2012 when I bought a Yashica T5. After a few dark years in my 20’s faffing with SLR’s – both digital and film – with the purchase of this Yashica I completely rediscovered my joy and appreciation for a more simple approach to photography, and I have yet to look back.
My choice to shoot film is also wrapped up in the above preferences. Film cameras are largely speaking less complicated to use than digital cameras. They also don’t allow me to get bogged down in a single shot through providing me with evidence of the photo just after I’ve taken it. Film allows me to take the shot, then move on to the next opportunity with little concern. I rest easy in the knowledge that if I’ve missed the shot, it’s missed, but if I got it then the achievement is greater than if I had laboured it with a digital camera. And anyway, I never worried about missing the shot when I was a kid, so why should the mere existence of digital make me worry now? Additionally, since film itself provides a large portion of the character of the final image, my entire process is further simplified by removal of any need to post process in the way I did when I shoot more digital. All in all, I feel like shooting film is the only way for me.
Since May 2013 this blog has acted as an outlet for my experiences with these cameras. I hope that readers of the content of this website find it useful in their respective paths, and I certainly wish to inform people about the equipment I experience and write about; but I must admit, first and foremost this site is a self indulgence for me. It is primarily an extension of my hobby as a photographer, but has also had the unexpected benefit of becoming a tool for my own learning and development as a photographer. In the time I have been writing this blog, I think I have learned more about photography as a skill, about cameras and lenses, about photography theory and about myself as a photographer than I did in all the years prior.
Can you contribute?
So that’s me and my part in this website, but with the #travelingyashica project, and the 35mmc fanatic contributions, this site is far from being just about my experiences. If any of the above rings true with you as a photographer, or even if it doesn’t, and you have very different reasons for shooting 35mm compact or rangefinder cameras, then why not get in touch and tell me and the readers of this site all about it.