My first year of shooting film Part 4
My fourth post on this website (read Part 3 here), my third film camera… I guess I can be a bit impatient. I started my adventure in film photography with a Minolta Hi-Matic II (post here), just to see if I would like film. After three rolls with the Minolta I decided that I wanted a camera with a clearer viewfinder, so I exchanged the Minolta for an Olympus 35-SP (with broken light meter). But, even before waiting for the results I bought a Leica M2.
Ok, I will explain a little bit. When exchanging the Minolta I found a very nice Canon P in the store, which felt very good in my hands. However, it was a lot more expensive then the Minolta, so I was deliberating for a long time. The technician of the shop had almost convinced me to by the Canon P (metal shutter curtains are his favourite feature of this camera), but the store owner drove me away from the Canon, and told me to start with the Olympus. He was convinced I would want a M2 later (I had already bought a Leica 50mm lens from him for my digital M240). As I didn’t have the cash on me for the Canon P, I took the Olympus (I discussed some results here). But the thought of going for either the Canon P or the M2 had since then nested in my brain. A couple of weeks later my birthday came, and my man didn’t know what to buy, so in came the M2. I decided in favour of the M2 as opposed to the Canon P as I have already three nice Leica lenses (35mm, 50mm and 90mm).
Now on to the photo’s. I just got my first roll back from AG-photolab (a took a bit longer with the Christmas period in-between). I put a roll of Fujicolor Pro 400H in it, and attached my vintage summilux 50mm. The first morning I took it with me there was a wonderful sunrise, no wind, and I found a beautiful spot with a little pond. I had read about over-exposing to get the best color on film, so I took the meter-settings from my M240 and corrected to over-expose. However, I think I took it a bit too far. This is the first shot with the M2, and I am pretty disappointed with the colors, specifically in the sky (aside from the tilted horizon), I think I set the exposure to 1/30 seconds with full aperture of 1.4.:
I miss the blues in the sky. Maybe the light was difficult, as the sun was not up yet, so it was a bit dark. For my next shot I used a tripod and a longer exposure (smaller aperture), but the same color (although you can see the sun gets higher as the sunlight hits the trees):
On my next outing with the M2 it was raining, not the best light again. But I was determined to go out and shoot something, so I took a small ‘walk-around-the-block’. This time I metered with my iPhone app, and focussed on metering for the sky. I think the skies turned out better this time, but now the scene itself is not very appealing to me (I believe the settings were around 1/60 sec at f/8):
I think I had some bad luck with the weather since I got the M2. A lot of grey dull days. But one morning there was a nice sunrise, and this time the colours turned out great. Maybe I am just not an over-exposure kind of person?
I also tried the modern Summicron 35mm ASPH lens on the M2. But again no luck with the weather. These next photos were taken close to home during a bike ride. I guess this time I tried a little bit of over-exposure again, but I am not sure it did the images any good. I think the result is a bit bland, but that might be just the weather?
And then finally the day came when there was sun on my day off. So I drove to a nice forest/park, opted for the 50mm Summilux, and had some fun with the camera. I didn’t write down my settings. I guess I took a reading with the meter-app, but I started ‘guessing’ exposure values as I get too impatient for metering. What I see in the results is some photos with great saturated colours, specifically blue, and some with similar flat colours like my first two shots. I guess now I don’t know if it has to do with the exposure or with the angle with the sun, since I didn’t take any notes. Any thoughts on this are very welcome!
So, some mixed feelings. Maybe exposure is more critical with Fuji Pro 400H then with the Superia 200 that I used before. Maybe a great camera cannot compensate for the lack of great light. The M2 itself is great, it feels really familiar as I use the lenses that I already owned, and the viewfinder is large and clear. I notice that with the M2 I am more occupied with the film and the exposure, and less with the camera. To me that is a good thing!
One other thing that I want to mention, I chose the M2 based on the fact that I already own Leica lenses for my M240. But the down side is that I now have two camera’s for one lens. I often go exploring with both the M240 and a film camera. With the M2 I am swapping more lenses as I might want to use a lens on the other body. I guess that is a luxury problem? Maybe I should choose just one camera per outing, and focus on this one only for that morning?
Conclusion: still lots to learn (did I mention that I can get impatient?). Some mixed feelings, but some nice results to encourage me to move forward. I would love to hear your thoughts and get some feedback.
Thanks for reading, and Hamish thanks for having me!
If you are interested in my digital photos, you can find them on my blog: www.whataukjesees.com