Monday, April 24, 2006

My preferred camera...

I get to try a lot of digital cameras as part of my day job. I've field-tested the Canon 20D and 5D, Nikon D50, Kodak V570, Pentax *ist, the Ricoh GR Digita, and the Sony R1, among others. So, what's my favorite camera when I'm not being paid to shoot?

A 50-year-old Leica M3 with a 28mm f/3.5 Kobolux lens! Its mechanics still work, and I've only had the camera in the shop three times since I acquired the camera in 1978. For years, my film of choice was Ilford HP5, then HP5 Plus, developed in Ethol UFG, but in recent years it has been Fuji Press 800 color print film, which I have processed at a minilab and then scan and convert into black-and-white in Photoshop. Why the change? Simple: Color print film has a 5-stop latitude, giving me a better range of highlight to shadow detail than any B&W film, and the starting ISO is 800. I've done side-by-side comparisons, and the grain in the Fuji Press is noticably lower than HP5 pushed to 800. And I like having the extra stop.

What system do you use?
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6 comments:

Luis said...

My system is just an old Leica M6 and a 35mm f/2 lens.

I only use B&W film, mostly Kodak Tri-X. When there is too much light I go for Plus-X and for my Jazz photography I choose T-Max P3200.

Other than that I only carry an incident light meter, which I don't use that often.

Charles Maclauchlan said...

Agfa Super Isolette, 6x6 50 years old or so. I have been shooting mainly Velvia 100, scanning and converting but recently I am starting to fall in love with the subtle tones of Ilford HP5. Or perhaps it's that I enjoy one less step at the computer and more time out burning film.

Manos said...

Using a NIKON F-100 (superb camera, only a little on the heavy side for street photography) and an F-50 as a back-up body (had it for more than a decade, very reliable and tough, basic but decent, lightmeter very basic - centre-weighted only - but extremely accurate, never had any problems).

Lenses: a Nikkor 35-70 mm f/2.8 & a Nikkor 24 mm f/2.8. I'd also like to buy a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, to "get back to basics"...

I started out many years ago with an EXACTA with a Carl Zeiss 50mm lens and a hand-help lightmeter (brand "Leningrad" (?) in cyrilic), a heavy beast, with which my dad used to take amazing photos. Still working fine, only too heavy for every-day use...

Films: for B&W it's HP-5plus, HP-4, Delta Professional (both 400 & 100), T-Max (a few, not fully tested) and I will soon try the Fuji Neopan (400), for which I've heard a lot of good opinions (anybody with any comments on the Neopan?). I also tried a few Agfapan APX100 & 400 and liked them a lot, a shame they dissappeared from the market.

For slides I use Fuji Provia, and Kodak Ektachrome E200 & E100VS.

Still got a lot to learn, so I like to keep trying different brands instead of settling into one or two.

How much time left until film goes away for good? hard to tell...

Anonymous said...

My favourite? The Ricoh GR Digital.. In no small part due to your excellent review.

Anonymous said...

I use a Canon P with a CV Nokton 50/1.5. I'm experimenting with a slew of different b&w emulsions, but I'm intrigued by your color print film idea. Tomorrow I will go photograph an abandoned airport near sunset with Kodachrome 64.

Anonymous said...

Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 is mine

50mm Tessar fixed lens, no lightmeter.

Just some Efke 100 on it, and off I go!!!