What the new Leica M6 re-release means for film photography

I’m sure you’ve heard the news.  If not, here it is: Leica is making the M6 again.

Now I’ve never owned a Leica.  I’ve barely even held a Leica.  I don’t even necessarily want a Leica (I only dabbled a bit with rangefinders and Leitz glass).  Leica now makes three film cameras simultaneously, the M-A, the M-P, and the M6. I think it’s great, and of course I want one, but also I don’t, for all the reasons listed above.  Maybe I could get into shooting rangefinders and Leica in general but there are some German quirks that they never got over, which has always scared me away.  But at least Leica is still doing it, and they’re having a hard time meeting demand.  And for that Leica needs to be commended!  Compare to Nikon these days…

The problem of course being that I’m so invested in the Nikon F ecosystem now that it would be hard to abandon just to buy a new film camera.  It’s just a shame that Nikon wanted to keep going more and more high-tech when the prevailing winds are going toward less electronics and all-mechanical.  I’ve articulated all this before; I would love to buy a brand-new FM3a (or anniversary F2) from Nikon if they didn’t decide to stop all film camera production two years ago, sadly.  And maybe Nikon stopped making the F6 because no one bought it…but the fact is that we’ve had 40+ years of seeing how electronic battery-dependent cameras just stop working and become expensive paperweights, with no hope of repair.  I will probably never fully trust them for that reason, even my F4.

Less than 20 years ago Nikon was making cameras like the FM3a and the SP 2005, and sadly those cameras weren’t in demand as much at that time, but it seems times have changed.  I could really wish that Nikon would come around but with them offshoring all their production to Malaysia they’re unlikely to make an all-mechanical film camera again, and that really the only kind I’d be willing to buy.  How much would I spend on one?  For the right camera I’m sure I would save even if it was $3000 or more.  I just spent $900 on a fully-restored F2, so why not?  Sadly Nikon was hell-bent on making cameras no one wanted to buy like the F6 instead of bringing back mechanical masterpieces of their past like Leica has done.  People are willing to pay for a brand-new Leica mechanical film camera but they’re the last man standing, sadly, and unlikely to have competition again.

Hangouts, Summer 2022

And a little bit of Spring and Fall too.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s to not take the people you love for granted–every time could be the last you ever see them.  I’m going to try to make more time in the future.

These are just some of my friends and I’m happy to have them in my life.

Get out of my trash!

The easiest way to see a bear: just leave your trash out overnight and wait up for them.  Of course this time it was my trash which is in a bear-proof dumpster, but whoever took out the trash last didn’t actually secure the thing properly.

I should have set for f/4 instead of f/5.6 I suppose as the AE didn’t give me a fast enough shutter speed most of the time, but live and learn.  These shots were a little shaky for my preference but I was probably 6-8ft away from a mama bear and her cubs, so I wasn’t exactly taking my time to compose and focus.  I’ve always heard that if you run into a black bear, you should puff yourself up, look as big as possible, make a lot of noise, yell/throw things at them, and they should take off; I’m still here so I’m happy to say it’s true.

Go work for Kodak, good people of Rochester!

I’ve been telling people for a while that the rising cost of film and the inability to find color emulsions are good problems to have, and here’s my proof:

Kodak is hiring people…a lot of people!

And I think that their hiring 300 employees over the last year and a half is very telling.  Compare to a decade ago when it seemed like it was going to be the end!  I’ll take a $10 roll of Tri-X to have that.

Edit: And NBC is now shooting news stories on film!

Behind the scenes: Scorpion Cowboy headshots

He got the part!  I’d like to think it was all my doingHorizon starts shooting today in New Mexico and my friend Duane is there at least as an extra.  No matter what I might tell him when I’m joking around, I think he has a wonderful face.

The Double-X was perfect for the look I wanted in the headshots, but there are some pretty good portraits in here as well I think, with Tri-X; it gives a good comparison seeing both films shot in the same place with the same lighting.  He put me up for a few days after I’d sold my mom’s house and it was just a great experience all-around, we hung out and tried a few things, I had my camera with me the entire time so I definitely got a few more candid things here and there.  The first pic is taken with the Minolta and a few more were included here.  Duane was also kind enough to hold a camera for me so I could see just what I look like when I’m taking pictures.  Originally published here and here but I’ll include it again:

Splashes of color/I miss you, Fuji Velvia 100

Post #500, I suppose that should be a milestone!

It’s been all black & white film for a while, time to throw a splash of color into the mix.  These pictures date back to Fall 2020 but I didn’t get them developed until nearly a year later and then forgot about them til recently, as the aspen trees are changing color once again.  I mostly was using the Nikon F shooting Tri-X but brought out the F2A for whatever color film I was using since it was almost always going to be a different ASA and I wanted the meter to do more of my thinking for me.  As it turns out I don’t ever trust the meter and ended up overexposing quite a few of my shots.  These were the most usable.

I miss Fuji Velvia 100, while I do have a propack or two in my freezer but I may never use them.  It’s sad that Fujifilm makes so little film these days though honestly I’m surprised they have any left to sell considering some of my previous predictions.  Considering how the price has kept going up (upwards of $30 for one roll of Velvia 50) it’s likely that they’re just wringing as much as they can from their existing stock.  It’s possible every roll of Fuji that I shoot from here on out will just bemoan Fuji and their treatment of their film customer base over the last decade or so, but really it all was summed up by the last paragraph of this post.  Velvia 100, I miss you.