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Changing direction photographically (film to digital) and the M9/M10 conundrum.
Old 02-19-2012   #1
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Changing direction photographically (film to digital) and the M9/M10 conundrum.

35mm film photography is just not happening for me at the moment and there are several reasons why. There have been some recent changes in my life that are making it very difficult to find the time and energy to process and scan 135mm film and this causes me to not take photographs because I'm somewhat paranoid about building up a backlog of undeveloped rolls of film. I realise this never bothered Gary Winogrand but I am not he!

On considering a transition to digital: … I use and love my D700 for paid work but I have no desire to lug the thing about for recreational shooting and to me the D700 was always going to be a tool to use in the very tricky gallery lighting I work in where ISO 6400 is a requirement and not a luxury.

For a daily digital shooter there are a lot of interesting options currently but nothing that really grabs me. The X100 was OK but poor manual focus ability and the fixed 35mm lens didn’t win me over in the end. The new Xpro-1 looks exciting but by the time you get the body and a selection of lenses you’re getting up there price wise. The new OM-D seems the same to me and also has the penalty of being 4:3 … not sure that I can get along with that! Then there’s the increased depth of field with these smaller sensored cameras … I like to shoot wide open and I like to be able to isolate my subjects as I desire in the way that a 50mm f1.2 lens can when it’s entire image circle is being utilised.

Sitting in the cabinet I currently have in M mount … Heliar 15mm, Zeiss 25mm, Nokton f1.2 35mm, and several 50mm lenses the pride of them being the Canon 50mm f1.2 of which I am lucky enough to own a pristine example, not to mention the wonderful Zeiss C Sonnar I got from Jonmanjiro some time ago. None of these excellent lenses have seen the light of day for over a year now because I just don’t seem to use the one M mount body I have which is my M2 … add the inability to find the time for film developing/scanning etc and it becomes a completely stagnant system!

A couple of weeks ago I tentatively inquired about the possibility of getting a used M9 and was in contact with a member here who was able to procure one for me at a very reasonable price … and I’m still flip flopping totally over that decision I have to say! The M9 is an expensive camera even used but it has a certain logic to it when I look at that selection of unused M mount glass I own … but $5500.00 is a lot of money! I keep wondering what Leica may offer with the M10 … most likely a sensor better suited to higher ISO and not much else I suspect. I have fast M mount glass in 35mm and 50mm and the need to go over 1600 ISO is rarely required for my personal work. And what price the M10 when it lands …. $8500 to $9500 anyone care to take a guess? A damned sight more than the $5500 I could just scrape together for a used M9 if I put my mind to it.

Alternatively … why oh why doesn’t someone make a small full frame mirrorless or possibly a small uncomplicated full frame DSLR that can take lenses that are already out there … in abundance! (I do realise that last statement was pie in the sky stuff!)

ps ... I meant to add that I do intend continuing to shoot film in medium and large format, I just feel that a move to digital may get me back out there with a camera in my hands on a daily basis far more often than is currently happening.
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