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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Going "serious" : Fuji x100f or Leica M6
Old 10-15-2018   #1
Kupepe
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Going "serious" : Fuji x100f or Leica M6

Goodmorning,

The time has come to upgrade from a perfectly fine Pentax MX with an SMC 50m/1.4 I use. The reason for upgrade is a bit of G.A.S. and a bit of trying to setup a more serious workflow. Let me explain. I shoot on Sundays with my lovely film camera and on other days with a Ricoh GRD2. I usually shoot while i get back home from work. No more metro, just walk and shoot for an hour. However I find myself to be a little choosy these days and I don't press the shutter so easily. Negative space with a walker inside or some people standing watching their mobiles isn't for me anymore. As a result finishing a roll of film takes time .. a lot. And I cannot see the shots I made for a long time. I know this is one of the beauties of film. But since I am not Winogrand and have 200 rolls lying around undeveloped this makes me not improving my photography. To see what works and what does not. The gaps have become a bit too large for my liking atm.

The film camera cannot be used in low light situations as it usually has a Tri-x loaded, with ASA set for day use. The Ricoh GRD2 has really bad low light performance.

The way I see it i have 3 options to move forward:

1) Buy a Fujifilm X100F (1300 EUR). Good low light performance and price. Steady flow of photographs

2) Buy a Leica M6 with a 35mm used lens and a Noritsu LS600 scanner ( ~ 3000 EURO). Higher cost, no need for upgrades. One camera for day use, one camera for low light use.

3) Skip the Leica (my GAS), buy the scanner for the Pentax and the X100F (2000 EUR)

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-15-2018   #2
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That's a really tough call. I enjoy my xpro2 and my M's quite a bit. The Fuji is a jpg machine and I can really get some good results from it and it's convenient to have multiple ISO, color, and BW on the same body. I'm gonna throw this out there as an option to build your system.

Buy a used xpro2 w/ M-mount adapter, M2, and a 35mm m-mount lens of your choosing. (I think a Nokton 35mm SC is a great bargain and usable for most things)

I would buy in this order
1. Xpro2 + adapter so you can use your existing Pentax
2. 35mm M-mount lens + m-adapter
3. Used M2
4. Realistically you will get more m- lenses

I THINK, with some digging and luck you can find
Xpro2- 1k or so
M2- 600-800 for a user
Nokton 35 -400ish used

I use this setup frequently and usually have a 50mm on the M2 or M6. I can fit either camera, some film, and an extra lens if needed in the small Domke bag. You can grab a decent elmar 50 for a few hundred sometimes. Or a collapsible cron in user shape.

Good luck and happy shooting!
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Old 10-15-2018   #3
Jerevan
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I would do it the other way around - first the scanner, get that workflow going and then perhaps get something else. The MX and the 50 is a great camera combo.

I don't think spending a lot of money on another camera would further your photography at this point - at least not in the "print on the wall" sense.
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Old 10-15-2018   #4
retinax
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Have you seen the threads here about scanning with a digital camera and macro lens? If you want a digital camera anyway, that's something to consider.
Wanting a Leica M is understandable, but the need for a second body is a thin veil of rationalisation. From a practicality point of view, what about a second Pentax MX? Note that leicas focus the other way around, can be an issue, muscle memory is important if you do street photos. For really low light, digital has long surpassed film though...
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Old 10-15-2018   #5
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Keep the Pentax MX, develop all your undeveloped rolls, and buy a film scanner to work on your backlog.

If you have any money left over, buy a Fujifilm X100F.
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Old 10-16-2018   #6
Archlich
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Don't see how a Leica could improve your photography.
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Old 10-16-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kupepe View Post
The film camera cannot be used in low light situations as it usually has a Tri-x loaded, with ASA set for day use. The Ricoh GRD2 has really bad low light performance.
Had similar confusing thoughts 2 years ago and a hard time to finally decide, my workaround is since then Tri-X @800 developed with Diafine in my Contax T3 for every day (and night) usage, Kodak Ektar pushed 2 stops in my Nikon for longer photo walks in case I need color and more flexibility with lenses. Anyway, I love the results in both cases and my GAS for digital went nearly against zero since then except I need high resolution for big prints, but here its easier and cheaper for me to rent a D850 for a few days or I grab the 8x10 LF from a friend.

I need sometimes also 1-2 months until the color film is finished but don't mind most of the times. B/W I develop around 3-5 films on a weekly basis, just missing a fast scanner like the Noritsu, Pakon (both not easy to get in Europe) or the hopefully good working new Pacific PowerFilm which can scan up to 10 strips at once.

If my eyes were better I would probably go the Leica M9 route, with more money the M10-P :-) and a 28/50 or 21/35/50 combination. The Fuji cams are different but also really nice, just don't like the Xtrans, so here the original Fuji X100 with Bayer sensor would be my pick.

No easy decision, good luck.

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Old 10-16-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archlich View Post
Don't see how a Leica could improve your photography.
It won't

Fuel the GAS to sweeten the bearer and keep going ... just kidding ...

I did quite a bit of cycling and what I found out is that if a hobby sticks to you ... in the end you will pay the top dollar to get the bike as it should be. So medium solutions just end up costing more money since they will be replaced.

If the M6 with Leica glass will come sooner or later ... why spend money for other solutions? Provided you can afford it of course.
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Old 10-16-2018   #9
mod2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kupepe View Post
It won't
Not necessarily, sure, but It can and it did in my case, not because its a Leica, because its a different way to see and photograph with a Rangefinder. The time with my M6 many years ago had the biggest positive influence on my photography which still effects my style even if I work with other cameras these days.

Agree on the medium solutions though, waste of money

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Old 10-16-2018   #10
Richard G
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You want change. Get the X100F. I still have the original X100. It is so good. I would argue everyone needs one, and maybe it’s the only camera you need. Don’t get me wrong: I love my M6 and M9 and Monochrom, but if you see an M6 and an X100 as viable alternatives (i.e you don’t have to have a Leica) go with the X100. You’ll love it, and save money and enjoy the immediacy and you’ll improve your photography.
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Old 10-16-2018   #11
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Here's another option: buy a used Pentax K-5 and use your existing 50/1.4 lens. I recently started shooting with a Pentax K-1 and I am astonished by the quality of older Pentax lenses. If you can afford it the K-1 is an amazing picture taking machine.

It sounds like you don't have the time right now to concentrate on film based shooting. As nice as that Leica M6 sounds, it isn't going to improve that workflow problem or your film backlog.
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Old 10-16-2018   #12
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I think Ccoppola82 offered good advice by suggesting the X-Pro 2.
  • The body is more like a M6. It is a bit easier to use than the X100F just because it's a bit larger.
  • There is a FUJIFLM M lens adapter. I prefer the native Fujinon primes.
  • The X100F and X-Pro 2 have similar data stream technologies and their low-light performance will be similar.
  • The Fujinon series of f 2 WR primes are well-suited for the work you decxribe.
I own a X-Pro 2 and X-100T.

When I first discovered RFF I used a Canonent GL-17 G III. Now, the X-100 is my daily carry because it's small, light and I feel the 23 mm lens angle-of-view is a useful compromise.

I find the small increase in size makes the X-Pro 2 easier to use. I own the Fujinon 18/2, 23/2 and 35/2. I use the X-Pro 2 as I used my Zeiss Ikon M withZM/Voigtländer LTM primes. I switch to the X-Pro 2 when for planned work on projects.

The least expensive way to start out might be a used Fujinon 27/2.8. The AF performance is good and the lens is small. However it does not have an aperture ring, so f stop is manually set using a front or rear dial control.

I don'e see how the M6 adds anything to your situation. Finishing a roll will still take time. However if you enjoy a film workflow, the M6 is obviously attractive.

A short-term disadvantage with the X100F/X-Pro 2 option is there will be a learning curve. It may take while to figure things out, but it is possible to operate these as cameras as one operates film RFs. The OVF makes a difference. You don't have to use any automation unless you find it to be purposeful.
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Old 10-16-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
You want change. Get the X100F. I still have the original X100. It is so good. I would argue everyone needs one, and maybe it’s the only camera you need. Don’t get me wrong: I love my M6 and M9 and Monochrom, but if you see an M6 and an X100 as viable alternatives (i.e you don’t have to have a Leica) go with the X100. You’ll love it, and save money and enjoy the immediacy and you’ll improve your photography.
I agree. Don't overthink it.
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Old 10-16-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kupepe View Post
The film camera cannot be used in low light situations as it usually has a Tri-x loaded, with ASA set for day use.
I don’t follow, why can’t you use an f1.4 prime and Tri-X in low light? That sounds like a perfect low light kit...?
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Old 10-16-2018   #15
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The obvious solution is to buy a second MX (or other K-mount) body.
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Old 10-16-2018   #16
jsrockit
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If you do go X100... go X100F or you will be disappointed with the low light AF of the previous models. If you plan to use MF, I would go with a M.
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Old 10-16-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
I don’t follow, why can’t you use an f1.4 prime and Tri-X in low light? That sounds like a perfect low light kit...?
With Tri-X at box speed, as I shoot it the f1.4 does not work. When the sun starts to go down I really have issues to get the meter go green. I need to have a good light source close to where I shoot but walking around the city does not offer that usually.
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Old 10-16-2018   #18
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Are you now scanning? If not, have you scanned in the past?

That's my basis for the decision. Before I bought my first digital camera, I had been scanning film for a few years and I had developed a strong dislike of the task.

If you're okay with scanning and you've got the funds, go with the M6 and scanner option. If you want to change, go with the X100F option. If you're open to a new idea that is sort of like using an M6 but digital, go with the XPro2 suggestion. The XPro option is really the best, IMO.
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Old 10-16-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
If you do go X100... go X100F or you will be disappointed with the low light AF of the previous models. ...
Yes.

I forgot to mention, if you buy the newest body you can afford. The increased CPU performance makes a difference.
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Old 10-16-2018   #20
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If you're using the older model Ricoh GRD 11, you could consider the Ricoh GR11?

It's an amazing little camera with very good high ISO performance.

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Old 10-16-2018   #21
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Had the same problem as you. Becoming more and more selective with film, so I bought a used X100f for $800. Put a nice hand grip on it. It's with me all the time.
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Old 10-16-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kupepe View Post
Any thoughts ?
In my film only days, for shooting in low light situations I used the following 35mm film cameras with Kodak Tri-X and Ilford HP5 black & white film:

Pentax ME SLR with Kiron 28-70mm f/3.5 to f/4.5 lens
Pentax Spotmatic SLR with 50mm f/1.4 8-element lens
Canon Canonet QL17 G-III rangefinder with 40mm f/1.7 lens
Contax G1 rangefinder with 21mm f/2.8, 45mm f/2, 90mm f/2.8 Zeiss lenses
Leica M6 rangefinder with 21mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and 90mm f/2 lenses
Nikon F2 SLR with 24mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4, and 85mm f/1.4 lenses

The Leica and Nikon were my personal favorites.

During the digital age, I began scanning my film with Canon and then Epson flatbed scanners.

When I began shooting digital, I used the following digital bodies in low light situations:

Olympus micro 4/3 with 14mm f/2.5, 20mm f/1.7, and 45mm f/1.8 lenses
Fuji X-Pro1 with 16mm f/1.4, 23mm f/1.4, and 56mm f/1.2 lenses
Fuji X-Pro2 with 16mm f/1.4, 23mm f/1.4, and 56mm f/1.2 lenses
Leica M10 with 21mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and 90mm f/2 lenses

The X-Pro2 is my personal favorite.

I have never tried the Fuji X100 cameras because I prefer interchangeable lenses. However, when I mount a 23mm f/2 lens on my X-Pro2, it performs very much like the Fuji X100f.
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Old 10-16-2018   #23
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Your Pentax kit is superb!
Maybe add a scanner, develop your films..
I never shoot more film if I have 2 rolls waiting!
The X-pro would allow color..
I don't shoot color on film anymore..cost too high.
Leica!
I am one who has often posted negative comments about Leica.
Yet, there is nothing like a Leica M. Nothing!
The joy of simple framing, rapid accurate focusing, a blending of machine and eye.
The Fuji is not nor ever will feel like a Leica.
IT's either you have one or you don't.
Not similar, like, close or copy will do it!
The M6 is OK, but so are the non-meter versions, M2,M4,M4-2, M4-P..
They all cost, need services periodically.
Try use one before you buy!
It's heaven if you match, hell if you don't!
Go for it!
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Old 10-16-2018   #24
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I found myself less and less satisfied with digital images as I shoot more and more film. If you go that way, I would recommend borrowing or renting an X100F before committing to buying. (Which is what I did, and ended up returning it.)

I understand the impatience for more rapid feedback, but... despite the slower feedback, my photography improved very rapidly when I moved from digital to film. With a digital camera you may be less selective but the extra images that you wouldn't have taken with film will almost surely all be garbage (in my experience) and won't help learning. It sounds to me that the major obstacle to feedback isn't film as such, it's your backlog developing film. I found a cheap place not far from me that develops and scan in a couple of hours, so I can take photos and see the result on the same day; this may be what you need to find.

Another option is a Minolta CLE as a second film camera. With its great native lens, it will be a little cheaper than an X100F. It has the advantage over the X100F that it is a rangefinder camera, which is really IMO the optimal type of camera for street photography. The images are the same as you would get with a Leica, build quality is excellent, it takes M-mount lenses, unlike the M6 the CLE has automatic aperture priority metering mode (which is all I use for the most part, though you can also use it fully manually like any Leica), and unlike digital cameras it will keep its value or even appreciate over time.
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Old 10-16-2018   #25
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3) sounds best to me. Use the money saved to buy Pentax lenses. Plus a smartphone for snapshots. I have two Pentax MXs and an ME, really like them.

I hate to say that even though I really like RFs, I'd always take an SLR if i wanted to "go serious". Both systems have pros and cons that we have known and experienced but I find that I miss more shots with RFs. Maybe that's just me.
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Old 10-16-2018   #26
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Someone mentioned thinking about a Pentax K-1. This an idea worth pondering. The forgotten full frame dslr: compares to the best but more affordable. Not sexy but the specs are pretty good...
Would be hard to find used but wouldn't cost much more than a used X100F and less than an M6. And you wouldn't have to buy lenses.
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Old 10-16-2018   #27
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I really liked the X100 cameras (see username), but ultimately film is much more satisfying and authentic for me.

Leicas are wonderful to fondle, shoot with, stare at on a shelf and give great satisfaction from ownership, but don't take better photos than most other cameras with half decent lenses....You already have one of those :-)

I love gear, so I understand the attraction of buying an M6. They're great cameras. No argument there.

What I'd do:

1. Invest in a great 35mm scanner (Noritsu or Pakon) and spend the rest on film, developing and travel.

Or...

2. Invest in a great 35mm scanner (Noritsu or Pakon) and a camera that will REALLY make you see differently and take completely different photos to your Pentax: an XPan.

Or...

3. Move to medium format. A Fuji GS645 can take much higher quality images than any film Leica and lens combination at any price. It's no heavier than an M6, probably smaller when it's folded and costs less than half that of an M6 body.

Or...

4. Combine options 2 + 3 and pick up a Rolleicord Vb. A completely different shooting experience that will change the way you take photos. Much higher image quality than the M6. Cheap as chips. Lighter than the Leica + lens. Very well built. Beautiful to own and use.

Isn't it fun spending other people's money?
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Old 10-16-2018   #28
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With as little film as you shoot, you are really paying a premium for automatic scanning with the LS600. An equivalent manual film scanner will only set you back $200-$300 dollars.
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Old 10-16-2018   #29
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you could buy another MX body and load it with 3200 film....& learn to process your own....that will cut your time before seeing your image
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Old 10-16-2018   #30
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my 2c:

1. buy the fuji x100f.
2. sell your 35mm gear and buy a medium format camera and a flatbed scanner.
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Old 10-16-2018   #31
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Thats a tough one, and tempting as it is to say 'get them all,' it's not my money. For me, when I bought my Leica, it had been a desire fomenting for a few years—I *had* to have one.
And that started with getting the X100 and moving away from SLRs.

The X100 is a phenomenal camera in size and capability; the only 'point-and-shoot' camera I've really fell in love with for both images and ergonomics. (I have the original model, and I'd disagree about low-light, but the autofocus is awful)
I've used it as a carry-everywhere camera with a single lens, as you do with your pentax, but I'd hesitate to consider it an ideal 'only' camera to have, if only for the lack of interchangeable lenses. It's worked great as a second camera to accompany another, film or digital, like you do with the Ricoh. I like to photograph similarly to you, with one film for daylight and digital for evening (or vice versa, with a fast film), so perhaps the digital might the ideal upgrade.

Like others said, an X-pro might be a good compromise, with the ability to explore more lenses. But with those, you lose one of the beautiful features of the fujis, the optical VF. It's really magical. It's also not much bigger.

As for scanners, I second the decision to forgo a Noritsu—there's far cheaper ones, even with batch feeding, which you probably won't find worth the cost if it takes you so long to finish a roll. Even a Coolscan isn't going for too much these days, if you are hoping to shoot significantly more.
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Old 10-16-2018   #32
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I would go scanner first as well,

I would then look into getting a small darkroom kit assembled.

Rodinal (Dev) TF-4 (Fix) a small Paterson Tank and a darkbag.

Keep it all in a small box-easy to set up impromptu bathroom lab

I surely would NOT jump into a M6. Since you like your Pentax why not add a LX!
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Old 10-16-2018   #33
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I love my Leicas, but it's the X100 that I use all the time. So many lovely photos I wouldn't have, without that camera. That's why I agree with that option, as it offers you something genuinely different, whereas a more expensive film camera, while it might be higher quality, and perhaps feel more tactile, won't.

Do bear in mind there's a very good 28mm adapter lens for it too, which is integrated incredibly well into the package.

The 50mm is very good too although I reckon too bulky to carry around all day; it kinda spoils the fun of the camera, but I've found it really useful in some applications, as it only takes seconds to fit.
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Old 10-16-2018   #34
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Just a heads up on something I'm sure you already know...... "going serious" ain't about the camera.

Your film camera most certainly can be used inside if you rate the Tri-X to 800 or more and develop accordingly. Pics will look good too. And I would trade that MX for a camera with AE and exposure lock so you can work quickly and still get accurate exposures.

What I used to do was go out each day and shoot a roll of film. Use 24 exposure if that helps, and go where the shots are. If they aren't there, be creative. You can get great shots anywhere if you take the time and/or learn to look for them.

After I had shot my roll I would have a cup of coffee and a snack in my favorite coffee house, head home, and develop the negs. Almost instant gratification! Then I would scan them if they were 35mm for proofs (if I was shooting 120 film I could see what I had w/o scanning). Then I would try my best to print some of the keepers that night. Getting prints on the wall is where you learn. If you work a day job obviously this scheme will need some major adjusting, but it could still be made to work after some sort of fashion.

I know a number of great photographers that did this, and reading about what they did is where I got the idea. but I just can't remember who they were at this moment. Anyway, it works.
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Old 10-16-2018   #35
FujiLove
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Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Getting prints on the wall is where you learn.
This is so true. Spending money on printing is very unfashionable and overlooked, but will do wonders for your photography, especially if you’re printing in the darkroom. My mantra when I’m taking photos is, “would I print and hang that?”

Spending money on travel is also overlooked. I’ve taken 90% of my favourite photos when travelling overseas.

BTW if you want to see your photos more quickly, try bulk loading short lengths. It’s not as efficient, but I like processing ten to twelve shots as I’m used to medium format.
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Old 10-16-2018   #36
Michael Markey
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I don`t shoot a lot of film these days because of subject matter but I have three film M bodies an MX and Pentax SL.
I`ll be taking the MX out tomorrow loaded with Portra 400 and a Pentax 50/1.2 stuck on the end … its as capable as any other 35mm film body.
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Old 10-16-2018   #37
bhop73
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That's a really tough call. I enjoy my xpro2 and my M's quite a bit. The Fuji is a jpg machine and I can really get some good results from it and it's convenient to have multiple ISO, color, and BW on the same body. I'm gonna throw this out there as an option to build your system.

Buy a used xpro2 w/ M-mount adapter, M2, and a 35mm m-mount lens of your choosing. (I think a Nokton 35mm SC is a great bargain and usable for most things)

I would buy in this order
1. Xpro2 + adapter so you can use your existing Pentax
2. 35mm M-mount lens + m-adapter
3. Used M2
4. Realistically you will get more m- lenses

I THINK, with some digging and luck you can find
Xpro2- 1k or so
M2- 600-800 for a user
Nokton 35 -400ish used

I use this setup frequently and usually have a 50mm on the M2 or M6. I can fit either camera, some film, and an extra lens if needed in the small Domke bag. You can grab a decent elmar 50 for a few hundred sometimes. Or a collapsible cron in user shape.

Good luck and happy shooting!
I would do this. (as to my own experience, I own an X100T and M6/M2)
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Old 10-16-2018   #38
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I'm finding it kind of disappointing after all of the time we spend talking about Leica with you at another place....

Is it about street photography or about upgrading your digital camera? If it is updating from old digital camera then Fuji x100f is good choice.
Street... Honestly I haven't seen many good examples of street photography with this series. Bushy was good with it in RFF gallery and one photog on Flickr, I'm subscribed.
He is really good. But this is it of what I'm aware of.

Film M is very different story for street photography. Or any film M. It is what classic street photography is and was. So, if someone here thinks it will not make you better street photographer, the facts are telling it will. But you have to be gifted and willing to work.
It doesn't mean you have to Winogrand film, but you have to practice.

8200 series Plustek scanners are small, quiet and power sufficient. I use it for BW and color.
And they are just regular gear sold new in regular stores.

If I would chase the street with digital I would choose between Pen F, current and coming GR and M8. Most of interesting (not mobile zombies and backs) digital street I have seen comes from GR. M8 has some good history in it on Flickr and here. Bushy again.
And Pen F is RF style with true manual focus lens with focus scale available.
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Old 10-16-2018   #39
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Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Just a heads up on something I'm sure you already know...... "going serious" ain't about the camera.

Your film camera most certainly can be used inside if you rate the Tri-X to 800 or more and develop accordingly. Pics will look good too. And I would trade that MX for a camera with AE and exposure lock so you can work quickly and still get accurate exposures.

What I used to do was go out each day and shoot a roll of film. Use 24 exposure if that helps, and go where the shots are. If they aren't there, be creative. You can get great shots anywhere if you take the time and/or learn to look for them.

After I had shot my roll I would have a cup of coffee and a snack in my favorite coffee house, head home, and develop the negs. Almost instant gratification! Then I would scan them if they were 35mm for proofs (if I was shooting 120 film I could see what I had w/o scanning). Then I would try my best to print some of the keepers that night. Getting prints on the wall is where you learn. If you work a day job obviously this scheme will need some major adjusting, but it could still be made to work after some sort of fashion.

I know a number of great photographers that did this, and reading about what they did is where I got the idea. but I just can't remember who they were at this moment. Anyway, it works.

Thx for the input ... really. Serious is not for the gear ... that is my GAS. Serious was trying to get a steady flow of pictures ... which means make adjustments to tools used. Unfortunately I can't develop my own film ... two little kids in the house ... no chems allowed in the house if not for the laundry machine ... kids will turn to Hulk apparently
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Old 10-16-2018   #40
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I shoot a Df and a F2 with a half dozen manual focus lenses that work on both blocks. It's a great way to shoot.

So I vote M10 and M6
Or MX and K1
Those Fuji's look pretty cool

I like to take photos of my children more than anything else I think
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