There are a lot of videos on the internet that show reviews of film cameras. They talk about the features, how they work, how to connect lenses and how to load film into them. But there are not a lot of videos that show the results that these camera can produce. Well enough is enough, I put together a video from my first roll of film that I put through my "new" Leica M6. The aim is to show people thinking about a similar purchase the sort of learning curve that they are likely to expect and the results that are achievable.
But if it's your first film camera, why did you get a Leica? I hear you say. The answer to that is simply one of resale value. The fact of the matter is if I picked up a cheap film SLR I would likely have it as a paperweight on my desk should I decide to change the way I feel about film photography. But Leicas (especially the M6) tend to hold their value fairly well. Buying to sell is one of the key lessons that I have learned from photography so far. Basically before you consider buying anything in photography make sure there is a brisk re-sale market for it (or rent it) before committing to the purchase. The Leicas are also know for being quiet, compact and reliable. Perfect for a street photography project. It will force me to slow down and consider shots before taking them. Plus if someone asks to look at the photo or delete it, you cant!
I went with a Voigtländer 35mm f/1.4 lens to get the ball rolling. It is by no means a show stopper lens, but it is very small and compact. As initially I will be getting my film developed at a local shop that only delivers medium quality scans and 6x4 prints I am not overly obsessed with buying the sharpest lens that money can buy. But wow can you spend some money on these Leica lenses! Most hover between $1000 and $4000 USD. I couldn't back myself on that resale value so decided to go in with a good (shall we say) "kit lens".
In terms of film, I picked up a 5 pack of Kodak Portra ISO 400 film from Amazon which is renown for being great film. I was recommended it by Eric Kim who has been a huge source of information and inspiration in the world of street photography. It is renown for having a very fine grain, great skin tones and exceptional colour saturation over a variety of lighting conditions. So far my results have been great.
So the proof: I took the camera out on a nice day (plenty of light) to take the camera and lens through its paces. It was important to see if there were any light leaks and learn exactly how everything worked and whether I could take a decent photo or two. The results really surprised me. A video of the photo shoot is embedded below with a light box of all of the photos (scanned and uploaded).
If you are interested in learning more about film photography leave your email below and you will receive a copy of an exclusive article or send me a message on twitter @benkepka. If you have any questions about any of your own workflows or gear I am always happy to help. Thanks for reading.
The Cultured Kiwi