• Dave Raaum

Black and White Film Lives On

The other day I mentioned that it was time to shoot some film and I accompanied that post with some pictures of my Leica M4. Today I am adding the first pictures that I took with that camera. I got the camera at Precision Camera in Austin, Texas. And I bought the lens at Austin Camera & Imaging. The camera was said to have had a recent CLA (that's the abbreviation for Clean, Lube, and Adjustment) and that's especially important for old rangefinder cameras. A CLA is not as important for single lens reflex cameras because of differences in the way the two camera types focus.

The goal was to shoot a roll of film in the first week so that I could relax with the knowledge that everything was working properly, and that I knew what I was doing relative to camera settings, metering, and what have you. If the camera was not working then I would have time to return it for a refund - note, that is not something I wanted to do. Holding an old Leica in your hands is akin to holding a bar of gold, both for the weight of the thing and the value. Here are some pictures from that first roll of film.

Willie Nelson on the wall at Austin Camera & Imaging

This was the first picture I shot with the Leica M4. It is a mural of several Texas artists painted on the wall of the building at Austin Camera & Imaging on Burnet Avenue. The mural includes Wille, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Buddy Holly. Nice looking wall if I do say so. So I was shooting with the Summicron 50 and Kodak TriX film - nice contrasting images, rich blacks. A classic film emulsion that is still fun to shoot.

Jaw of SRV, Buddy Holly and forehead of Janis Joplin.

Vintage Corvette from the Lockhart Car Show

Another Image from the Lockhart Car Show

Elena D. Decorating a Cookie

This last picture was taken with the closeup goggle attachment on the camera. I had to get a sample shot with the goggles attached to ensure that I knew what I was doing with that attachment. Without the goggles you cannot shoot closer than 30 inches and this was taken at about 17 inches - and that's as close as you can focus any of the old rangefinders. So they weren't much good for macro photography but they were maybe the best you could ever shoot for street photography. The masters of black and white in the 50's used rangefinder cameras and didn't worry much about having the camera in focus. They would set the aperture and shutter speed using the sunny 16 rule, zone focus at 3 to 4 meters, and fire away. The results will astound you.

Close Focus with the Leica M4 and Summicron 50DR

So that was the first roll of film and there have been a few more rolls of black and white. The first color roll is Kodak Portra 160 and it's in the camera right now. I am heading downtown on Thursday of this week to finish that roll and start another. Stay tuned for some color images next week. Till then it will be some images from my FujiFilm XH1 later this week. And maybe I will throw in some medium format film images to keep it interesting.

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