Habits and digital cameras

I hadn’t shot with a digital camera except my iPhone for years until this last weekend.

I took a class that required me to have a digital camera. I had to break down and rent one. Originally, they had said there would be digital Leica M’s for everyone to use. But Leica only sent two, so that didn’t pan out. It was catch as catch can renting at the last-minute. I wound up renting a massive D3, which was all they had. It was an odd choice to try to shoot street photography with. Between shooting a new-to-me type of photography with an unfamiliar camera, I didn’t get any results I liked.

Thinking back, I think the last time I really shot with a digital camera was a concert in late 2009 and some studio work in 2010. I didn’t realize the difference shooting with film would make.

For instance, we went and shot at a park and downtown. When it was all said and done, one of my classmates had shot 1600 frames in a few hours. I had taken 40. The assignment called for six images.

Next time, I stick with what I know.
Next time, I stick with what I know.

I missed a few shots because I couldn’t break one of my habits. After taking a shot, instead of just hitting the shutter a second time to get another, I would lower the camera from my eye and reach up with my thumb for a non-existent winding lever. I would then realize what I was doing, frown, and have to put the camera back to my eye to re-frame, missing the follow-up shot. Habits always bite you.

It was good to get away and challenge myself and try something new. But I don’t think I’ll be returning to shooting digital anytime soon.

After I got home, I offloaded the images in to my prehistoric version of Lightroom and set to work. It took me far longer to fiddle with the images and get acceptable results than it would have to develop and scan a couple of rolls. I didn’t want to invest in plug-ins, so I didn’t get the look I was wanting. In the end, I was dis-satisfied with the result.

I only got a couple of frames off with one of the Leicas. Those things are exquisitely built. It was very solid, and the focus feel and sharpness of the Summicron lens was like no other piece of glass I’ve  used. But the camera’s output wasn’t inspiring. The color rendition was off and required more work than I wanted to put in to it to fix. It’s black and white mode wasn’t as good as I had hoped either. I think I’d like to see what using a film Leica would be like. I suspect it’s going to cost me a lot of money when I do it.

Next time, I’ll use fewer new variables and get a better result. I’ll just stick to a film camera and eliminate that bit of uncertainty.

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