My good friend Todd Hatakeyama (and sponsor over at SimpleStudioLighting.com) and owner of the Hatakeyama Gallery (grand opening in Downtown LA this Saturday from 5pm-10pm) recently gave me a his old Leica M6 to shoot with and have. It has been great shooting with it–as it helps me slow down and be more critical when shooting (compared to my Leica M9). I can’t quite describe it, but I feel much more zen when shooting analog vs digital–as I don’t worry so much about the final image but focus on the process of shooting.

Also if you want to pick up a film case from Bellamy Hunt or find a sweet analog camera from Japan, check him out at JapanCameraHunter.com.

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29 Comments

  1. Before I got my dSLR, I was a straight film shooter. Now that I have both, I use both – but for different reasons/situations. You hit the nail right on the head when you said shooting film slows you down. That in itself, I’ve found, is really a Zen feeling. It firmly grounds you in the moment and makes you truly think about shooting that frame.

    Sure you can second guess yourself and fall victim to paralysis by analysis, but this is where the Zen part of shooting film comes in. You must know yourself and your abilities so that when you see that perfect setup or scene: you point, compose, and shoot! It is truly you who defeats yourself and messes up the photo, or it is you that acts as the bridge between the scene and photographic immortality. This is, what I’ve found, film can teach us.

  2. Hi Eric, do you / are you planning to process your own B/W films now and in the future? And do you know how you’re planning to scan it and publish it online later on? Just out of curiosity.

    I myself shoot both digital & film, but mostly colour slides film. Planning to experiment B/W too as soon as my Neopan 400 arrives :)

  3. I definitely enjoy the videos. Keep ’em coming.

    I recently picked up a Konica Hexar AF — So I am looking forward to shooting film as well.

  4. tell us more about your film experience. Esp your experience with the m6. Enjoyed your reviews, thanks much!

  5. I don’t understand how film slows someone down. Is it the idea that it costs roughly 10 cents per shot that makes you hesitate? If anything, film should speed people up given the lack of an LCD screen for people to chimp with.

    1. It’s not just the cost of film in terms of money, but time too. You can easily shoot through a roll of film in no time, but then you have to change the film, develop it, buy new film.. and you have to carry enough film to make it through the day… there are many reasons to hold back when shooting with film. Every part of the process (except actually pressing the shutter) takes more time and is a reason to slow down.

      1. Erik is right, it’s price for film/developing, it’s limited number of exposures based on how much film you carry and the convenience of changing it where you are, you’ll only shoot multiples if you want to reframe, there’s an entire mentality about it. It goes from being a random let’s shoot everything because there’s no real effort or extra charge for shooting a couple cards worth to thinking about composition because you don’t have a thousand shots available. Plus old cameras have an aura about them. If they are handed down then there is sentimentality, if they are acquired– just think of all the things that camera could have seen over the years in another person’s hands, a person who adored it. I’m not sure if a new film camera would feel the same but owning many old cameras I know they each have a personality. I bet Eric will feel it with his new/old M6 too.

    2. I figured it costs me $0.26 per frame to buy and develop a roll of Ilford HP5 – 36exp. I don’t think about cost when I’m about to press the shutter. I’m thinking about how to make the shot as good or “perfect” as I can make it. I let setups/compositions pass by if they don’t work out because I can’t chimp like in digital. It’s like hunting with bow and arrow, slow and deliberate, waiting for the right shot – as opposed to using an Uzi.

      I don’t know what the end product is until I develop it, so I have to trust in myself that I did it right. This is what slows me down, not thinking of the cost per frame.

  6. Wow! Finally you talk about film camera! I enjoyed by this video.I look forward for the day you will post out some of the pictures you took with that new Leica M6.

    1. Do it! If you just have the patience and determination to learn how to shoot film, you won’t regret it in the end. Promise! :)

      (www.jpa-photography.com/blog)

  7. Hi Eric,

    I wondered if weren’t afraid the Yongnuo flash would damage the M9/6. I personally once tried an non Leica flash on my M9 and after a few shots my M9’s shutter jammed and didn’t return back to it’s place. I had to send it to Solms for repair because of that which was very disappointing. They said my shutter was faulty and replaced it but since then I’m reluctant about using a non-Leica flash with my M9. As I understand the Yongnuo isn’t Leica TTL compliant no?

    -Dan

    1. maybe on a mechanical camera like the MP the chances of the flash damaging the camera a smaller. I personally, after that, am a bit apprehensive about the durability of the M9.

  8. Sounds wonderful Eric! You have to share the pictures you develop I bet they are fantastic. Do you have darkroom skills yet because you know that is next ;) And I think I need a few of those film holders haha..

  9. Hi Eric
    Feels great to having to load film, manually cock the shutter and advance the film to the next frame. The one thing I remembered is how silent the shutter is. The anticipation of seeing the results – not immediately. The thought that every shot is precious. It’s got me thinking that it might be time to pull out all the old darkroom stuff and go back to do more analog – at least it’s cheaper doing it yourself and you really get a sense of the magic of photography.

    I’m so glad you have a film M to shoot in your growing inventory of toys and continuing to share your experiences. When we last talked… You’re living the life and we are living it with you vicariously.

  10. thanks for posting your video. it makes me clear of many things
    am working with my own Proposal for Graphic Design, Product Photography Support
    And Professional Image Editing Services website http://www.xcidographics.com/ and willing to do this. thanks.

  11. Eric,
    Having never shot film world you blog about the film itself. What kind works best. Do you need a lab. Does certain film work best in certain camera. How is slide different than print.

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