Back to film
As one who first developed films in the 1940s by a red light in a dish, and got the ARPS in the Seventies in portrait and theatrical photography, I welcomed your article on second-hand purchases in your issue of 22 September.
I was seduced by digital for a few years, but now those cameras are in a landfill, and I have returned to film. My first purchase, a Leica M2 on eBay, was advertised at £300 ‘for parts and repair.’ Three weeks later, having had a CLA service, it was back on the road. Leitz glass is costly, but Canon LTM lenses are great, 10% of the price and Japanese eBay dealers are highly reliable in their descriptions. A 35mm f/1.8, a 50mm f/1.8 and a 50mm f/1.4 (the ‘Japanese Summilux’ though it appeared before that lens) plus an 85mm f/1.9 soon came by airmail. Leicas breed in captivity, and another M2 soon followed. For processing I bought a Kindermann tank, and a Leitz Valoy enlarger on eBay. Rewired, and equipped with an EL- Nikkor, it is fantastic.
For far less than the cost of the new Nikon mirrorless camera, I now have two M Leicas, a full set of lenses and an equipped kitchen/ darkroom. The second-hand market is a golden age for those of us returning to RealRaw. The relief at being back on film and having the fun of monochrome photography is delightful. No wonder that colleges teach it. If one must have an SLR, then the Nikon FM at around £100 is the answer. It is robust, has a meter, and nifty fifty Nikon lenses are easily sourced. Geoffrey Rivett
Geoffrey relishes his Leica M2 and going back to film photography