The Big Leica

We mean the 1970’s version of “big,” not the SL2. The biggest film M ever made: the Leica M5. You might recognize it as Number Two in the police lineup above. It’s always been the Leica that people love to hate, so I bought a second one.

My first M5 was long ago, purchased new but years after it had been discontinued. It was languishing on a Minneapolis shop shelf: body with a 50mm Summicron and I probably paid around $900. But I was a student and couldn’t afford to feed it – sold it off during my first year at CalArts, to another student who’d driven up from UCLA. Unlike me he could afford both a Leica and a car.

3 min read

The Leak


Light leak. You can barely see it here, up the middle of the frame. Of all the rolls I’ve run through my old CL thus far, only this one roll shows a leak. Later or earlier: nada.

On this roll, the leak’s spaced between multiple frames: three apart, then six, then eight… and each time, from early frames to later, it moves to a different location, each becoming smaller for the higher-numbered photos.

My guess: a pinhole-sized burst of light got into the film takeup chamber, late in the roll. Maybe from the frame counter. The dot of light scattered down an angle into concentric, more-tightly-wound, parts of the film.

And maybe this was just for a brief moment – most frames, no problem. Later rolls: great. Either way, annoying. A cost for using this little 50-year-old box.

Rollei Ortho 25 vs Neopan 1600 vs X-Pro2

TL;DR: everything old is new again. 1974 or 2018?

I had a lone 35mm roll of Rollei Ortho film, and some Rodinal. The combination should result in some of the sharpest negatives available – may as well find out!

Rollei usually recommends another developer, but they do list Rodinal 1+50 at 10 minutes inside the box, so: that’s what I used. This also gave me a chance to do a quick shake of the new TTArtisans 50mm ƒ/1.4 ASPH lens. I’ll write more about that later on, but in the mean time here are just a couple of frames from the Rollei negatives, along with 100% scanner crops, and further down, a comparison (for the film, not the lens) shot with a Nikkor 55mm micro-Nikkor (on a Nikon, of course), and finallly a quick comparison to a recent shot made with the X-Pro2 & the Fuji 16mm ƒ/1.4 (a 24mm-equivalent lens).

It’s everybody versus everybody today.

5 min read

Hard Kodak

Okay, I’m convinced.

From the same chemistry, Tri-X blacks whallop HP-5’s.

~1 min read