Leica Digilux 1: Shanghai memories return through the lens of a vintage digital camera
My Australian friend John Shingleton, he of the Rolling Road blog, has just dusted off a collection of early digital pictures taken with the Leica Digilux 1 in 2004. That year he took advantage of a package special deal to celebrate the launch of the new Sydney-Shanghai service. He decided to travel light with the rather oddball Leica Digilux 1:
Normally at that time I would have taken my Leica M6 film camera as I was still wedded to film but friend Roger in the UK had just bought a Leica Digilux 2 camera and he sold me his Digilux 1 and I was curious to see how it performed. The Digilux 1 was a clunky device - a joint Panasonic/Leica effort - and back in 2004 digital photography was still on its trainer wheels. I took just the Digilux to Shanghai and despite all my reservations I came back with a really interesting set of photos which I had forgotten about until I found them last weekend.
See John’s Digilux 1 China portfolio here. As John says, these pictures are interesting not for their technical merit but on the basis of what was possible from a consumer digital of the day.
Nowadays all the gearheads who inhabit all those tedious forums on the web who cannot get by without the latest camera packed with features would not even dream of taking a photo with a camera with a tiny sensor and only 4 megapixels but it must have been inspirational for me. Most of the city and streetscapes I took on that short trip have now gone so this is a snapshot of a vanished China. I am sure that the wedding dress hire shops in Shanghai don't wash the returned dresses and hang them on a tree beside the main road nowadays.