Last Tango in Laos: My final blast with a few rolls of film
I've just been on a trip to southern India with my two digital Leicas,the X1 and the X Vario. I am pleased with the photos I took.The IQ from Leicas is superb and processing the images in Lightroom is so easy. Nowadays I do appreciate the convenience and the quality of digital photography.
A few years ago, however, I had a hankering for the "process" and "look" of film (analogue) photography so I went and bought myself something I had always had a hankering for: A Hasselblad outfit and some lenses for very modest money.
The camera and lenses are beautiful examples of Swedish and German engineering. Just handling them is something special. I have taken some good photos with the outfit but I found it all rather tiresome. The equipment is very heavy and really cumbersome. Film is expensive and labs are few and far between and expensive. Also I had forgotten how difficult it is to transport film in Australia. You cannot leave your camera in a car on a hot day. Well, strictly speaking, you can. But don't expect to find your photos in good condition if you do.
I tried home processing of black and white film, rekindling old skills, but dust and cat hair beat me. You don't get dust spots on your photos with an X1 or an X Vario. As far as film photography is concerned I've been there (for 40 years) and been there again for a recent dabble and now I'm over it. It's out of my system. Beautiful Blad outfit for sale apply within.
Certainly I would not now contemplate taking a film camera with me on an overseas trip. The last time I took a film camera with me on my overseas travels was to Laos in 2006 when I chose my Leica M6 and a couple of lenses and a few cassettes of Fuji Velvia film. Even then film and processing was getting very expensive. These are among the last slides I took with that beautiful camera.
Oddly the year before I had the M serviced by Leica at some considerable expense and it came back like new. This spurred me into hanging in there with film photography for that one last year. In the end, though, I succumbed to the siren of digital and bought myself a Canon G7. I sold the M6 and lenses in 2008. I got good money for them and this went into a car which I was restoring at the time. My interest in photography waned for a couple of years but the launch of the Leica X1 tempted me back into a Leica shop and it all started again.
So these Laos photos are special to me. They represent the real end of a long era for me as I had bought my first Leica way back in 1968.
You can find my recent Indian and other photos on my blog at on therollingroad.blogspot.com