A Loaned Leica: In Full Color

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My friend Quint had a Leica sitting in his house for 2 years. He never used it, as he has been busy enough with the digital cameras and videocameras he is using through the j-school’s photography classes. During one of our conversations about photography, I was talking about how I’ve been drawn back into film recently, and almost prefer it over the digital medium at the moment. Fortunately for me, Quint thought of the Leica sitting in his house. He said I could borrow it FOR THE SEMESTER. I was thrilled. It’s an old Leica, but the glass is unparelled and the light leaks were easily managable compared with my Holga. The day I got it, I brought the camera to Columbia Photo, bought new batteries and scrounced around my house for some color film. The first roll consisted of my mistakes trying to figure out the light meter on this new camera and experimenting with taping. However, by the time a made a trip home the next weekend, I had gotten a basic understanding of the Leica.

When I got this color roll back, I was most surprised by the vibrancy of color in the photographs. Even when I scanned them (I’ve tried multiple scanners and still see a lack of depth and saturation– post on this later), I was amazed by their quality. I wasn’t shooting with Velvia or any other specialized color film, but the photos were saturated and highly contrasted in a way that I had never seen film photography before. Everything about this camera pointed to a different kind of beast– the weight, the muffled sound of the shutter, and the amazing precision in the focusing ring. I am currently trying to convince Quint to let me borrow it for my next semester abroad. Needless to say, I am sold on the Leica. It’s worth the price tag.

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