On Saturday I took myself off to the famous Brick Lane market in London’s East End to check out the pop-up store created by Tori and Charlie of the well-known Film’s Not Dead crew. The theme centred around the marketing slogan of the first Kodak Box Brownie: You press the button, we do the rest. With sponsorship from Kodak Alaris and Brightrooms, Tori and Charlie were able to mount an impressive display and organise a number of film workshops which were sold out by the time I put in an appearance.
I arrived to find the film duo loading Brownies with new spools ready for the afternoon workshop where participants were handed a camera and told to go forth and make some pictures. Since all the workshops for the day were fully booked I didn’t have a chance to take part. I should have planned this earlier…
I did manage to bump into a Macfilos reader, Nico Diaz, who was coming to the end of his London vacation. Nico, it turns out, is one serious film buff. Around his neck was a very nice Leica M7 and Zeiss Biotin, but weighing down the right shoulder was the seriously impressive Fuji 6×9 Professional GW690 Mark III. “The negatives from this thing are stunning,” he told me. Nico does some fine photography as you can see from his website here.
As I sat chatting to Nico another film camera was pushed into our faces as passer-by Simon exercised is black Contax G2 — quite the antidote to my and Nico’s M7s. Definitely Brick Lane is the place to go to find lots of film cameras in use.
In honour of the Film’s Not Dead theme of the day, I pulled my M7 — known affectionately as Neil — from the shelf and loaded a roll of Tri-X. I think I got some usable shots but sadly the pressures of journalism meant that all the pictures in this article were taken digitally, with my Leica CL and 18mm Elmarit-TL pancake.
But I gave Neil a good outing, using the 40mm f/1.2 Nokton kindly loaned by the Voigtländer UK distributors, Flaghead. I’m enjoying the unusual focal length — which I’ve often thought is idea for us ditherers who cannot decide whether to mount a 35mm or a 50mm optic. On the M7 or M10, or any rangefinder for that matter, it does take a bit of getting used to because of the lack of accurate framelines. The lens brings up the 50mm frame but you have to remember to shoot outside to a degree that comes only with practice. I’m still learning. On the CL or any other mirrorless camera, though, it works faultlessly thanks to the WYSIWYG human interface (read viewfinder…). I’ll write a bit more about this lens tomorrow.