Kevin Bjorke
Kevin Bjorke
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Tokyo, (C) 2004 K. Bjorke

So it’s gone, bubbled-wrapped and brown papered, stamped and mailed on its way back to Canon. As ever with mechanical widgets, it’s the cheapest parts that break — 2-cent battery clips and a 5-cent button cap. Just the same it’s under warranty, and off it goes. No DSLR. So at least for a while it’s no CF cards, no chargers, no PCMCIA slots, no USB or burning CDs or connector cables — at least not when it comes to making pictures. I put them all away in a big bag at the back of the cabinet.

The Contax 35mm as ever is solid and quick and surprisingly light after carrying around the 300D for a while (probably 1/3 the weight of the Canon w/lens). What have I been doing with this bulky digicam? Heck, I can carry the G and all three lenses, ten rolls of film, toss-in the RTS for good measure and the bag still feels shockingly light. What was I thinking, dragging around that digital brick?

Then I go to a sports meet.

Bang bang whiirrrrrrr ga! it’s time to reload already, bang bang, over here, bang bang whiirrrrr time to reload again,… I’ve burned through three rolls of Tri-X in fifteen minutes and now it’ll be an hour and a half of fiddling with chemicals, 7 hours of drying, three and a half hours of scanning. Oh yeah, now I remember why I put up with a 2kg camera.

Yesterday Zeiss revived yet another of its old brand names, introducing (err, re-introducing) the Zeiss Ikon, yet another Cosina-built Leica-M mount vanity camera. Unlike the Rollei 35 RF, this one isn’t just a rebadged Voigtlander Bessa. But it’s still clearly a vanity item, albeit one with some swell lenses (most of which, incidentally, will work fine on any other M camera). The ZI may have a special place in history — could it be the last-ever new line of 35mm cameras?

I don’t see myself giving up on film any time soon — sure, I replaced part of my camera cabinet with digital, but film shooting retains its own character, and digi just doesn’t ever seem to get there — it has a character of its own. Where they completely overlap, well, the digital wins on points for convenience and run costs. Sure wish I could find a small, affordable digital camera with quick responses and a decent viewfinder, though.

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