LEICA

Alternative views on the Leica world by Erwin Puts

new films and more

Tarantino’s newest movie (Hateful eight) is shot on film and additionally also in widescreen (70mm). The film is already famous for its impressive views and colourful images. There is one film on the market for 35 mm shooters that comes very close to the famous Hollywood impression. This is the Cinestill 50Daylight Xpro C41. The speed is ISO 50 and its emulsion is Kodak’s 50D cine-emulsion. Today I ordered a handful of these films at FotoFilmFabriek in the Netherlands, but there are very many worldwide dealers around. This film might be able to revive the classical look of Leica images from the 1950s. I just put fresh batteries in my M7 that will be used alongside the M-A and the Canon VI-L. The next few months I will abstain from the digital capture technology and concentrate on analog picture taking. For BW I still use Ilford ISO100 and Kodak ISO400, developed in FX39. A very classical but also very potent combination. Printing will be done with the Heiland LED module on the V35.
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The German photographer and blogger Jörg Langer (Digitaler-Augenblick.de) has posted an interesting comment on the fact that in the blogosphere (for photographic themes) everything will be commented upon and everything will be discussed in most cases in a negative sense. The current hype around the new Nikon D5 and D500 is the proof. You can read the blog yourself (if you can read German). My point is this: the blogosphere discussions are (with a few exceptions) totally superfluous and selfishly pre-occupied. There are millions of hours wasted every year that could be used for more productive activities. The world might be a better and more prosperous place.
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A number of years ago a Dutch scientist and cultural researcher said that the demographic shift in the Western world with its sharp rise in the ageing population would introduce a major shift in cultural trends and values. Basically he said that most 40+ persons are mainly occupied with risk-evading activities and are looking at the future with distrust and a bit fear. This attitude invites a tendency to negativism and nostalgia, which can be clearly seen in the hopelessly confused discussion in Europe about how to handle the stream of refugees coming from war-torn areas. This is a problem that we have since the 1960s and the politicians have not learned how to cope with it. Nothing learned in 60 years! The discussion in the blogosphere about the respective merits and (more often) defects of photographic equipment (what is new is always better, but always not good enough!) reflects this lack of a serious learning curve. Impressive and innovative photographs can be made with many cameras, old and new. Why the Leica SL gets many thumbs up and the Nikon D5 gets many thumb downs is a riddle. But basically both discussions are irrelevant. If you wish to buy one or the other, be my guest, but stop arguing about your choice. Enjoy and give evidence that you are worth one or the other.
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By the way: this text has been written while listening (in the background) to the new album by Roger Waters: The Wall

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The well-known Law of Moore about the ever shrinking and ever fasting microchips is at its physical end. A microchip with the size of a finger nail has 10 kilometer of copper wiring producing much heat. The path of progress will be slowed down and for the first time in a long period designers do not have to find new products that enable the power of the new smaller and faster chips. The new period will be one of much slower technological progress that, as paradoxically as it may sound, will give real innovation a boost. Perhaps the age when product cycles were measured in decades instead of months will return. A new book by professor Robert Gordon (The Rise and Fall of American Growth) argues convincingly that the last twenty years have seen no serious technological breakthrough that has improved the productivity of the economy. Life may be easier because of the smartphone and the associated gadgets, but easier is not the same as more productive. The same can be said about digital photography: it is cheaper and easier, but not more productive. Prices for photographs have been reduced and the average photographer is not more productive than previous generations. Thee is a difference between taking more pictures and adding value to the photographs that have been made (value in economical and perhaps artistic sense).