January 05, 2008

Lifta, with which "eye"?

I spoke about Lifta in a previous post but I realize I didn't post any of the pictures I took myself...

I had with me two cameras, a digital one (Canon G9) and a film one (Leica M6). It is therefore a good occasion to compare the quality, usability and philosophy of both cameras. Should I start with the pictures or the discussion?

I actually have only three pictures from the Leica for a reason I'll explain later. Three views of the same house:

This last picture can be compared with a very similar one taken with the G9:

But the G9 let me bring you many more pictures, showing more versatility:

The setting, the colors

Early in the morning.
Through the window of an other house.
Looking up the hill, we see already the city and its new developments.

Detail of a window.
What's left of the tiling at a doorstep.


"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"
"We want the Messiah now"
Same room, opposite wall.
Please help me with the Russian...

Why do I have only three pictures from the M6? Because I lost the first film. Truth is also that I took much fewer with the Leica than with the G9.

What is the conclusion? The Leica is heavier, has fixed-focus lenses and is less convenient to use in general. The G9 is very versatile with its zoom, its sensibility, the preview and the adjustable white balance (including b&w of course). On the other hand, I always think about twenty years from now: who knows where the digital pictures will be, even prints get lost not to mention the digital files, but negatives stay. Also taking less pictures means each one is "worth" more: twenty years from now, who will need dozens of pictures of Lifta? The three b&w negatives of "A house in Lifta, 2007" will be something more special than that!

For me that's the main characteristic of the film camera today: each picture is more of a deliberate decision to set down on permanent media something which is worth it. The price is the use of a less convenient equipment.

With a digital camera, one has a tendency to shoot many more pictures, taking into account that they're free and that some of them will turn out to be good and interesting. There is no need to go through the lab to have the pictures developed and one can share them immediately online. But something is missing of the magic: pictures are not "worth" as much, I feel; the photographer "invested" less in each one.

So for important subjects, in circumstances when time can be allowed to "invest" in each picture, I would definitely vote for film camera, optionally with a digital one by the side to experiment!

Speaking of "investment", I like to visit a place and think about it before I go in with the Leica, so that I know beforehand what I want to capture.

Lately I have photographed a lot of architecture and urban landscapes. Maybe I should think of something new now, it's getting boring...

P.S.: I highly recommend the B&W film I used in the camera. It is the same I used in Cambodia which I came to like a lot. It's Kodak BW400CN, marketed here under the name Profoto 400BW. As a C-41 B&W film, it is developed like any color film in cheap labs but comes out in B&W. It is very smooth, and tolerant to under- and over-exposure. Enjoy!


vlad said...

tiens ça faisait longtemps que j'étais pas passé par là... tes photos sont superbes, un vrai talent !
les achievements sont intéressants...
sinon il parait que la ville est sans dessus dessous à cause de George... bon courage, c'est pas gagné.

annette said...

why is the place abandoned?
will write more later, promise:)
big kiss