Last Friday I sold my Bessa R3a and Nokton 40mm f/1.4 s.c. lens. I felt as if part of me, a photographic part of me, had died. Selling that body and lens was hard. I’m seriously glad it went to someone I know will love it like I did.
The Bessa was the biggest hurdle on the way to dispensing with all my film gear. I’ve been thinning my collection for some time, but even though I kept thinking I’d shoot some film, I never did. When the choice came down to shooting with film or digital, I went with digital every time.
After months and months of this, it became apparent that my film gear, lovely as it is, was sitting on the shelf. I don’t like to see good cameras sit on the shelf, so I decided, once and for all, to go 100% digital.
Certainly convenience and speed of turnaround were the biggest factors in my decision. Life is short, something you really feel when you reach your 60’s. I no longer wanted to spend time developing film and scanning it. Even though I love film, I love digital even more, so it’s not as if I’m surrendering to some Dark Side.
My main interest in film is B&W and I still maintain, as I always have, that film B&W and digital B&W are different — that film has more subtlety. However, I have also discovered Nik’s excellent Photoshop (and Lightroom) plug-in, Silver Efex Pro. The digital B&W’s I’m pulling from that are so satisfying that I’ve not felt the need for film to express myself in B&W. Once I fully realized that, the writing was on the wall.
Another critical factor was purchasing a Panasonic G1. Because the sensor on the G1 is located so far forward, it can be adapted to a huge range of lens mounts, including rangefinder lenses. I sent to Shanghai for Leica-M, Nikon F, and Pentax M42 adapters. With them I can use any of my existing manual focus lenses. I no longer needed the film bodies.
I’ll either sell, or give away, my remaining three film bodies. Then I’ll thin my lens collection to just those manual-focus lenses I intend to use regularly. It’s time to move on.
One of the things I’ve moved on to is writing. I’ve always written, but it’s become a major focus for me now. Fiction as well as nonfiction. Personal writing, plus writing on assignment.
Another thing I’m doing is catching up on about three to four decades of pop culture — movies and TV shows, especially. I missed a lot of great stuff and I’m now in viewing overdrive, and loving it.
So, goodbye film. It was a long love affair, about 50 years. I hate to see you go, and I’ll never forget you. Sadly, though, you won’t be missed.