Photo Gear Refresh!

np: KMFDM - En Esch

So I just had my entire functional camera collection stolen. Apparently, 80s cars are easy to break into! If you’ve known me for awhile, you might be asking yourself “Again?” Yep. I think FML* is the appropriate response.

*I will say that I lucked out the last time around. The insurance company determined that the appropriate replacement for my ancient Leica Summitar was a new Summilux. I bought a used copy from KEH for $1500, but I received an ultra rare black paint version that was worth nearly $10k.

Noteworthy items lost were my Sony A7, a Leica Elmarit 28mm, Summicron 50mm, and a 1940s Zeiss Contax Sonnar with an amazing Leica M adapter custom built by a dude in Argentina.

Over the last few years, I haven’t taken as many photos as I used to. I never really bonded with the A7. On paper, that camera was perfect, but I guess I just prefer simplicity - the Sony cameras (and most these days, to be fair) are full of buttons, knobs and menus. I want a shutter dial and an aperture ring on the lens, and nothing else.

The last time I did take a lot of photos was about 3 years ago, when I was primarily using a Contax TVS 35mm point-and-shoot.
It had a great 28-56mm lens and was small enough that I could take anywhere. Unfortunately, the shutter died during an otherwise-glorious day camping on the beach of Lake Michigan*. Around the same time, the prices of these exploded. Sorry, but I’m not about to pay $300 for a 35mm P&S with electronics that will die if I breathe on it wrong.

*Point Beach State Forest, near Manitowoc, WI, is one of my favorite parks. The main campground is great, but they have two hike-in sites that blow the rest of the park out of the water. The “Kayak Site” is the best, it’s about a mile away from where any other people are, and actually on the beach. The other one - the Ice Age site - is close by, just behind the dunes.

Anyhow, I think I may have found a digital equivalent of the TVS. The Panasonic LX100 is a micro 4/3 P&S with a 24-75 equivalent lens, a gasp shutter dial, and an aperture ring. Yes, it has a zillion other buttons, but I think I can ignore them. Let’s hope this is what I needed.

I also picked up a new 4x5. My old Linhof Technika had developed more light leaks than I wanted to deal with, and it was pretty damn heavy, so I sold it. Got a wooden Wista field camera, which is probably almost as light as the first gen Graflex press camera I had years ago. I’m excited to put it to use…or at least once it stops being so damn cold.

I’m going to start adding the np line at the beginning of these. Because we’re back on livejournal or something. Anyway, UAIOE is the best KMFDM album - I’ve always held out hope that they will one day get back to their white German reggae roots, but sadly I think it’s all buttmetal from here on out.

I’m mining turtlecoins these days. Cowabunga dudes!

Colin Baker Written by:

Colin is a network engineer, amateur/wannabe Porsche mechanic, and elite hobbyjogger in Madison, WI.