By Johnny Martyr
You might have noticed that all your favorite film bloggers are closing out the year with a list of their top three film cameras of 2022.
Though I’m late out of the gate, I didn’t want to be left out! I figured there’s still time to make a contribution to this fun meeting of the minds. Be sure to stick around for the end where I’ll link to everyone else’s Three Favorite Cameras entries. Discover why my title is in French. And hey, since I’m late, maybe I’ll have the most links for you!
Caméra Numéro Un: Kodak Ektar H35
Over the summer of 2022, Reto released a new Kodak licensed p&s half frame 35mm film camera that was an unexpected success. I excitedly pre-ordered the Ektar H35 and had the camera in hand by the second week of July. I shot a long 72 exposure roll on Kodak TMAX 100 and published my first photos and review on Petapixel. Just a few days later, I took the H35 with me on vacation and ended up taking more photos on it than with my M6.
It can be a relief and a way to free up your creativity to use cheap and simple cameras. The half frame aspect is great to keep photographers shooting film when prices are high and one might have otherwise reached for an iPhone. These little vertical frames can be used to make multiple shots interact in final images and prints, like I tried here with this old Studebaker that I pass on my way to work. Why stop at a diptych when you can have a triptych?
Anyway, if you’ve thought about picking up the Kodak Ektar H35, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. It’s all about cheap fun and who doesn’t appreciate a bit of that?!
Caméra Numéro Deux: 1930 Leica I/III aka The 1930
I celebrated the 92nd birthday of my 1930 Leica this year. It’s five digit serial number reveals records that it left the Leica factory in Wetzlar, Germany on December 8, 1936 but no earlier records of its history could be found.
So what happened with The 1930 for the first six years of it’s life are a bit of a mystery. But I believe that 1936 date probably reflects when it was upgraded from a model Ic to a III and potentially received the 5cm nickel Summar lens that it came to me with.
In July before it’s 90th birthday, we shot fireworks and wrote an article about it for Petapixel.
For 91, my wife gave The 1930 a 5cm nickel Elmar from 1933 that has no serial number because it was also a conversion, and therefore seemed to be a perfect match.
For 92, I gave The 1930 a new black Moroccan leather cover sold by Hugo Studios to replace its brittle, smelly original vulcanite. Then we vacationed in Paris, France where I think my little Leica fit in just perfectly.
Soon I’ll be trying out a new DOOMO Meter S OLED accessory light meter with a black and brass body that will be sure to match The 1930 Leica’s beautiful and storied patina in no time! Look for my thoughts on this cool accessory for The 1930 in 2023.
Caméra Numéro Trois: Leica M6 TTL 0.85
Because I use the M6 TTL for a lot of my paid work it became necessary to have a back-up body at shoots and to cover me during service periods. But if you’ve been following Leica prices for the last several years, you probably know that they have gone bananas. This has stalled me on pulling the trigger on a back-up. But I decided that prices will probably only get worse for the foreseeable future. So this year, I finally relented. I quelled the G.A.S. and purchased a second 1999 black chrome Leica M6 TTL 0.85. Many thanks to rock photographer and Leica head Jason Nicholson for the sale over a beer!
I’ve only had the opportunity to use both M6’s together for two shoots so far and it was really great to be able to switch rapidly from my 50 Cron to 90 Cron as well as change ISO seamlessly. Soon I’ll be taking the dynamic duo to Italy to get the full effect, so stay tuned for those photos. I hope to have as smooth a journey through airport x-rays as I did in France.
For now, here’s a portrait from one of my last family sessions for the year, taken with my 1979 50mm Summicron and Tri-X film.
So there you have it – my trois caméras de 2022; the new Kodak Ektar H35, my historic 1930 Leica I/III and the latest addition, a twin 1999 M6 TTL 0.85.
Needless to say, it’s been a very good year. I don’t expect to buy anymore cameras in 2023 or for quite some time really. I am definitely going to be burning alot of film through these guys though! My plan is to write more on technique and less on technology in 2023.
Please be sure and check out all the other Three Favorite Camera Blogs of 2022 by a star studded cast of camera nuts!
Thanks for reading, happy shooting and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Alyssa Chiarello – 3 Cameras from 2022
Mike Eckman – 3 Outstanding Cameras from 2022
Jim Grey – Three cameras that delivered for me in 2022
Eric Jason – Three Other Cameras of 2022
Molly Kate – 3 Cameras from 2022
Alex Luyckx – NEW FOR 2022
Theo Panagopolous – Three Cameras of 2022 for 2023
And thanks to Stephen Dowling of Kosmo Foto for coming up with the Three Cameras idea!
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