The Three Best Cameras I Ever Used

I shoot a lot of cameras. A lot. I have been through a bunch of (primary) systems over the years, from the full Nikon system (2006) to the Leica system (2013) and onto the Sony system (2017) to name a few. While shooting these complete systems I also shoot a lot of others on the side (non-primary: think Hasselblad 500c, Plaubel-Makina 670, Chamonix 45n2, etc.). I love to buy/borrow various cameras, give em a spin, then decide if they stay or go. I'd guess I have tried an average of six "side" cameras a year for the past 10+ years. I purchase a couple of these each year, and only a few ever stick around more than a couple years.

I'd say over the years that there are three primary formats that I tend to gravitate to: 35mm film, medium format film, and 35mm digital. So, I began thinking, what are the best (most enjoyable all around) cameras I have used in each format? This is my analysis.

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Format Reflections

I was scrolling through my library last night, looking at images I have captured with various film stocks, cameras, mediums and so on. I decided to pull an image from each format I have used as ones representing my "highlight" shots from them. Maybe not the most technically sound images, or the perfect everything - but if I could show one image from that format and how I feel it should be represented, these are my results and why.

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Leica M2 + M3 Review

This review of the Leica M2 & M3 won't be overly technical. Back in January I picked up a 1958 Leica M2 from the fine folks at Green Mountain Camera in Vermont - let's just say the deal was too good to pass up. During that time I had been shooting almost exclusively with this camera and a 1957 Summicron 2/50. Then in June, I picked up a 1961 Leica M3 from Youxin Ye of YYe Camera.  Until June, the Leica M2 was loaded with either Kodak Tri-X or Portra 160/400 film.  Now, the Leica M2 is usually loaded with just the Tri-X and my Carl Zeiss 2.8/35 while the Leica M3 is loaded with Portra 400 and the Leica Summicron 2/50 or Carl Zeiss C Sonnar T* 1.5/50.  This has spoiled me rotten and has returned me to a simplicity in look and style that I adore - so much so that the Leica ME sits rarely used on a shelf.

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Leica: Buying Vintage Film Cameras

I decided I needed to document my thought process on buying vintage cameras, specifically along the Leica lines. Regular readers know I go through a lot of cameras, trying them out to see if they are for me, then selling them off if they are not. In the past, I have purchased the 1950 Rolleiflex, 1959 Hasselblad 500c, 2012 Carl Zeiss Ikon, 1958 Leica M2 and I am currently waiting on a 1961 Leica M3 being refurbished and CLA'd by Youxin Ye. (Not to mention the piles of vintage glass I have bought and sold over the years.)

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