Thursday, January 9, 2014

Three Approaches to Using a Barnack (Leica Screwmount) Camera - Tips by Khoa Tran on Steve Huff's Site

Yes, It Works as a People Camera!, by Reed A. George
Leica IIIC, 5cm Summitar f2 Lens
Well, for those of you following, I may be on a path to recovering most of my files lost in the Lightroom transfer. Until I'm done with that, I'm writing without access to most of my files. The one above is in my flickr account, so I could grab it for the purposes of this post. Fingers crossed, I hope to be back on my main image collection soon.
I recently bought a second wartime IIIC, which is currently on its way to see Mr. Youxin Ye, Leica service wizard, in Massachussetts. If you ever need your Barnack camera or lens serviced fast, well, and inexpensively, you should give Youxin a try. You can reach Youxin by email at:
I was reading posts about the IIIC and other Barnack cameras, when I came across a guest post on Steve Huff's site, by Khoa Tran.
(Click Here) to read the full post on Steve Huff's site.
In it, Khoa suggests three approaches to using a Barnack camera:
  1. As a point and shoot camera
  2. As a tool to develop your photographic skills
  3. As a portrait/people camera
By "point and shoot," I think he means to use a small aperture, hyperfocal or zone focusing, and preset exposure. When you do this, you can basically have in your mind as you walk down the street:
"Anything X ft or further away is in focus"
I do this all the time. All you have to do at this point is look for the right moment or composition, lift the camera to your eye, frame, and shoot. I totally agree with this being a great way to use one of these cameras.
As far as a tool to develop your skills, I think he's talking about the fact that these cameras have no meters. So, you can teach yourself to guesstimate exposure for different lighting situations. Again, I agree. Especially if you stick to a particular film speed (400 is my standard), you'll see that you can guess exposure settings much faster than you may have thought.
Finally, yes, the Leicas are great people cameras. I love to shoot photos of people, those I know (as above) and those I don't. The little Barnack Leica screwmount cameras are anything but threatening to people. Great for candid people photography.