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A cautionary tale

Discussion in 'Leica Camera Chat' started by John Tarrant, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. John Tarrant

    John Tarrant Active Member

    For many years I have been a Leica M3 user. once, many years ago I observed some old tram lines being unexpectedly dug up by some workmen. Trust M3 immediately to eye and several snaps taken. Later, back at the darkroom I discovered an absence of film in the camera! I was so used to the fact that I ALWAYS had film in the camera that I had neglected to watch those little red dots that Leitz had thoughtfully engraved on the rewind knob, rotating! Perhaps all film users have done such a stupid thing at least once in their lives.
    Today I took a digital Leica for an outing. I carefully checked the menu to inform the beast that it had an elderly Summicron attached (My lenses have not got six bit coding). The camera felt surprisingly similar in use to my trusty M3 except that I had to spend time arguing with it about exposure (I had a similar experience when using an M6 some years ago!). The only other disconcerting experience about shooting with the beast was the disappearance of the viewfinder frame lines if the camera went to sleep. However the rangefinder still worked and by the time I started to focus the camera woke up and frame lines appeared! So, satisfied with the fun of using the beast I returned to the computer and...no memory card in the camera!!
    Moral: even in this digital age I can still perform the equivalent of forgetting to put a film in the camera. Yes, I know that had I looked at the screen I would have been aware of the lack of images as a result of the lack of a card, but I am a film photographer and do not look at the back of the camera after taking a picture! It makes me think, if I had an M10D I would not have had the option of checking the screen for pictures (It does't have a screen).
    Perhaps for dunderheads like myself digital cameras need a mechanical "card inserted" reminder on them. ( or even a little whiteboard on the back, like the M4P where you can scribble the filetype on it?). Anyway I am off to take all the pictures again!
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I've never managed that particular trick. I always kept my film cameras loaded and with 35mm I always checked that the rewind knob had tension as soon as I picked up the camera (a trick I was taught by the chief photographer at my first full time job). I too used a M3 and I wish Leica had chosen to make a perfect digital copy of it instead of those strange M6 style things.

    Leica and Rollei from right.jpg
  3. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    One huge advantage of having two card slots on a camera is that one doesn't generally remove both of them at the same time, thus there is likely to be one card available at all times. Unless of course the second slot is used as a duplicate of the first for back-up purposes. In the days of film that just wasn't an option so I see the second card as extra capacity rather than back-up.
  4. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I once saw somebody load film into a Zorki rangefinder and start take some pictures with its lens cap in place.
    I decided to tell him, so he rewound the film and started again.
    Should have got an SLR...
  5. pixelpuffin

    pixelpuffin Well-Known Member

    I’m undecided wether I should admit this tale...it is so embarrassing...

    what the hell...

    After leaving college, I’d been there far too long. Way too much fun!! I’d just completed my HND in photography, thought I woz the bees knees. (I’m cringing here) anyway had a friend (ex -student) who worked for the press.
    I’ll get you some work, he says
    Sure enough a few weeks later I’m invited up (60-70m away) All is fine, I’m out with a photographer doing the mundane stuff. After 2-3wks the editor starts giving me my own work.
    I tell ya, I thought I was a war veteran, strutting my stuff (oh gawd) had a weathered billingham, pair of OM1’s with obligatory winders, 3 primes (28,50 & 135) along with a Metz 45. Thought I was Don McCullan, I did!
    Strolls back into the office and the editor asks me to go straight over to new car dealership just opened. They were leaving space in the layout so be quick. Eager to impress I raced over, the manager is well up for it, gets all his staff jumping in the air. Balloons and Flags everywhere. I’m loving it. Races back to the office, dashed into the darkroom, opens the camera.............!!

    I wanted the ground to open up.

    I grabbed camera, shoved film in, flew down the fire escape, RAN to the dealership, they were surprised to see me, lied and said most had their eyes shut, could we try again.

    15min later film is being developed!!

    I never repeated that.
    It brought me down a peg or three
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  6. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I used a new (old) DSLR without remembering to set not to shoot without a card in and shot 20 of the installation of a refurbished generator into a train in Carmarthen at the steam railway :(
  7. John Tarrant

    John Tarrant Active Member

    It's brave of you to admit to this! When I was making some sort of living as a photographer I made some major blunders and had to create some remarkable reasons for producing different results from those expected. Probably the worst thing I ever did was to bring several rolls of film back from a job, take them into the darkroom, put them onto the hangers ( I was processing them in deep tanks) lower them into the developer and then, ooh dear, turn the light off!. Needless to say I had to rush out and try to put another set of pictures together to cover the loss. In photography there is always the possibility of catastrophic failure!
  8. pixelpuffin

    pixelpuffin Well-Known Member

    Ha Ha, we can laugh now, but there is no worse feeling is there?

    another tale....

    a female students best friend was getting married. She asked if I would take a few shots before the wedding
    So, we did a kind of edgy theme in a dark under passage using only the sodium lights, bear in mind this was the mid 90’s. it was all light fun and because there was no pressure typically the results came out well. Spurned on by these she asked if I’d do a few more in black and white Documentary style. I had no fresh BW film, everywhere was shut. I remembered the freebies that the ilford rep had given me. So decided to use those.
    Went to her house, only had two rolls (72 shots) so decided to try all different ideas both inside and out. Everything went brilliantly. She was great infront if the camera, completely confident.
    Next day I went to college and asked to develop the films, the technician said he was doing a batch, he would do mine at the same time. I have no idea what went wrong but every film processed came out clear....nothing, completely transparent. I had to break the news to the bride. It was awful. She shouted and screamed, told me to get out.
    To this day I have no idea what happened. I can only think the films were put into the fixer first. But the technicians denied this. It wasn’t even my fault, but to the bride it was. Knocked my confidence for a while.
  9. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Many years ago a friend of mine inherited a pre-war Leica, after many year of using an SLR. He managed to shoot 3 rolls of Kodachrome 64 with the lens cap in place, and the Kodak labs in Hemel Hempstead returned all 3 rolls unmounted with a polite note asking if the film had been sent in error without having been used. Fortunately he had been experimenting, and not taken any 'once in a lifetime' shots.
  10. pixelpuffin

    pixelpuffin Well-Known Member

    When I left college (after my brief time as a press photographer) I decided to realise a promise I made to myself. I traded a huge amount of stuff plus cash and purchased a used mint M6 Panda with 2 lenses a new 35/f2 asph plus a used 90/2.8M
    Prior to which I had never shot rangefinders in my life.

    Got home, loaded slide film and went out......absolutely hated it!! HATED IT!!
    I returned home, took the film out, removed the battery, boxed everything up and put it in the safe. Went and put a film in my trusted eos600. Sheer bliss.
    This would be 97/98’. I finally sold it around 3 years ago. It hadn’t been touched since it was packed away. It was utterly mint. I put the battery back in....and the damn light just came on!! Unbelievable build quality but one for the connoisseurs.
  11. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Some of the 1970/1980s Japanese 35 mm 'compact' rangefinders with 'trap needle' exposure meters used to have the CDS cell above the lens, but inside the area covered by the lens cover, so any attempt to use the camera with the lens cover in place would fail because the camera 'knew' there wasn't enough light. The old Leica in my story had no light meter, and my friend was working with a hand held meter.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Daftest thing I did with my M3 was to load a film, go off on a day's shooting around Edinburgh, and after about 50 shots realise that I hadn't loaded the film properly... but at least that was just personal stuff.
    Daftest thing I've done on a paid shoot was just last year. I was shooting a conference at The Belfry, which as usual meant shooting near the limits of ISO, even with fast lenses. I shoot with 2 bodies, an EOS R and an EOS 5D IV, with a couple of spare bodies just in case. The R has a silent electronic shutter mode, and the Dual Pixel Autofocus ensures fast and accurate focusing for my 50mm and 85mm f1.2 lenses, the 5D IV normally has the 70-200 f2.8 on.
    I had arranged in a break to ahoot the new chair of the organisation (a trade association) for their website and her LInkedIn profile in a small room (actually a bar that was closed for the event). Got all the lighting set up in advance - very simple two flash with softboxes setup, and an LED continuous light for a bit of backlighting. I checked exposure with the conference organiser as a model - with flash meter and test shots, noting requirements for f1.2 and f5.6, tocover off what I needed. Come the break, we move in there, switch the lights on, fit the radio trigger, set the EOS R, re-check exposure and shoot with the 1.2s at the two apertures, one after the other. Sitter, a middle-aged woman who doesn't like having her picture taken isn't looking too happy.
    Belt and braces, I switch to the 5D IV, whack it in manual, 1/250 and the 70-200 @ f5.6, stick the radio trigger on, and fire away. Sitter seems much happier for some reason,, probably that I'm shooting from slightly further back. Time running out, whack the SD Cards out, start to upload everything to the laptop, new cards in and go to shoot the next session. At which point I realise that the 5D IV is still set to ISO 32,000, and looking at the shots on the CF card, are useless.
    Manage to grab her at lunch, and suggest a few shots in the garden, which thankfully go really well., and she's very happy.
    But what I thought was a sensible approach to redundancy in my shooting nearly lost me the shot...
  13. pixelpuffin

    pixelpuffin Well-Known Member

    iso 32,000 !!! EEK
    I bet you nearly fell over!

    Have to say, reading that made me shiver, not the iso glitch, but the whole conference shoot. That is my worst possible scenario I can imagine. I would not enjoy doing that. That’s completely out of my comfort zone. Good on you tho’ for having the confidence to take it on.

    p.s didn’t know you had the iv, nice.
  14. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Having been told by an art student that they didn't want me to photograph their poster with my fuji x100S because they'd rather it was done with a 'proper' camera, perhaps 5D IV instilled more confidence in your sitter!
  15. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Add a battery grip for Proper Camera hugeness?
  16. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    How very dare they!
  17. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Presumably you responded that it their poster wasn't reproduced from an original painted in oils it couldn't be proper art?
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  18. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member


    Burnt stick on rock wall, surely? ;)
  19. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    My thoughts exactly.
  20. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    No I just left them to find someone else willing to give them their time and skill to do the job and carried on enjoying my camera.

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