This is how 2020 was supposed to go: I was committing to use my rangefinder for at least 36 rolls of film. I wasn't supposed to buy anything. And at the end of the year I'd have a much better sense of if rangefinder and/or film photography was for me, and probably have improved my technique and monochrome sensibility. All of this would help me decide if it was worth spending $7000 on a new Leica M-A that I could use for the rest of my life.

I know what you're thinking – three rolls of film per month, on average, isn't actually all that much.

How 2020 has gone so far: I've used five rolls of film in January, and will probably exceed that in February.  That puts me on pace to break the roll-a-week barrier that I originally rejected (film is 'spensive) during the months when the weather is least-photogenic. Oh, and I also bought myself a Nikon F6, 50/1.8G, and Sigma 24-35 to use on it. But wait! That makes sense! I still had the Nikon 85/2.8D PC-E lens from my DSLR days, and it works on the film camera.

I like my Zeiss rangefinder. It's smallish with great little lenses, and it's a pleasure to use. It has that whole "film experience" thing mastered. And I love the idea of a starting out with a brand-new fully mechanical camera, with no unrepairable electronics to break, that would probably outlive me. But I'm never as much of a minimalist as I wish I was, and an M-A body would cost as much as the Zeiss Ikon, Nikon, and all seven of their lenses.

I also like my F6. While it's still new-to-me (bought on ebay, probably about ten years old) I already think its image quality exceeds that from my rangefinder. It can also do things that the rangefinder can't – like use my 85mm tilt-shift macro, or autofocus with a zoom wide-angle lens, for example. Trying to find a workable wider-angle lens for the Ikon was what started me down the path that ended with the F6. It's the better solution to the problem, and it gives me distinctly different cameras that have complimentary strengths. 


So on the second day of the second month of my project – 20200202 – I've made some adjustments. 

I still plan on shooting at least 36 rolls of film. I still hope that it will improve my skills. I still hope to not buy any more cameras or lenses this year. I still hope to find out if film photography is for me, and with luck, the cameras that I already have could last the rest of my life.

There's now a dedicated repository for my photos and writing around this film-year-plus project. Find it as the Film Future folder on the Projects section of this site.