Friday Film: One year with film By Rikard Landberg

One year with film

By Rikard Landberg

Hi! I would like to share my experience of one year with only film photography with you and your readers. My first rolls I shoot was poster on your blog about a year ago, ”How a 51 Year old Leica made me leave the digital world”.

In a month it has been a year since I sold the last of my digital cameras and went over completely to film photography. The change went surprisingly easy. It was almost as if I ‘ve never photographed with digital cameras at all. I felt the same joy as when I as a teenager switched from film to digital. I rediscovered photography!

What I like shooting with film is the slower pace. It may sound like a cliché but it’s true. Now I focus on the picture and what works, I wait out the right moment. I know I can’t take 10 frames per second (as I could with my digital canon ) which means that I have to learn to see patterns of the objects I photograph and predict what will happen. This way of thinking has not only (according to me) resulted in better pictures , but I have also begun to take in more of what I am experiencing while photographing. With a digital camera, I missed so much since I put a lot of time trying different exposures or retaking an image 100 times for not looking right on the small screen on the back of the camera. With my Leica M5 I do not have that option which allows me to see what’s going on around me instead of wasting time staring into a screen. I’ve learned to trust my eyes and my camera in a whole new way. In short, it’s simply more fun to shoot right now!

The equipment I use is a Leica M5 with a Zeiss 35/2.8 BIOGON. When it ‘s been a year so I will reward myself with a M6, M4-P or a Zeiss Ikon. I will continue using film and rangefinders for a long time!

/ Rikard Landberg , Sweden

My websites / Landberg

Some pictures from the past year.



Brooklyn Bridge MAnTOYP


Raggare 3TOYP



sthlm_hip (2)TOYP-6

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  1. Superb photographs!! I too use an M5; in fact I have two, which I use regularly. Regrettably, it is difficult finding someone to service them if needed. I had to send mine from the UK to New York, but it did come back like a new camera. Have you tried Delta 3200, I haven’t but I am told it is a superb film. For my style of photography, I use Delta 50, rated at ISO 50 and processed in Perceptol. The grain is so fine as to make in difficult to see in an A3+ print, and the sharpness is superb. One of the lenses I use is a 50mm f2 Summicron dating from 1966 and I am amazed at how good this lens is.

  2. I am a street photographer from Ireland and I normally use a Leica M8 with 35 and 50mm Leica lenses. I used to use an M6 but on one occasion had an opportunity to try out a Leica M5. I cannot understand the bad press this unloved Leica seems to attract? I like it a lot and love the ease of use as Daniel mentioned above keep shooting

  3. Rikard, I had a look at your Flickr account and I love your photographs. You understand b&w photography very well. Many people produce exposures with lots of middle grays and no blacks. High contrast is my favourite and I am glad that you agree!

    Film is often underestimated and I think it’s a shame. I wonder why everyone feels the need to shoot colour by default? I think the average person’s photos would be nicer if shot on b&w (film or digital). Then again, maybe not.

    I disagree with you about the claim that film slows you down. The photographer’s discipline is what matters, not his medium. But – I do agree with one thing: film is a much more interesting medium. I won’t say it’s ‘better’ but I hope that more people use it. I love digital cameras for several reasons, and one of the main reasons is that they have made me appreciate film more than I used to. 🙂

    B&w film, IMHO, gives images more depth. I love a good colour film, of course, but sometimes, colour gets in the way of the image and adds nothing in compensation. B&w is more immersive.

    I have not shot a lot of film recently, but I will change that. I will now go and read your post from last year. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you! 😉
      I started with black and white because it’s cheaper:P But after a while i started to love it! I always liked rangefinders but the only digital option that i liked was the epson rd1 but film was more fun! (i tried the M8, M9 and rd1).

  4. In your previous article you mentioned an M2. What happened to that camera? I’ve been looking for a M2 for a while and would like your thoughts on it. Beautiful pictures by the way!

  5. Hi Rikard, like your pictures… mostly. I think you could have printed some a little darker and the contrast is a tad too high in some… to my taste. Maybe it’s because you underexpose it by two stops. Stick to nominal and they would look better in my opinion. Read in the past that the M5 was not loved, doesn’t matter, if you like it fine. I have a M4 and a M3, like them both, the M4 more so. Your pictures suggest to me that film forces you to be more considered with what you photograph and that sometimes makes for better images. Thanks for sharing! If you are so inclined, visit my site at where I have several images taken with the M4 50 rigid summicron and an old 35 mm summaron f2,8 – The newer 24 and 35 not having made it in there yet. Best regards!

  6. I shoot digital for 90% of my pictures, but whenever I’m going out for a walk around town I always carry my Canon QL17 compact fixed-lens rangefinder, usually loaded with Tri-X. For about $100, it’s great for people like me who want to shoot a film rangefinder every now and then. And the lens is actually quite good – 40 1.7 and sharp stopped down. The only complaint is that the rangefinder patch isn’t as square as with a more expensive RF, but hey – it’s only $100!

  7. Nice pictures Rikard, especially the last two in the row.
    It is sweet music to my ears when I hear someone so young to abandon digital for film. I can say I feel a little jealous as I do not practice film photography as often as in the past. But one thing surprises me with the digital shooting. Why so many people rattle their cameras at least three times (that’s the usual setting of bracketing mode most people use) in order to capture one picture or rattle at higher pace to capture a scene on the road. What did change with digital? Only the capturing mean changed. The concept and the technique remain the same. If somebody really wishes to be efficient then he/she must slow down.
    When you only have thirty five frames to go you must try to make the best use of them. The same thing more or less must be applied to digital. Otherwise you end up adding hard drives to the computer for nothing.
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece.

  8. Very encouraging to read both of your postings on film and rangefinder, and there is something really good about the way you compose your images. I’m just waiting for a Leica IIIf to arrive, and I’ll be visiting you again when I’m on my new learning curve! Thanks.

  9. Good to see enthusiastic M5 users; I always got the impression it was universally hated… 😉

  10. I’m another M5 user, either with a 1949 50mm f/2 Summitar or a brand-new 50mm f/2 Summicron. I didn’t give up digital, rather I use the M5 as either a refreshing break from or color backup to my M Monochrom.

    LOVE the M5. Started my M career with an M6, which I traded for the Monochrom. I honestly don’t see myself selling either of these bodies for as long as they function and/or can be serviced.

  11. nice images- I grabbed a M5 about 6 months ago and use it with a 50mm Summicron Rigid V2 (1957) love it- use it with a M6 and usually keep a 35mm Summicron ASPH on the M6. I personally love the M5, I think its more of a shooter user M, the shutter speed selected info in the VF with 1970s-style match-needle device versus the red triangles are perfect, love the larger shutter speed dial thats easy to access all without taking your eye from the VF, excellent spot meter that seems to me more accurate, self timer, last, a small nice advantage is the film rewind is on bottom and doesn’t release if you let get while rewinding…. I also like the size for my hand.

  12. Hi Rikard, good stuff and good story! What film did you use and do you do your own developing and scanning?

    I had an M5 for a while some time ago, paired with a 50/1.1 Nokton. Good results, but I just couldn’t get used to that angular body (filmwise I’m used to the FM2n and its brethren). What’s your take on the M5, a bit of a dark horse in Leica’s long history?

    • Hi and thank you!;). I use tmax [email protected] almost all the time! I develop my film with tmax developer. I think that tmax developer makes the best result when pushing to 1600. The M5 is my favorite camera! I don’t understand why a lot of people hate it!

      • Hi Rikard! Thought it wasn’t Tri-X; too smooth for that. Impressive results, amd I guess whether or not you get on with a camera can be very personal.

        I wish you lots of pleasure wi your set-up; seems like you’re having fun!

  13. I have been loving my Leica MP for similar reasons…two comments I can share from my experiences so far (though I haven’t cut over completely from digital): (1) using the MP has made me MUCH more aware of various ISO/Shutter Speed/Aperture combinations for different lighting situations, so much so, that I have finally started to experience what I’ve seen others describe before (knowing what settings would work with what lighting, even when I don’t have a camera!); (2) the other thing I’ve noticed is how spoiled I have become with digital in low light. I’m trying to find a good ISO to push my 400 TMAX to replicate the ease of use in digital, but it isn’t that easy — if I set it to 3200, it becomes easy to use indoors but much less useful in daylight. Harder to switch between ISO settings with film (although of course it is possible to rewind partially used film and then re-insert and advance to where you left off). Maybe a better solution would be film by day, digital by night!

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