I’m in a hotel in Leeds just about to book an early morning wake up call.. 4am to be precise, for a taxi to take me to Leeds/Bradford airport for a flight to one of my all time favourite cities Barcelona. It’s a city I visit a lot, I love it for capturing street photography images but it’s also a great city to teach street photography too and this visit is to do just that. I work a lot with Simon from South Essex College and again we’re going to Barcelona for a couple of days with 9 of his students to practice street photography and to also do some night photography.
I’ve booked to stay a couple of extra days too to do some work for me and also catch up with my friend Joan, he runs photography tours and has a studio and gallery in the Gothic Quarter so I’m really looking forward to catching up with him and enjoying some fine wine and tapas.
Twenty four hours before, I had to make the choice of which cameras to take with me. I’m very lucky as I have quite a few to choose from but I know I have to travel light and obviously I want to take film cameras, but which ones?
Normally I would go with my trusty Leica M2 and M3 along with a 35mm f2 and 50mm f2 lens but earlier in the week I had taken out my Rolleicord Va and pushed a film through it; I hadn’t used it for a while and had forgotten how much I loved it and I thought Mmm a bit of medium format will suit me fine for this trip. I like to work with medium format as I like the size of the negatives and it will be a bit of a challenge using it for street photography. I like a challenge and to push myself outside of my comfort zone. So choice no 1 made.. my beautiful Rolleicord Va. On to choice no 2..
I’ve chosen a Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm Takumar f1.4 lens and one of my favourite 35mm lenses, a Carl Zeiss Flektogon f.2.4. Both cameras are small enough to fit into my carry on cabin luggage as well as a small camera bag whilst walking the streets of Barcelona. Choice of film, I’m going old school too.. I’m going to take Ilford FP4+ and Ilford HP5+. I’ll show you the results when I get back.
It then got me thinking would I be compromising on quality by not taking my Leica’s. Well to start with I weighed up the cost of both kits. My 2 leica’s and lenses stand me at around £2,500 a hefty price tag to say the least. On the other hand the Pentax Spotmatic and 2 lenses cost me under £200 and the Rolleicord £200, a total cost of £400. Over a £2000 difference, quite a difference I thought.If you equate cost with quality then you would think I am compromising so this might be a good experiment. I will, on my return, give you my thoughts and the results. But I have to say I have already an inclination of how this is going to go. Stay tuned, you might be surprised.