A $2K Leica M2 or a $30 Nikon N80

The difference in price is perhaps $1970 (possibly much more!) That amount will buy 328 rolls of Ilford HP5 film. That’s 11,808 exposures, frames of film or pictures. Each line represents one roll of film, picture your refrigerator full of film.

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Oh, and both cameras will make a portrait of your friend at dinner tonight.

The Leica is a bit smaller, and certainly more attractive to look at. Solid brass, too. The Nikon is plastic and metal, though paired with a 50mm f1.4 lens, it will even let in twice as much light as that Leica with its pricey (f2.0) Summicron. Also, the Nikon has autofocus so you won’t miss shots due to focus, it’s so quick.

What we choose to make photographs with certainly can be inspired by the camera, how it works, how it feels in the hand. Whether we choose to take it with us or not. But I promise you I can do so much with either camera and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, the final photograph is much more the product of the subject and light and what I choose to do with them than the camera.

We know the Leica can make quality photos. (Everyone knows!) Here’s one from the Nikon. Is the quality high enough?

A portrait of my friend, Tom. Made with a Nikon N80 with 50mm f1.4 on Ilford HP5+ film.

Because the camera body does feels lightweight and not terribly rugged, but nonetheless, it is working well. It is lightning quick. And it has full program mode if you want to hand it to a non-photographer to make photographs with.

I love my Leica. And I love my Nikon. Different cameras for different days. Now, to find out what to shoot. That’s actually the bigger question–not what to shoot with which camera in hand, but what to shoot subject-wise.

Always the more important question.

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