With the Leica M3 into the DMZ

I keep exploring the option of cross-processing film. A recent trip to the DMZ was a good opportunity to try out the Agfaphoto CT100 film.

Equipped with a Leica M3 from 1957 and a 50mm Summicron lens from 1969, I took a trip to the DMZ, which is about an hour bus ride from Seoul.

It would be much easier and more instant to take photos with the phone and run some filters. But why quick and easy, if you can have it slow and complex? Because for me, the process and the sound of clicking the shutter button on a M3 is much more enjoyable that pressing a touch screen.

The Leica M3 is fully manual, no auto-focus, no internal light-meter. I had to survive with the Sunny 16 rule, as I did not take an external meter with me. Sunny 16 translates into f16 at 1/125 sec with this ISO100 film in full sunlight. My hit rate to expose correctly was about 50%. Definitely some room for improvement.

Steam locomotive from the war area with quite some bullet holes
Steam locomotive from the war area with quite some bullet holes

Once the film is exposed, it goes back into the fridge until I have enough rolls to drop them off at the local lab for developing the film. I am using fotomaru.com in Seoul.

Instructing the team before entering the 3rd tunnel
Instructing the team before entering the 3rd tunnel

Scanning at home is a bit of an effort, too. First, it takes time. Second, there is the dust which seems impossible to get rid off completely. Third, finding the accurate color comes with a steep learning curve. Not an issue with cross-processed film, where color shifts are expected. Fourth, did I mention it takes time?

Changing coins for the binocular
Changing coins for the binocular

Most of these photos got a magenta borders from the scanning. I don't really care about it in this case. It just adds to the character. Though I wouldn't want this with scans of let's say Porta 400 or Fuji 400h.

Peeking on Kaesong in North Korea
Peeking on Kaesong in North Korea
Lookout towards North Korea
Lookout towards North Korea

I also found out that my M3 has a slow shutter problem, resulting into a dark gradient on the left side. I guess the Leica shows its age, but nothing that can't be fixed by Leica Customer Service.

Not sure, if I will be able to say that about my Leica M9 in 2073.

Effect of a slow shutter curtain
Effect of a slow shutter curtain

Thanks for stopping by.

Feel free to leave a comment if you enjoy the photos.


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