Just Use It
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A reader wrote, concerned about using his "pristine" LEICA 35mm camera, lest he might wear it out and lower its value.
You SHOULD be using it. Unlike plastic digital cameras which are intended to be thrown away in several years, LEICA 35mm cameras are made to support decades of heavy professional use, just as are Nikon's and Canon's pro 35mm cameras like the F5 and EOS 1V.
Many of you have forgotten film, but even amateurs shoot a few rolls a day when out shooting. A pro will shoot dozens of rolls a day, every day, for a decade before sending a camera out for overhaul.
Too many hobbyists get excited about "getting back into film," and sheepishly shoot only a roll or two, and think they're getting somewhere. While it's good to FART well and concentrate, it takes several rolls just to get acquainted with a new camera, and then when you are, shoot it hard and long. As the saying goes, film is cheap. Your time and getting out there are far scarcer than your film.
With a top-notch 35mm camera like the LEICA, it will stay like new for decades and decades, unless you run 10 rolls a day through it, every day, for decades. Shooting just 10 rolls a week it will last another 50 years before another overhaul. LEICA isn't junk; no consumer is going to wear through the chrome or wear the shutter from only shooting a few hundred rolls. The reason LEICA and the others earned their reputation is precisely because of the amount of use you can give them, while still looking and working flawlessly.
The only thing that wears a camera is abuse. Don't bang it around and keep the sand and water out of it! In the case of newer Canon and Nikon pro cameras, they are designed to resist this as well.
The most wear that comes to a camera is when it's left to bang around in an unpadded case with other unprotected gear; having it around your neck and using it doesn't wear a good camera at all unless you're shooing 1,000 rolls a month. People have forgotten just how tough a pro 35mm camera is designed to be; it's like people worried about only driving their military tank on the grass lest they damage its delicate treads.
Use doesn't wear or tarnish a good camera. That's precisely why they are valuable in the first place: resistance to wear. If you have some panty-waisted special edition, well, that's not for any use anyway, but a real camera lasts indefinitely under consumer usage. A camera has no value if it's not used; you can't take it or its resale value to Heaven, but your images will last forever and make you immortal when you do shoot it.
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