First Rolls of 120 (Medium Format) Film

When I was first into photography, I never was really … wait for it … exposed (get it? … I’m sorry) to medium or large format cameras. I always thought, right or wrong, that they were expensive and really never considered anything beyond 35mm. I started learning more about medium format at least on the digital side not too long ago, but that stuff is stupid expensive for a hobbyist and, of course, given my foray into film lately, isn’t really a good fit for me. These days there are many medium format cameras can be had for actually pretty reasonable prices – doubly true if you are patient.

I’m not all that patient but it ended up working out. I was originally going to get a TLR camera but it seems like the word is out on those. They are nearly, sometimes more than, the price of a medium format SLR camera and many require cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting (aka CLA). Even though I thought a TLR would be very fun (for it’s 6×6 format but also its fixed lens and different shooting style), I ended up with a Mamiya 645 1000s.

It’s a brick. But in a good way? It’s not the camera to use for street photography. At least not mine. It’s heavy and I have a manual focus lens and no light meter on it. That means taking photos is a calculated affair. And that’s ok! Part of the purpose was to slow down – even more, with this camera and really decide what and how I wanted to shoot. And as a result, the heft of it feels – well, it’s heft with a purpose. The only quirky thing about it is that the only right handed handles they made came with an auto-winder and are rather expensive. So I have a left-hand grip and that’s the hand I’ve used to focus cameras since ever. In practice though, it’s not terribly bad – it’s another method of making me slow down. Also it’s a non-issue on a tripod.

Another downside of mine, though correctable, is that it looks like I may have a light leak as evidenced by some of the photos. Until I get some new foam strips to replace the old ones, I’m going to try simply putting electrical tape around the film door as an ugly stop-gap. Finally, there are not nearly as many lens choices available given my Nikon N80 can take both old and new lenses. There are some other lenses I have thought about eventually picking up if I end up wanting to shoot with it more often though.

All told, though, I love this camera! I won’t always shoot with it but when I do I have a blast! It’s really a camera meant for shooting with a purpose or with something I already have in mind so my normal goto for film will probably continue to be something in 35mm. Still, I can’t wait to try some slide film with it such as Velvia 50 or maybe some Ektachrome once it comes out.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.