Earlier in the year, a friend of mine bought a Mamiya RB67. It was a strange choice given that his photography is usually fast-moving, spontaneous stuff, but like many of us, he identified the type of work he wanted to move towards and bought a camera suited to it. Having tried it, and frustrated by its size and limited portability, he used it very rarely and has found himself returning to the style (and equipment) with which he felt more comfortable.
It’s been interesting to watch from the sidelines and made me think about what equipment and ‘process’ suits the type of photography that I aspire to make. My favourite work (concrete, carscapes and night time) is usually shot from a tripod and doesn’t rely on the subject not running away while I’m shooting it. Something like the ‘photographic boat-anchor’ RB should work for me.
…and so on Wednesday night, we met for a beer and to exchange cameras. He’s going to try out my Fujica while I get a core strengthening work-out from using the mighty Mamiya. I took it to work the following day, had a quick read of the manual, loaded up a roll of Neopantastic Acros and set off on my lunch break (in the rain) to give it a try.
These pictures were all shot through the same day, but using different shutter speeds, various aperture settings and the mirror lock-up on a couple of occasions. The results are as you’d expect for a ‘professional’ medium-format camera, with massive amounts of detail and lovely greys between the contrasty blacks and whites.
The pictures are snapshots, but the ‘workflow’ involved in taking each shot was something I enjoyed very much. The camera handles beautifully (despite its weight) and when the shutter is eventually fires, the chain of events that results in the mirror lifting and the shutter opening has a sound like a well rehearsed orchestra…
As I’ve written on 52 Rolls previously, there’s still a huge gap between the work that I produce when shooting digitally and that with film. This camera, if I can be bothered lugging it around, will help close that gap…
Mamiya RB67, 127mm f/3.8, Neopan Acros, Ilfotec HC for 6 minutes, scanned at 1200dpi.
My previous rolls are here.