Medium format cameras.
I have always wanted one, and as I was in my youth I had a period that I actually saved money to try get my hands on one at some point. On my wish list was a good second hand Mamiya RB67 or even the more expensive and proper RZ67 system. I never got there though. They were way out of range, and my saved money were put into something else. Probably nothing important either.
I like to carry a Mamiya RZ around town when I got the chance to do so. It's a different thing than those tiny 35mm film cameras. No, it's not exactly the thing to do if you don't want to attract some attention, but then again I feel that it's not as bad as you should think. People seem to not realize what you point at them until it's to late anyway.
As I later in life started to understand the two facts of modern photography, that d*gi*al was taking over the mass market but film can still be bought, I started to play with that old dream again. A quick search on the net gave me what I hoped for, and I was soon the owner of a very good looking Mamiya RZ67 with the standard 110mm normal lens and a bunch of extra stuff. Not cheap as chips, but not exactly expencive either. I knew what these were good for, and spent the next few days testing it. In the evenings I developed the films, and I was kind of lost into the world of those nice, big 6x7 cm film frames I got out of it.
Looking down the street towards the big tree in Kirkwall. Mamiya RZ67 seen through a 50mm lens.
I used this camera more or less all the time over the next couple of years, and also bought a couple of more lenses for it. There was a man in my home town who had this huge RZ collection that he was never using anymore, and he was quite eager to get rid of it. So I bought the two lenses and some other small bits and parts from him for next to nothing, and was happy with that for another year or so.
This is a cropped version of a late night shot I did with one of my Mamiya RZ67 cameras in Stromness, Orkney, a few years back. Supported it partly on some bollard on the quay, adjusted it to a quite long shuttertime and fired off. Came out quite close to what I had hoped, to be honest.
Three cameras, and 10 or 11 lenses, require some space I can tell you! My wife will certainly fully agree. No need to ask the question though...
I got the full range of glass, from the widest 37mm fisheye to the big chuncky heavy as the mountains 500mm tele. And more or less every thing in between, of course. Not the cheepo versions either. APO, ULD and what have you. The only one I don't have, but sometimes feel I could have put into some use would be the 65mm. It's quite easy to get hold of if I really feel that I need it some day, so I don't think to much about it to be honest. I can easily live without it as well.
This is the closest I've ever been to Ireland I would think. Looking down on South Stack Lighthouse on Anglesay in Wales a couple of years ago. On a really nice day, whenever that would happen, you could probably see a bit further over the Minch than we could this day. Mamiya RZ67 again.
Anyway. I should probably put in a few words about using this system for photography as well. After all, that's what all this was built for, and why we're all here, right?
First of all, it's a heavy system. Sometimes if I just run out for some random snapping I will bring one camera and one or two lenses. That's enough out there on the streets, to be honest. Then again, there are times I load the car to the limit, and bring most of the stuff. But only if I got a lot of time but no clue about where I'm going and what I'm about to be snapping, that is.
Working with the Mamiya RZ67 system is like a dream, to be honest. It works great, got that huge and quite bright viewfinder, has an easy way to change between film backs, does not suffer of any big major flaws I know of, and is a lot lighter to haul around than it actually looks. Just don't mount that 500mm and try to carry that monster around for the whole day.
Of all this equipment I got for this system, there's only one small part that has failed for me through these years, and that's one single small film back. It started to do things it's own ways, not being to willingly when the winder was operated to get to the next frame. A very quick job inside the old bugger, and all was well again.
Having all these lenses, cameras, film backs, winders and what do I know... without any major hickups?! It should mean that the equipment is built to last. Not even a light leak in all those years. Amazing I would say.
Back home again. There's some huge boulders lying around this area. At some point back in time they obviously have been let loose down the mountain side. I bet there was some shaky ground and good noise made as they tumbled down...
Shutter times on this beast is in the range between 8sec. down to 1/400'th of a sec. Full steps on the older version, half steps in the Pro II version. Focusing is very accurate, and works like a dream. The bellow seems to be made in a quite strong material, but exactly how strong I have yet to find out...
I got a prism finder for this system, but I almost never use it. The camera is heavy enough as is, at a weight of around 2,5 kg's, and the prism finder just adds to it bigtime. Not that the weight is the biggest problem though, but as soon as you connect that finder you have to look through the camera by lifting it to the eye. Then it soon becomes a considerable weight, and I kid you not.
As long as I use the waist level finder, the funny funnel you know, it's absolutely no problem at all to take good snaps with this camera. You can even keep it steady for a quite sharp shot at fairly long shuttertimes if that's what you fancy. Mind the mirror though, because that's a quite big source of movement in this camera, if sharpness is something important to you. I usually don't care too much, and tend to press the shutter anyway just to get it done with. You get what you get, me thinks. Sometimes it's great, other times not.
A cool car in Conway, Wales.
That's about it, I would say. Oh, and it's got this very fancy and easy way to turn the film back 90 degrees so you will be able to get a portrait oriented snap as well, should you wish one.
Back home this is. The view from our cottage at Sulesund, straight over the "Storfjorden" fjord. This mountain formation is called "Masdalsklova", and I got a few couple of pics of it. Some good, quite a few not that great.
Any questions? Don't hesitate to throw them at me!
Next blog post will definately not be a gear related one! Don't know why I even started this "project" to be honest. As I told you, there are more than enough people doing this all the time anyway. Think I might just simply stop right here and now, and rather talk about something useful instead. Unless you are begging me for more, of course :)