Medium Format Adventures 4

Mamiya RB67

Time for an update on my adventures – or more often misadventures – with medium format photography.

As you know, this is a completely new territory for me. Until last autumn when I shot some university project work with a TLR 6×6 camera, I had never used a medium format camera.

I now have a Mamiya RB67. This is a robust piece of kit shooting 6cm x 7cm negatives on 120 roll film. You get 10 exposures out of one film. I now have three lenses for it: 50mm, 90mm, and 180mm. In terms of 35mm full-frame, these roughly equate to 25mm, 45mm, and 90mm. With lens attached it weighs in at around 3kg.

Luthier carving the neck of a bass guitar
Indoor shot with ambient light and 90mm lens 

The other acquisitions have been on ancillary kit: a lens hood, which fits all three lenses; two cable releases to enable use of mirror lock-up; and a 77mm yellow-green filter, which fits all three lenses.

I am just starting on a major new project which will feature using the RB67. This will be quite a complex piece of work. The ultimate intention is to photograph a hillside which is in the AONB in the Shropshire Hills. This hill is covered in ruined old industrial buildings.

I did a test shoot there a couple of weeks ago using a digital camera. This was to assess the viability of the site as a suitable subject.

Winter’s Afternoon by the Canal 
Test shoot for project with 50mm lens

Shooting film with medium format cameras is more complex than digital photography. It is much more time consuming and has none of the automation that goes with digital. This is why I have been doing test shoots locally. The tests have shown that there is a lot to learn.  

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