Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shooting with my Mamiya

My Mamiya C33 and the 120 Project

My 1960 Mamiya C33 series Professional Twin Reflex Camera

No matter how much technology advances, there are certain art forms that resist change. Just like photoshop cannot replace an artist's easel, Digital technology does not replace the old film practices in their entirety. One example that has yet to be matched in quality only by the most advanced digital cameras is the medium format camera, in this case, my Mamiya C33 twin reflex camera. This camera uses a 120mm roll of film you insert instead of the 35mm roll on most SLR cameras. The 2"x2" negative packs as much detail as a 40 mega pixel image sensor. Depending on lens quality, you might even get more detail. 

The drawbacks? No built in light meter. All light measurements need to be done by an external hand held meter and dialed into the camera manually. It is also very bulky. Weighing in close to 5 pounds, it can be like swinging a club if swung around in defense of a camera thief. It is also expensive to buy the hard to find rolls of film and a place that will still develop them. From time to time I would sneak in to my college dark room and develop the pictures that way. 

You might think that these drawbacks would stop the modern photographer from having anything to do with such a camera. On the contrary, most photographer's dreams are to build their digital portfolio's and reputation good enough so that they can go back to shooting film cameras like these. My goal as a photographer is to incorporate this camera into my wedding photography, once I have established consumer confidence in my work.

Here are some examples of photos I have taken with this camera

These pictures go back to the time I was penniless living in northside, Fort Worth. I would take walks into Downtown with my camera and shoot at anything that looked interesting. 

Self portrait at age 19. No digital effects were used. Taken on
the bulb setting on my camera.
My lovely wife, the day I proposed.

The 120 film project is an ongoing project that I hope to build on and one day exhibit in my own personal gallery exhibition. Stay tuned for more pictures with my 50 year old camera.

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