The Mamiya Medium Format Film Project - travispaigephotography

My latest film project takes local photographers into the world of medium format film photography. A little background: Medium format found a niche with professional and avid amateur photographers mostly. The cameras typically use 120 roll film, which is 60mm wide versus the more common 35mm film format. 120 film produces a larger image ideal for bigger enlargements. Photographers also enjoy the enhanced depth of field control. The cameras are bulkier and have fewer automatic features like autofocus.

About the Project

The project focus will include three genres: Portraiture, Architecture, and Abstract. Each photographer will have up to two weeks with the camera(s). The preferred film is B&W, but the photographers can choose their own film. The subject matter is also left up to the photographers. This time around, the photographers will have a choice of developing their own film or having it processed. There will also be a meeting at a DBA location to use the cameras together as a group. At the end of the project, we are hoping for a public showing of the images.

The Cameras

Mamiya RB67

The RB67 stands for rotating back 6X7 (image size in cm). The film-back rotates for portrait and landscape orientation. The camera launched in 1970 as the RB67 Professional. The camera system comprises the body, top viewfinder, back adaptor, film back, and the lens. The camera is completely mechanical and requires no battery to operate. It is a manual camera with no autofocus or exposure. It was one of the most popular studio cameras of the 1970s. We will be using it with the 90mm f/3.8 lens.

The first Mamiya 645 (the 645 stands for 6X4.5cm image size) was introduced in 1975 and was made until 2006. The 6x4.5cm size allowed for 15 shots on a standard 120 roll film. The cameras are also smaller and lighter than a Mamiya RB67 or RZ67. The camera we are using is a 645E. It is the entry version in the second generation family of the 645s. It does not have the removable back, switchable viewfinder, or self-timer like the other second-generation 645 models. We will be using 55, 80, and 110mm f/2.8 lenses. The 645E does have through the lens light metering unlike the RB67 but still is manual focus.

Mamiya 645E

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