Recently, I’d been toying with the idea of getting a 5×4 camera. I feel the need to slow the pace down, to create more considered photos – and not just to dash off a couple of hundred shots and sort it out in the edit.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – I’d bought the Ansel Adams books – the negative, the print and the camera, when they were first published to help me get started. And, since I’ve started getting more serious about picture making, I’ve read a lot more about large format photography and looked at a lot of cameras.. However, this excellent post on www.largeformatphotography.info caused me to reconsider my options and intentions.
Right now, I need to focus less on the technology and more on the creative aspects, but if I move into large format photography, it’s clear I’m going find a steep learning curve, merely to start taking pictures. But there is an alternative and it’s a reasonable compromise: 120 roll film. Doug’s foray into this medium, has only served to reinforce this notion.
I used to own a WWII era Rolleiflex and shot a few rolls of film on it – I’d sold it on eBay a few years ago. It was a camera I enjoyed using and wished I’d done more with. Doug’s Yashica Mat was £75 bargain, so I started scouring the net for something similar. The problem is, once you’ve had a Rollei (even a very old one), it’s the camera what you’ll want again. There are plenty around, but they’re not cheap – about £800 for a good one. Another good alternative is the Mamiya C330, interchangeable lenses, very good optics, there are plenty around and it’s not too expensive, especially given the quality of manufacture. It was also another camera I’d considered buying in the past.
Unexpectedly, though, a fourth alternative appeared, a camera I thought too expensive to contemplate – the Hasselblad. My friend Ken is reducing his rather large collection of camera gear and amongst all the hardware he had a 500C/M, with lenses, back etc, for sale. Ken lent it to me for a day, to give it a test drive. We went east to Canvey Island, on a glorious sunny day and ran off a roll to try it out.
It was an interesting experience and, whilst they are not great photos, the results I got are encouraging and, thanks to the sale of a pile of photo gear on eBay, for a change I had the funds to buy it.
I’m looking forward to doing more work with it – I’ll be picking up a 50mm lens from Ken in a couple of weeks and I’ll be out in Derbyshire to try a landscape or two.
Meantime, for your perusal here’s the first roll.
posted on 11 September 2010
category: photo links