Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by ajk1, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. ajk1

    ajk1 TPF Noob!

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    Long time lurker - first time poster....

    So I decided to finally make the big jump from digital to film…
    That’s right, I’m going old school.

    I have been using a Canon 40D for the most part (had a Rebel XTI and a backup) but I wanted to switch to medium format so I could make larger prints. I also wanted to give film a try because I want to slow down my photography and not just shoot a lot of photos at different exposures and different composures.

    A friend sold me his Mamiya RB67 Pro S with a 6x7 120 film back and waist level viewfinder. He also included 5 Mamiya Sekor C lenses (50mm f/4.5, 65mm f/4.5, 90mm f/3.8, 127mm f/3.8 and 180mm f/4.5) and a cable release. I also recently bought a Polaris SPD500 Dual 5 Flash Meter – so I think I am good there.

    I am totally new to film and I need some advice – the last film camera I had was a 35mm point and shoot.

    What type of film would you recommend? I will mainly be using this for landscapes, cityscapes and outdoor portraits – some might be nighttime, but they would be long exposures.

    I saw that there focusing screens are among the accessories? What are they? Should I get one? Which one(s)?

    Would you suggest a prism viewfinder? Or will the waist level viewfinder suffice?

    Would I want a Polaroid back as well? What would be its use?

    Can anyone recommend a good backpack that would fit all of that?

    Is there anything else you would recommend for my medium format kit?

    I’m sure I will have more questions as I work with this camera (like where is a good gym because this thing is a beast!) but I think that is all for now.

    Of course any other advice would be great.

    Thanks in advance!

     
  2. Imaginara

    Imaginara TPF Noob!

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    Well, as someone who done the same trip here is my feedback =)

    Film, there are a lot of choises still and i would suggest try a few and see which one has the characteristics you want. I shoot mainly negative film today and scan all results so i keep them digitally and also print them digitally.

    Focusing screens are accessories to help you achieve faster and more accurate focus. I would not go out and get a new one directly, first see how the one the comes with the camera works for you.

    Prism viewfinder works better for portrait and fashion shoots (in my opinion anyway). For landscape (and especially on the 6x7 format) i prefere a waist level viewfinder. At least until you have to put the camera way high.

    Polaroid backs are very very very useful unless you know exactly how your camera will work in every given situation. I tend to measure with the light meter, snap off a polaroid, check that the exposure looks good, then switch to the film back and do the actual exposure.

    Backpacks are plenty but make sure you get one that is large enough to hold medium format gear. I bet there are others here who can suggest one (i'm interested in this aswell ;)

    Not much else. It's a great camera and you will have loads of fun with it. I had one about 15 years ago but now use Mamiya 645 Pro and AFD instead. Incidentally, often alongside my 40D :D

    Enjoy!
     
  3. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    good to see people do not forget about film and still venture into this :)
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    oh, and welcome both!
     
  5. Imaginara

    Imaginara TPF Noob!

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    heh thanx. yes.was my first post =) And film is definately not forgotten here. I'm actually looking to buy me a RZ67 (or equivalent 6x7 format of another brand) since im missing the 67 format.

    In fact it seems a bit like film is still going very strong in certain areas and considering Kodak just now released a new T-Max film to the market i suspect that film will still be around for a while.

    Sure, digital is faster feedback, and easier to use. But its' not like its impossible to take pictures without it =) And quality of a 645 or 67 negative scanned on even a prosumer scanner such as Epson V500/700/750 or equivalent kicks any digital sensor out there.

    Now there are drawbacks aswell to using film, the workflow being the biggest obstacle (ie. its slow ;). But it definately has a place in my business still =)
     
  6. ajk1

    ajk1 TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the advice....

    I picked up some Fuji Velvia 100 - so I will try that. I think I am going to be scanning all of my photos, so slide film seemed right.

    Now i'm just afraid that this camera will reveal that I'm nothing more than a digital hack :mrgreen:
     
  7. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just wait until you decide to start developing your own black and white negs. You haven't seen anything yet.
     
  8. Imaginara

    Imaginara TPF Noob!

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    I started with slide aswell actually but have switched to mainly negative now. And this actually saved my bacon in a shoot a few weeks back. Turns out i forgot to flip the little switch on my Mamiya 645 lens setting it from Auto mode to M so it exposed the entire reel at F4, when it was supposed to be exposed at F11.

    But i asked the lab to press the film to ISO 25 (it was set as ISO 100) which they weren't entirely sure they actually could do but would see what they could achieve. And the result i got back was http://www.imaginara.se/EXP8.jpg and http://www.imaginara.se/EXP13.jpg. I'd say they did a cracking job on that and a roll that was lost was actually saved.

    Now the thing that saved it (i think) was the fact that negative film have a much higher tolerance to overexposing (i read somewhere about 4 stops) than slide film. And when scanning, slide or negative usually (or rather, shouldn't) be any different.

    Good luck with the first reel though. It is an experience. And i would like to end with seconding Christopher. I just started with this also quite recently and it IS a lot of fun shooting B&W again and developing it yourself.
     
  9. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Though I use digital all the time, when it comes to purely creative stuff, I
    prefer film.

    I feel I have more to do with the end product with film than with digital.
     
  10. EricO

    EricO TPF Noob!

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    I would suggest not to worry about focusing screens. If you don't need a prism finder right away either but you will need a light meter if you don't have one. The WLF is nice if you have a light meter. I use a regular pack back that has padding up against the back and three compartments. It's not a photo backpack but functions. It also has wheels and a handle. Probably too heavy for long hikes.

    I just received my new (used) Mamiya RZ67 in the mail a few hours ago. I need to get a battery before I go insane!
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009

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