Everyone has their baby. You know, that one camera that speaks to them in a way that all other cameras fall short. Of course, saying something like, "best portrait camera ever" is pretty loaded, but I calls it how I sees it! The Mamiya RZ67 is, for a variety of reasons, one of the best cameras ever made. In this article and accompanying video I'll give a birds eye view of the camera and its features, show a little work produced by it, and give you some insight into why this camera is at the top of the heap for me.
Articles written by Hans Rosemond
What a tangled, twisted road this has been. When I finally built up the courage to try out large-format photography a little more than half a year ago, I knew that I was in for a bit of a rough ride. But with a healthy serving of ruined film, swear words, and YouTube lessons under my belt, I've come out semi-clean on the other side. Here are the most useful lessons I've learned thus far. Hopefully I can stave off some frustration for those of you who feel like taking the plunge.
Last fall I reviewed the Intrepid Camera, a low-cost 4x5 large-format film camera. Although the sentiment behind the camera was admirable, I found it lacking in finish and functionality. Well now Intrepid has come out with their second version which aims to correct many of the flaws of their first generation. Were they successful? In a word: Yes!
Although words like "best" and "ultimate" are fun to throw around, of course there is no objectively best camera out there for a beginner. But to me, the Yashica Mat 124G is pretty close for a variety of reasons. From its handling to price, there is a lot to appreciate in this little gem. Here are some of my favorite features and why I think a person starting out in film photography might be in hog heaven with the little Yashica.
Shooting portraits in large format film is extremely rewarding. There's a simplicity of the process, from the posing to the static camera position, that helps ground both the photographer and the subject in the moment. Beautiful images may be your reward for such patience, but it's not without its challenges. For me, the biggest challenge shooting portraiture is not working with the camera, but the insane amount of light you need to throw at it. For the uninitiated, here are some facts about the format and its light-eating characteristics that you may need to consider.
It sits there on your shelf, looking at you: that old camera that you were so excited about a few years back. Now, it's not even worth the trouble of listing it on eBay or Craigslist. Or is it? Recently I picked up my old Fuji X-E1 and put it through its paces. I was surprised to find out that it's still an enjoyable camera, but not for the reasons that it originally was. Sometimes, a camera's flaws hold a certain charm that can only be appreciated with some distance.
So you've read all my articles on film and decided: "You know what? I'm going to give it a shot!" Great! You're about to embark on a rewarding, sometimes frustrating journey into the old school! However, one of the first questions you'll have to answer is: What film should I shoot with? There are so many choices out there with varying brands, speeds, grain structures, and formulations that it can be daunting to select a few to try out. I know that when I first started out, I had no clue what to try. Hopefully, this guide will serve as a broad primer on some of the most popular stocks and take some of the mystery out of picking your first film.
Style. The idea of finding your own voice and style has become an intricate part of growing as a photographer and differentiating yourself from the competition. It's not only a way to get work, but a way to be remembered in a field of talented artists. But, as a portrait photographer, I find that my need to make a signature image sometimes gets in the way of capturing the human being in front of me. I'm so concerned about making the image "cool" that it's almost as if the person in front of the camera doesn't matter. Today, that ends (I hope).
Tim Heubeck, over at the Waste of Film channel on Youtube, has made a great video detailing the Film Toaster, a platform for using your DSLR to scan film. DSLR scanning has rapidly become a preferred way to capture negatives with a potentially higher quality than a traditional flatbed. The Film Toaster brings attempts to make this process easier, but with a $1699 price tag that may turn off potential investors.
It happened. After wrestling with lighting, posing, finding the right angle and composition, and bringing out that perfect moment, you finally caught the shot. It's everything you saw in your head and more. This! This is what it's all about. You've got the butterflies in your stomach that accompany that feeling when you've managed to get your art out into the real world. "Can I see it?" Oh no. "Sure," you say, doing your best to sound enthusiastic. "Hmm...it's nice, but I look fat. Can we try something else?" "Of course we can," you say, "let's switch it up." All the while you're thinking in your head that it was perfect as it was.
I don't know about the rest of you, but when it comes to comparing my work to others, I'm a sucker for punishment. Try as I might, I can't help but peruse the latest trade magazines when I'm cruising the bookstore, avoiding the editing I should be doing at home. And without fail, something catches my eye that makes my jaw drop. In this day and age when so much of the great work out there is heavily Photoshopped, should we be so quick to compare our own work to it?
Since the broad commercialization of photography, many brands of cameras have graced the shelves of camera stores across the world. Canon, Nikon, Leica, Mamiya, Pentax, and others have become common names in the lexicon of photography. However, of all the camera manufacturers, few have become as synonymous with quality as Hasselblad. Since I began shooting in 2004, I'd always heard how wonderful these machines were but never had the opportunity to play with one, as even a complete used system can command well over $2,000. Well, I finally got my grubby little hands on one: the Hasselblad 503CW. Spoiler alert: it's pretty sweet.
As photographers, every so often, we will hit the dreaded brick wall of creativity. The tank goes empty, and we feel about as imaginative as a sack of rocks. There are few things more frustrating than being in the middle of an assignment and feeling that wave of doom come over you, taking away what little inspiration you had left as it recedes. In order to combat this malaise, Ted Forbes over at "Art of Photography" has introduced his new Photo Assignments series.
One of the best things about shooting film is that there are so many cameras to choose from! Of course, your wallet may disagree with me. The number of formats, combined with the different brands, form factors, lenses, and options make shooting with film almost impossible to get bored with. If you're at all familiar with my articles on Fstoppers, you know that I tend to focus on film and bringing it to a new audience. To that end, I've created a new video series profiling various film gear, some of it well known, some not so much! In my quest to learn about and use different systems, I hope you'll learn along with me. First up, a medium format rangefinder style camera from Fujifilm: the GF670.
This one hurts. I don't think I've ever written a review for a product that I wanted to like more than this one. From its beginnings as a Kickstarter back in 2014, large format film photographers have been drooling about this camera. Finally, a low cost camera that, at about $300, would make 4x5 photography accessible to the masses. But, long story short, The Intrepid Camera just doesn't live up to its promise. Read on to find out why.
In the history of modern portraiture, few images have stuck in the collective consciousness of the photography world as firmly as the "Afghan Girl" portrait by Steve McCurry. The photo, taken in 1984 in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp, has become a lasting portrayal of innocence in a heartbreaking circumstance, as relevant today as it was over 30 years ago.
It happens almost every time I scan some film. I look at my developed film on the computer and think, "That's a pretty cool shot. I wonder what my settings were?" Shooting film is amazing, but sometimes it becomes a pain in the rump to remember what you were doing when you shot a specific photograph, since there are no digital markers to log your work for you. Enter: Photomemo. It's a small, lightweight logbook that's specifically tailored to be a film shooter's friend.
We've all done it. We find a location for our subject, place them, set up a light pointing down at 45 degrees, check the light power, and start shooting. When shooting an environmental portrait, there's a lot to worry about. From interacting with your subject to hauling equipment and making sure makeup and wardrobe are on point, it's easy to fall back on our go-to lighting setups. As an exercise, though, let's concentrate on ancillary lighting first and see how it can drive the narrative of our shot.
One of the biggest complaints I've heard about Fuji's new medium format camera, the GFX 50S, is that there are no leaf shutter lenses. Leaf shutters have long been a staple in some medium format systems, enabling flash sync at faster shutter speeds than we are used to with focal plane shutters. But, here's the thing: It doesn't make sense for the GFX 50S to support them. Here's my reasoning why.