The photos in this post are all from my third roll of film. I’m enjoying my old Mamiya C330 a lot, even though I shoot very little with it. There’s something very special about looking into that huge viewfinder, taking your time to compose and focus before you finally press the shutter and hear the mechanical click as a frame of film is exposed. Then comes the long and uncertain wait, the excitement that you might have something really good, the dread that it might be a complete failure. Finally you get your scans or negatives back and you can see what it actually was you captured, all in the glorious format that is medium format film.
I was really looking forward to seeing the above photo but when I got it back I was very disappointed by how under exposed it was. I think the explanation is that I had an ND filter on the camera but I forgot that I turned off the ND filter on my X100S that I use for metering. I’ve lifted the shadows a bit in post but you can’t do much with low resolution jpegs. However, after looking at it for a couple of days I realized that I still like the photo. There’s a soul to it that wouldn’t be there with a similarily failed shot made with digital. Part of it comes from the film itself and another part from the character of medium format, compared to the smaller formats of crop sensor or full frame.
Here’s another shot that was completely failed. My excuse this time is that I was a bit rushed. The sun kept going in and out of the clouds, so I had to decide what to expose for and take the shot when the conditions were right. At the same time my daughter was rather impatient. I don’t really know how I could have missed to focus so badly though.
This is from the same place a few minutes earlier when the sun was behind the clouds. I almost got this one right but the focus is a bit off because the boat was moving. I definitely need more practice focusing and my less than stellar eye sight doesn’t exactly make it easier. Neither does the fact that my most prolific subject rarely stays in the same focal plane for more than half a second.
Here’s one where pretty much everything is spot on. I think this might be the only one of these shots that wasn’t at f2.8. If I remember correctly it was at f4 because I didn’t have the ND filter with me and it was too bright for f2.8 at 1/500, which is the maximum shutter speed. I could be wrong though, it feels a bit weird not to have the exif data readily available.
This photo of my mom’s dog is very soft but I don’t think it’s entirely because of poor focus. For one thing I can’t see any part of the frame that’s sharper than the subject. The softness might come from shooting close and wide open. Perhaps there’s some motion blur as well, the click of the shutter caught my subject’s attention.
The lesson to be learned from this roll of film is that I need to slow down even more and pay even more attention to all the details. I even managed to mess up when loading the film this time. Luckily I realized what I had done afterwards, so I knew that the last frame would be useless. Otherwise it could have been very annoying if I had shot something good on that frame only to find out that there wasn’t enough film left for more than half a frame.
Even though the results weren’t quite up to expectations this time, I can tell you that the whole process of shooting with an old camera like this is a lot of fun. I have a couple more shots from this trip on the roll that’s currently loaded but it might be months before I get to see them – the reason being that I’m very selective with what I shoot and I need to finish the roll first. I might even forget what it was I shot and hopefully get a nice surprise when I get the results back.