Review: Mamiya C220 twin lens reflex (TLR) medium format camera

I recently acquired (yet) another medium format camera: a Mamiya C220 TLR. It was offered on eBay (a place I normally avoid like the plague), but the fact it was fully complete — including boxes, manuals, all body and lens caps, etc. — and in great condition made it sort of a no-brainer to take the risk. I’m glad I did, because what arrived was every bit as good (or better) than the eBay listing photos. Full-form reviews on this camera are virtually non-existent, so it also seemed like a no-brainer to take a deep dive and explore its allure in detail.

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Accidental cross-processing: Outstanding (and unexpected) results

On a recent trip to New Jersey, I picked-up a Hasselblad 503CW (a story all of its own, which I’ll highlight in its own post soon). Because I didn’t have any film with me, the camera shop kindly threw-in a few rolls of 120 so I could immediately start shooting. Since they also let me choose what I wanted from their film fridge, I opted for three Kodak rolls: Portra 160, Portra 400, and Tri-X. It was a beautiful day, lots of sunlight, so the Portra 160 went into the magazine as my first-ever roll of film in the new Hassy. When I got home, I took it for processing as usual to Englewood Camera. But the results were nothing I was expecting.

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The joy of extension tubes

Let’s say that 45 days ago you asked me the question, “What’s an extension tube, and what’s it used for?” I would have been forced to reply, “I have absolutely no idea.” Truth; but no longer. Let’s just say I know the answers to those questions — and I’m now an enthusiastic convert to something I wish I’d known about years ago.

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Review: Pentax 645 medium format film camera

There are already multiple reviews, history lessons, opinions, and so forth regarding the Pentax 645 medium format film camera (my favorite being Todd Reed’s on Emulsive), and as I begin this piece, I’m not sure I’m necessarily going to be bringing deep, new insights to the table. But after shooting with this camera through over a dozen rolls of 120 film, I feel I’ve experienced its capabilities pretty well at this point, know some of its foibles, and have a basis to pull together some cogent thoughts. If you’re considering adding one of these cameras to your collection, read on.

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Recalling a dream: Why I like film

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I went to sleep last night thinking about the 120mm lens that’s coming on Monday for my Pentax 645, and apparently, my brain decided to latch onto the notion of film photography while I slumbered. I woke-up this morning in the midst of a dream where I was interviewed for a podcast about why I like film photography. Weird, I know, but it did get me thinking about the subject in a fully conscious state, and since I’d come-up with something interesting during the dream, it seemed to be something I should write down.

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Review: KEH.com; making used gear easy

It’s been nearly 20 years now that film photography started its downward trajectory, and while the vinyl-record-like resurgence of film is encouraging, and all signs suggest that film has stabilized,* it’s not been helped by a general decline in photography over the past 10 years or so — essentially the point at which smartphones came onto the scene, and became everyone’s default camera.

You can argue the timing, and you can argue the facts, but one thing is tough to refute: Camera shops have basically died off, helped by the rise of e-commerce, and we’re left with scant choices when it comes to photography gear in general, and film photography gear specifically. So what’s a photographer to do?

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Flickr: The value of going Pro

Just over a year ago now, SmugMug announced the acquisition of Flickr from Verizon’s Oath (née, Yahoo). At the time, I didn’t much care, frankly. My use of Flickr was the same as many people who were suckling at the free storage teat that the site offered; I had (and still have) about 4,000 digital photos uploaded which I put there for accessibility to family and clients.

Then late last year, SmugMug started sending lots of e-mail to me and others: The free ride was, in large part, coming to an end. Or, at least, a truncation — only the newest 1,000 photos would be retained unless I acted promptly. I hemmed. I hawed. And in the end, I paid. Why?

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