Good Sunday camera people! Here’s a flash forward to this Thanksgiving. I developed this last night and it’s one of those “boring test shots” that I take a lot of! 😀
Photos that I usually don’t post here (don’t we all want to post exciting shots?) but I love the pic and want to tell you about it because sometimes even simple unassuming shots can tell you a lot if you know the story behind it.
This was shot with a Mamiya 7 and 80mm f/4 Mamiya lens. Ok so I’ve had the Mamiya 7 since 2014 and used it sparingly. Now it took me like six years to get the Mamiya 80mm! So it’s not like I have the money to run out and buy stuff any time I want 😀
The 80mm was always more expensive than I wanted to spend and whenever I found one at a price I was comfortable with, I didn’t have the money.
Flash forward to 2020 and I found one for under $500 and because I had put in extra time at work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I had extra money to spend! So don’t let anyone tell you hard work doesn’t pay off because it does 😎👍🏻
Unusually I started out with the 50mm f/4.5 wide angle but if you know me it’s not unusual at all because it was the first Mamiya 7 lens I found cheap! Got it for around $300.
The 80mm f/4 N L lens is considered more of the “standard” lens for the Mamiya 7. The field of view is equivalent to around 40mm in 35mm film. Actually it’s probably around 38 or 39mm.
I wanted one because portraits are one of my favorite things and this lens would get me closer though none of the Mamiya 7 lenses focus that closely. But I already knew and understood that I’d be doing “environmental portraits” with it as opposed to head & shoulders “bokeh” portraits. Bokeh isn’t everything right?
Anyway to make a long story short this lens as well as the Mamiya 7 has passed my tests! Here’s a portrait of the “Sunday Girl” in her environment. It’s as close as I could get to her with this lens of which the minimal focal distance is around 1 meter or 3 ft 3.37 inches.
The film was Ilford Delta 400 developed in Ilfosol-3 in the standard 1:9 dilution. Aperture was wide open at f/4 and shutter speed was 1/15th of a second.
What this says to me is that if and when I can return to NYC for street shooting at night, which was my specialty, then this combo is going to work for me! I can use the lens wide open and go down as low as 1/15th of a second.
Now rangefinders have always been better for handheld photography at low shutter speeds due to lack of mirror shock but I was concerned whether that was true with the big clunky body of the Mamiya 7. In this case as it is with many big cameras, perhaps its bulk added to its stability.
Ilfosol is also not as bad as some reviews I have read say it is. Sure this image is very contrasty and the blacks are all black but I like that high contrast look! And not all the images came out this contrasty. If you could see how dim the room was it would give a better appreciation that the image came out this vibrant.
The main post processing I did on this shot was to crop in a little as well as try and minimize the dust bunnies! I think that in today’s world where we are spoiled with ultra high megapixel cameras, some people may have forgotten that the ability to crop was one of the reasons people shoot medium format in the first place. There’s only so much you can crop into 35mm film without losing quality. And the sharpness of the Mamiya 7 lenses certainly allow me to crop in closer. That helps to negate the negatives of the system such as slowish (f4 and up) lenses as well as the inability to get in very close without that hard to use close-up lens contraption.
So will the Mamiya 7 be the next camera to be reviewed on Camera Legend?
It is a medium format legend after all right?! Well perhaps I will but I’m not too keen on doing another review on a camera everyone knows is great. But who knows perhaps I could add a word or two that you may find helpful so we’ll see!
As always, I appreciate you reading today and wish you a very happy Sunday and a great rest of the week ahead. Thank you!