When You’re Digging That Technically Imperfect Shot

I developed my latest roll of film today – the first one shot with my brand-new-to-me Mamiya C330f. I got the camera as a replacement for my Mamiya RZ Pro II system, which I had to give up to be able to afford the Canon 1Ds III. But I can’t live without a good bellows-focusing interchangeable lens medium format film camera, so I had decided already before I sold the RZ that I was going to get a Mamiya C-series camera. I got mine a few days ago for unfairly little money on the big auction site. It was sold as untested by a seller with fewer than 10 reviews, but for the price – $120.00 – it was worth taking the risk of not having the camera be in working condition. The C330f models usually sell for $300.00+.

I also bought a few lenses listed as being in acceptable, but not great condition – a 65mm, which is mostly cosmetically in poor condition, and a 105mm which has a 1mm crack in the front element. Turns out, they both produce excellent results. For today’s blog post, I chose a photo that does not accurately show the excellence of those lenses, because the technically imperfect shot happened to be my favorite out of the 12 on that first roll of film I put through the new camera. Despite using ISO 3200 film, I had to use a shutter speed of 1/30 sec at f3.5 to be able to get correct exposure. Pushing ISO 3200 film in the developing process sounds like a scary idea to me. I know people push that film to 6400 all the time, but I’m too worried about too much grain to do that, even though it would gain me at least a stop of exposure. I should try some day though. But for now, I’d rather hope for the best by using a slow shutter speed instead.

Back to the photo. My baby boy was constantly moving his face so the image is a bit blurry. Also, since the camera is still very new to me, I forgot a little detail when I changed lenses. I shot the first part if the film with the 65mm, and changed it mid-roll to 105mm. The C330f has a parallax correction indicator in the form of a red line that shows where the top of the frame is going to be when the bellows are extended enough to affect what the viewing lens sees compared to the taking lens. In order for that to be useful though, you need to turn a little dial on the side of the camera to the correct lens focal length. I had forgotten that little detail and compensated for the parallax based on the 65mm lens, not the 105. That was obviously too much and my baby ended up all the way on the bottom of the frame. Surprisingly, I actually like the accidental mis-framing. And despite the motion blur in the image, it’s absolutely my favorite of the bunch. Probably because of his facial expression, and because he’s my little man and this photo captures something that is so he.

(Mamiya C330f, 105mm 3.5 lens, Ilford delta 3200, developed in Ilford DD-X)


2 responses to “When You’re Digging That Technically Imperfect Shot

  1. Congrats on your find! I’ve always wanted a Mamiya but could never find the right one. Sounds like you got a good one. Great image by the way, I bet it’s not an easy task “capturing” your boy with a short telephoto on a TLR! ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Little kids certainly aren’t the easiest to photograph with an all manual medium format camera, and the parallax correction issue makes it even harder with the Mamiya for close-up portraits, but I’m sure that with time I’ll get better at it.

    Liked by 1 person

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