After meeting a few film photographers in Seoul I started thinking about medium format photography, which I will explain in a minute if you don’t know. I have been looking online for Medium format cameras and reading everything possible to figure out what type of camera to go with.
There are a few types of Medium format cameras, twin lens reflex cameras like Rolleiflex, Folding Cameras, And of course the strange-to-hold-Hasselblad and the popular Holgas. You can get into Medium format photography for around 25 bucks and keep going up in price as much as you want.
Medium format film cameras use film that is larger than 35mm cameras. 35mm cameras use film that is 3.5cm x 2.4cm where as medium format cameras use film around 6cm x 7cm (depending on the aspect ration of the camera). This larger film allows for more detail, in much the same way that moving to a Full frame DSLR with a larger sensor from an old crop sensor DSLR with a small sensor will allow for more detail.
This is especially important if the images are to be printed in larger sizes. apart from this there may be several technical pros to shooting MF. Other people have more subjective reasons; they claim, “it has a special feeling” or a “certain look” up to this point I cant really tell personally.
I went with a camera similar in shape and function to an SLR like my Canon 5D mark II. The Pentax 67, which has four versions, the first being released in the mid 60’s. The one I had been really eyeing online was from the third series from the 1990’s.
Ji and I were in Chungmuro, one of the neighborhoods of Seoul known for its camera shops to drop off some film and pick up negatives. After taking care of that we were strolling around window shopping like normal. I saw so many meduim format cameras but none felt right so we went to get some food. As we were walking away from Chungmuro I found a store I had never seen before so Ji and I popped in for a quick look around.
The owner had a Pentax 67 with a 75mm lens and TTL metering prism. The price was similar to what I had seen online and the condition of the camera was pretty good. The only problem was that In Chungmuro everything is Cash price so I would have to pay about 75 dollars more and put it on my card since I don’t regularly walk around with that much cash on me and the store was about to close.
Ji came to the rescue. Earlier she had withdrawn 500 dollars from one bank to deposit into another account. The owner was incredibly nice, which was refreshing after going into so many Camera shops and feeling like my business was unwanted or that I was bothering someone for wanting to look at a camera.
The owner Showed me how to load a roll of the 120 film and gave me a complimentary box of 5 rolls of black and white film, put in a new battery and gave me a complimentary backup battery. He also sorted through a towering pile of filters trying to give me filters for all of my lenses but we couldn’t find any matches other than a yellow green filter for a lens he though I was likely to buy for the 67 in the future.
The camera is a brick. It weighs around 1.75kg without a lens on it and close to 2.5kg with a lens so it isn’t the most comfortable camera to carry around but it is fun to shoot with.
Rolls of 120 film get 10- x 6 x 7 frames on this camera, hence its name. I recently had my first roll of TMAX 400 developed. I lost one frame due to accidental shutter release. a few shots were so-so and I am happy with about 2 or 3. Here are a few of my first shots.