Wednesday 28 July 2010

Sony UC20 & Mamiya C220

This blog is starting to sound like a camera directory. I swear it's not. I like cameras, but I'm not a purist camera nut, or an over-the-top collector.

What I love, is a camera that feels like it has as much to say about how the image will look, as the photographer or the subject matter does. Very few cameras inspire you, or make you feel like you're going to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment every time you depress the shutter.

I remember a tiny Sony digital camera I had years back (I actually found it while moving a while back, but it's in need of a bit of TLC to get it working again), that was exactly this kind of camera. It rarely fired when the button was depressed, and it's auto-focus took a lifetime to work, but it was so small, that every shot was literally "shot from the hip" (and it predated Lomo).

For a tiny camera it packed a powerful flash - not enough to burn images, but enough to get some really good lighting. The images always looked better in grayscale, though the colours were always deep and rich. And hell, was it a handy camera.

Must make a mental note to dig out my memorysticks, and have a look inside that little camera. I think just the LCD display has failed, but not sure if it's the display, the backlight or what...

Another camera I treasure, is my first medium format camera, the Mamiya C220 - a twin lens reflex camera that introduces the added twist of parallax distortion. Having two lenses stacked, the top lens is used for focusing, and the lower lens used for imaging. With a bellows focus, and a vertical film roll, and a heavenly shutter "clunk" - it's such a wonderful camera to use.

It's the only camera I have, with which I like at least 80% of the images it produces. The first time I used it with a model, I shot two rolls of colour (24 shots), and every image made it to the final set. The digital images from the shoot had a 20% pass rate. They're not bad images, frankly I just took too many. Having only two rolls of film to hand, I wanted every shot to be perfect.

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