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My 6x6 kit

These cameras all shoot a square photo. 6x6cm on 120 roll film. 2 1/4" square for the metrically challenged. I have come to the square format fairly recently in my photography journey. In the mid 1990s I bought an inexpensive Pearl River twin lens reflex (TLR). I had always worked in rectangular formats. One of the selling points of square format is that you can shoot rectangular format (6x4.5) both horizontal and vertical without having to rotate the camera. The ground glass on many TLRs has lines that are the crop marks for 6x4.5 horizontal and vertical. I thought this was pretty cool. The problem was that when I got the negatives back I could never remember whether it was a horizontal or vertical shot. I am afraid I am not one to keep detailed notes. But the Pearl River people thought of that and they included a mask that allowed you to shoot 6x4.5. Great! Until you want to shoot a vertical. I can’t begin to describe the contortions you have to go through to do that with a TLR. So onto the shelf it went until about 10 years ago when I took it to a family gathering. Suddenly I could see in square! It finally came to me and I have loved the format since. 

The case is a Pelican 1510 case. When it is loaded it is pretty heavy. Fortunately it has wheels and an extendable handle. It is not something to backpack with. I either select the camera and lens I want to shoot with at that moment or I just load the whole thing into the car. A quote from Edward Weston: “Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.”  Who knew?

The camera on top is a Mamiya-6 V rangefinder from the early 1950s. It is dual format but I only shoot it square. I bought it from John Sypal at tokyocamerastyle some years ago. The owner before him had it gone through and also recovered. It’s beautiful and takes wonderful photos and fits in my vest side pocket. 

The bottom row of cameras are Mamiya TLRs. They are unique among TLRs in that they have interchangeable lenses.

On the left is my Mamiyaflex C2 junkyard camera. $15 for the body at a local junkyard. I bought it some years ago as a curiosity since it shows the early design of the Mamiya C series. A few weeks ago it occurred to me that it could be a user. All my late model lenses fit. I have a couple of blog posts showing the damage and the refresh. It just needed a new mirror and leather covering. Works fine. The lens on that one is the 80mm/f2.8.

In the center is the Mamiya C330f. That was my first one. It is the heaviest and the most bulky but it does do some things the others don’t. The lens on it is the 55mm/f4.5.

On the right is the Mamiya C220. I had thought that it was an inferior body since it lacked some of the bells and whistles of the C330f. After reading some reviews I learned that, while a simpler camera, it pretty much does all the same things as the C330f but in a slightly smaller, lighter, and simpler package. Simple is good. Less to go wrong. What I couldn’t abide was the hard grey plastic covering. I recovered it in leather. Much nicer. It has the 135mm/f4.5. I think this is becoming my favorite. I must admit that it seems my favorite camera is the one I used last.

I usually shoot Portra 400 but have very recently started shooting Ektachrome E100. I’m waiting for my first E100 120 rolls to come back from the lab. I love what the Ektachrome does in 35mm and it should be spectacular in 6x6. I currently have Tri-X in the C2. 3 bodies for 3 emulsions.

Of course the TLRs all have gordy straps.

All 4 cameras are very capable cameras and they don’t cost that much.

Only 1 battery in the whole lot. The Minolta Spotmeter F uses 1 AA battery. That’s it. The other meter is a Weston Master V with a new selenium cell. It’s powered by the sun!

On top, left of the Mamiya-6 is a pentaprism finder and a paramender which mounts on a tripod and raises the camera the same amount as the distance between the lenses. This solves the parallax problem. On the right of the Mamiya-6 are 2 Japan Camera Hunter 120 film holders and a chimney finder. In front of the TLRs is a large square lens hood for the 55mm. The smaller square one fits on the 80mm and 135mm. Then 3 lens caps, a lens pen, and some Zeiss lens wipes packets.

Photo taking will begin.

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