Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mamiya C220 1, maart 16, 2008

My new "Godzilla", the Mamiya C220.

I wanted to have another quality MF camera as a complement to the Kiev 88. This one, the C220 seemed quite appealing as it is relatively inexpensive (about 100€) and also relatively modern. It's fully mechanical (another plus) and unlike the Kiev-88 built to western standards of quality. Note that I have no complain so far about the K88, but I wouldn't blindly buy another one unless it where from one of the official stores in Ukraine or the USA. Something that you can do with all confidence with western models, specially non-classical gear.

Drawbacks of this camera compared to the K88 are the loading of the film. This can be just a minor inconvenience in studio situations, but a real headache in the street. I am able to change even 120mm film on almost any camera in ten seconds while walking, but changing one of those backs is really handy... not to speak about the possibility of having different film on them.

On the other side, the C220 is a bit lighter as the K88 and the handling is much more easy at waist level, with it's handy winder. Of course, none of both are so easy to use as a 35mm camera, but , hey, it's a pro-format!

So. Now I just look foreward to get the step-up trafo to get my Epson 4990 running with good ol' European 220v current...


Darwin said...

Hi there! I currently use my C220 in excellent condition as a book end. I wish I knew how to take better pictures with a manual camera to be able to have use for this camera but I am so lazy with my digital slr's. And the controls on the C220 look so complicated. Do I really have to worry about parallax? I think I will have to sell it.

runlevel0 said...

Actually, the controls of this camera are completely straightforward. My Pentax *ist DL2 has twice as complicated settings. Fortunately, I wasn't too lazy to figure out how it works; else, I wouldn’t have been able to post any picture of the C220.

The C220 is a medium format camera. Negatives can be scanned to wall-size if you have a scanner powerful enough. To get similar results with digital you would need a full-frame DSRL like a Canon 1D... Yes, this is a Digital camera, but the same applies as to other DSLR... the controls are at least a factor of 10 more complicated than the humble C220 and talking about this full-frame DSLR it would be a factor of 100 at least. In addition, the price is of more or less 2500 Euro, body only and its weight is of 2.5 Kg.

You can buy a C220, lens and a good scanner for less than this price.

If what you use is mostly a point-and-shoot pocket digital, then, obviously, the C220 is nothing for you.

I would like to ask you since when DSLRs are easy to use. I haven't found any where I don't need to do anything. To take a series of shots I normally need to set white balance, select from one of the dozens of modes and programs available, set ISO. Even if I rely on autofocus and full-program mode I will have to do this once in my life.

Digital does not mean EASY, digital means just that it uses a CCD or a CMOS instead of film to capture an image. DSRL are not meant to be easy, anyway. And using a DSLR with default settings as a point-and-shoot camera is a waste of money as you can get better results for less price with a compact digicam, that provides you with easier use a real gigantic dept of field, less weight and it's small lens makes image stabilization unnecessary.

They are so convenient, that even the press uses them.

The only reason to use a DSLR instead of a compact pocket camera would be that you look more macho with a big black thingy than with a small and one... but I wouldn't waste money on this, I haven't known anybody in my whole life who got laid because of wearing a big camera.

Moreover, no, you do not need to worry about parallax correction unless you plan to shoot macros.

Darwin said...

Ha ha ha! I love the comment about the "big black thingy rather than a small one". That was hilarious.

I take wedding and event photo's as a side business with my DSLR, 40D (hoping to pgrade to a full frame 5D soon). I think convenient is a better word for DSLR's. It's come to the point where I don't have to worry about white balance because I can correct it with software. The controls are second nature now so I don't even have to think about it. Things like that.

What worries me are things like exposure and shutter speed. On a digital camera I can make a best guess, take a picture, and readjust the setting for exposure. What advice do you have for me on that point?

I do like the idea of something larger than a full frame DSLR. I'd love to see the detail that this C220 can capture. What kind of film do you suggest I purchase?

Well, you've inspired me to take it out for pictures today. I'll let you know how it turns out and maybe post a pic or two.

runlevel0 said...

Strange answer for a photographer.

White balance has always been a question of software, exactly the same as any other postprocessing step.

White balance is only a matter of taste, anyway, same as sepia toning, grayscale or whatever.

Strange also, that you say to shoot wedding with a Nikon 40D... this is in the same category as my Pentax *ist DL2... and all the pros and semipros that I know would consider our humble DSLRs as toys.

That's why I prefer to learn and experiment with medium format, to be able to use use real power tools at laughable prizes.

Films? Trat HP5, always a good election, as it's standard and allow a lot of margin. Or Velvia or Portra.

Just... don't try to do white balance with a film camera, not that it's difficult... it just makes the same sense as trying to fry potatoes with a lawnmower ;)

Darwin said...

My comment about White Balance meant that I don't have to set it on my camera because software can take care of that during post processing in the RAW format especially.

I do agree that white balance, to a point is a matter of taste but, in my opinion, I wouldn't go as far as to compare it to sepia, grayscale, what have you. I put those in a more creative category where things are "added" to the picture versus the picture being corrected.

Also, I don't shoot with a Nikon 40D, it's actually the NIkon D40. I shoot with the Canon 40D. I wouldn't consider myself a pro either but the Canon 40D does a great job. And with the right quality lens it does an excellent job. It competes with the Pentax K10D. It takes more than an expensive full frame Canon EOS-1D or a Nikon D3 to take good photos.

runlevel0 said...

White balance of an image file, means only setting the lightest pixels to rgb(255,255,255) and the darkest to rgb(0,0,0). That is a conventionalism that sometimes looks good and sometimes not, and it can indeed tint an image to a sepia tome if you take a colored pixel as reference as it indeed changes the temperature and tint of the image (similar to using a duotone or split-tone setting), thus it is similar to applying a grayscale or sepia finish... it's not more creative, just different.

Darwin said...

I think that I should be entitled to my own opinion. Isn't that the purpose of a discussion? And this is your blog.There is more than one way to see things and do things. I am dissapointed that you have been critical when I was looking for help. Thank you but no thank you I will look elsewhere.

runlevel0 said...

Well, you are indeed entitled to your own opinion about white balance. Who am I to stop you?

If you want to think that white balance refers to a white guy balancing on a rope you are free to do what you want.

I prefer my explanation, as it is more useful for me...