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★★★★☆

“I started with a £99 Mamiya C2 with 105mm f/3.5 lens,...”

Written on: 25/11/2009

I started with a £99 Mamiya C2 with 105mm f/3.5 lens, and over the following months added a 180mm f/4.5 Super, 80mm f/2.8 and 65mm f/3.5 lens and pentaprism finder. All components are optically exceptional and the images produced with the 6x6cm negatives are of much higher quality than 35mm (I have been a life-long Pentax Spotmatic and K-1000 user, cameras I still love but use far less since the Mamiya). The camera is not ergonomically well-designed, though - lots of knobs in awkward positions, so it will take a little time to adapt to its ungainliness. Using the camera does demand a brain - completely manual, no meter, manually-cocked shutter on the C2, and with a series of steps needed to swap lenses, for example. However, those steps are quickly remembered and using the camera soon becomes second nature. All medium-format cameras demand a bit less speed, but this produces a peaceful and orderly space for composition. I take 1/3 of the pictures I used to with 35mm, but I'm happy with a larger fraction of them...

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