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MA Blog 3 - Choice of Camera During the Development Process

Over the last few projects that I have developed since being at university, I have started to develop a greater passion towards medium format film photography. Whilst I still use the DSLR that I have in a lot of my work, especially a lot of commercial photography, there is just something that makes 6x7s unrivaled.

I’ve always found one of the things that makes it stand out so much is the colour grading of images. Light always feels more natural and more subdued than in digital photography, which might be down to how DSLRs work now. The more recent cameras being released today seem to have higher pixel counts, which can retain more memory within each of these pixels, as well as higher resolution sensors. This ultimately, makes the images seem brighter than photos from cameras from say 10-15 years ago. I think that in some cases though, brighter doesn’t always work in its favour. This is why I am aiming to use film cameras as my primary, as it focuses on applying a much more subtle use of colour within its imagery.

As well as this, 6x7’s, especially the camera that I use, my Mamiya RB67 has a very shallow depth of field. Often in photos, the wider shots that I capture of landscapes can at times feel flat, most likely due to the fact that I use a 127mm, which is the equivalent of a 70mm on a regular camera. But when it comes to shooting things at a much closer proximity, it tends to focus on a very exclusive area of the image. I find that this often works in my favour, especially in a project like the one I am working on at the moment, in which I want to prioritise those smaller moments if I feel there are moments to capture.

Obviously there are downsides to it. The main being that the larger rolls of film only allow for 10 exposures, and when the rolls of film cost the same as a 35mm with 36 exposures, there are times where it doesn’t necessarily feel worth it. As well as this, the camera body and lens together are like 6kg, which carrying around on your back can actually be quite strenuous, especially to me considering the injuries I have, which does usually result in pulled leg and muscles.

Ultimately, it seems to be a thing that technically, the camera produces greater work than a lot of more modern equipment, but from a physical standpoint it offers a fair few limitations to me as a person. It is just a case of the art vs the process. I reckon it’ll boil down to making sure that I am aware of not pushing myself too hard when carrying the camera round for extended periods of time.

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