Sometimes I wonder….

…if I should not try medium format one day.

130201 - Agfa Synchro Box - 8
Agfa Synchro Box on Ilford HP5

OK, I already used medium format cameras, albeit crappy ones. I own an Agfa Synchro Box, a family heirloom. And also a Kodak Junior 620. The problem with those cameras are the following:

The Synchro Box has exactly one shutter speed, said to be around 1/30th of a second and two apertures to chose from. Rather spartan! And the Kodak Junior uses the obsolete 620 film format… I had a source who is respooling normal 120 film on 620 spools but it’s quite expensive. And the results I had from the camera were not too great. In fact, any pinhole camera would have a better quality.

140316 - Kodak Junior 620 - 6
Kodak Junior 620 on Ilford FP4

Though the photo has some crazy charm… or not.

Now hope it’s not G.A.S. speaking here but in my mind there’s some good reasons for trying medium format.

Reason number one: The number of shots!

I don’t shoot a lot. About a handful of frames on an average walk. So it takes a lot of time for me to fill a roll of 36. OK, I might spool some film myself and make 12 shot rolls. Possibly will do in the future. But that’s still not medium format.

Reason number two: It fits my style of shooting!

I’m a slow shooter. I take my time to decide if and how to make my photo. Apart from some street photography where medium format is not terribly suited and I have to react faster, a shot is quite deliberate and thought out. So this fits medium format perfectly.

Reason number three: Those are gorgeous negatives and slides!

Any photos that come out of those things just look stunning (well, not speaking for the ones I used, but for good ones. Quality is unsurpassed, unless you go for large format. And you’re still more mobile than with a clumsy large format camera.

130201 - Agfa Synchro Box - 10
Agfa Synchro Box on Ilford HP5

I know these are crappy shots but they come from a couple of quick test rolls just to tell if the cameras work. Seems they don’t very much….

Well, perhaps in 2018 I will get to try a medium format camera. Perhaps start with a cheaper one just to get a feel for it. But it must be nice and relatively good quality so I’ll not be disgusted from the start.

A nice, simple TLR might be fine for a trial.

Do you have any suggestions?

OK, so much for this year!

All that remains for me is to wish you a marvellously great new year and plenty of gorgeous photos!

See you on the other side!


36 thoughts on “Sometimes I wonder….

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  1. I have an old Rolleiflex 3.5, one of my new year resolutions is to use it more in 2018, the image quality is really good. Love the Mini, I’ve had quite a few over the years, great fun to drive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Best bloody car ever, but quite temperamental. Had a 1964 Morris, a 1976 Leyland, two 1989 Rover anniversary, a 1989 Mini Moke (best of ‘em all) and a 94 British Open…. over the years. Regret selling the last one, a red ‘89 two years ago…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My 64 had a first gear but it popped out constantly… never a missing door though. Sure the Mini is not a cheap car. Did most repairs myself to save money.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Get the cleanest Yashica A you can find. The difference between the lens quality on the A and the higher end Yashicas (D, Mat, EM) is minimal. The A is simple and has less things to go wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Had a Lubitel 166B once, felt I couldn’t go wrong for next to nothing. Although the viewing lens was like looking through an empty beer glass (maybe I just got confused! I was younger then also). I now have a yashicamat 124G that I have just dug out of the cupboard after years of non-use. I have a roll of delta 100 and a roll of delta 400 just sending off for dev and scan. Have to try and post results when back. However, I am enjoying the 35mm more at present. We’ll have to see what happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That Lubitel…. has one for a day, sent it back. Total crap in my eyes. Plastic, viewfinder is horrible….

      Some nice cheap TLR would be fun. The 124G seems nice though the Yashica A that Chris recommended looks good too. They go for around 190€ over here in Europe… that’s still a lot just for a test.


      1. I had a Ciro-Flex for a while, metal body and a bit nicer than the beat up Kodak Reflex II I had. Seagull was nice too for a while but I let that go when I got tired of TLR neck (damned if those viewfinders aren’t uncomfortable)! Why not try a 120 SLR though? Sure the Pentax 6×7 is $$$ but I think Kiev (or was it FED?) made a decent knock off… eh don’t listen to me I still mess up every other exposure;-)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve used and own quite a few including the Six20 Junior. I would recommend Yashica as they can be found at reasonable prices and give good results (at least mine does). If you want to spend a little bit more the Mamiya C series are very good and have a lot of options available and you can swap lenses as you wish; I haven’t been disappointed by a TLR yet,
    I also have a Voigtlander Bessa RF which is a rangefinder based folding camera and that produces excellent results in my opinion. When folded it is conveniently sized too (though not quite as small as the Six20) again these can get pricy.
    I hope you find what you are looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy new year Frank.
    If I’d decided to go for a medium format camera again, there’s only one I would consider, a Fuji GW690 or the mark II version. Why, for one its a rangefinder, no meter and very little to go wrong. OK the lens is fixed and 220 film is near impossible to get hold of so your limited to eight shots with a roll of 120. Very popular in the States, and goes by the nick name of the ‘Texas Leica’ and cost around €350 to 400 for one in excellent condition.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I recommend an Ikoflex, either 1c or Favorit. I have used them for street photography and love the simplicity, build quality, price tag and the fantastic Zeiss lenses. A fine alternative to the Rolleiflex! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gudde Moien Här Lehnen,

    Virun allem wënschen ech Eech nach all Guddes am Neie Joer, virun allem eng gutt Gesondheet a weiderhin vill Spaass a Freed mat eisem filmbaséierten Hobby :-)!

    Ech hat mir viru Joëren eng TLR kaft, BIG Twin 4 heescht se, eng verbessert Versioun vun der Rolleiflex-Copie Seagull aus China. Di Kamera ass ganz einfach opgebaut,huet kee Belichtungsmesser, awer en Objektiv mat 4 Lënsen. Ech hat mol eng Kéier engem professionnelle Fotograf meng Fotoen gewisen déi ech mat dem Apparat gemeet hun, an dat eenzegt wat hien sot war: “Besser Fotoen mëcht meng Hasselblad och nit” !

    Op Amazon an op e-bay fënnt een di Kamera och nach, et get eng “blue edition” wi meng, an dono koum och nach eng “grey edition”, all Kéiers eng limitéiert Série vu 500 Stéck.

    Ass villäicht och eng Iwerléeung wäert?

    Oder firwat nit eng Klappkamera 6×6 oder 6×9, do gin et Modeller déi ganz handlech a flaach sin (Kodak,Zeiss Ikon,Agfa, Voigtländer etc) a nit méi Plaatz brauchen wéi eng Leica mat Objektiv…

    Bescht Gréiss a bis geschwënn,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci fir dei Info an och alles Guddes fir Iech !

      Ech wärt mir dei Big Twin emol ukucken. Kleng interessant.

      Losse mir awer nach Zeit… as e Projet dee muss iwwerluecht gin!


  8. I have Moscow 5 that I highly recommend. Focusing is not especially fast but is tolerable and you will get a large 6×9 negative.

    But I wanted instead something that is more advanced but still larger than 6×6. I first looked at range finders but anything more modern is really expensive and is not really flexible – has fixed lens (say Fuji GF670 or Fuji GW690) or has limited set of rather slow lens (say Mamiya 7).

    I finally settled down with the Pentax 67II SLR camera. It has advanced metering prism and has very wide range of available lenses (from very wide 40mm to 400mm telephoto and very fast 105 f/2.4 normal in between) and can at least in theory be adapted to support many other lenses because of its very short flange distance. Lenses are also not very expensive if you are patient with the newest models or can accept radioactive older models.

    This system is still expensive but is at least flexible and I argued that it would allow me to figure out what will actually work for me.

    Now I know that cameras with batteries are not really your thing. Therefore you could consider older Pentax 6×7 models as an alternative. It is also much more affordable, still relatively expensive (in the 400-500 range) but reasonable.

    It is a heavy camera – it is around 2.5kg with the normal lens and its mirror is quite noisy, but its appearance follows common understanding of how a camera should look like and it does not look like some strange suspicious gizmo so perhaps it is not really ill suited for the street photography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your advice. I like the look of the Pentax SLR but it’s too expensive for a trial. Perhaps later when I decided MF is good for me.

      The Moskva-5 looks interresting though….


      1. You are very much welcome. Trying out these two cameras is no issue at all because I have no problem with giving them for you for a week or so. I just got delivery notification for the 105mm Pentax lens so I hopefully will have the set with a normal lens for the next week (I have so far 40mm f/4 and 165mm f/4).

        Moskva-5 will give you a large negative but it may not give you more actual resolution because the lens it has has been reported to not have very high resolution. I have not tested it so it is probably best to just compare it with your 35mm lenses. I am happy with it either way because I used it mostly for positives.

        My main objective was to have a large physical negative/slide but as you are mostly scanning then having a 645 or 6×6 system is also viable choice, especially because there are many options to choose from.

        If you happen to begin to like 6×7 format then Bronica and Mamiya systems can be found for a lower price (say 200-300 euro) but these systems have slower lenses.

        Anyway, let me know if I can help you further.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a very generous offer! I’d really like to try out the Pentax for a week or two…. but I guess I’ll have to wait till I can ditch the crutches.

        2kg of Pentax do not work well when you got your hands full with those. So I’ll get back to you in a month or two!


      3. You have to replace the crutches with an exoskeleton. That would be an ultimate camera accessory – would allow to use any sized camera hand held.

        Let me know when you manage to do this or when you find another viable alternative. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I received the Pentax 67 105mm today and it was another failure to buy from a Japanese seller. It is second time the lens from Japan smells strongly after the mold. Despite the seller claim that there is no smell issue. I must say that I start to see a pattern here.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That moldy smell is terrible! I am very receptive to smells and this is strictly a no-go! Seems that Japan has a quite humid climate and mold and fungus are really an issue. I ordered a Canonet III years ago from Japan Camera Hunter and despite his claims it was moldy.

        I once got a FED I from Russia that smelled much worse… seems they used animal grease on the cameras and that simply rotted…


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