I recently picked up a Mamiya Press 6×9 press camera to have a play around with. I’ve been hankering over a larger frame size for a bit now and this seemed to fit the remit. This is the Super 23 model which features movements on the back which I plan to put to use shortly in the studio shooting a small table top project I have in mind.
Anyway, it’s safe to say that this is far from a beautiful camera and it it somewhat bulky and awkward when it comes to handling. However, there are a number of plus points; bright rangefinder focussing with framing for three focal lengths and parallax compensation, leaf shutter makes it a doddle to hand hold at slower shutter speeds with confidence, ground glass adaptor fits on the back for super-precise focussing with movements mentioned earlier, huge 6×9 sized frame size.
The pics below were purely shot to see if there were any light leaks and to test how flat the lens was and how good it performed wide open. I photographed them on a stupidly dull Sunday morning shooting on Fuji 400H rated at 50ASA. They were shot either at f3.5 or f4 and I don’t think I shot above 1/60th of a second. Slowest speed was 1/15th as I recall. They were all hand held. The films were dev’d & scanned locally and aren’t quite as good as I’d like but it was only a test I guess.
I like them – they are pretty contrasty, sharp and even in to the corners and showing no distortion whatsoever. To be honest, despite the weight and overall bulk, the camera is quite pleasant to shoot with. There is a nice rhythm to it which is quite satisfying. I’m going to keep my out for a Universal body and a Polaroid back so I can shoot 3×4 Polaroids but use the existing 100mm lens. I think with decent light and better scans this will prove to be a cracking camera. I love the aspect ratio, although 8 frames on a roll of 120 is harsh on the pocket!