A few weeks ago I bought a new baby. A Pentax 645N. I have been lusting over various medium format SLRs for a while now, but finally took the plunge. I chose the Pentax645N for a couple reasons. Autofocus. I really wanted to start shooting more film in my paid work, and I just work too fast for manual focus. This camera also automatically advances the film so you don't get that awkward "oops, I forgot to cock the shutter" moment. Reliability. I read a lot about different medium format systems including the coveted Contax 645, but from what I read, the Contax proved finicky for many people. The zeiss glass is admittedly gorgeous at f2, and that super shallow, uber soft look is really in right now, but we don't all have to shoot at f2 all day long right? Maybe that's just the landscape photographer in me. The Pentax smc FA 75mm f/2.8 lens that came with my kit is quite sharp at 2.8 and the autofocus is very quick. It feels much like my Nikon digital SLR. I look at these images and am very happy with the depth of field.
The roll I shot here with Annie was Kodak Tmax 100. The day we had agreed to meet up and shoot was NOT a good day for 100 speed film. It was rainy, wet, and dark. AND, I really wanted to shoot in this parking garage because the light was very interesting. So, I pushed the film 2 stops and rated it at 400. Some of the images were underexposed, but these few came out really nice. Not a lot of graininess either. I also shot a roll of Portra400 with Annie, so stay tuned for part 2 when my film gets back from the lab next week. I was able to develop the Tmax myself luckily (Black and white processing is a little less complicated than color).
I'm really excited to start including more medium format imagery into my client collections. There are so many different camera/film/lens combinations that can yield a myriad of different looks and results. If you are into camera and film experimentation, take a look at Wendy Laurel's blog. She's been really inspiring me as of late. Wendy's totally no fear about trying new things. She introduces color in the most interesting ways (light leaks, putting gels in front of the lens), and she's a Maui wedding photographer, and that's just really cool.
Thanks again Annie for being my model! You rock!