Shades of green

Who designed this? I mean really, It is an old building and i have no idea when was it painted, but good job planning  the colours. The different shades and the addition of whites. Carefully selected areas from dark to lighter shade then back to dark green again.It is really so nice to look at.

shades of green

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Street photography Singapore (Bugis)

So i went out with my medium format camera and tried to shoot a roll. The foam from the mirror in the camera dropped while i was adjusting the mirror. I wanted to see if everything was fine.

So i went to bugis area and took some shots. Im not good with the street names in Singapore and i tend to just refer it to the area that is closest.

For these shots i took around Bugis area as i make my way to develop the film. There is this bunch of flats that are very colourful, i kinda wish that there are more flats like that in Singapore.Maybe there are such flats that i am probably not aware of. I do enjoy taking photos with my medium format camera.

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From a distant. They are going to demolish the buildings and make way for roadworks. 

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Omg this looks absolutely gorgeous. One of the old churches in Singapore. Very beautiful architecture.

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Just a little closer, i like the shade of blue that appears in this picture.

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Sim Lim tower. I took this shot because i love the colours around the building.

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When the country is small, constant works need to be done, and sadly buildings have to go and then only memories and photos will be left behind for us to share with the young ones.

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What a beautiful accident. I love this photo a lot. Didn’t intend to double expose it, but well i am happy with the results.

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Of course another special thing here in Singapore. These uncles riding around the city and giving us that awesome ice cream sandwiches.

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Superman caught my attention.

120mm film

I was excited to test out the Mamiya RB67 and i went out to shoot my first roll. Went out and walked around City Hall area to capture the buildings there and also where there are more people around. I wanted to see how people will look in the pictures.

I mostly capture building and less of human subjects. But for medium format i feel that it is more interesting to shoot people. Normally for first roll i do not get good results.

I did not have high hopes for this as it is my first attempt to use a fully manual camera with no light meter on it. I depended on a light meter app on the iPhone and just hoped that it will turn out not too overly exposed.

The whole experience of shooting with the Mamiya RB67 is incredible. A very slow process and can be a handful as you are trying to use the phone as a light meter and trying switch between mobile phone and the mamiya itself was quite a challenge.

I used the Kodak Portra 400 and after about an hour i went to get it process at one of the labs. Here are some of the sample pictures.

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I was having a lot of fun trying to take pictures of the crowd here. The background looks really sharp.

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Cute elderly couple

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The merlion is definitely my favourite from the role. The details on it look incredible. It was worth the experience. I ended the day feeling tired from carrying the camera around.

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This is a friend of mine and my gut feeling is right(but then again, everyone already mentioned that this camera is excellent for portraits).I can’t wait to get out there and capture more individuals.

This was such a fun experience and i am already looking forward to the next session. Each image needs to be right as you have only 10 shots. Process is very slow but it is worth it to me.

Mamiya RB67

 

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Mamiya RB 67- The monster

I recently got myself a new camera again. Yes it is a film camera again and this time it is a medium format camera. I got myself a Mamiya RB67 from Ebay. This is one of my first purchase ever from Ebay and it is actually quite good. The response time was fast as there were a few problems with the delivery but they responded quickly.

Inspiration to get into Medium format film

Anyways, i recently watched the Abstract documentary on netflix and it was the episode about the Photographer called Platon and it inspired me to explore medium format photography. Previously i was already thinking of getting a Hasselblad camera. But i knew it will not be anytime soon given the price of that piece of gem.

Another day of window shopping

I was out one day and i went to one of the local camera store that sells film cameras and the Mamiya RB67 caught my attention. It was there next to few other cameras and it was the only massive one. It caught my attention and i immediately felt that strong urge to get that camera.

When i went back home i could not stop thinking about it. The Mamiya RB67 was within my budget but i think i could get a better deal online. I then went online to do my own research about this camera. Reviews of the Mamiya shows that it is not a small camera which is quite obvious to me. Most were giving feedbacks on the weight of the camera. People were giving it names like “tank” and “beast”.

What Mamiya RB67 is all about

I found out that it is also completely manual and it doesn’t have any light meter on it. It functions without a battery. I repeat that it is completely MANUAL. So there is a good point to this. First of all is i don’t have to worry about batteries. The other side of it is that you need a light meter unless you are pretty confident in how you want to expose the film and that you know the results will be good.

The RB67 is  a medium format camera and it uses the 120mm film. The 67 is referring to 6 x 7 negative film that it produces. Which means that in a single roll it gives you 10 negatives. So to me every exposure is important and i am definitely going to use some form of light metering to ensure that i got the exposure right. With experience perhaps some day i may no longer need to depend on a light meter. but for now i am not willing to take such a risk.

The genius rotating back concept

The unique feature about this camera is that it has a rotating back. You turn the back clockwise and it changes the setting to portrait setting. Turn it back to where it was before and you get landscape setting. The film back can be removed and switch to another film back at any time as they have the dark slide to prevent you from exposing the film. This is great especially if half way through you decide to switch to another film like the black and white for example and you dont have to actually finish the whole film roll and then load a new one.

Bellow focusing

It also uses bellow focusing. They have knobs on either the left and right which when you turn there is like a form of extension that allows the bellows to be extended. Reviews have said that it helps with macro photography. Focusing is easy and fast. That is one thing that i like with manual cameras.

The build quality of the camera is amazing, it is really solid. Im sure that it can take a beating. But i will do what i can to handle it with care. I received the camera in excellent condition. I am pleased with it.

The lens

The lens that i got was a 90 mm lens. I am not sure about the exact conversion to a 35 mm camera, but if i am not mistaken that is about 45 mm equivalent. It comes with a rubber hood which is pretty cool and kinda make it look even bigger when it is extended.

Modular madness

The beautiful thing about this camera is that it is modular and that means it is almost like a lego. You can take it apart like a gun. And you can put in different accessories. The normal ones come with a waist level viewfinder which unfortunately i don’t have it. Mine comes with a cds prism viewfinder. This is helpful when you want to take portraits. I am about 6 feet tall so they mentioned that to use a waist level viewfinder to take headshots at eye level is a little hard if you are not that tall and to use a prism level viewfinder will come in handy.

The only thing is that it adds to the weight of the camera. I estimated that the overall weight is close to 4 kilos and it is really heavy and i tried to carry and walk around the city with it. It is going to leave you with a sore shoulder. I survived while walking around with it.

In conclusion

I love this camera, i honestly do. It is really solid and it looks cool. I notice a lot of people were looking down at my waist area checking out the camera as it is resting right on my hip level. Build quality is good and i got my first two rolls developed. The price is right and i have gotten a chance to explore medium format photography. I hope to shoot more of this in the future and this makes a very interesting camera for portrait photography and i feel that it is an excellent camera for that purpose. If you want to carry this around, get yourself a good strap. Now i am trying out the crumpler strap. Works fine for now.You really need a strap as without one it feels like it can drop anytime and you do not want that to happen.Do take note that it needs the strap metal piece and i think they call it a strap lug. Mine doesn’t come with one so i had to hunt for a mamiya strap and take out the metal part . The metal part allows you to put on your strap. Without it you can’t.

Other than that i did enjoy using this camera. For those who intend to get this camera and if you are reading this, i hope it helps you to somewhat make a decision. Thank you for your time in reading this.

 

Sample photos of the Mamiya RB67

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Check out the size different between the olympus xa and the rb67

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This is the crumpler strap that im using for this camera.

 

Olympus XA

What is the Olympus XA?

The Olympus XA is a film camera that is compact and at the same time it has a great design. It shoots 35mm film and you can set the ASA from 25-800. The aperture is from 2.8 to 22 and the focusing starts from 2.8,4,8 feet till infinity.

It is a clamshell design and the size fits my palm. I always do a thorough research on cameras no matter how much cheap the camera may be. Thankfully there were lots of good reviews about this camera. I bought it for about $80 Singapore dollars at that time.

It is still consider a rangefinder camera.One of the tiniest actually. 70’s camera  with solid body that fits well in your pockets.

 

What made me buy it?

My only film camera at that time was a lomography sprocket rocket and it shoots and exposes two frames. Out of 36 exposures i will get 18 shots. So i thought i needed a film camera that shoots 36 exposures too. I needed something  that does not feel like a toy and all plasticky. At that point in time i did not know much about cameras and the terms. But the price was right and not too expensive. At that time the Lomography LCA was the alternative and that cost $500 plus and it makes more sense to get this instead. To read reviews where it is described as the pro’s go to camera when they are on holiday sounds good to me.

How is it over the past few years?

I can’t recall exactly when i bought this, but i’ve brought it with me to my trips from NYC, Boston, London, Oslo,Bangkok,Dubai and Malaysia. The size is wonderful and i bring it with me on a daily basis wherever i go. It fits in your pocket and it does not feel like a burden to carry it everywhere  i go. It is very dependable. It uses a very common LR44 batteries which last a very long time.

Pictures wise, i have quite bit of films that are not yet developed. The ones i develop for New York was alright. I was experimenting with the ASA and didn’t quite match it with the iso speed of the film. I did like some of the shots. The ones i like the most was the London trip in 2015 where i used the turquoise film from lomography.

What is the ideal job that it can do?

I think this camera is great for anything. I would even use it for shots of wedding. But where it excels is the fact that it is small and the shutter is nearly silent, people will not hear anything. Therefore it is a good street photography camera.

Would i recommend it?

I would recommend it for anyone who wants a sharp camera that they can carry around anywhere they go. I absolutely love this camera. The viewfinder is small, but most of them recommend to just set it to one setting and just go and shoot pictures in the streets. If you are starting to get into film, you can get this camera. They set the shutter speed for you. All you need is to set the aperture and the focusing.So chances are that you will have a good success rate.

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Why i still shoot film

While everyone is busy snapping photos with their mobile phones and their digital camera which i still do of course. Film cameras have something special about them that makes me appreciate the slower process that it requires. I love digital for giving me that convenience to see the results instantly. But value wise i would still lean towards film.

Being involved

The thing with digital is, it keeps on evolving. Gadgets keeps on getting better. Lenses can do a lot of things for the price of one. It will keep on improving, which is great and i have no complains about that.

But using film, you have to focus yourself, select the right settings. You have more control and not so many buttons like on digital.When you press the shutter, the sound you hear is satisfying and it is a pleasure every time you press it down.

While with digital you can keep on snapping and just hope that out of every 10 that you snap you can at least get about 3 or 5 that is really nice.  For film, every frame that you expose will cost you some money. Each time you press the shutter you can imagine yourself depositing money into the photo lab assistant’s account. So it is indeed precious and you want each shot to be right.

Looking through the viewfinder to frame the subject instead of looking at the lcd screen gives me that shiok(awesome) feeling which i rate the highest when it comes to being involve with the camera.

The idea of film

I find it cool, the thought of preserving and using a tool before digital photography came in. It something that you get to hold and feel. The idea of still using film feels cool to me. It is the same concept of people still listening to vinyl instead of hearing music from digital format.The fact that get to hold that record and place it and put the needle on it. Same like film. Loading the film, unloading it, getting to look at it after it has been process.

Quality of film

This is my own opinion. I enjoy looking at my photos from my film more than my digital photos.

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I know that these two are different subjects. But im not going to say which one is digital but i hope you can tell. With film, i would scan every part of the photo and my eyes enjoy scanning through the details. But with digital i can honestly say i do not bother looking at each part of the photo. So that is on my end.

In general, from what i learn from other experts. Full frame digital cameras gives you the quality of 35 mm camera. Quality wise it depends on the individual i suppose.But that is only 35mm film, medium format and large format films offers crazier photo quality. But each photo cost more which i am happy to accept.

Developing film

People complain that film takes a longer time to develop and you can’t see the photos immediately which is a bummer to a lot of people. But as for me, i have film rolls that i took from years back that i haven’t even develop yet. Im really not in a rush to develop them. They are like time capsules to me. If you’ve watched Harry Potter and there was this moment when Dumbledore have this bowl that contains some sort of water and there inside contains memories for him to extract whenever he needs it.

So film is like that for me, i snap those photos which a lot of them i can’t recall right now but i know that once i develop it it will give me that nostalgic thrill.

Conclusion

This is just some of the few reasons i can think of right now as to why i still shoot film or why i choose it in the first place. It is an art form that i respect so much that i am loving more and more as each day goes by. I love both digital and film photography as both are still photography, but i would definitely choose film as my choice of format.