Testing Vintage Cameras (I) - Mamiya C3

To start off, I was never a fan of TLRs. Needed a great deal of thinking and finally got one in my kit. A Mamiya C3, from a thrift shop in Mumbai. The camera had to undergo a good amount of servicing since there was a problem with the film advancing mechanism. After it had been serviced and some cleaning it was time to test it out.

Camera:  Nikon FM2 |  Film:  Oriental Seagull 400 |  Developing:  D-76, pushed +1 Stop

Camera: Nikon FM2 | Film: Oriental Seagull 400 | Developing: D-76, pushed +1 Stop

For the test, I used a roll of Fujicolor Reala, that had been expired in 1999. This was my first time using this film and was eager to see the results.

Fujicolor Reala ISO 100 (Expiry - Oct 1999)

Fujicolor Reala ISO 100 (Expiry - Oct 1999)

Post 4PM, there’s beautiful dappled sunlight that creeps into my office front, lighting up the few blooming flowers that I have. I decided to use the flowers as my subject, therefore this way, I would get to test the Macro capabilities of the mamiya-Sekor 80mm lens.  

I had one small task, now! The flowers were situated at a height. Using a ladder, I was somehow able to position myself as close to the flowers as possible for some really tight macro shots. Initially, I found it difficult to compose without a tripod, because I had to focus on balancing myself and at the same time frame the shot with a waist-level finder. It took me a good amount of time; however, I was able to finalise on a composition.

What I saw through the viewfinder, was simply stunning! The macro capabilities of the lens are outstanding. After adjusting my settings, taking into consideration the 20-year expiry of the film, I started shooting the planters and bloomers. I wanted to test the capabilities of the expired film. So I shot some frames where the sun is lighting up the flowers, a few against sunlight, and few with light leaks to check the capabilities of the lens as well. 

Now I had to just wait and see how the images would turn out. Considering, I had already overexposed the film by 2-stops while shoot, I decided not push it while processing.

Love what this camera and what its lens could achieve! I will be honest, was a bit skeptical about how the expired film would behave. Apart from the additional grains (which are not evident), super stoked with the results! 

 - Vishal Kullarwar