Working With The Red Beast.

Steve Burns | December 8th, 2011 - 10:41 pm

2011-12-04 found me taking an extended walk with the old Mamiyaflex from an earlier post that I just covered in red camera leather.  A sunny afternoon in Nyack and Piermont, NY and a couple of rolls of 120 Fuji Film.  Fun stuff.  The camera worked wonderfully. It demands though that each user adapt a certain methodology of use if they are not going to end up getting a bunch of double exposed frames.  These are a few images from that walk.

Some thoughts about working with this camera.  The camera has to have its shutter cocked in order to fire the shutter.  Also the camera needs to have the film advanced to a fresh frame unless you intentionally want to double expose a piece of film.   What is unusual about this camera is that these actions are independent of each other.   It can be a blessing or a curse depending upon how you look at it.  In some ways it is like working with a small view camera where you manually cock the shutter, put in a fresh sheet of film and pull the dark slide prior to making an image.   Because I use this camera to slow down a bit; it works for me.

For my needs, I advance the film to a new frame, flip the locked/unlocked lever on the right side to “unlocked” which places a dark slide over the fresh piece of film.  Then I set and cock the lens.  When I see what I want an image of;  I flip the locked/unlocked lever to “locked” which removes the dark slide over the film.  I compose the image, and then release the cocked shutter.  Simple, right?

What I do next stops film from being double exposed.   After my making an exposure I immediately advance the film and then make another exposure if desired.  If I’m not making another exposure, I flip that locked/unlock lever over to unlock in order to place a dark slide once again over the fresh film.  By doing so if I go to make an image and I find that lever in the unlocked position I immediately know that I have a fresh piece of film in place.  Otherwise it is an exposed piece of film.

The reason the camera has a locked/unlocked lever on it is to place a dark slide over the film so that one can “unlock” and change the lens without fogging the film.  The Mamiyaflex was a rare beast in that it was a twin lens camera that allowed one to change the lens in use, where as a Rolleiflex will not.

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