Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You snooze you lose!

You snooze you lose!

I found that out the hard way today when I went to buy a Mamiya RB67 outfit I'd been eyeing for a while and discovered it was sold yesterday. I will no doubt be kicking myself for the next few months as this really was "one that got away".
I saw the kit at a Johannesburg dealer last week, consisting of body, back, magnifying view-finder, 50mm, 90mm and 120mm lens and could have had it for around R4 000 (about US$530).
For those who don't know, the Mamiya RB67 produces a negative that is 60mm x 70mm and for years has been the workhorse of pros. I thought about it, ummed and ah'd and hesitated, while I tried to reach a decision. Did I really need it?
I am very happy with my Bronica SQA and my Rollei but Bronica lenses seem to be quite difficult to find and, when you do, tend to be pricey. The Rollei has a fixed lens.
When I finally convinced myself the wisest course would be to build a system around the more readily available Mamiya and to sell the Bronica, it was too late. I am gutted.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blown away by a cheap rangefinder

It's been months since I last wrote anything on my blog, mainly because the financial crunch has forced me into survival mode. I've had to hustle and do all sorts of strange photographic jobs, ranging from golf days to end-of-year company functions.
Let's be honest, this is a tough business to be in right now.
But enough of that.
I recently shot some pictures of the little son of one of my best friends. Little Grant Cachia is one cute little tyke who never stops moving.

I wanted to do the shoot with something different, so I fished out an old Ricoh 35RF rangefinder camera that I've dabbled with on a few occasions.
The same, basic, Ricoh was produced in a number of guises and sold as a Ricoh 35G (I think) as well as under the Sears name. They can still be found regularly at bargain prices and are capable of phenomenal results.
I loaded up with Ilford's excellent XP2 Super black and white film. It's a very convenient film option as it produces incredibly fine-grained images and can be processed at any one-hour lab. I find it is best if under-exposed slightly and normally set my exposure meter at ISO 320.

The prints blew me away. Because the little guy moves so fast, and it was a dark and gloomy day (sounds like the start of a novel!) I was generally shooting wide open, at f2.8 and sometimes as slow as 1/15th of a second.
This resulted in some of the images not being blindingly sharp but I think they better captured the energy of the little guy. Sometimes sharp focus can be boring.
I have posted a couple of the shots below but you can also check them out at
Also take a look at my new website
Quite by chance I came across the work of Cheryl Jacobs. I think she is one of the finest portrait photographers you'll ever encounter. She is also one very good looking lady.
Do yourself a favour and look at her work at