The Favourite Camera Series – Alex

When asked, Alex replied:

1. If you were to choose a favourite film camera from your collection which would it be?

I don’t collect cameras. I use them. I have three Mamiyas RB, one for use one for spare, just in case and the third for parts. I have Three Nikon FM-2 which pretty well replaced my Pentaxes (S-3, Spotmatic F and two MXs). The Nikons brought to my editorial photography the ability to synchronize with flash at 1/250 second. This was an important factor when I took softbox shots outside and purposely darkened the background one or two stops by using that 1/250 second shutter speed.

But my favourite camera has been the Mamiya RB-67 as it syncs up to 1/400 second. Its revolving 6x7cm back meant that my photographs were rarely cropped by magazine art directors. I always provided a vertical (for full page bleed) and a horizontal version for two-page spreads. And to be able to use Polaroids with the Polaroid back meant that rarely did I go home without a usable picture.


2. How long have you owned this camera?

I have owned a Pentacon F (East German) since 1958. It works just fine. My first Mamiya I purchased in 1978.


3. How did you come to own this camera?

I bought the Pentacon F, From Olden in NY City for $100, because my first camera an Agfa Silette had a fixed lens. At the time the photo magazines argued between the new-fangled SLRs and the established rangefinder cameras.


4. What things do you enjoy most about this camera?

I call my Mamiya RB and its excellent 140mm floating element portrait lens my Sword Excalibur. I have dropped it from a high tripod and immersed it in a swimming pool but it was always fixable. The picture enclosed is of German filmmaker Werner Herzog.

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