Not long ago I found myself experimenting with a Pentax 67 medium format camera. It was one of those cameras that I always wanted to try out in part thanks to the heaps of praise other photographers tended to sing about it. I’m not going to deny, the camera sounded very appealing. Basically an SLR (single lens reflex) design but instead of tiny 35mm negatives you get big 6x7 negatives. Plus, the older Pentax 67’s tend to be fairly cheap on-line and even cheaper if you happen to find one not too far away on Craigslist. Which is what I personally did.
I expected the Pentax 67 to be heavy. I’m perfectly fine with heavy cameras. After all, anyone who reads this blog or follows my work at all knows that I regularly use a Mamiya RZ67 which is no slouch in the size and weight department. However, though I liked the Pentax 67 in theory, I didn’t really like it much in practice. Putting a camera as big and heavy as the Pentax 67 up to your eye was annoying. Seriously, I quickly started to feel like I was going to give myself a black eye if I worked too fast. Plus, the edges of the camera body were just too shallow to get a good grip on the camera when working hand held and I constantly had the sensation that I was going to drop it at any moment.
So what was my takeaway lesson? The SLR camera design is a wonderful thing up to a certain size. After that, a waist level finder and a very big flash grip (i.e. the Mamiya RZ67) is the way to go if you like to make photographs with big negatives but insist on working hand held. I’m not much of a tri-pod person and I more than likely never will be. Oh well, it was just one of those lessons I needed to learn and I imagine there are legions of photographers who would disagree with me on this particular point. If you are reading this and you are one of them, just know that I envy you. The lenses on the Pentax 67 are clearly awesome and if the size and weight of a Pentax 67 doesn’t bother you then you get to take advantage of them.
Kudos to you.
Anyway, this photograph was from one of the few photo sessions I did with the Pentax 67 before I re-sold it on Craigslist. It was insanely cold outside so doing a photo session in a private hot tub seemed to be the right move on this particular day.