The following is a quick overview of my current collection of medium format cameras. I use the term “collection” loosely because unlike most collectors, my cameras are usually beaters, and I use them when I have the opportunity.
The cameras here, from left to right, are:
- Voigtlander Bessa 6×9 105mm f/7.7 – This was a recent purchase. The camera is, unfortunately, in much worse shape than listed. In particular, the lens is heavily scratched and/or has fungus growing on it. The body is also in bad shape, so that was a disappointment for me.
- Yashica 124 TLR – This was another disappointment. Firstly, the reflex mirror has lots of scratches on the silvering, which looks like someone tried to clean it with a dirty lens paper. Many. Many. times. The meter, which was supposed to me working, is also nonfunctional due to severe corrosion that caused the battery contact to break off. I may be sending this back to the seller.
- Bronica S2A – This camera is quite precious to me. It is one of five Bronicas that passed through my hands, and one of two that were working (the other was shipped to Russia and was damaged in shipping. Pity, that). The other bodies, which I got for cheap off ebay, are used for parts. And believe me, these guys need parts. Being completely mechanical, and with a complexity meeting (or even exceeding) horological standards, this camera is prone to sudden mood swings. I got it as a poor man’s Hasselblad, though all told, this may have cost me more than a 500C/M (though much of that was recouped through the Russian sale).
- Voigtlander “Baby” Bessa 66 – This is an interesting camera. It is smaller than a Leica M2, yet it shoots a 6×6 frame! The only drawback of the camera is that it is a purely scale-focusing camera. This makes it hard to take advantage of its excellent f/3.5 lens, though with the pocket rangefinder I bought just for it, this can be achieved.
- Mamiya RB67 – This beast of a camera is literally the largest camera in my arsenal, bar none (though I was toying with the idea of a Speed Graphic….). It weighs a ton, is impossibly difficult to handle, and also happens to be a favorite of celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz (or was that the RZ67?).
- Argus 75 – This cute little thing was my first medium format camera, though of course, its use of non-extant 620 film means that it has never actually seen action. The mirror was also badly damaged, but for 5 bucks, this makes a pretty nice decoration.
- Yashica 124G TLR – I’ve come to appreciate the ‘G’ part of this camera series (the gold-plated, corrosion-resistant battery contacts), after my experience with the 124. This camera is a beauty, a joy to work with, a poor man’s Rolleiflex (I have a lot of poor-man’s cameras, because I am poor).
- Voigtlander Bessa 6×9 105mm f/6.3 – This appears to be an update of the f/7.7 mentioned above. It has a better shutter system, a brighter lens, and other mini tweaks. The best part? It works. I am shooting my first roll on it now.