MY NEW FILM CAMERA & SHOOTING 120MM
The Fuji GA645 x 120mm Porta 400
If you follow me on instagram you’ll know how very excited i’ve been about my latest purchase. In celebration of my recent promotion at work (eee), I decided to invest in a medium format film camera. I was very torn between two cameras, the Pentax 67 and the Fuji GA645 – after spotting the Pentax in my local camera reseller I thought i’d go for it, but as I phoned to buy it a few days later it had already sold. I was gutted I missed out as it was a pretty good price, and ironically they’d even had two in stock.
In my disappointment I thought i’d search one more time for the Fuji (which in many ways I felt would be more suited to my needs but didn’t seem to be available in any stores), and as it happens one had become available in a camera store just north of London. It was double the price of the Pentax and actually VERY expensive for the camera, but knowing how lucky I was to find one for sale in the UK and still buzzing from my promotion … I bought it.
Last Friday after setting it all up with my 120mm Porta 400 and heading out for an evening stroll, I decided it was the perfect time to do a test roll of film … and here’s the results.
Despite the fact that looking at these photos now I do quite like the shots, when I initially got them sent through I was actually a bit disappointed.
Firstly a few of the shots I was super hopeful about (in the park, in the wild grass) didn’t come out how I had envisaged. Mostly this was because I was so far away from the camera which wasn’t my vision for the shot, but hadn’t realised was what Jase was taking. I had hoped for something with a lot more depth and me at the fore – a lesson for next time. The second was a slight lack of focus, but given it’s known to be a master portrait camera, again it may be down to the distance the shots were took at.
Secondly, the golden hour time of day looked incredible through my eyes, but I hadn’t truly thought through the 400 ISO I had in the film and the F4 aperture of the lens … the reality is the shots came out quite dark versus what I thought and in turn the whites (which were actually beautiful oranges) felt a little blown out. Since these i’ve been reading a lot about ‘pushing or pulling’ film which means you can override the film ISO to adjust the settings more in line with what you feel you need (i know this roughly from always shooting manual on my DSLR, but a light meter might have also told you what the best settings were). I knew I wanted to shoot on F4 anyway (equiv to c. 2.8 on a 35mm camera) as I always prefer to shoot with plenty of depth of field, and with the ISO set at 400, perhaps the shutter speed just didn’t auto shoot as low as maybe i’d have set it manually – as I was shooting aperture priority which is what this camera is amazing at.
But overall, after loading them into lightroom, slightly bumping the exposure, reducing shadows and adding back that warmth (which has made them slightly more grainy obviously) … I’m not too disappointed for my first roll and am really keen to get out and shoot some more. More portrait style, which I think will show this camera off to it’s full potential.
As a final note, not only did the camera cost a bomb (£799) the film works out c. £10 a film (and you only get 16 shots) and it cost me £25 to develop with prints & we transfer. Film photography is NOT a cheap hobby, but now i’ve got the bug I really enjoy the novelty and suspense of shooting film, but also I secretly love the results. It’s a huge learning curve. There’s no shooting ten images to get the perfect one, it’s a game of chance and requires far more mastery to get a whole roll of perfect images.
What do you think? Are you enjoying my film posts?