Equipment I use

My medium format system is built around a Mamiya 645 Pro TL camera. This is an SLR-type of camera with TTL metering. I have 3 lenses, including a 55 mm Mamiya-Sekor C f/2.8 wide angle, a 150 mm Mamiya-Sekor C f/3.5 normal lens, and a 300 mm Mamiya-Sekor ULD C f/5.6 short telephoto lens. I use skylight filters on both of the shorter lenses for protection for the front optics and, although I don’t have many filters, I have a polarizer and a set of Cokin colored filters for black and white shooting. All 3 lenses have a 58 mm filter size, which is very convenient. I also use extension tubes for close-up photography, which I prefer over extenders.

My large format system is centered on a Wisner 4×5 Pocket Expedition field camera from Wisner Classic Manufacturing in Marion, Massachusetts. I have two lenses- a 150 mm Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S f/5.6 normal lens and a Schneider Super-Angulon 90mm f/5.6 wide angle lens. I use a skylight filter on this lens, a polarizer, and the same set of Cokin filters for black and white photography with a dedicated Cokin adapter. My light meter is a Sekonic L-508 Zoom Master spot meter that I really like. I am currently using a Schneider 4x loupe on the ground glass. I carry a couple of different digital stop watches, in case one fails as happened one bitterly cold day, so I can better time longer exposures (anything beyond 1 second). I bought my dark cloth off e-Bay. I have a couple of dozen film holders for regular sheet film, also from e-Bay, and they are of various different makes, although I like the Riteway ones that lock the dark slide in until they are seated in the camera at which point they automatically unlock. It reduces my ability to remove the wrong dark slide or for the dark to come loose when not in the camera. Inadvertent stupidity control is a priority!  Originally, I started in large format using a Graflex 4×5 camera borrowed from my brother, so you will see it noted in several captions.

The digital equipment is based on the Nikon system because I shot Nikon 35mm cameras for years and have several lenses. My first digital camera is a Nikon D200 with a AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens that came with it. Additionally, I bought a Tokina AT-X 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D lens. I chose the Tokina over the Nikon equivalent because, although it does not have the vibration reduction, it is just over half the price of the Nikon lens. Polarizing filters are important so I carry one with an adapter ring so both lenses are covered. In case of inclement weather I have a Shutterhat rain cover because water and electronics don’t mix happily. I have a Nikon P7100 point-and-shoot for times when I can’t carry the D200.

Support for my cameras is provided by Bogen. I have a Bogen monopod that I use often and a Bogen 3021 tripod with a Bogen 3028 head. The tripod is aluminum, so it is a little on the heavy side and it sure gets cold in winter, but it has done very well and is very steady even when provoked by winds. It is also tall enough that I don’t have to stoop every time I use it. I have used the tripod for every large format photograph so having a great tripod is critical to me.

My carrying bags are of several different styles. Each camera is carried in its own backpack except the P7100 which is in a small shoulder bag.  My medium format system is carried in a very comfortable backpack my brother gave me that I outfitted with foam rubber cut to fit with an electric carving knife. The large format is in a LowePro backpack with dividers that holds everything including up to 8 film holders. If I need something more heavy duty, I have a Pelican 1510 case with wheels that securely holds the large format and for which I can buy new foam to fit the medium format.

The final item, of course, is film. For black and white photography I have used Kodak T-Max 100 and 400, Agfa Agfapan APX 100, Ilford Delta 100 and 400, and Ilford FP4+. Although they are all fine films, I am currently using only FP4+ for large format and medium format because I like the contrast and tonal range. For color I use Fuji Provia 100, a transparency film, because I like the tone of the color I get back, but getting it processed has turned into a bit of a trial as the labs, formerly readily available, are now all out of state. I try to keep all the large format films the same speed because it makes my life so much simpler to do so. In medium format the film speed is set on each film back so it makes no more work for me to use more than one speed there.  I no longer use Kodak ReadyLoad holders and film because it is no longer available, like so many bits of film paraphernalia since the advent of digital photography.

Equipment I use was last modified: January 31st, 2015 by Dafydd Jones