Alex Catalano

My Mamiya

Ken Rockwell did a better job of explaining the Mamiya 6 than I can.

So, why even make a page about my camera? One might wonder why the hell I'd shoot film in the digital age. What advantages are there to film versus digital?

why

Benchmarks. My bag became too cumbersome to get the shots I wanted by the time I achieved a commercial quality benchmark.

The Mamiya 6's three lenses and medium format image size let me achieve that quality while remaining rugged, simple, and portable.

about the mamiya

Texture

Film is a chemical. Digital is pixel. Pixels are square. And life is ambiguious.

Consistent Quality It shoots film that has a higher resolution than most digital sensors, and far better tone.

Tones

I spent 12 years editing colors and tones and contrasts trying to replicate what film naturally does.

Focus and Care Only having 12 shots, one speed per roll, and a cost of $1 a shot, makes me consider the picture ahead of time. I think about what's going to happen and do my best to prepare. And that makes my experience more personal and enriched.

Pure and Simple, everywhere

Portable the Mamiya 6 happens to be about the size of an average DSLR. So, it fits in my satchel. And as a rangefinder, I can carry it anywhere I want to go, shoot it in a crowd, and not draw too much attention.

my experience

comparison woods shot before comparison woods shot after

scanning

I tried to start off on the cheap by rigging my home scanner and an index card, but had inadequate results. I eventually invested in the setup needed to process the images. And the result was a more accurate representation of my life experiences.

The tradeoff was that film is an uphill battle of time and expenses. Film costs, development costs, scanning costs -- nearly every aspect requires moneys. I've found "Is it worth it?" to be a nagging question. But I've always answered, "Yes," when reminded of the peace and patience its process added to my life.

I've enjoyed shooting the Mamiya. And I've always been excited to shoot more. And that makes the Mamiya 6 the best camera for me.

Image by Matt Benson

To see my mamiya shots, check out my film section: "Latest Film"