Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Inherited an old medium format camera -- Some questions

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Alay

Alay

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 25 Nov 2023
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 08 December 2023 - 02:59 PM

Heya!  Recently got into astrophotography, but I'm very much from a digital world of experience.  I've also done DSLR wildlife photography for years.  Some of those skills translate, many don't lol.gif

 

A friend of mine had a clear out of their relative's estate after they passed, and gave me several mint film cameras of different types.  The one that really stuck out to me was the Mamiya C33, a 120mm medium format camera.  It had with it an 80mm / 1.2f lens, which seems like it could be fun to try on the night sky.

 

My first major question is regarding the shutter.  The shutter is built into the lens, and has a "Bulb" setting, as well as some quite low settings (up to 1 second)...  Is a single long tracked exposure preferential to multiple exposures at 1 second on film?

 

Secondly at 80mm/1.2f, what kind of ISO film and exposure lengths/integrations should I be shooting for?  Obviously this will be a lot of experimenting (especially for a film newbie like myself) but I'd appreciate ballparks if possible.  

 

Finally any suggested northern hemisphere "newbie friendly" targets?  I'm in Bortle 6.  Orion is pretty nice in the sky right now when it's clear, but I wonder if trying to get nebulosity might be really ambitious.

 

I've been trying to piece together answers to some of these questions, but if I missed a major article or guide I'd love a direction to it.  Apologies in advance for any "duh" newbie questions! smile.gif


Edited by Alay, 08 December 2023 - 02:59 PM.


#2 photomagica

photomagica

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 806
  • Joined: 23 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Calgary and Tucson

Posted 08 December 2023 - 03:35 PM

  • Use fast film. ISO 400 or greater.
  • Have another look at the lens. It is more likely an f2.8. That's OK. Try f4 if f2.8 gives you distorted stars in the corners.
  • Use the bulb setting with a locking cable release to take time exposures.
  • In Bortle 6, I'd try with half hour tracked exposures, though anything over about five minutes will give you something. Stacking short exposures is mainly a digital thing.
  • You can go untracked for 15 seconds and get all the stars the eye can see without too much star trailing.
  • Or go for several hours untracked and just enjoy the star trails. They are quite wonderful, especially in color.
  • An 80mm lens will cover a pretty wide area of sky, so try for some constellations. Orion is great. So is Andromeda.
  • Shoot on moonless nights.
  • If you are shooting black and white, over develop the film by a factor of 1.5 times to increase the contrast.
  • Keep notes about what you are doing. Camera settings, exposure time, anything you might want to reproduce or vary later.
  • Regard this as a learning experience. After some experiments on the sky you will have developed some expertise and a feel for what works.

Let us know how it works for you and please share some images - even if you think they aren't that good.

Best regards,

Bill


  • Todd N and Uwe Pilz like this

#3 Achernar

Achernar

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,356
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA

Posted 08 December 2023 - 03:50 PM

Heya!  Recently got into astrophotography, but I'm very much from a digital world of experience.  I've also done DSLR wildlife photography for years.  Some of those skills translate, many don't lol.gif

 

A friend of mine had a clear out of their relative's estate after they passed, and gave me several mint film cameras of different types.  The one that really stuck out to me was the Mamiya C33, a 120mm medium format camera.  It had with it an 80mm / 1.2f lens, which seems like it could be fun to try on the night sky.

 

My first major question is regarding the shutter.  The shutter is built into the lens, and has a "Bulb" setting, as well as some quite low settings (up to 1 second)...  Is a single long tracked exposure preferential to multiple exposures at 1 second on film?

 

Secondly at 80mm/1.2f, what kind of ISO film and exposure lengths/integrations should I be shooting for?  Obviously this will be a lot of experimenting (especially for a film newbie like myself) but I'd appreciate ballparks if possible.  

 

Finally any suggested northern hemisphere "newbie friendly" targets?  I'm in Bortle 6.  Orion is pretty nice in the sky right now when it's clear, but I wonder if trying to get nebulosity might be really ambitious.

 

I've been trying to piece together answers to some of these questions, but if I missed a major article or guide I'd love a direction to it.  Apologies in advance for any "duh" newbie questions! smile.gif

I can help you with that, because I have used cameras like the Mamiya C33.

 

First of all the 80mm lens has a maximum aperture of F/2.8, which is plenty fast for astronomical photography. The shutter is mechanical and with film you will be taking long exposures one at a time, not a bunch of 1-second exposures even if you could afford all that film and the expense of developing it. 

 

Use any film with an ISO rating of at least 100, and many ISO 400 films will do well for astronomical work. Use a color negative film so minor mistakes in exposure will be compensated for while scanned or printed. Depending on how dark the skies are, and what you are photographing and how, start with exposures of at least 20 seconds and go for five or ten minutes if you can use it on a mount that tracks. If you want star trails, close the lens down to F/4 or 5.6 and leave the shutter open as long as you want, but bear in mind for this to work very dark sites are needed. Bortle 6 skies are not going to cut it. You will have to deal with dew forming on the lens, so a handwarmer taped or rubber banded to the camera near the lens should keep dew away. Since the lens is a normal lens, try shooting photos of the Milky Way or starscapes at night. Constellations such as Orion or Leo would also be a good subject for this camera. We have two comets coming next year which might become bright enough to get some good shots of them with this camera. Stay tuned.

 

Taras


Edited by Achernar, 08 December 2023 - 03:53 PM.

  • photomagica likes this

#4 Uwe Pilz

Uwe Pilz

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4,034
  • Joined: 16 May 2008
  • Loc: Leipzig, Germany

Posted 18 December 2023 - 02:01 AM

I recommend starting with b/w. You may develop the film by yourself and see the mistakes very early. And you will make mistakes.

 

All you need is a developing tank, developer like Rodinal, and fix, best made form fluid concentrate. You may scan the negatives after they are dry.


  • photomagica likes this

#5 Max Headroom

Max Headroom

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 232
  • Joined: 30 Sep 2022
  • Loc: Western Colorado

Posted 18 December 2023 - 01:18 PM

Heya!  Recently got into astrophotography, but I'm very much from a digital world of experience.  I've also done DSLR wildlife photography for years.  Some of those skills translate, many don't lol.gif

 

A friend of mine had a clear out of their relative's estate after they passed, and gave me several mint film cameras of different types.  The one that really stuck out to me was the Mamiya C33, a 120mm medium format camera.  It had with it an 80mm / 1.2f lens, which seems like it could be fun to try on the night sky.

 

My first major question is regarding the shutter.  The shutter is built into the lens, and has a "Bulb" setting, as well as some quite low settings (up to 1 second)...  Is a single long tracked exposure preferential to multiple exposures at 1 second on film?

 

Secondly at 80mm/1.2f, what kind of ISO film and exposure lengths/integrations should I be shooting for?  Obviously this will be a lot of experimenting (especially for a film newbie like myself) but I'd appreciate ballparks if possible.  

 

Finally any suggested northern hemisphere "newbie friendly" targets?  I'm in Bortle 6.  Orion is pretty nice in the sky right now when it's clear, but I wonder if trying to get nebulosity might be really ambitious.

 

I've been trying to piece together answers to some of these questions, but if I missed a major article or guide I'd love a direction to it.  Apologies in advance for any "duh" newbie questions! smile.gif

You're going to need to track the sky if you want to image anything but star trails.  Maybe piggyback the camera on a tracking scope.
On 120 format film (it's not 120mm, it's actually 70ishmm high, by however long the camera makes the frame, on the Mamiya TLR the frames are spaced to be square, and you should get a dozen shots that are about 67mm square) the 80mm lens is the 'normal' lens, which means it's going to be equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, which approximates our normal human view.  This will be fine for taking star trail pics, but I think you'll find it's not enough lens for anything else.  The nice thing about the Mamiya is it has interchangeable lenses, unlike the rest of the TLRS. You can get longer (and wider) focal length lenses.  That said the longest FL lens for the Mamiya TLRs is the 250mm, which wont produce a lot of magnification on a MF film camera. These cameras weren't really designed for long FL work, and the 250mm lens is more of a close up portraiture lens.
When shooting long exposure shots on film, you have to calculate the exposure, and then add some additional exposure for reciprocal failure.  This is a phenomena that in simplistic terms means the film becomes less sensitive as it is exposed outside of it's designed range.  This calculation is dependent on the particular stock you are using.
To answer you question on how to expose.  On film, you're going to want to use one long exposure per frame.  You could shoot multiple long exposure frames and stack them later.

Not to be a nattering naybob of negativity, but the Mamiya TLR (the 'brick' as we affectingly call it) is not really suited for this kind of work.  First, the Mamiya TLR's are some of the biggest TLR's of the era.  And the layout and ergonomics don't lend itself to piggyback work.  And as I mentioned above, the lens selection doesn't go very deep into the telephoto focal lengths, and there are no 2x converters for these cameras.
Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic camera, and I own several, along with several other Mamiya professional cameras.  But the primary purpose of these was for fashion editorials, weddings, and travel photography.  They were also popular with togs that shot album covers. All of the additional lenses, and other accessories will be geared toward these uses.  Lenses and accessories will interchange between all the Mamiya TLR's.
You can do some fine star trail shots with them though.  Shoot wide open and expose for about 4 hours, and you should get results no matter what the filmstock.  Exposure length isn't super critical.  Just expose long enough to get nice long trails.  For focus, crank the bellows all the way in, which will set the camera at infinity.

To shoot with the B (or T setting if you have it) use the hat trick.  Block the lens with your hat, and then pop the shutter.  Wait a second or two for the camera to settle down and take away your hat.    Reverse the procedure to close the shutter.  This will eliminate vibrations from the mechanisms in the camera.
 


Edited by Max Headroom, 18 December 2023 - 01:50 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics