Getting started in medium format photography: equipment

So, the accessories arrived a few days ago.  Here’s the Gossen Lunasix F light meter I purchased from eBay:

Gossen Lunasix F
Gossen Lunasix F

Gossen have thoughtfully archived their old manuals as pdfs on their website so I was able to get this with ease.  I’ve never used a light meter before but it seems quite straightforward in practice.

Here is my Yashica Mat itself:

Yashica Mat
Yashica Mat

and here’s everything cased up:

Your starter for 120

The manual is obviously dated but it’s concisely put together.  The slide film (or ‘E6’ for short) is Fujifilm Provia 100F which I’m using as a control group to begin with.  I’ll be trying and comparing colour negative film later on, if the money doesn’t run out.

First time out

Monday’s weather was tepid spring: the odd sunny spell but mostly overcast, warm in the sun but otherwise cool.  Nonetheless, I was determined to take the TLR out for a trial run so I headed to some local woodland with camera, tripod and meter.

I spent forty minutes walking the woods, looking for shots and analyzing the light.  Then it was time for action.  Tripod out, TLR out of case, meter out – whoops, the cases are on the ground – and so on.  I then composed the shot using the viewfinder on the Yashica Mat which pops up from the top:

Yashica Mat viewfinder
Yashica Mat viewfinder

It’s large, fairly bright and has grid lines (great for me, I’m usually 1/1.5 degrees lopsided).  The viewfinder image is laterally reversed which is weird when you start moving the camera or tripod – it’ll take a while to master.  There’s a magnifying glass you can pop down for precise focusing.  I found myself really taking time to get the composition right, metering the scene several times (I have not put the Zone System into practice yet – all in good time).

It’s not digital – I took four photographs in around two hours.  Ok, it was my first time so everything took longer than it should.  Still, when you have the cost of film and processing in the back of your mind, you do your best before you press the shutter.  There’s also an element of “Hmm, is that idea really worth setting up for?”.

When I finish the roll, I’ll have it developed straight away to verify the exposures and make sure everything is working as it should.  I’m noting shutter speed and aperture for each shot as I go.  I’ll have some results to share before too long.