Mamiya RZ67 Pro II Polaroid Project!
This morning I said farewell to my trusty Contax 645 medium format film camera. It went to a very good home, a film fashion photographer called James based in London. James collected the camera from me and we used my Contax 645 Polaroid back to check it all functioned correctly. I bought the 645 Polaroid back soon after getting the Contax with high hopes together with some Fuji FP100C instant (Polaroid) film. I was a newbie and somehow expected the Polaroid photo to fill the entire film sheet even though the 645 film back area only covers perhaps 25% of the film area and in one corner. It was safe to say I was disappointed and didn’t even finish shooting the first pack of film.
Talking to James, I mentioned I had a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and he said I must try a Polaroid back on it. I did some reading and got on Flickr and liked what I saw. 7×7 Polaroid photos centred on the film so pleasing to the eye and with a nice hipster look. (This is if you take a photo without the Polaroid mask in. The mask is similar to silver metal dark slide but is black and has a 6×7 aperture. The mask is used for composition test shots to see what is in the standard 6×7 frame).
(Note if you buy a NPC Polaroid back the photo is off centre rather than centred as on a Mamiya back. Both film backs fit the Mamiya RB/RZ but I wanted the Mamiya version with the photo centred purely as it looks nicer).
I found a mint condition Mamiya RZ Polaroid back on eBay so made the purchase.
As many of you may know I enjoy my black and white photography so next step was to pick some film. Fujifilm make did make 2 black and white film types and 2 colour. The 4 common film types were:
Fuji FP-100C Professional (Gloss)(ISO 100) – Colour (Still made & sold on Amazon)
Fuji FP-100C Silk – Colour (ISO 100) (Still made & sold on Amazon)
Fuji FP-100B – B&W (ISO 100) (Dis-continued)
Fuji FP-3000B – B&W (ISO 3200)(Dis-continued)
When starting out on my Mamiya RZ Polaroid project it was sad news to read that only last week Fujifilm announced that the only remaining black and white instant Polaroid film in production will also now be discontinued with production stopping at the end of 2013. The price of FP-3000B is already almost 2x higher than colour FB-100C with prices set to soar as remaining stock dries up.
A passionate photographer, Michael Ash Smith, has setup an online petition to try to keep FP-3000B in production. If you don’t want to see the end of B&W instant film join me in signing the petition here.
As the FP-3000B is quite expensive I am starting the project using Fuji FP-100C gloss. Gloss is said to scan far better than FP-100C silk so I ordered gloss. I may also have to treat myself to a pack of FP-3000B at some point to try it.
The added excitement that comes with shooting Fuji FP100C type film is you get the peel off instant photo but you also get the black backing paper. If you then bleach this you get a useable negative that can be dried and scanned like any other film negative. I did try this with my Contax 645 Polaroid back shots however I could not find a bleach that would remove the backing paper chemicals in the UK. I will try again and do some more research into what type of household bleach will work.
Rather than use the Polaroid back for test shots (as it was designed for), I plan to use it as part of my model fashion and wedding photography for portrait shots. I am excited to think of the high quality capabilities of the Mamiya Sekor leaf shutter lenses caught on instant film. I have a Fujifilm Instax mini that produces small credit card size instant photos but that is an extremely basic point and shoot holga style plastic toy camera. Pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the huge medium format Mamiya RZ67!
Samples coming soon when the Mamiya RZ Polaroid back and Fuji FP-100C film arrives.
Thank you James for inspiring me!
Mamiya RZ 645 Film Back & Mamiya RZ 6×6 Film Back