Getting to know the Pentax 645…

Earlier this week a new camera arrived: a Pentax 645 medium format SLR. Came equipped with the SMC-A 75/2.8, 120 insert, and a bunch of old film. I’d been looking for something new to try to get me out of a creative slump. All my large format shooting has started to look alike. Add to that the inherent cost, time, and hassle involved in shooting LF (or ULF), and I was beginning to burn out. Some folks on APUG suggested working in a smaller format for a while; I wanted the availability of different focal lengths, and found a good, used, 645.

I’ve put a few rolls through it already. One of just kids (go figure) yielded some nice shots of Maddie:

But today I was in Reading, so I drove to nearby Wyomissing to stroll a couple parks along the Tulpehocken Creek. One boasts the largest single-span covered bridge in the state; the other was a grist mill in centuries passed. I ran through a roll of Acros while there; some shots are presented below.

The restored Gruber Wagon Works:

A closeup of a wagon wheel, through the Canon 500D diopter, which fits the SMC-A 75/2.8:

Wertz’s Bridge:

A web in a hole in the bridge:

Some buildings at Gring’s Mill:

A stitched pano from Gring’s mill:

And a sluice gate at Gring’s Mill:

I am LOVING this camera! I’m also, admittedly, a little glad for the respite from large format. I’m finding it liberating to just sling a camera over my shoulder and go. No planning, no hassle, no mess. There’s a place for that, but for now, I’m truly enjoying shooting again. And, I want a wider lens…


Seneca View 8×10 – Decisions, decisions…

Last week I came into a windfall buy of 10×12 FP4+, enough to keep me shooting for a long, long time. So, I’m feeling recommitted to the format, and want a lens with enough coverage to allow for some movements. Problem: No money. I’ve sold most all of the photographic chaff I had laying around. About the only thing left? The 8×10 Seneca View project camera. I know I’ll want an 8×10 again someday. I also know the 10×12 is an insane rig to carry around in the woods. But I don’t really feel like I have the luxury of maintaining both formats, even in project stages.

I also know the 8×10 would be worth so much more were it complete. But new bellows cost money, a new extension rail requires time I don’t seem to have. I fear I’m on the brink of forsaking this beautiful camera in pieces.

Decisions, decisions…