Camera: Mamiya M645 1000S with Meter Prism Finder
Lens: Mamiya-Sekor C 80mm f/1.9
Film: Ilford Delta 100 ASA (expired 2008 or 2009)
Mini-review of the setup:
Camera: I found the Mamiya 645 awkward to hold. Controls are very different from any other camera I've had or handled, but logical in their own way. Viewfinder is fairly small but it's pretty bright with this fast lens for the format. Dual shutter releases, I didn't use the top one but I suppose it's more for when you have the waist level finder installed rather than the prism as shown here.
The meter doesn't work in this prism but that's no problem to me as I just used Sunny 16 or confirmed with my phone's light meter and got a roll full of just fine exposures.
Film can be pre-loaded into the removable cartridges but you can't hot swap like you can on the later evolutions or the Hassy 6x6 or Contax 645 that this was up against.
This is the 1000S model so it has the lock on the shutter speed dial which I found to be a nice touch rather than much of a nuisance. Also, the built in shutter lock is great. I abhor wasting film taking pictures of the inside of a bag so any camera with a lock is ahead of the game there.
Lens: This is the fastest commercially available medium format lens. It's the "Noctilux" of the 645 format. I'd actually call it the Canon 50mm f/0.95 compared to the Contax 645's 80/2.0 which I would compare more directly to the Noct but they are all super fast for their respective formats.
The 80/1.9 is basically designed for portraits. It's rather slow to focus, it's not designed to be supremely sharp wide open but has a distinctive look to the images. It's got it's own group on Flickr so you can see what I mean. It's large, heavy, gets attention and so is not what most photographers would consider for their general purpose, every day lens. This is compared to the Pentax Takumar 105mm f/2.4 which is the fastest commercially produced lens available for 6x7 format and does get used as a general purpose lens by many users of the Pentax 67 system.
Comparing the two lenses is possible but it really comes down to which format you are wanting to use. Can you make do with 10-11 shots
Film: Delta 100 is Ilford's medium speed (in film terms, with 50 being slow, 400 being fast and 3200 being ultra-fast) b&w T-grain film. This means it's going to be fairly modern looking, vs the older style emulsion like FP4+. I tend to prefer the T-grain films but the old style emulsions can do some wonderful things as well.
The T-grain films tend to be a bit sharper, have smoother grain, higher resolution, less apparent grain and to my eye, have more shadow detail than their traditional grain counterpart for the same speed. Some people believe that the T-grain films look too digital, too smooth, they want the toothy grain to show through and so they use the old style or a smaller format.
As always, please click on the image to get a full window view.