2 Weeks In Australia Shooting Nothing But Medium Format Film

Written by
Cliff Englert
Creative Partnerships

15 days, 1 camera, 1 lens, 10 rolls of film.

When I used to daydream about visiting Australia, I imagined myself traveling with someone special (done) and photographing with a Mamyia 7ii — And here’s why. Since this was a real vacation(and not a ploy to shoot anything portfolio or work related) my pre-travel mindset was this: I wanted rest & relaxation and quality time with my lady. SO, months before the trip I made it simple and played “1-camera 1-lens” scenario. I settled on taking my Mamiya 7ii and 80mm f/4 lens. It made my trip that much more enjoyable.

Shooting only medium format films provided the type of intimate, localized travel experience I wanted from an international trip without feeling like I was missing great pictures in the process. I wanted to physically and mentally “be there” for everything. All the moments, not messing with gears, settings, data, workflows, battery charging, etc.

Outer Great Barrier Reef / Fish feeding while on snorkeling tour
Imagine traveling to another country, for 15 days, with 200 total photos… Never charging a battery, hooking up cords, no hard drives/memory cards, never looking at a camera LCD, computer screen, and most importantly, no editing.
Bloomfield Track / Friends crossing Emmagen Ck

The 80mm f,4 lens or in 35mm terms, a 40mm angle of view To me, this is a great focal length and all around travel lens. The shutter in the lens is practically silent, which I love having when being a tourist.

Bills / Magazines, cocktails, brekkie and coffee

It was a hot tail-end to Australia’s bright and sunny summer. I had to be conscious of the shutter speed limitations, 1/500th being the fastest Mamiya 7ii offers. I didn’t want to be limited during the day with 400iso nor did I want to feel limited after dusk, so I packed lots of 220 Kodak Portra 160iso.

View from Hotel Palisade 1 / Barangaroo Sydney, AUS
View from Hotel Palisade 2 / Barangaroo Sydney, AUS

There are few cameras that feel as good in the hand as Mamyia 7ii. The portability is surprising, especially when comparing with the alternatives: Pentax’s 67 format or Hasselblad’s smaller 6x6. Focusing is also a dream if you like rangefinders.

Friday evening ferry into Circular Quay / Sydney, AUS

The Mamiya 7ii lived up to my expectations for my first Australia trip.

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