Shooting with the Unusual Bronica RF645 Medium Format Camera

Curious about the Bronica RF645 and want to know if it’s a medium format film camera for you? Alastair Bird shares his experience in his quick review video.

Thinking of getting into medium format film photography and looking for a camera with which to start your journey? One of the newer cameras you might want to check out — but most likely haven’t heard of — is the Bronica RF645 rangefinder camera. If that just piqued your curiosity, we bring a new video by Alastair Bird that will serve as your quick introduction to this interesting camera.

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Does Anyone Remember the P-Sharan Pinhole Camera?

There was a time when you could simply grab a P-Sharan Pinhole Camera if you wanted to try out pinhole photography. Does anyone remember that?


Pinhole photography isn’t really difficult, but the results can be hit or miss. Still, its appeal is the fact that you can make a pinhole camera out of anything, and it’s actually a fun, experimental way to learn about photography. But, just a couple of years ago, you could also simply pick up one of those simple P-Sharan cardboard pinhole cameras, pop in a roll of 35mm film, and get shooting. Let’s look back at one of Alastair Bird’s 2016 videos to refresh our memory about this fun paper camera.

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This Problem with the Hasselblad 203FE Will Drive Photographers Mad

Alastair Bird’s latest photos, shot with the Hasselblad 203FE, were ruined because of this problem. Did you ever encounter it with your Hasselblad system as well?

One of the most frustrating things that could happen to film photographers is getting ruined photos because of a camera issue. It’s always a risk when you’re working with an old camera, especially one that hasn’t been serviced, or one with lenses that haven’t been CLA’d (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust) in a long time. In his latest video, Alastair Bird shared with us a recent issue he encountered with his Hasselblad 203FE, which caused a roll of medium format film to get ruined. You might want to keep this in your bookmarks if you also have a Hasselblad system.

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Here’s a Cheap Way to Make Big Wall Art Prints of Your Photos

What if we tell you there’s a way to make big art prints of your favorite photos without breaking the bank? Will you still put off printing your best snaps?

If you’re yet to get your best photos printed, it’s never too late to get started. We can’t stress enough how important and rewarding it is to see your work in print. A great quality print would not only be the final step in creating great work, but will elevate it into a form that everyone can readily look at and admire. But, if you’re not ready to splurge on fine art prints, Alastair Bird shows us a cheap and handmade way to go big.

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What Do You Do When Your Images Get Rejected from a Gallery Show?

The Salon des Refusés route is an option to showcase your work if you don’t make it to a photography group exhibit or a gallery show.

While the art world has been greatly democratized compared to centuries ago, there’s certainly still a lot of gatekeeping from galleries, photography competitions, and collectives. However, just because your project proposals and applications are rejected doesn’t mean you can’t showcase your work. Alastair Bird tells us about his recent experience putting together a photography exhibition through the Salon de Refusés route.

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Tips on Photographing Artwork Beautifully and Accurately

If you need to make an accurate and beautiful reproduction of a painting or other pieces of art, these tips on photographing artwork may come in handy.

Among the myriad of projects you can take on as a photographer, possibly one of the most technical of them is making a photographic copy of an artwork. It can be challenging to reproduce all the colors and elements of a painting, for example, in the most faithful and accurate way possible. If you find yourself tasked with this mission, we may have just the right video tutorial for you.

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Things to Keep in Mind When Shooting with Expired Film

Expired film is still workable as long as you know how to work with it and have an idea what to expect with the results. 

They probably don’t know it, but the retro, dreamy look that a lot of people associate with film photography is usually caused by expired film. You can call some of the results as happy accidents, but that doesn’t change the fact that expired film is tricky to shoot with. If you’re drawn to film photography because of this look, we suggest watching this video before you start hoarding expired film.

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Why You Should Do the One Camera, One Lens Challenge

There are many reasons and advantages for using different lenses for your photography, especially when you’re doing it for commercial work or specialized projects. Still, we come across photography tests like the “one camera, one lens” challenge, the goal of which is to see what kind of images we’ll come up with if we have to push through the limitations of using just one lens.

Vancouver-based Alastair Bird was once challenged to take on this test while planning for a trip to Cuba. It turned out to be a big deal given his big lens collection and preference for the versatility of using different lenses. Prime lens, one focal length only, his friend said. He responded then by taking with him the Fujifilm X100 with 35mm F2 lens, and did it again in Russia just months ago with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and a 23mm F1.4 lens.

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Review: Tomiyama Art Panorama 6×17

All images by Alastair Bird. Used with permission.

If you think that your full frame mirrorless camera is such hot stuff, consider this Tomiyama Art Panorama 6×17 camera. It’s a panoramic camera that gives you four frames for every roll of 120 film. Photographer Alastair Bird recently finished a video on the camera talking about how awesome it is. Previously, he worked on a conversion of a Polaroid camera to shoot 4×5 film.

The camera has a 90mm lens and has ground glass in addition to focusing. The lens starts out at f8 and goes to f64–which is fairly shallow considering the massive size.

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Watch a Polaroid Camera Modified for 4×5 Shoot Instant Film

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All images by Alastair Bird. Used with permission.

While old school instant film cameras are pretty readily available, finding one that works flawlessly is like getting your hands on a unicorn sometimes. Photographer Alastair Bird got his hands on a modified Polaroid camera. It was modified to shoot 4×5 film. Due to the fact that that film can still be acquired (though it’s largely discontinued) in the form of Fujifilm Instant emulsions, Bird decided to shoot the film in a studio with strobes, a light meter and the like.

“Using the camera was quite a challenge–if you notice at one point I’m shooting and the dark slide is in – whoops.” says Bird. “Those shots didn’t turn out too well. But what I find is that when I really challenge myself with my equipment, it’s always amazing what I get and it is worth the effort.” Bird continued to say that it’s totally possible that he could have achieved the same results with the digital cameras, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. “Using the camera requires your FULL concentration. Darkslide, lens cocked, aperture and shutter speed set; focus; direct talent; click.. Hope it’s in focus or properly(ish) exposed. Then do it again.”
Alastair likes shooting with instant film. He got the pack that he was working with as a gift from a friend. The pack was a bit expired, hence the magenta tones.
“I was shooting for the thrill of peeling the film back and seeing what is there. I love peeling a little corner of the film and seeing if there is anything there and then going for the full reveal. It’s like opening a present, but you only have to wait 90 seconds rather than for Christmas or your birthday.”
The video and some of Alastair’s photos are after the jump.

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