6×6 and 35 mm – different feelings

Some bloggers take the analog route and rediscover film shooting. Same goes for me. Inspired by a blog post from Chris Marquard, I wrote up some differences between these systems I found out this year.

For 35 mm, I use the Leica M System. A M7 offers you center weighted aperure priority shooting, the rangefinder is coupled, of course. The system is very small (for 35 mm) and pretty useful for still and moving objects alike. Vignetting can be produced on a 35 mm camera as well, depending on the lens you attach, e.g. the 50 mm Noctilux f/1.0 with nice bokeh and vignette.

In the medium format / 6×6 range, I use foldable cameras with coupled rangefinders and built in light meters, such as the Plaubel Makina 67 or the Voigtländer Bessa III. The way of shooting is pretty much the same as with a Leica M7, only the depth of field is more shallow.

I have yet to compare the films between 35 mm and 6×6, and I tend to push or pull my films only on rare occasions, so I am not experienced in this field.

Street Photography can be done with a (modern = less than 25 years old) 6×6 as well as a 35 mm camera, I guess. The 10 / 12 pictures per roll slow you down a bit, of course, because you have to change films often. 10 rolls a day were a common rate on my trip to Prague this may, when I was only shooting 6×6, one camera loaded with a low ISO film, the other with a fast film, so I would just change cameras when moving from the sun into a shady little street.

An advantage of this low frame number is that I can change films more foten to adapt to changing situaions. When shooting in Venice in September this year, I was often changing between the Rollei Nightbird (Redscale) when I had a backlit subject (Rialto bridge tec.) and Rollei Crossbird when in even light or shadow surroundings. WIth only 12 frames on a film, this can be done conventiently often without wasting material.

The focusing is also a bit slower on the 6×6 cameras, because they are less compact than the 35 mm Rangefinders. But with Zones focusing, this can be solved.

The 6×6 is also a lot less (!!) noisy because the central shutter (built in the lens) makes almost no sound at all when you click the shutter.

The positive feedback when using a 6×6 can be confirmed – a street musican on Karlsbridge made the other people step to the side so I could get a better view fo him because ‘this guy is going to take a real picture with a real camera – he needs the space to get a good shot’. You get smiles when people realize you take their picture when using the foldable 6×6.

The 6×6 gives me a different feel in my hands, a feeling I truly enjoy from time to time :-) – so it all depends on the lens / camera and film combo you use, I think.

The photographer makes the picture, not the camera – true, I think. But the camera / lens / film combo influences me as the Photographer; I’ll take different pictures with different cameras / films / lenses because of the different (welcomed) limitations these factors have.

Have fun and share your analog adventures with us,
Carsten

About the author

Enjoying to travel the world, meeting local people and network with other photographers.

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