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  1. #1

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    120 film camera that survives harsh conditions

    So, I attend Burning Man, and for the past couple of years I've brought my digital SLR out there. Worked out OK, but always have sent them off for a thorough cleaning to Canon, and boy did they need it. Over this past year I've sorta gone crazy with with 120 roll film starting off with the Mamiya RB67 Pro-S, and now with a Perkeo I and Mamiya Six (older folder, not newer Mamiya 6). I'm planning on bringing my Perkeo I with me, along with several rolls of film (plastic baggy in the cooler for what I don't need right away).

    However, that got me to thinking, an SLR format can be so much easier to shoot with when things move very fast as they often do for what I shoot. Also a decent built-in light meter would be amazing, since that also slows me down a decent bit. Sure, I can estimate using Sunny 16 type rules (*note to self, get ND filter for Perkeo*), but I've still be spoiled by my modern 35mm DSLR. Brought me to some searches, which brought me to Pentax 645N. Looks pretty great, maybe not as big of a system as the Mamiya 645, but I have no plans to go MF digital anytime soon as it's just way too costly for me. But if I get that and decide to bring it out to an event like Burning Man where dust is literally everywhere (mmm...tasty!), whiteouts can happen at any time and it can get blazing hot out under the sun, I started getting curious as to what reasonably feature-full 120 roll film cameras are out there that can survive those conditions with minimum of precautions for a week or more. In a full on whiteout I wouldn't pull the camera out, and probably put it in a plastic bag and likely inside another carrying bag when not in use.

    I'm thinking something so incredibly simple like my Perkeo will, although the points of vulnerability are dust on the film rollers causing problems or getting into the shutter mechanism. Otherwise, it's so simple there's not much that can go wrong with it. But a more complicated camera like the Mamiya Six or any of the somewhat modern 645 cameras with the mirror, metering, motorized film advance, etc are probably a lot more vulnerable. Or are they? What says the hive mind?

  2. #2

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    Pentax 67?? Pretty tank-ish.

  3. #3

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    I'd probably pick up a Pentax 645 (the Manual focus model), they're much cheaper these days. A camera with 120 holder and 75mm lens probably goes for $250-300 these days. Maybe less.

    The autofocus models fetch a bit more; probably $400-500.

    For roll-in-the-dirt, take a beating cameras, a Holga or maybe an older Kodak Brownie should do it. Limited exposure options, and you'll need gaffer tape to tape the backs (and red windows) closed, but there's really nothing that can go wrong in them, unless a spring breaks or falls out.
    Pentax MZ-S, Calumet 4x5 Monorail

    Favorite Films: Foma 100, Acros 100, Delta 400, Portra 400.

  4. #4

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    well, the Pentax67 might be a tank phyaically, but can it withstand the invasive nature of the dust? And this isn't your average dust like at home. This is very fine alkaline dust that will get into anything not hermetically sealed.

  5. #5

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    Koni Omega 100 a plastic bag and be there

    David

  6. #6
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    You're covering the entire camera in a bag, all the time right? Literally, I would not use a camera in this environment for a week unless it were semi-hermetically sealed. This kind of stuff:

    http://burners.me/2012/08/23/camera-...-curious-josh/

    You're probably better off using a 645 format and 220 film rather than 120 and 6x6/6x7 as it's less reloading (30 frames vs 12/10). I'd keep a plastic bag around it at all times and change film when reasonable.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  7. #7

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    Yea, that was my plan for my dslr if I do happen to bring it this year.

    The problem with shooting 220 is it's quite a bit more expensive, and has very limited selection of available film.

  8. #8
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    If you're not after sharp stuff, a holga woudn't really matter if it got ruined with dust.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drizzt321 View Post
    Yea, that was my plan for my dslr if I do happen to bring it this year.

    The problem with shooting 220 is it's quite a bit more expensive, and has very limited selection of available film.
    It's actually not a big more expensive if you think about it. Double the cost for double the frames. I was presuming you would go hunt some stuff down on eBay and settle for what you could find in 220. :-)
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  10. #10

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    In really rough situations like that I use an old Nikonos, but that's a 35mm camera, and there are only a couple of lenses that are designed for use out of water. The 35mm lens is a beauty, though.

    For medium format you could go completely over the top and get a Rolleiflex and one of these:

    http://tinyurl.com/km25ccv

    Probably break the bank account, and possibly your back.

    More seriously, though, could you do something with a strong, clear ziploc plastic bag somehow glued to the rim of a UV filter? I think it was once possible to buy these.

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