Contax 645 Tutorial #2 | Camera Accessories, Film Loading and More
00:05: Guys, welcome to gorgeous Daffin Park here in Savannah, Georgia. This tutorial is gonna cover three different things. Just my quick Contax setup, what kinda strap do I use, how do I hook it up and how do I carry it. It’s also gonna cover how to load film, and it’s also gonna cover my Contax modifications, so check it out.
00:23: Okay, guys, so I like to carry my camera slinged over the side. I don’t like to use the HoldFast. I’ve banged this camera before with the HoldFast. I’m not a really big fan of that. The HoldFast also absorbs a lot of sweat when I’m shooting. It just doesn’t work for me, although it’s a fantastic product. I know tons of photographers who use it a lot and they love it. So, it’s just my own personal my opinion.
00:47: I am using a HoldFast strap from a different HoldFast bag. I love the strap, it works perfectly for me. It has a nice little padding here in the back, super-comfortable. I actually do attach it to the bottom of the camera, with the little HoldFast D-ring. I am always though just checking to see if this is really tight, I constantly check it throughout the day. But, I love this setup. It’s comfortable, it’s easy to take on and off, and I think it’s the perfect height for myself. I like to keep the camera right around waist height, ’cause most of the times, I am working with two cameras, so I might have another camera on my hip, or I might another camera slinged over this side.
01:25: Now, I’m gonna talk to you guys a little bit about how I set up my Contax. What I really like about my setup, number one, something that a lot of people forget to do, is to protect the front of the camera. I have this rubber lens hood, that’s much better than the metal lens hood that you can purchase, and of course, much cheaper. It comes off really easily, so I can use it when I want, not use it when I don’t want. It also collapses, like you guys saw. I’m just gonna toss it over here to the side.
01:53 S1: I also use a UV filter in the front of the lens. I actually use a B&W filter. It’s kind of the Ferrari of filters. This is gonna protect our front end lens from dust, from me banging on it, from scratches, and it just kinda gives me a lot of peace of mind, so I know I can be slinging this all day and not worry about the lens.
02:14: I do use a battery grip on the bottom. I think this is really helpful, so I can use regular AAs or rechargeable AAs, and I never really worry about having to have some sort of fancy special battery for the Contax. One other thing that I love about my setup is that I did get a Bill Maxwell upgraded screen. So, my Bill Maxwell upgraded screen is pretty expensive, it’s about 400 bucks, but I think it’s totally worth it. It allows me to manual focus a lot easier. It gives me the confidence to know that I am getting shots that are perfectly focused. It did add a 20% keep rate to my film. I think it makes a big difference. And although it costs 400 bucks, throughout the life of this camera, it will pay for itself and then some, simply because I am keeping a lot more film.
03:00: The one downside I did see for a Bill Maxwell screen is that, the original Contax focusing screen has this really gorgeous look to it, that I really can’t explain. You do feel like you’re looking at a 3D-image when you’re looking through the viewfinder. With the Bill Maxwell screen, it looks that a regular 35mm, like a Canon 5D Mark III viewfinder. It’s very flat, but it’s very bright and very easy to focus. So, it’s a little bit of a trade-off. But looking through the original focusing screen is really magical. Sometimes, it’s even like a tinge yellow, and it just looks gorgeous. And I think it does have its advantages, ’cause you do get to see what your image is gonna look like. With the Bill Maxwell, you get a surprise, you’re like, “Oh wow, that looks even more beautiful than I imagined it.”
03:44: So guys, now I’m gonna show you how to load film on the Contax 645. To be honest with you, the Contax 645 loads film pretty fast compared to other medium format cameras. I’ve seen a lot of photographers take up to a minute to load film, and I think the Contax does it in about half the time. So, check it out.
04:01: All right guys, this is the back of the Contax 645, this piece right here. I’m going to flip open this latch. I’m going to remove the film holder. This is it right here. The film will actually be facing this way. So, you want the negative, you want the black part of film, which you’ll see in a second, to face this way, which is the side that will be facing the lens, and of course, receiving the light to be exposed. I’m gonna flip these two open, I’m gonna take this out. And I’m doing this really slowly for you guys, ’cause I just want you to get a sense of what it looks like. But of course, if I was loading for real, I would probably be moving a lot faster. But you don’t wanna move too fast, because if you do, you could drop your roll and that’s 10 bucks down the toilet. Boom! Right there, you’re locked in. I’m going to flip this around, I’m going to pull the film. I like to flip this down right here, this little latch. In this spool, I’m going to find a little slit, to put in the film. I like to do everything really tightly. Now, I’m gonna keep my finger right here as I roll, roll, roll, roll. Now, I know that this arrow has reached this line right here, which lets me know that the film is ready.
05:22: Now, one other trick that I do is that I actually look at this wheel. I’m looking at these teeth, the little teeth in the wheel. I’m gonna put my finger right here, and I’m going to pull to get one more little tooth locked in. One or two, boom! That’s gonna make sure that my film is super-tight right here. You can see that the film has no slack, there’s really… This is as tight as you can possibly make it. ‘Cause if your film has slack, you’re gonna get a lot of issues when you’re exposing.
05:51: Now, I’m gonna put this in the back. One more thing to pay attention to, you wanna hear this final click. Now, you know it’s in there. I’m going to close it. I’m gonna close the latch, turn the camera on, I’m going to half press and I’m gonna see the film wind right here, and we can hear the film winding. Now you’re ready to shoot. Guys, thanks so much for watching, I really hope this video has helped you out. Don’t forget to subscribe and I’ll see you next time.
Thanks for watching Contax 645 Tutorial #2 | Camera Accessories, Film Loading and More! Check out my other articles for photographers like The Case For Film Photography, Why Photographers Need A PDF Pricing Guide, Contax 645 Tutorial #3 | Camera Settings, Film Choices, Metering, and Posing, Contax 645 Tutorial #1 | Hybrid Wedding Photography Equipment, and many more in our Journal page.
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