Polaroid 600 SE with Polaroid backs, NPC 545 back (MF-35),
rollfilm backs, and (on right) 75mm f/5.6 lens. The finder
for the 75mm is missing because of a recent move.
It's a brute: there's
no doubt about that. With a 6x9cm back, 75mm lens, and finder, it's
over 8" (200mm) tall and weighs well over 6 lbs or around 3 kg.
That's one of the biggest, heaviest combinations, but the others
aren't a lot lighter. This is a camera you can use with roll film,
Polaroid pack film, Polaroid 4x5" sheet film, and conventional
"wet" 4x5" film. Everything is manual: shutter speeds
(1 sec to 1/500 sec), aperture setting, and focusing via a big, bright,
coupled, parallax compensated range/viewfinder. There's no automation
or batteries to get in the way: this is a purist's camera. It's
a real user, not something to stick on a shelf, and it has no real modern
Its simplicity and versatility, though, are only two of the three reasons
why I like it so much. The other is that it delivers gorgeous quality
on the rollfilm formats that I like to use--and I'm hoping
to extend its versatility
The camera was based on the last generation of Mamiya Press, the Universal,
though the lenses aren't interchangeable between the two cameras:
the Mamiya lenses weren't designed to cover the 72x93mm of Polaroid
quarter-plate pack film. In fact, if you can get hold of a Polaroid
back for the Mamiya Press, you'll see that the corners vignette.