Hand on heart, I’d much rather be feeling the soft and temperate caress of Sinatra’s Summer Wind that comes blowin’ in from across the sea, rather than the bollock freezing gusts that have been blowing up the trouser legs of the West Midlands of England this last week. Still, given that the ever dependable Mrs Shpics is happy for me to borrow her tights, it didn’t stop me venturing out to do a little more lens testing with my new ARAX 60 medium format film camera.
These were all taken at Dudleys Bumble Hole, (It’s true, look it up if you don’t believe me), an experience which, even with my cobblers encased in flesh coloured 20 denier mesh, has left me with frostbite on most of my extremities.
For those amongst you that don’t know, the ARAX 60 is a modern square shooting 120 6×6 film camera built on the carcass of unsold stock of the Russian built Kiev 60,( I’m reliably informed that there are still a few hundred thousand sat on the shelves since production stopped in the 1960’s). The Kiev 60 was in turn based on the East German Pentacon Six.
You might remember, my wonderful, (but idiosyncratic), Pentacon Six finally died on my last trip shooting in Spain, and, after a few weeks of tears and tantrums, I was so INCREDIBLY glad to manage to get hold of the ARAX…It’s like a Pentacon Six on steroids!! It’s fitted with a modified shutter, mirror up mechanism and a re-designed film advance system and a reflocked interior. A BRAND NEW medium format film camera, updated to modern standards for the same sort of money as buying a 50 year old Pentacon Six. It’s a complete no-brainer! Together with a bagfull of vintage Carl Zeiss Jena lenses it is, without a doubt, my favourite medium format system for location shooting. In the studio I still prefer the Mamiya RB67, but in the field the simple usability of the ARAX takes some beating.
These were shot on recently expired Fuji Reala, with the CZJ 180mm Sonnar and 120mm Biometar, and subsequently home developed using Tetenal C-41 chemistry.
Fuji Reala had a reputation for being a little garish, but in these wintery conditions I really love the soft cool tones of the film….SO cheesed off that Fuji have discontinued it.
All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde