Northern Lights/Mamiya C220

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by FM2N, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. FM2N

    FM2N Subscriber

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    Hello All,
    i am heading to Iceland and cannot decide what to take. I have a choice between my Mamiya C220 or my Nikon FM2n. My widest angle lens on the Mamiya is 65mm at f/3.5 or my Nikon f/2.8 28mm lens. Both do not need a battery to work. Any help or pointers would be great.
    thanks
    Arthur
     
  2. OP
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    FM2N

    FM2N Subscriber

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    The question is if you had a choice of the 2 cameras I have which would you bring to use. As stated Northern Lights. Why was that so hard??
     
  3. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    C220. There, that was easy.
     
  4. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Jesus guys, can we stop bitch-slapping each other and the English language, and please god SOMEBODY write a clear sentence? :smile:

    Seems to me that the Nikon would be better suited to the aurora borealis based on its rectangular format and wider lens. Are you looking for sweeping panoramics of the Northern Lights dancing across the sky; or for intimate closeups of North Light participants dancing around a campfire?
     
  5. thebanana

    thebanana Member

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    Take them both. If one breaks down, you'll still have something to do besides ducking moltov cocktails :D
     
  6. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    As usual thebanana has cut to the chase. Take both. Plan on the C220 and slide that Nikon in among the undies. It doesn't take that much room.
    I can't remember the last time I took just one camera. Usually it's a rb67 with three or four lens and either the FM2 or the zorki in case I feel like just walking around. occasionally it's the c220 with two lens and a Canon Shurshot for backup.

    tim in san jose
     
  7. mario

    mario Member

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    Hello Arthur,

    I live in the Yukon Territory, Northern Canada, and we have northern lights often up here. I have shot lots of them, with print and slide film. I would suggest your Nikon, if you have anything in the f1.8 or f1.2, use your fastest lens. Everything will be taken care by the infinity focus, so shutter speed and film speed are the two other variables. Don’t use too slow of a shutter speed or they won’t be sharp. If the light is really bright you can get away with 1/30 or 1/15 at 100 iso. Got some good stuff on Velvia 50 iso, the colour saturation was amassing. Don’t be afraid to do double exposures, one for the lights and pop a little bit of flash in the fore-ground or use a flash light to bring in the ground. Including the ground give them scale, otherwise it’s hard to tell how big they are. The best lens I found for scale and perspective are, 50mm or at the most 35mm from tripod height, anything wider get real close to the ground. A 28mm or 24mm make them pretty small in the frame. One last trick, is to make a little housing for your camera with camping foam, the blue foam mat used to put under a sleeping bag. A bit of duck tape and foam, will keep the camera and your finger warmer. Ok, last thing really, go out even if you don’t see them, sometime they show up later in the night; and don’t chase them, find a good vantage point and wait. It’s like football, American or European… the action seems to always be on the other side of the field until you get there.
    Have fun.
    Mario
    From the great white North.
     
  8. OP
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    FM2N

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    Thank you all for your help. Any thoughts on the whole zip lock bag trick to stop condensation happening inside the lens. I don't think it will get any colder than it is in NYC and i have never had a problem with condensation.
    Arthur
     
  9. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    I don't know Arthur! I've been there at this time of the year and depending on where you're going while there, it can get pretty brutal. I haven't had condensation problems either, unless it rains a boatload on you, but it is best to be safe. Ziplocks are light. Have a great trip!

    Oh yeah... I vote for both cameras as well. Iceland looks good in both squares and rectangles. :smile:
     
  10. mikeklensch

    mikeklensch Member

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    Another vote for both cameras here.

    No doubt that the 35mm lenses will be faster. But, you'll want to stop them down one or two stops anyway to avoid coma problems which show up terribly in stars. So you'll be shooting at f/2.8 to f/4 with the Nikon.

    You can shoot the medium format wide open since the coma is not nearly as bad. And the size of the neg/chrome will blow you away. I use to shoot all of my aurora images with 35mm. Now I use my Mamiya 645 and RB67 cameras almost exclusively.

    Have fun,
    Mike
     
  11. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

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    A lot of good advice. Instinctively I'd say go for the Mamiya (65mm is quite wide enough) but for the problem of finding infinity focus on a dark night! Been there, done that... I suppose you could focus it in daylight then "lock it" until the evening.

    Even if the C220 is no good for photographing the Aurora, it will be great for everything else. But as they say, take both.