6×6 Medium Format Film Cameras


In our second installment of our medium format film camera series, we’re highlighting 6×6 cameras! “6×6” refers roughly to the size (in centimeters) and ratio of images shot on this type of camera: 6×6 cameras shoot square images. If you’re wondering where to buy one of the cameras listed below, check out our post about buying used gear here.

Anthony Haskell | Ektar 100+1 | Yashica Mat 124G

Yashica Mat 124G

Why we love it:

  • Really affordable (can be purchased for less than $300)
  • Doesn’t require batteries (!!!) this camera is 100% manual
  • Works in any situation, cold, heat, rain, snow, sleet…
  • Leaf shutter makes for less camera shake and can be synced with flash at any shutter speed
  • It allows you to be sneaky: looking down into a camera to focus is a lot less conspicuous than holding it up to your eye
  • Takes 120 and 220 film

Things to watch out for:

  • Spacing issues–when the camera sits a long time between frames, or is advanced too quickly or slowly between frames, there could be inconsistent spacing between frames
  • Make sure to pay attention to the 120/220 plate when you’re shooting 220 to avoid shooting only half a roll of film

Jonathan Canlas | Fuji Acros 100 | Rolleiflex 6001

Rolleiflex cameras

Why we love it:

  • The Planar glass is unrivaled in sharpness EVEN when there is loss of coating on the taking element.
  • Leaf shutter makes for less camera shake and can be synced with flash at any shutter speed
  • It allows you to be stealthy: looking down into a camera to focus is a lot less conspicuous than holding it up to your eye.
  • It is all mechanical. There is no battery to worry about which means you can shoot in the most extreme weather and not worry about the camera not functioning.

Things to watch out for:

  • They are old and will need a good CLA (clean/lube/adjustment).  We recommend Harry Fleenor in Oceanside, California for this. He is king with it comes to Rollei’s.  Be warned though, he won’t touch the newer models as he’s a straight purist.
  • The ground glass/viewfinder is very dark.  But that is easily fixed with a Bill Maxwell bright screen. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny to be able to focus on any area of your viewfinder and get back tack sharp images.
  • Parallax error.  You are going to need a close up filter 1 or 2 if you want to do headshots.  These cameras focus to 3 ft only and the closer you get to your subject, what you see in your viewfinder is not what is going to be taken.  The close up filters allow you to get closer. Remember, the fat one goes on the top and the skinny one at the bottom and remember to line up the red dot on the top one.
  • Because of age, a lot of the taking elements have deteriorated which means that you are going to be really susceptible to lens flare.  If you love shooting backlit, this will be a problem. Recoating the lens is near impossible and insanely pricey so when you are shopping for a Rollei, the first thing you want to check is how the taking element is.

Alexandra Knight Photography | Portra 400 | Hasselblad 500CM/501C/501CM

Hasselblad 500cm/501cm/501c

Why we love it:

  • This camera is a classic: that slap of the shutter makes any film geek swoon.
  • Interchangeable backs
  • It is simple. You have f-stops, shutter speeds and focus.  That’s it. No exposure compensation dials, no bells and whistles, just straight forward gears with this camera.
  • 100% manual: no need to worry about trying to find some obscure battery or not being able to shoot in extreme weather.
  • They are cheap (in comparison to what they cost when they came out or compared to other systems as well).

Things to watch out for:

  • The screen/viewfinder can be dark. You can find Beattie bright screens which are rather economical, or splurge and get the Maxwell bright screens.
  • Spacing issues. Some backs might need some CLA as you might get large spaces between negatives and smaller spaces which will cause overlapping of images.
  • Haze or mold in some of the older lenses which mostly likely can be cleaned via CLA.