NCD: Mamiya 6 - first test film

Rob MacKillop

Edinburgh Correspondent
I got this Mamiya 6 just over a week ago, a camera I've always wanted. It came with three lenses: 50mm, 75mm, 150mm, all in good to excellent condition. I wanted to put a quick test roll through it in case there were any technical problems with the camera and lenses, however, I only had three-years-old Portra 160 which requires good sunlight. It was a dull day...

The good news is that all 12 shots were well exposed and in focus, but the colours are dull due to the old film and lighting conditions. But the main test was the hardware, and that seems to be working perfectly.

Here are a few of the test shots - not at all my usual stuff, but I just rushed through our High Street in five minutes or so. The film was developed by A+M Image in Edinburgh, which boasts a 'Dip and Dunk' process for all film: They also sent me their highest jpeg scans, giving 6MB to 8MB images, dimensions: 3637, and resolution only 72 - I would have had the latter at 300. I'll ask them about that.

I haven't edited these at all, other than reduce the size to 600mm.

East Terrace.jpg


The next is a 'Wedding Stane' there was a tradition of getting a wedding commemoration stone when you moved into your first house. The date is split between the start and end of these stones, 1750:

Wedding Stane.jpg

This last one I edited a little by boosting the colours to get the red looking like it does to my eye:

Red Bin.jpg

Conclusion: the camera works well. With fresh film and good light, I think we'll get along nicely!
Looking good! I expect that film would look good in bright/colourful conditions - but I think these look nice too actually. Looking forward to the next roll through the Mamiya.:)

Re the DPI... I expect you know this (it's probably only me who's been confused!) but given a fixed image dimension, (like your 3637) the DPI number isn't much more than an oblique reference to how big it can be displayed at that given quality...

Maybe I'm still confused 😄 What I'm getting at is that if you had the same size (3637) but 300dpi, the only effect it would have is how big a print would come out if you print at "100%". The amount of detail in the image would be identical.

Now I've written this I'm feeling it's rather foolish waffle. Never mind! Could be interesting. (hurriedly posting before I change my mind)
enlighten us?
That would be good. :)
In the meantime, I'll try to regain some self-confidence by attempting to put in writing what I've just read/confirmed on Wikipedia.;)
The page there distinguishes between the different uses quite well.
The trouble (I think) with dpi or dots per inch is that it's meaning depends to some extent on the context.

For example, with your scans, a 6x6 frame is (apparently) 56mm square, or 2.2 inches. Given the pixel dimensions of your scans, one can work out what DPI they were scanned at. 3637pixels/2.2inches=1653 pixels per inch, or ppi. Which in this case, as far as I can tell, is the same thing as 1653dpi. And that's the bit that matters, for your image quality.

But the 72dpi which you found (I think) in the file metadata is only a number. In that the image file doesn't have any physical dimensions by itself, only pixels. The 72dpi is only telling the computer what size it's supposed to be displayed at, and as far as I understand it, is pretty much redundant for most purposes nowadays, when we can zoom in and out at will.

When it comes to printing, I think it's more relevant again, in that a printer (I presume) will produce a certain number of dots per inch. But my $75 multifunction printer doesn't tell me how many dpi it does... so😆

I'll get out of your thread now...🫥
That helped, Steve. I also wrote to the company, and got this reply:

”Thanks for your email. Sorry for the confusion caused. I have opened up your files to have a look at the resolution and in photoshop the images are 37mb at compressed 72dpi. Our scanners automatically compress the scans to this and they still contain the full 300dpi when decompressed without losing quality. So in short, they are print worthy, just don't show all this information in a preview.”

I’ll relax…
Just to be awkward; to me the b&w ones have more punch to them.

Never know what to do with a flat grey sky myself, desaturate and whack up the contrast is my usual method.