5 frames with...

5 Medium Format Frames at the Happiest Place on Earth – By Eric Norris

October 16, 2021

I’ve been going to Disneyland in Southern California for… well, for a while. Suffice to say that when I started going with friends in high school, digital photography was decades in the future and if we took pictures, we used film.

My wife and I still enjoy Disneyland, and we try to get there as often as we can. A trip in 2020 was cancelled due to COVID, but in 2021 we got vaccinated, the park opened again, and we set off again for Anaheim, CA.

When we packed, I put several film cameras in my bag. It seemed right to focus such an iconic place on film, the way I did as a kid.

The park is of course a fantastic place to take photos–the designers paid close attention to sight lines, vistas, architecture, and design, with the result that almost everywhere you look is a great photo. If you have trouble finding a great shot, there are signs posted at especially iconic spots to help you take the perfect vacation snap.

Much of Disneyland remains pretty much as it was when I started going years ago–Main Street, the Matterhorn, and so many other places. A lot has changed, most dramatically with the addition of the California Adventure in 2001. Interestingly, and perhaps of interest to readers of 35MMC, the Main Street Photo Supply Co., a shop on Main Street, has transitioned fully away from film. I had plenty, but I stopped in just to see if they had any extra film. The very nice staff inside happily informed me that they don’t have any film (this despite the interior decor, which included numerous old film cameras up on the shelves behind the counter, where they lent an “old timey” air to the place). Pro tip: If you go to Disneyland, bring your own film!

I carried two cameras with me–35mm and 120. The photos below were taken with my Lomo LCA-120 medium format camera. I shot one of my last rolls of Fuji Pro 400H, developed at home with CineStill’s C-41 kit, and scanned on an Epson V550.

I like the LC-A 120 for several reasons. It’s light and easy to use, durable enough to toss in a handlebar bag on my bike without worrying, and the Minigon XL lens makes great images with nice contrast and saturation.

There are reasons to dislike the LC-A 120. It’s expensive, it’s fully plastic, and the light meter is easily fooled by bright areas in the image. I’ve heard rumors that it suffers from the same propensity to electronic problems that also affect the smaller 35mm Lomo LC-A, although mine still works perfectly.

But it’s so rare for a camera of this quality to even be manufactured today, and the pictures are so nice, I’ve decided it is worth the cost. I carry it with me a lot.

Now, on to the photos:

Space Mountain, seen from the line (the queue, for my English friends) waiting to get in.

Small World has been part of Disneyland almost since the beginning. My wife loves it.

One of the newest parts of Disneyland is the Star Wars-themed area, Galaxy’s Edge. My wife, Laurie, waits patiently while I take a picture.

For the Cars Land section of California Adventure, the designers created desert scenes from the Cars movie. The effect in person is dramatic–you feel you are in the movie!

California Adventure highlights iconic places in our state. Here, they’ve recreated a water powered mill.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. For more of my images (mostly film), check out my Instagram page.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    John Bennett
    October 16, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    Nice story and photos, Eric!

  • Reply
    Fred Nelson
    October 16, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Really nicce pictures!
    Thanks for the journey

  • Reply
    Huss
    October 17, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Nice pics! I really enjoyed my LC-A 120 but sold it after the shutter started to mis fire. Too many unexposed shots on the roll, and I read that this was common and eventually terminal. I’d be upset if that happened on a $50 camera, let alone one that was $450.

    Such a shame as this is genuinely a great and unique camera as long as it works. There is nothing else like it.

    (The battery red light ok activated on every shot, showing the battery was fine. The camera made the right clicky noises. Just no image. Most annoying part was I dry fired it a lot so I could check to see if the shutter did activate – and while dry firing no issues..)

  • Reply
    Brian Nicholls
    October 17, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Hi Eric,

    You and Lomo make a wonderful partnership. What more can you ask for? My personal favourites are The Cars movie sets. Very well done.

  • Reply
    Arthur Gottschalk
    October 17, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Always wanted the LCA-120 but wondering if there’s anyplace to get it repaired if necessary.

  • Reply
    Ryan
    October 23, 2021 at 1:21 am

    Photos look good, thanks for sharing. I’ve wanted an LCA 120 for ages now, but haven’t been able to justify the cost. But a compact, wide angle, medium format camera sounds like something I’d really enjoy.

  • Reply
    Charles Higham
    February 9, 2022 at 11:29 am

    Thanks, nice photos and the lens on this camera makes it quite special and it’s almost like a wide angle point and shoot you can carry around with you which is pretty unusual for a 120 film camera. I don’t know if any owner of the LC-A 120 reading this can help, but I would be interested to know the distance from the rear lens element to the film plane as I might be lucky enough to get hold of the Minigon lens from a defective camera to hack into another camera. I usually find the easiest way to measure this is to open the aperture blades and drop a cocktail stick in absolutely vertically so it rests lightly on the glass rear element, and mark the stick where it reaches the film plane, then just measure that distance in millimetres. Obviously don’t do this if you feel there is any risk to the camera, but usually it works ok. Thanks again for the post.

  • Reply
    Charles Higham
    February 9, 2022 at 11:51 am

    I should add to the above that the lens needs to be set at infinity focus before measuring.

  • Reply
    Charles Higham
    February 9, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    ….and it could be 38mm.

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