120 camera that handles like a 35mm

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Kennedy, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    I have a wonderful Yashica Mat 124G that gets seldom use.I find the twin lens format a bit awkward for my style of photography.
    Can someone recommend a single lens (God,not a Holga)medium format camera that would be cost effective (real inexpensive) and have pretty good optics.

    Thanks
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Mamiya 645 1000S, very low cost second hand, reliable rou=bust and fast to use, lenses are excellent.

    Ian
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Pentax 645 is basically a 35mm camera that uses 120 film. Even has a motor built in.

    But if it's just the TLR part you don't like plenty of other SLR choices.
     
  4. StorminMatt

    StorminMatt Member

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    How about the Pentax 67? It even LOOKS like nothing more than an overgrown 35mm SLR.
     
  5. ath

    ath Member

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    I second the Pentax 645(N).
    They are more inexpensive than the Mamiyas but do not have a changeable back (i.e. like 35mm...).
    The filter diameters are smaller (the 45mm has a 67mm diameter) and the data imprinting of the 645N and NII are very helpful.

    I just went through the same situation wanting a 645 which behaves vitually like my Canons. I ended up with the 645N and a bunch of lenses for the 645 (non-AF).
    Second choice would have been a M645 Pro with motor and AE finder.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Bronica ETRS with the hand grip and prism.


    Steve.
     
  7. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I have several med format cameras, tlrs, folders, century graphic, and a Pentacon Six. Of all of them, the Pentacon Six is the most like a 35mm slr. It is significantly smaller, lighter and quieter than a Pentax 6X7, and the wonderful Zeiss lenses are relatively cheap on the used market. 13 perfectly spaced shots on 120, and 27 on 220. The Pentacon Six is a little quirky, but once you learn about those quirks (film loading and film advance), the camera is dependable and easy to use.
     
  8. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Using a prism finder on a TLR makes it much more 35mm like. Ever since I got one for my C220 (now replaced by a C330) the camera is a real pleasure to use. I'm not sure if there is one made for the Yashica, but if there is it would be a rather inexpensive way to solve your problem.
     
  9. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Bronica SQ-series with the winder-grip and prism. It doesn't look like a 35mm SLR in the way that a Pentax 67 does, but it feels more like a 35mm SLR than a Pentax 67.
     
  11. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    You have specified a single lens camera that is inexpensive. The advice to get A Kodak Medallist is certainly very good advice for a camera that will not be overly expensive. The optics on the Medallist are first rate. The cameras will be quite old because I believe that they have not been made for over 50 years. They are a reliable camera but getting one repaired could be a problem as far as parts are concerned. Many younger photographers do not know what a world leader Kodak was at one time as far as optics are concerned with products as good as could be found any place in the would.

    You might also have a look at the various folding cameras that were made. Fuji made a number of good rangefinder cameras that are much more modern vintage than the Medallist and that may be available at a good price. Good luck in making a good choice.
     
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Depends what you're after, of course. Overall, the ergonomics of the RFs will remind you a lot of 35mm. So if you are looking to do landscape/travel/scenic then an RF like the mamiyas or the fujis or the new voigtlaender might work well for you.

    If you need/want to do closeups as well, and portraiture then I'd steer you to the mamiya m645 systems or the 645 afd if you need af. Overall, I do believe that the best lens bargains are in the mamiya family.

    The fixed-lens fuji RFs are very fun to use, very compact. There were two that impressed me in particular, the ga645zi and the ga645w. There are also the 6x7, 6x8, and 6x9 format fujis, they are superduper and besides being large, they do handle somewhat like 35mm.
     
  13. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    My guess is that when he says handles like a 35mm he means like a 35mm SLR. Of course even that varies quite a bit.

    I think of a 35mm slr having a prism but that doesn't mean they don't come with WLF. I expect an in camera meter. The newer ones have some flash smarts.

    Maybe he should state what he is looking for.
     
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  15. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    Mamiya 7 or 7ii would be a great option. Okay, it's a rangefinder, so generally a bit lower to focus than a SLR but stunning lenses and excellent balance in the hand. A good example with an 80mm (standard equivalent to 50mm on 35mm SLR) will cost around £600 or so.

    Best lens in the range, IMO, is the 43mm wide angle and the 150mm is a great short tele / portrait lens. I had one for a while until I decided I wanted a Leica M6 - which proved not to be my best decision as I much preferred the Mamiya, despite being considerably bigger than the M6.
     
  16. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    Lots of suggestions, but everyone has missed the right answer: the Bronica RF645 is the medium format camera that handles most like a 35mm slr. IMO
     
  17. jmal

    jmal Member

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    I'm in the same position and I have to respectfully disagree with many posters who recommend Mamiya/Pentax/Bronica 645 SLR systems. They certainly handle differently than a TLR, but they are often much larger and heavier--not easier to handle. I just sold a Mamiya 1000s because I never used it. I think the MF RF (as in the Bronica/Mamiya types) seem great, but they are not cheap and the lenses are slow. I am waiting for the right folder to appear. I think this might be the answer. By the way, any experienced folder users have opinions on the quality of the RF on either the (Super) Isolettes/Ikontas? The eyepiece on the back looks tiny. How are they in real world use?
     
  18. Windscale

    Windscale Member

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    The Super Isolette is in my opinion the best folder I have ever used. And I have used many. It is very well-built. No problem with the CRF or the VF at all. The film advance system is to a much higher standard than the Super Ikontas. The lens is also excellent. BUT, as with nearly all Agfa folders, the bellows are a let down. You will need to replaced them soon even if yours are still light tight. I have replaced mine recently and bought a spare. I have definitely done the right thing as I just found out that camerabellows in Birmingham is closing down, which may mean difficulties getting replacements in the future! Also, if you are to buy a Super Isolette, make sure the film advance mechanism is working as it is a very complicated system which can't be fixed once faulted. Hope this helps.
     
  19. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Depends on what 35mm you compare them to. The Pentax and Bronica SLR are similar in weight to the modern "pro" 35mm cameras. The lenses can be lighter. Overall the size isn't much different.

    Of course any MF will be bigger then a small 35mm. You start out with the need to house the 120 and at least a 645 area.
     
  20. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I highly recommend the Mamiya 645E camera. Relatively light, excellent AE (or manual), very clear and bright viewfinder with diopter adjustment built in. Very much like a 35mm SLR, but easier to focus and compose because of the larger view.

    The rangefinders with tiny viewfinders are not so easy to use for those of us who wear glasses.

    Jon
     
  21. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Pentax 6x7 is exactly like a 35mm camera in every way except the size. Why bother with 645 negatives when you can do 6x7?
     
  22. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    Inexpensive and Mamiya 7 or 7II are directly opposite.

    I see a Mamiya 645e suggested. It's a decent "modern" camera but it actually has fewer features than the Mamiya 1000s, so I don't think I would suggest it. The big difference is that the 645e will be a lot lighter than a 1000s with the prism ansd motor drive installed.
     
  23. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Super Ikonta 532/16 is a superb camera. Like any camera from the 1950s, it should be serviced before being put into use.

    I was just thinking that it's one of the few folders that handles like a 35mm SLR, in that you can cradle the camera in the left hand, focus with the middle finger of your left hand and release the shutter with the index finger of your right hand.

    However, because it's a leaf shutter, you must manually tension the shutter and manually set aperture and shutter speed. You also give up one frame because of the autoframing mechanism.

    The Super Ikonta III and IV offer similar ergonomics, a reformulated Tessar, 12 shots per roll and a lighter weight body. With the III and IV, you focus using the thumb of your left hand.
     
  24. ssloansjca

    ssloansjca Member

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    Pentax 6x7, hands down!
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    a folder with a coupled rangefinder so you don't have to
    deal with range focusing. i agree the medalist is a great
    camera, with good optics, but it is a 620, and quite expensive
    to have retrofitted to 120 and a pita to respool 120 flm onto 620 spools.
     
  26. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    For a while I considered Pentacon 6 cameras (and the cheaper russian knockoffs Kiev 66) to step up to MF from my Praktica. I quickly fell in love with the Way of the TLR, so I stuck to it and upgraded a Yashica to a Mamiya (still lusting for a Rollei though...). The only MF SLR I ended up trying was a Hasselblad, and only the price was a deterrent.

    Most people rate the Pentacon 6 lenses as very good, and the bodies better than the russian equivalents.