1st Medium Format Camera Recommendations

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by martinsmith99, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. martinsmith99

    martinsmith99 Member

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    I'm thinking about moving to MF an looking for an ideal 1st camera. Nothing as cheap as a Holga, but something reasonably priced (around 100gbp) to get me started. It's main usage would be landscapes & urban photography and maybe portraiture.

    I'm open to any suggestions from any types of camera (TLR, RF, whatever).

    Thanks
     
  2. inwardstudio

    inwardstudio Member

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    I'm a fan of the Mamiya 645 system. An old M645J shouldn't be very expensive and you can use the lenses on the new bobies...even the AF bodies. Also, the 645 is more economical. You get 32 exposures on a roll of 220.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Let me post the obligitory post stating the Hasselblad is the only way to go.

    Hasselblad is the only way to go.

    Done.

    I did not like the Mamiya C-3 not the C-330, because the fiddle factor was to high.

    Rollei is the only way to go.

    The Bronica's are less expensive than the above, but are no longer manufactured.

    Other Mamiyas are well liked by some.

    Let the religious, my camera is better than your camera, wars begin. :tongue::tongue::tongue:

    Steve
     
  4. JDP

    JDP Member

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    Well this is where everyone lists their favourite cameras.... so here is mine, but I will try and justify!

    Mamiya TLR, you may get an old one for 100GBP. Why?

    (i) Interchangeable lenses - from 55m up to 180mm. 65mm makes a great 'wide standard'
    (ii) With lens choice suitable for all types of photography - landscape to portraits (particulalry good for portraits).
    (iii) Pretty solid and reliable.
    (iv) Good value used.
    (v) discrete for urban/street use - can take picture without being noticed (also quiet operation of shutter)
    (vi) Beautiful and quality looking pictures (my opinion).

    cons:-
    a) Some think they are heavy
    b) Some think they are slow to operate (but some would say this is an advantage)
    c) No electronics or metering
    d) Could be a culture shock if you are used to 35mm electronic SLR.

    Anyway, best of luck with your choice. Medium format is great!
     
  5. kauffman v36

    kauffman v36 Member

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    first, i think you need to narrow it down based on type (SLR, TLR, RF) and budget, that will make it much easier to give you suggestions.

    from what you want to spend and what you want to shoot i would personally recommend a 6x7 system SLR such as the Mamiya RB67. extremely cheap, extremely good Sekor C lenses, the 50mm is verrryyy good for landscapes, the 65 is just as good, the 90 is not bad, and some of the telephoto lenses are very good for portraits.

    Downside......VERY heavy, were talking 10lbs worth of camera around your neck, maybe more depening on lens and finder.
    Upside....price, these thigns are going for dirt cheap and they are unbreakable, indestructable.
     
  6. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    I have many MF Cameras...listed below

    Holga CFN Toy Camera
    Diana F+ Toy Camera
    Super Ricohflex TLR
    Bronica SQ Ai SLR
    Rolleiflex SL66 SLR

    By far my most favourite (and also one of the cheapest) is the Super Ricohflex TLR.

    If you want to try your hand at MF without a full jump in to the pool, a cheaper TLR like that will be a good way to begin. If you are commited already, then you need to make some basic choices...like:

    - Interchangeable lenses or not
    - Changeable Film Backs or not
    - Format (6x6, 6x4.5, 6x9)
    - SLR, Rangefinder or TLR
    - Is weight important

    Many of these are either personal choices or a function of what youn intend to use the camera for...

    K
     
  7. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Go ahead and get started with the RB67 system. That's what you'll end up with anyway unless you have an inheritance spend on 'Blads.
     
  8. jmal

    jmal Member

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    I don't understand the notion that C330s have a high fiddle factor. I think Hasselblads have just as much fiddle factor. I'm not saying that the Mamiya is better than a Hasselblad, but I have to call BS on fiddle factor. And, Hasselblads have a very long throw on the focus ring (at least on the 80/2.8), which makes it a slower camera should you need something that can focus fast. So, for cheap Mamiya or Yashica TLR (never have tried the Ricohflex mentioned above). Pricey: Hasselblad, Mamiya 6 or 7, Rolleiflex.
     
  9. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I was going to suggest a folding camera. If you plan on shooting portraits, the better tool is something with a rangefinder, an SLR or a TLR.

    At the very least, some cameras are still quite reasonable, so no need to limit yourself to just one camera to cover all situations. For example, 6x9 can be very nice for landscapes, while 6x6 is excellent for portraits.

    In any case, think about that. And also set aside some money to have the camera serviced. Hopefully, you find a camera that's been serviced.
     
  10. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    Introducing the Super ricohflex TLR...The Manchurian Candidate of cameras ;-))
     

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  11. Thingy

    Thingy Member

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    I started off with a Mamiya C330f and recently gave my outfit to a budding photographer who couldn't afford to buy an MF camera. I can recommend them, The lenses are excellent and a good introduction to leaf-shutter lenses. Hassleblads are cameras to aspire to, but not perhaps the best introductory camera. I intend to buy my first V series Hassleblad later this year (drools in anticipation). :smile:
     
  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You will happy with most medium format cameras, personally I'll go with RB67, it won't break you bank account.

    Jeff
     
  13. liquid695

    liquid695 Member

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    Go with a Mamiya RB67, the best choice for quallity & price.
     
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  15. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    If you are rich; go for the Hassie. If not; go Mamiya: M645 or RB6X7 . Great quality, lenses as sharp as any.
     
  16. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    People around here can get a usable Mamiya, Hasselblad, or other such series cameras for the OP's price range of 100 pounds? Usable meaning every part needed to actually shoot film.

    Yashica-Mat or Yashica-D TLR. It will show you what medium format film is capable of. You'll learn if a waist level viewfinder is even usable for you, which will affect the basic setup of your next medium format camera. Probably the safest entrance to MF without investing a lot while still getting decent quality shots.

    Yes, there will probably be a next MF setup, along the lines of what others have recommended here. But something like the Yashicas with the Yashinon lens will get you good quality images, far far beyond a Holga or such, at a reasonable price. They are pleasant to use and don't weigh a ton. Once you get a taste with the Yashica, you'll be in a good position to determine where and how far to go next.
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Haha, great photo Kal.

    ~~~

    I toured so many MF cameras, I don't know if I can remember them all. Pretty much all of the fujis, the hassies, the pentaxes, the mamiyas, and some mini view cameras as well. It took me more than a year to begin to settle in my preferences. Looking back, I adored the fuji 645 fix lens RFs but wished for interchangeable lenses, so my favourite landscape/documentary camera became the mamiya 6, which is probably still my favourite camera overall, in all formats. But it has a serious limitation for closeup and limited DOF work, so I also settled on the rb and rz systems for macro, closeup, people and such. I also have several mamiya 645 systems and I like them a lot, especially for travel. The 645 pro is superb and very modular, and a complete kit might fit inside a ~$300 budget.

    As a first-timer's med. format camera around your price range, I think I would recommend one of the fixed lens fujis. It's one of those things that you will eventually want to replace with a system camera... but you will still enjoy it very much and want to have it with you for travel. The fujis are very well made and unlikely to fail... and you will know within minutes of unpacking it whether it is in good working order.

    I have concerns about going too far back in time on your first med format camera... I think you really don't want to be up against all kinds of equipment problems without even knowing how to identify them. Get something fairly current and reliable. You will probably want to try some inexpensive old folders and such, and they can be very nice, so go for it... but I just don't think that's such a wise option at first.
     
  18. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've heard good things about the Fuji fixed lens cameras. The Bronica SQs seems to be a lot of value for your money too.
     
  19. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    I always love these threads. Here's my contribution to the maelstrom in order of preference:

    1. Rolleicord / Rolleiflex (but only if you can deal with not having exchangeable lenses) (Rolleiflex 2.8F if you're well-funded, Rolleicord if you're not) (simple, light and fun);
    2. Mamiya RB67 or Hasselblad C/M 500 (Mamiya if you're in the studio more and if you prefer 6x7 format, Hasselblad if you're well-funded) (I love these for the flexibility that exchangeable lenses and backs provide);
    3. Mamiya 6 (if you need something you can fit in your carry-on when you're on the run to Paris) (the Schwarzenegger of rangefinders);
    4. Voigtlander Perkeo (if you need something you can fit in your jacket when you're on the run to Paris, you're nostalgic and you don't mind taking time to find one in great condition and have it CLA'd)

    Whatever you choose, know that MF is just awesome. Also know that I look forward to seeing your similar post regarding 4x5 equipment in a couple years time.
     
  20. williamtheis

    williamtheis Member

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    to throw another thing at you: Graplex XL which is a press camera with Zeiss (same as Hasselblad) at fraction of cost... yes Planars and Sonnars... wide angles are super angulons ... does 6x9 120 rollfilm and pretty much can be had for almost nothing. they also had a superwide version. short of that, an old baby crown graphic (or century graphic). use it hand held with the rangefinder. or you can mount on a tripod and use the ground glass, just like a view camera. no movements on the XL but the crown/century has all the right moves

    XL:
    http://www.google.com/images?q=graf...esult_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CCIQsAQwAw

    century
    http://www.google.com/images?um=1&h...x+century&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&start=0

    if you end up liking the camera there is a cult following of modifications

    http://www.skgrimes.com/paqpro/index.htm

    http://bigcamera.com/articles/GraflexXLHybrid35mmUltraWide.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2010
  21. chris00nj

    chris00nj Member

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    I was recently in your shoes. I found that a TLR was the best quality for the price.

    I got a Rolleiflex Automat from 1955 for under $200 USD, but there are other good TLR that can be gotten cheap: Rolleicords, Yashica Mat, Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex, or Minolta Autocord to name a few. I'd stick with post-war models for anything you get.

    Folding cameras can be another option, but in general, they may have more maintenance problems. I recently got my 2nd MF camera, a Ikonta folding camera for $75. It has "only" a 3-element lens and there is no rangefinder. There are a LOT of models out there. Mine is a postwar 523/2 (a 6x9). The 6x6 version is the 523/16. The 524/2 and 524/16 are similar models with a built-in uncoupled rangefinder.

    I would get the TLR first, but beware, MF is addicting.
     
  22. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Considering your budget, I want to add the Bronica ETR series. Last year I got an ETR-Si (the last model in the series), 75mm f/2.8 E-II lens, plain prism finder, winding crank, and 120 back for $120.50, + $18 shipping. A lot of camera for very little dough.
     
  23. film_man

    film_man Member

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    "Nothing as cheap as a Holga", something around £100? Well, a new Holga is £60. So it is almost as cheap as a Holga! :smile: I paid £80 for a Diana F+ with a flash.

    In the UK, to get an SLR MF body, wlf, back and a lens that still works you need this:
    For an RB/RZ at least £250-300
    For an SQ at least £180-200
    For any 645 SLR (ETR/Mamiya) at least £150-200

    These are ebay prices, with a lot of patience and luck. For shops it is 1.5x-2x that.

    So, while all the recommendations given for various cameras and systems are all very good, £100 will get you a TLR. Hint: check out the Mamiya C330F at ffordes. Almost at your price point.
     
  24. chris00nj

    chris00nj Member

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    When he said "cheap as a Holga", i think he meant it in terms of quality. Holgas have the unique mix of being cheap in quality, but not cheap in price. :wink:
     
  25. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    C'mon, starting with a budget of 100gbp, this thread is already way off track.
    Unless you are very lucky you're not going to get an SLR. But, a folding camera or TLR will be doable.
    Yashica, Minolta, Ricoh TLR's and virtually anything in a 120 folder. Folders can go from a few $$ to hundreds and pretty much the same range for the TLRs but he should be able to get something decent within his budget especially in a folder.
    Check out the classifieds here for a start.
     
  26. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    What do you want to shoot with it?