645 format vs. 35mm???

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by stradibarrius, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I read a thread recently that said basically that the 645 negative was not that different from a 35mm and so was pointless.

    I have an RB67, two 645 systems and several nice 35mm cameras. so I am familiar with all three systems.

    I am curious what many of you think. Sometime I wonder if I need all three formats??? I'm sure you will make points that I haven't considered.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    645 is a great format, I say that from a position of starting with 35mm and then moving to 6x6 & Large Format before shooting 645.

    The difference in quality between any of these formats is very much more noticeable 35mm and 645 (or 6x6), 6x7 is not that much larger than 645 and the additional bulk and weight were what tipped me into choosing a Mamiya 645 system after my Mamiya C33 & C3 were stolen in the 1980's. I never regretted making the decision.

    However in a search for ven more quality I did look at the RB67 after a colleague was loaned a demonstration system but decided I'd prefer to get a 5x4 Field camera, I already shot 5x4 studio & technical work. Part of my reasoning was the weight & bulk weren't far different and as I almost6 always used a tripod then 5x4 gave me more control with movement etc.

    My 645's still get some bursts of use as they are great to use hand-held shooting people etc. I've looked again at RB67's & RZ's as tehy can be fou8nd for next to nothing but the bulk still puts me off.

    Ian
     
  3. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    For the paper size I most often use (18x24 cm) the 6x4.5 is perfect, it enlarges full frame and I don't need to fuss with cropping. I have dipped my little toes into 6x4.5 waters but I feel it would be a really nice format for me if I could find the right sort of camera (A scale Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 531 with a lazy shutter does not fall into that category!). It seems to give me the benefits of the medium format while not needing a mule to haul the equipment.

    When I think of it, I think I could even trade my 6x6 (Rolleiflex) for a Bronica or a Fuji.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2010
  4. R gould

    R gould Member

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    5I use 35mm,645 and 6/6, I must admit I prefer 645 or 6/6 to 35mm and will often use 645 in place of 35mm simply because of the higher quality 645 is a very capable format, and certainly has an edge over 35mm, with some equipment being not a lot bulkier than the smaller format,RICHARD
     
  5. faustotesta

    faustotesta Member

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    i use 35mm, 6x6 and 6x7. I find 6x6 too close to 6x7. Also the squared format is tricky to be printed. I was wondering whether exist 6x4,5 backs for my Hasselblad 501 CM.....
    Anyway i think that the difference between 35mm and 645 is relevant.
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    It's not just a matter of negative size but also the resolution of the lenses for each format.
     
  7. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Jerry you are correct about the lenses. My Mamiya M645 MF lenses are great IMO! But my Nikon 35mm lens are excellent a well.
    I put a speed winder on my M645 so it handles like a big 35mm and I like it a lot more.

    This format thing is on my mind a lot right now. This goes to some of the threads where I foucus more on the gear than the photo???? I just hate having gear around that I do not use...
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Have to agree about the quality of the Mamiya 645 lenses it's one of the reasons I've kept my cameras so long. However I'm shooting more 6x6 at present and find I really like the square format, also TLR's are quick, easy and light, so I carry one alongside my LF camera.

    Ian
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    One huge difference for my old eyes is that with the "6" wide film, I can get a decent feel for a negative's potential without a contact print or putting it in an enlarger. With 35mm it's tough to see "just a little" blur in the negative even with a loupe.

    Another big difference is in perspective. With 35mm (and LF) cameras I find it tough to get the camera low enough many times. With a WL finder it's the opposite. MF Mamiyas can give me both perspectives easily.
     
  10. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I check my 35mm negs before printing by putting them in the enlarger. Enlarge to 8x10 or 11x14 on a focus sheet only and use a focus tool and you can check for blur just fine...

    Sigh, my tanks and enlarger are for 35mm at most. I want to try MF but it just isn't practical so I am squeezing the most I can out of 35mm which means for best enlargements I must shoot with sharp lenses at their optimal apertures onto good sharp film. Delta 100 with a good lens does a great job at 11x14 so while I am constantly pining for MF here I should really be happy with what I have.
     
  11. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I'm one of those that feels 645 is kind of pointless. Actually medium format is kind of pointless. To me, there are two kinds of photography; handheld and tripod.

    If you are hand-holding, you might as well use 35mm. My OM1 is smaller than any 645, has tons of lenses whose equivalents are just not available for any medium format system, super nice viewfinder, easy to focus, requires no batteries, shoots 36 shots without reloading, can shoot 5fps with a motor drive, and cheap/light enough you can just sling two of them easily enough. Modern films make very nice 11x14 prints from 35mm.

    If you have to drag a tripod out, you might as well shoot 4x5. Why shoot those annoying, impossible-to-rewind-mid-roll medium format films when you can just expose as many slabs of 4x5 as you need? I guess the one place medium format cameras make sense is for fashion/location shooting or portraiture where you need to shoot many shots at high quality from a tripod. Since I don't do that kind of thing much, it's no surprise I don't really have much use for medium format.
     
  12. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    BetterSense,

    If you're gonna put it that way, anything less than 5x7" is pointless. My format is bigger than yo-o-ours, haha... :D

    Joking aside, there are medium format cameras with magazines. And we all have to find our own goals and the process needed to get there.
     
  13. Josh Harmon

    Josh Harmon Member

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    I shoot 35mm mostly for candids or lowlight without tripod shots or if an assignment calls for it. I use my Bronica ETRS when I hike mostly and if I am working in the studio, the weight isnt that bad (I am young) and I like the 1/500sec flash sync. I will use my Graflex for all my short hikes or if I need really crisp 16x20's.
     
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  15. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I primarily use my 35mm cameras for daily carry and save the MF cameras for when I have specific photographic needs. I have 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9 with different lenses and they get used mostly for my fine art prints when I want to enlarge beyond what the 35mm can do even with modern films. Trying to do a comparison between MF and 35mm is rather redundant because every one is different and have different wants and needs.
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I use both 35mm and 645. I have to agree, with fine grain film such as Tmax100 and even 400, an ability to withstand enlargement in terms of grain is not *that* much different. I prefer 35mm when fast focusing and fast operation is required but I prefer 645 for ease of viewing contact sheet. I also like the fact 645 fits better with 8x10 printing with less cropping than 35mm.

    This is strictly a personal thing but I tend to shoot more carefully with 645 format. I have limited (15) exposures per roll and because of my style, subjects are usually slow-moving or not at all. I tend to have better composition and better "good one" ratio than when using 35mm.

    To me, this is either-or choice. I'd love to go larger but for weight and size consideration, 645 is probably the largest I'll try.
     
  17. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    If you think 645 is pointless print a 35mm frame from a 400 speed film to 11x14 :wink:

    While I agree that there is a time and place for all these tools, and modern 35mm films are excellent I stick to 35 when I know I won't be printing past 8x10 and I need the speed/versatility.

    645 AF is an excellent compromise if you aren't shooting too much action.
    If I'm going with a tripod I will haul out 6x7 or 4x5 if I can deal with the processing(ie not too many sheets).
     
  18. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    For me, there is a big jump from 35mm to medium format. 645 vs 6x7...not so much. I think that there is a natural viewing distance for different print sizes and it is hard to get the grain to be unnoticeable at those distances with 35mm. I tend to think of 35mm as handheld and shoot subjects where grain enhances the image. Medium format is for images where smooth tonality is important and tripods are OK. I think the 645 ends up being a reasonable compromise if you really want to shoot handheld (perhaps with 400 speed film) and still maintain small grain. Larger formats just don't have the lens speed available in the 645 formats either.
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    There is an improvement going from 35mm to 645.

    That said, I use 35mm, 6cmx6cm and 4"x5". My preference is 6cmx6cm and 4"x5" [tied] then 35mm.

    Steve
     
  20. mattk

    mattk Subscriber

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    Where I notice the difference is when using slower ISO's. With the 645 I feel I still get smooth texture at moderate enlargement. My 35mm low light work seems to be more grainy than I would like when printing 8x10's and 5x7's sometimes. Porta 800 and my Mamiya 645 Pro with a 80mm 2.8 lens is wonderful in churches/indoors without using flash. Medium format brings a smoothness to 800 and 1600 ISO that I can't get with 35mm. My 2 cents.
     
  21. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    :sad: That's it. I'm getting rid of the 645, the tlr and the RB. I've been an idiot all these years.
     
  22. williamtheis

    williamtheis Member

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    one frequently overlooked area is the film itself. 35mm is on a very thick base and there have been rumors that may be true that the emulsion on 120 & 4x5 is different than that of 35mm. so although there are usually pruported resolution increases of 35mm albeit with a smaller image (therefore more grain), there still is the difference of the base
     
  23. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I guess one of the things you'll have to consider is why you bought equipment for 3 formats. There got to be a reason why you started with one, went to next, and then to the third. Was each of the purchasing decision based on a particular need or did you just wanted to give another format a try?

    For me, each of purchase was a combination of both.
     
  24. Edwardv

    Edwardv Member

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    There is no such thing as a perfect camera, only the right camera for the right assignment. 80% for 645 and 20% 6x6 for my work. 0% for 35, even I have a Nikon system.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The 35mm negative has just about 8.5 square centimetres of real estate. Cropped to a 4x5 aspect ratio, it is down to about 7.25 square centimetres of real estate.

    My Mamiya 645 Pro has an image area of 56mm x 41.5 mm - approximately 23.25 square centimetres of real estate. Cropped to a 2x3 aspect ratio, it is down to about 21.25 square centimetres of real estate.

    21.25 vs 8.5 - IMHO, a significant difference.

    23.25 vs. 7.25 - IMHO, an even more significant difference.

    Size, weight, handling, lens and accessory options and cost factors also factor in to the question. As does the remaining availability of easy colour lab processing for 35mm.

    I'm not getting rid of either format. I'm glad to have 6x6 and 6x7 as well :smile:.

    23.25
     
  26. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    For a lot of people it's probably cost. I started in medium format with a Bronica ETRS because it was all I could afford. Later I bought an RB67.

    I often think that if I could have bought a Bronica SQ instead of the ETRS I wouldn't have bought the RB67 and would have been happy with the 6x6 negative.

    My most used camera now is a Rolleicord (bought for £30) so I'm not sure why I spent so much money on other stuff!


    Steve.