645 or Sq Medium format

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Rick-in-LB, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Rick-in-LB

    Rick-in-LB Member

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    I need a little advice here. I now shoot a Yashica D and want to purchase another medium format camera. I have a chance at getting a Bronica ETRSI and was wondering is there any pros or cons of the two types of format/size, 6x6 or 6x4.5. I tried the HOLGA because everyone said I had to try it but for now it is not for me. Any help on this one, please.

    Rick
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Some people refer the square format, I use both, I compose differently depending on what camera I'm using - because I always shoot to the format and don't crop my negatives. In general I'm more than happy with 645 and have had a pair of Mamiyas for about 25 years.

    Ian
     
  3. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Modern films are outstanding, so don't think of the comparison between 645 and 66 too much in terms of image quality per square centimeter. Yes, 6x6 will give you a bigger picture area and less enlargement to achieve the same size, but there is a huge difference in lens quality between your Yashica D and a Bronica. And that will matter a lot!

    Try to think: do you like square pictures at all? do you like to crop? do you need more than 12 exp. at once?

    Then think: do I want a system camera or not? am I willing to stay on the used market, or do I want to buy some stuff new eventually?
     
  4. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    The 645 format cameras are lighter than the SQA version so if weight is an issue that might decide you. I have SQAs and a Mamiya 645. With the prism and motor drive the SQA is comparable in function but twice as heavy. I haven't been able to compare it to the ETR cameras, though. They are easier to find used and in good shape as they were in production later than the SQA series.
     
  5. Edwardv

    Edwardv Member

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    I have both Bronicas 6x6 and 645. I use them both during the same photo session. Each one has their strong points. If all possible purchases Ai or Si/Ei series: SQAi bodies, PS lenses, Ai magazines have the locking dark slide - the magazine for 35 mm film is non Ai; ETRSi bodies, Ei magazines - have the locking dark side, PE lenses, AEIII meter which is very accurate

    645: Cheaper to buy used at KEH, 15 exposures, lighter in weight, magazine for 35 mm film single and panoramic shots - if you can find them.

    http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Cate...e=&item=0&ActivateTOC2=true&ID=36&BC=ET&BCC=5

    6x6: More expensive than 645 when it comes to magazine backs, heavier, 12 exposures, magazines for 35 film single and panoramic - shots if you can find them.

    http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Cate...e=&item=0&ActivateTOC2=true&ID=39&BC=SQ&BCC=5

    Good luck.
     
  6. vdoak

    vdoak Subscriber

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    I have used an ETRSi for over 15 years. For me it works. I have a couple of 6x6s (old folders) and end up cropping in the darkroom more than I would have liked to get 8x10 or 11x14 prints. ( yes this is me more than the format) I prefer to crop in camera.
    In the end 645 gives me several more exposures per 120 roll. (3) The Bronica lenses are very sharp. Exchangeable lenses and film backs make it very flexible. The other advantage is that today the etrsi as a system is relatively cheap for the quality of pictures one can produce with it.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I often like to print square, so I like 6x6 and consider it significantly better than 645. 645 is better than 35mm, of course, but not enough better in my opinion to justify the extra bulk of the equipment. 645 seems like a good choice if you want only one system and can't decide between medium format and 35mm.

    Another attraction of 6x6, if you crop, is that you can crop from any part of the square frame, so it's a bit like getting a 645 with some rise (for horizontals) and shift (for verticals). This shot was cropped from the top of a 6x6 frame--

    [​IMG]

    Aside from the fact that the proportions are a bit different from 645, the lines are straight (or as straight as they are in reality), because the camera is level, and the relationship of foreground to background is different from the image I would have gotten had I had used a 645 camera and pointed it down.
     
  8. usathyan

    usathyan Member

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    I got the 645. I wish i got 6x6. I like the square format better, and cropping the 645 results in a lower res. image. You can crop 645 on a 6x6 and still have same exact resolution as that of 645. Hope that makes sense.
     
  9. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I think usathyan's point is a good one. You can crop a 6x6 to 645 and all is well. But if you shoot 645 and want to sometimes crop to square your neg gets pretty small.
     
  10. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I believe 6x6 was devised to give the photographer the option of either shooting full frame, or cropping to either landscape or portrait format later to any proportion he/she wished later in the darkroom, I personally have been shooting 6x6 for more than twenty years and have never had any desire for 6x4.5.
     
  11. frdrx

    frdrx Member

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    If you shoot with the Yashica and enjoy square images, don't even consider getting a 645 SLR because you would feel limited by it. I opted for 6x4.5 because I never learned to take square photographs. I had a Yashica for a while, but my results weren't very good. So I bought a Pentax, and my way of seeing things works with it perfectly. But if you're used to square, stay square.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Have to disagree there. I shot with a Yashica, then a Rolleicord followed by a Mamiya C3 & a C33, for about 15 years - all 6x6. After the Mamiya's were stolen I replaced them with a pair of Mamiya 645's and you indistinctly shoot to the changed format. It's no big deal as most people shootb with 34mm as well.

    Ian
     
  13. frdrx

    frdrx Member

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    I'm glad you disagree. It means you like the 645 format, as I do. You're obviously not addicted to the square format like people may be. If one knows how to take good square pictures, I think he or she should make use of it. One day I wish to pick up another Yashica, Rolleicord or a perhaps a Pentacon Six and learn how to compose square images.
     
  14. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The most significant difference twixt the two is the
    square format's always upright orientation. And that
    extends into the darkroom.

    I've an ETRSi rather than a SQ for two reasons; lens
    speeds, and focal lengths. The camera is a bother for
    it's need for uprighting view finders and it's need for
    flipping when doing verticals. Of course in the
    darkroom the negatives view best if rotated.

    The SQ is always ready to shoot. One tip for the
    ETRSi, buy the Rotary Finder. Dan
     
  15. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    You should also consider the 6x7, 6x8, and 6x9 formats.
     
  16. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I generally don't crop much off of 645, but 66 always loses a slice when I'm printing as I never print full frame square. I do love using a 6x6 camera with flash bracket and prism.. You don't need to flip the thing around to go from horiz. to vert.
     
  17. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    The cameras that go with the square format were typically designed with waist-level viewing in mind. Eye-level finders and metering came along some time after and some seem to have been added almost as an afterthought.

    Since you're coming from 35mm you may appreciate that most 645 camera system (including lenses) will not only be lighter than 6x6, but will also be better integrated with with eye-level viewing finders and many will have sophisticated metering options including spot and matrix and TTL fill-flash as a standard feature. Most have a built-in ergonomic grip so that vertical compositions work in much the same way that 35mm does. The 645 negative is still 2 1/2X larger than 35mm and this is a huge leap in resolution. 645 to 6x6, not nearly so much improvement.

    Since the bottom has fallen out of medium format film equipment used for weddings and commercial portraiture, there are tremendous bargains to be found in the systems that have been orphaned with no digital upgrade path. My Pentax 645N was a very nice find in mint- conditon for $330 earlier this year, which I mated it up to a manual focus 35mm f/3.5 wide angle. This all for a cost of only slightly more than the equivalent W/A lens alone would have cost for my D300 Nikon (but without the diffraction penalty at f/16-22).
     
  18. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I can recommend the Pentax 645 if you are going for a 35mm-like MF 645. It's perfect. I love the original interface of the 645. The dials on the N throw me off but either way the thing is dead simple to use and very difficult to muck up.
     
  19. monosnaps

    monosnaps Member

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    I have used both, only recently buying a Fuji 645 which is so light I can carry it around with me all the time. Its quick to use being a rangefinder and has a really sharp 60mm its also quite cheap to buy. Good for street and landscapes. The main 6*6 is a Hassie which I only feel comfortable with when its on a tripod, like most 6*6 it slows you down and makes you contemplate the scene you are photographing.
     
  20. Morry Katz

    Morry Katz Member

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    I too have been shooting 6 X 6 for eons and most of the time I print square, as well. I have a 645 magazine for my Rollei SL66E and hardly ever use it. The only time I do is for obviously and definitely horizontal subjects. Save your money and go with the 6 X 6.

    Morry Katz
    Lethbridge, Alberta
     
  21. bnstein

    bnstein Member

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    If you luuurve the square dont go past it.

    If its neither here nor there then its a tougher call: a *little* size and weight less, some faster lenses versus built in shift as David has demonstrated versus some who pretty much never print square. Both are very fine cameras so dont sweat that side of it.
     
  22. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ...why hasn't anyone suggested to get a 6x6 camera with a 6x4.5 back? For the Bronica SQ-A, you can get the 120J or 220J backs which are 6x4.5 and you can use the regular 6x6 backs as well. For the Hasselblad you can get the a-16 backs which shoot 6x4.5 and have some a-12 6x6 backs as well. It's the best of both worlds and you don't have to be concerned with two different systems.
    I agree with a previous comment though when it was said why is the 6x9, 6x7 formats not considered? You can get a Mamiya RZ67 and you can have backs for 6x7, 6x6 and 6x4.5, which would seriously help you expand your formats.
    You can also just get a 4x5 camera with a 6x12 sinar rollfilm back which will adjust to any size you want between 6x4.5 and 6x12.

    ...jordan