645 RF or SLR (go wider?)

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ruvy, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Hi all

    I own a Rolleiflex E2 f3.5 and like it a lot but want to add a camera that will have the conveniences of faster/easier operation without a major sacrifice in quality. Originally I thought of getting a 6X7 (nice proportion and most are superb) or 6X9 (wider) but they are expensive and some are heavy so I am checking now into 6X4.5s. A merchant here lent me a Fuji ga645 which I like to a point. When compared with my Rollei I am missing the intimacy of a longer (yet normal) lens and its rollinars to get even closer. Also, not sure yet but it seems like framing is more accurate on the rollei + I never miss a shot due to forgetting the lens cover on it. (needless to say I am biased to the way the xenotar on the Rollei renders images).

    Considering i like to shoot portraits, kids, landscape, architectural and travel shots, I wonder if anyone here has or had both cameras and which one is more frequently used for better and faster shooting?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Framing is generally more accurate on an SLR, and if you want to shoot closeups, an SLR is usually better for that as well. That said, I used to have a fuji ga645W and really enjoyed it. But I usually describe those cameras and the mamiya RFs as travel / documentary / landscape cameras. For those purposes they are true weapons. But for several of the things you mention (portraits, kids).... not so much.

    How about a mamiya 645 pro, or pentax 645 NII or comparable bronnie? I like the modularity of the pro- you can go with or without a winder, prism etc. Stripped down, it's a cute little manual-everything box. I am not wild about the landscape orientation though, that's my main (and perhaps only) gripe.

    Another Fuji you might look at is the ga645zi, that has a zoom and is a lot of fun. Noisy but fun.

    I just sold a mamiya 645AF, that was a fun camera that I miss already. You can work very fast with it, a shot per second or so. It handles a lot like a 35mm camera, but the AF is medieval compared with any of the current 35mm cameras. And again it is a bit noisy. The newer 645 AF may be worth a look but they are pricey. There is a Rollei 6x6 af camera that I assume pretty much all of us covet. I can refer you to a friend who has one if you wish- Jason Keefer.
     
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  3. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    It is funny, as I have been a long time Bronica ETRS user and it is a great camera, I recommend it very highly but, I have just pulled out my Rolleiflex T and am in the process of finding a service for it. I've finally figured out that sometimes less is more. The T with a few filters is as easy and fast to work with as my Bronica and I do not have the "need" to get more lenses, hoods, prisms, blah, blah. In other words I find I think more about photography than the equipment. If you want to try a 645 system, the ETR series is a very good starting place as the going prices provided you stay away from the shift lens is almost dirt cheap. In today's market a basic setup can be less than a mid-level 35mm slr film system. The prices seem to have stabilized so even if you do not care for it, provided you did not pay more then the going average price, you should recoup most or all of your costs.
     
  4. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    645 SLR still handy and reasonable weight.
    67 SLR heavy but better quality.

    67 R.F. can be light too, especially when having a folder: Plaubel Makina 67, Cosina Voigtländer Bessa III 667 (even 6x6 AND 6x7cm) only 1000g but fix lens (3,5/80mm, Plaubel 2,8/80mm). Then the Mamiya 6 or 7II, great R.F. with exchangable lenses but already more heavy.

    SLR better for portrait, RF landscape and travel. So you have to find out what seems to be more important.

    I have the Bessa III 667 and for landscape it's perfect, light and compact in travelling but not cheap either.
    Here an example on an Orthopan Rollei Retro 100 TONAL film, E.I. 80, tripod around 200 ln/mm in 6x7cm format.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. brbeck

    brbeck Subscriber

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    I have a rolleiflex 3.5E and a mamiya 645 pro tl. I really like both camera's but I've found that the rolleiflex to be difficult to focus quickly. When I want to take pictures of my kids I usually grab the mamiya or my nikon fe2. All my camera's are manual focus but using and SLR is just easier for me. The mamiya is large but not too heavy and I really like that it is a modular camera.
     
  6. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    I have already the Mamiya 645 pro for over 16 years but in "quick mode" with AE prismn and winder it's over twice the weight of a C.V. Bessa III folder. And at the end 6x4,5cm against 6x7cm. But you're right the M645 is a modular system. With crank winder and with finder together with a standard 2,8/80mm it's also a light system but then not quicker in handling then the R.F. camera. Apart from the fact the Bessa III is so silent you can not hear it. Even more quiet then my Leica M7 R.F. so it's just what you're searching for. Apples and Peers, what is your taste :smile:
     
  7. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thanks Keithwms

    All good advices. My concern about the mamiya 645 and Brnica (I had the 6X6 and it was fine) is weight and they feel heavy and strange in portrait mode.
    The ga645w will be a good choice for landscape but I am looking for a do it all (ok just as much as possible). a zoon like the zi may come close and 645n with interchangeable lenses will probably have a wider range of suitabilities. Have you tried either one of these well enough to compare them to the ga645?

     
  8. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thanks you BrianL
    I am starting to feel the same way - love the simplicity of the Rolleiflex though sometime need slightly wider and slightly longer.... I have been using it for years - probably keep on doing it too.
     
  9. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thanks your RobertV.
    The Bessa III and Leica M7 are great but too expensive for me... . I am admit, you make wonders with them (in your gallery I love your models shot and landscape too)
    I find the Mamiya 645 to be the right tool for many landscape applications but I ma looking for something lighter that feels more like a 35mm dslr it terms of portrait taking. I feel that the GA645 even the "normal" is too wide with potential to distort perspective.
     
  10. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thanks you brbeck.
    I bet its the Nikon that you grab to shoot your kida and not the Mamiya (or at least more often. I have used the Mamiya for a while. Loved it but now it feel too heavy and I feel less comfortable with its portrait mode... Mamiya advantage is lenses but for IQ and format the I like the Rollei very much

     
  11. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    The rotating back of the Mamiya 6x7's is very convenient but they are NOT light... still if you want something light I think you should look smaller than 645. The biggest 35mm SLRs are as heavy as the lightest 645's but the lightest 35mm are much lighter and more compact.
     
  12. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    If at times need slightly longer or wider, why not look for the accessory lenses that you can snap on the front. I've got a set of Yashicas and the quality degradation is not as much as I expected. They are not all that rare. Of course there is always the alternative teleRollei and WA version also. But with these there is no cost savings. I've used both and liked them.
     
  13. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    645 and 2-1/4 square hit the sweet spot where resolution of the better lenses is on par with (no longer bottlenecked by) the limits of detail that most common film emulsions can resolve. It's fairly easy to bump up against these film resolution limits in 35mm, certainly in low-contrast lighting. Larger than 645, the challenge becomes finding a system with lenses that aren't the bottleneck.

    +1 for the Pentax 645N or NII. Great feature set, great viewfinder, rugged build. Lenses are sharp, plentiful, and relatively cheap. (Non-AF ones have exquisitely smooth focusing helixes.)
     
  14. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    I have a Yashica (MAT 124-G) too but I am finding the accessory lenses that you can snap on the front of terrible quality. So if you want a tele: Free of charge in a nice box!

    Comparing the Yashica to the Bessa III is comparing a Hasselblad against a Lubitel. The only thing they have in common: You can take pictures with it.

    I like the TLR for IR photography.
    Here an example: MAT 124-G with Heliopan RG715 Bay I filter. Film Rollei IR 820/400 120 roll film.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Not sure I understand what you're asking about the zi; you mean, compared to the pentax 645ns? They are completely different. I tried a 645n2 once and I really really liked it. I decided it wasn't for my own purposes but I liked it very much. My suggestion is to price a system and try it out. If you want a do-it-all 645, you'll probably adore it. I wasn't looking for a do-it-all system; I was looking foremost for travel compactness. And about 95% of what I care to shoot is scenic stuff. When I do closeups it's almost always with an rb, rz, or larger LF camera.

    One unrelated admonition: don't compare the pentax 67 and the 645n2. Totally different in almost every way.

    Robert, with all due respect because you have shown lovely results, I don't see how a folder fits this person's needs. They are lovely cameras but... close focus? Portrait? Fast? Accurate framing?? Can you share any portraits or closeups with this camera? So far I've only seen scenic shots with all compositional elements in focus. I'd like to see how the camera fares with closeup headshots, with wide open aperture.

    My parting ramble is that if you (original poster) want the versatility of 35mm... then use 35mm! Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Format wanking is unhealthy and will eventually make you blind :wink: I have witnessed this so many times: people doing just fine with one format, then encountering a slightly larger one and thinking it will transform their results. And then they hop to the next larger and the next larger. This way of thinking just boggles me. Been there done that. I find plenty of unique uses for all the formats. How big you can [theoretically!] enlarge before seeing grain is, to me, just about the silliest argument in all of photography. At the end of the day, with good film choice and development technique, the differences are far less important than how the different formats enable completely different ways of seeing. End of rant :wink:
     
  16. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    P.S. I recall one weakness of the 645n2, which would probably be important for wedding/event shooters: the flash synch is slow as molasses.
     
  17. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thank you hpulley

    Yes, I love the rotating back on the 6X7 but I am not a studio shooter not do I shoot in any pre planed setups (wish I did) - 645 seems a more practical direction or stay with what I have as 6x6
     
  18. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thank you Pupfish for the encouragement for the Pentax 645n - need to find one for a good price..
     
  19. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thank you again keithwms,

    Your "parting ramble" makes all the sens in the world. I am shooting now a lot of 6X6 and some 645 and feel comfortable with them. I didn't care for the 4X5 when I tried them - never new if I should bring the subject to the camera or the camera to the subject - in retrospect i think it was just to satisfy my curiosity. I feel comfortable with 35mm too but will have a DSLR sooner or later (to substitute one that was stolen nearly a year ago) so I see little sens in investing in 35mm film camera - they are just to close for the way I use both.
     
  20. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    That would make a good sig line.:D
     
  21. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Why do people feel the 6x7 has to stay in the studio? I walk around and shoot mine hand held all the time, often with a 35mm around my neck and a big camera bag on my shoulder or back at the same time. No big deal.
     
  22. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    After a severe car accident with spine damage and whip lash you know why I have to travel LIGHT. So in that way a folder 6x6/6x7cm is my ultimate choice. Yes, less suitable for portraits but fast and easy in use. Like all cameras it's always somewhere a compromise but for me a good one to keep shooting on film and with high quality.