66 or 67 for MF-newbie

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Zane Yau, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Zane Yau

    Zane Yau Member

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    Hey guys

    I am new in medium format photography - I've been shooting with 35mm film and digital SLR for a few years thu.

    The only MF I have ever done were:

    1. a lot of Holga - I develop and scan my negs

    2. a few days of my friend's Pentax 67 + few lenses (very good, but quite heavy)

    3. another few days with my other friend's Bronica ETRs, 40mm and 75mm lenses (I like it but would like a 66+ format MF)

    I am thinking of investing in either a 6x6 or 6x7 system with limited budget, say $800 - $1000USD

    my ideal system should

    - Be user friendly and not too heavy to lug around with my 35mm gear

    - have 3 lenses, one wide, one standard and one tele - I do landscape and portraits

    - good for long exposure photography - convenient time exposure mode, uses standard cable release etc (ETRs doesnt use cable release apparently, it switches to time exp mode on the lens and i have no idea how to finish an exposure without vibrating the camera)

    - built-in meter would be nice otherwise i need to get a light meter also (just in case I don't have my 35mm gear with me)

    - waist level finder preferred.


    I was advised by friends to consider:

    - Bronica SQ
    - Hasselblad 500 series (not sure if I can get any decent gear with my budget)
    - Pentax or Mamiya 67s.... if they are not much heavier than 66s....

    Any suggestions would be great and thanks for your patience in reading my long post!

    Cheers

    Zane
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I think that the issue of 6X6 vs 6X7 is going to have to be about your preferences and your needs. I use a Mamiya RB67, and it is probably in a similar weight class to the Pentax. If you want lighter and easier to hand hold, then a Mamiya 7 would be ideal, but there is probably no way to squeeze it into your budget, unless you find some sort of benefactor.

    I think that any of the cameras you are mentioning will be great, and you should decide if you prefer square or rectangular. Once you have that decided, there will be relatively few choices. If you want square, I agree that Hassy will likely be high with the three lenses, so you really are looking at the Bronica. For 6X7, the question will be if you prefer an interchangable back camera like the Mamiya, or the giant 35mm SLR on steroids style like the Pentax. Bronica also made a 6X7 with similar features to the RB. I have also heard of people having problems with mirror shake on the Pentax. The Mamiya has a very well dampened mirror and that is rarely a problem. Should it be a problem, they all support mirror lockup.

    Lots of others will chime in, but I really do think that you should think of whether you want to compose and print in squares or rectangles, then start evaluating cameras.
     
  3. Zane Yau

    Zane Yau Member

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    Thanks Paul, I really like the square format

    But at the same time, I want more film so that I can do panoramic crops.... greedy I know
     
  4. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    Zane, I have the Pentax67II, my brother-in-law has a Mamiya RB67, I also have used a Pentacon Six TL for more than a year.

    If you like square, then go for square. The extra 1cm (or so) in length of the 6x7 frame is not enough to be a panoramic format, and if you crop, you sacrifice a lot of the film area. It's just enough to be a nice rectangular format. Instead, you could buy a cheaper 6x9cm folder camera for the panoramas (but do have a physical look at it, esp. the lens, before you buy). Or you could built a dedicated panoramic camera from an old Kodak No.3A / 2A or similar folders (I am just finishing mine, cost around $30 incl. shipment), the image area is around 6x14cm...

    As for the weight of the 6x7cm cameras, they are all heavy (the RB67 is roughly equal to the P67), Bronica GS-1 should be lighter from what I read. The 6x6 cameras are usually lighter. That said, I hauled a Canon EOS 500 with 2 zoom lenses along with a P67 and a 55mm and a 135mm (and a tripod) together in a backpack for more than 2 years. I even managed some mountain hiking. But in the end I decided that the Canon was not worth lugging around as exposure meter (and bought a metered prism for the P67 instead).

    Jiri
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If you like the square then the SQ-AI is basically a ETRSI with a bigger negative. The time switch from memory means push the cable release and the shutter fires. Push again and it closes. Either that or when you release the cable. Shows how much I use the T setting -)

    The Mamiyas are much bigger heavier. If you're on a tripod all the time not a big issue. But if you found the pentax heavy you'll find the RB/RZs heavy.

    I'm not sure what SQAI are selling for right now but I'd expect you could get most/everything you want for $800. Maybe not the metering prism. You'll also get TTL flash with the SQAI.
     
  6. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    A few small points

    I don't think anyone can help you decide whether you want to make square or rectangular photographs. I think you need to explore whats in your minds eye on that score, and if necessary look at lots of photos. Personally I wouldn't want a 6x6 if I intended to crop most of them. If that were the case I'd want a 67 and crop to 6x6 when necessary.

    A Bronica SQ-Ai with 50/80/150 lenses, a meter, a Speedgrip, a few rolls of film and a light bag weighs 10lb. A 67 slr will be measurably larger and heavier. I donn't have a 67 slr so I can't weigh one- though no doubt someone else can Again I don't know what you consider heavy and how you carry it.

    Most MF cameras with metering do it via a prism. Your desire for metering and wlf may well be in conflict. Personally I find a hand held meter much more flexible to use than a relatively unsophisticated in-camera meter.

    The Bronica SQ-Ai can be set to 16 seconds. If you go beyond that then you have B or (T)imed. T is clumsy to use although if you complete your exposure and put the lens cap back on before sliding the switch off you should not blur the image. The T switch is on the lens.
     
  7. DBP

    DBP Member

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    If you are planning to use a waist level finder most of the time, then I would advise 6x6 or a rotating back. I haven't used the RB/RZ 67, but it is much bigger than the Pentax, which is already bigger than you say you want. I would concentrate on the Bronica SQ, Mamiya C series, or Kiev 88CM (from a reputable remanufacturer). And go ahead and get a hand held meter regardless, it's a very useful tool.
     
  8. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    IMO the RB 67 is not that much bigger than Pentax 67. It's differently shaped, yes, larger in some dimensions, smaller in others. I have held both, albeit the P67II with a metering prism and the RB with a WLF...

    But yes, if you're going for low weight, go for the SQ-Ai, should be lighter (I haven't held that one, though)

    Jiri
     
  9. Zane Yau

    Zane Yau Member

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    Thanks guys - sorry I have exaggerated the weight issue a bit. I think I can handle heavy weight (got used to carrying heavy SLRs with 4-5 lenses all the time), although I don't really enjoy it...

    I guess it's correct that I should first decide whether I want a 66 or 67, then go from there...

    Jiri, can you please explain a bit about the "dedicated panoramic camera from an old Kodak No.3A / 2A or similar folders ... image area is around 6x14cm..."?

    Thanks again guys
     
  10. Zane Yau

    Zane Yau Member

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    Yeah, I now realise that WLF doesn't have metering - thanks

    Is there any light meters you guys recommend? I think I need one with spot metering, is that right?
     
  11. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    Zane, have a look at http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/postcard.html (at the moment, the site is down, but I hope it's only temporary).

    Essentially, you take an old folder for discontinued film, usually larger than todays. The Kodak No.3A/2A and similar are so abundant that they are not collector-items, therefore cheap. To fit a modern 120 size film, you have to either find some old spools intended for your camera and respool the film (more difficult in the long run), or create some spacers that will allow you to use the 120film straight. There are also some other minor modifications, but nothing really hard.

    Do have a look at the above site, or do a search for a postcard panoramic in the panoramic cameras section.

    If you have further questions, PM me, I can take some snaps of my camera and send them to you (if I find the time, I'll add a section on that modification on my site)

    Jiri
     
  12. rexp

    rexp Member

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    Another option would be a MF rangefinder. Much lighter and quieter. I have loaned out my Koni several times in the "MF Loaner Program" and have gotten good feedback from the people who borrowed it. It is out on loan now (locally - the wife of a co-worker has it) but I expect it back pretty soon and then I will again start another "loaner" thread.

    They are pretty cheap, have excellent lenses (although the coatings are such that you do need to pay attention to flare, but the lenses have built-in lens shades), and there are 4 lenses available. 60mm wide, 90mm std, 135mm portrait (expensive, if you can find one) and a 180mm tele. Your budget would get you a nice camera, three lenses & a good spot meter (plus some film & a bunch of other stuff if you buy things right).

    Repair is still available thru Greg Weber
    (http://www.webercamera.com/home.html)
    Greg is a great guy & very knowledgable about these cameras. I had him do a CLA on one of mine, so I went up & took a tour of his shop. Interesting fellow, and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to recommend him to anyone needing work done on a Koni.

    Here is a link to the last go-around of loaner program I started. You are certainly welcome to get on the list next time I start one... (you can search on my name to read the other 3 times I loaned it out).

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/24392-mf-loaner-program-4-a.html

    good luck
     
  13. Zane Yau

    Zane Yau Member

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    Thanks Jiri - that sounds complicated but fun!!

    Thanks for the info rexp, I will check out the Koni
     
  14. Zane Yau

    Zane Yau Member

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    Thanks guys for all your advice

    I have just decided on a RZ67 with 50 and 110 lenses ... hopefully I will get it by the end of this week!!