Affordable MF with WLF plus General MF Questions

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by h.v., Dec 5, 2011.

  1. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Hello, this is my first post here (I'll try and make an introduction soon) and I have a few questions. I'm not sure if this was the best forum either, as it could work in the Street photography forum as well. Sorry if this is the wrong subforum.

    Anyways, pretty soon I am hoping to start saving up for a medium format SLR or TLR. I wouldn't want to spend more than $250, and I'd want it in good condition (i.e. not something that would break easily or shortly and not something that needs repairs). A waist level finder (WLF) is also key, as it would be almost exclusively be for street photography (I have other cameras for other things). It is key because I've had issues taking peoples photos with 35mm (and digital) because the camera goes up to my eye and because I don't shoot with a telephoto, it is pretty obvious what I'm doing. I think a WLF would go a long way because most people wouldn't even realize that I'm taking their picture. That way, I could also feel more comfortable and get in closer for better candids. Initially, I thought of just getting a 35mm SLR with optional WLF, but I've heard the image projected is a bit small and the options are more limited (eg. metering). But please, correct me if I'm wrong.

    With that, I've narrowed it down to the Bronica SQ-B, Mamiya RB67, and Yashica Mat 124G. What I am asking is if these would be good cameras for street photography as well as if you have any other suggestions (keep in mind budget and other prerequisites)? I am not interested in buying through eBay, and I have mostly been looking at KEH, Adorama, B&H, Kerrisdale, Henry's, as well as local shops. I've heard the Mamiya might be a little bit big to lug around. I want something that is portable and that isn't going to hurt me from constantly carrying a heavy weight. As an aside, the Yashica Mats I've seen are out of my price range ($300 and up) but I've read that if you look good you can find one for about $200 in good condition.

    Also I have some more general questions about medium format. What do you guys do for a light meter? The three cameras as far as I've read, do not have built in light meters (wait...the Yashica might, I can't remember). I don't want to carry around a digital or 35mm as a light meter, so I'm wondering about handheld light meters. Are they reliable? Are they cheap? What are good brands? Would it seem strange and awkward to use on the street? Also, I'm completely an autofocus guy (though my FG should be coming soon, which should be fun to learn) so do you have any tips or techniques for a newbie at full manual focus (I did have a period years ago where I used autofocus cameras completely manual, but I wasn't doing much street then)? I would assume with a MF WLF camera I could take my time focusing on a person or other subject as they wouldn't notice what I am doing. I've also read about pre-focusing and just waiting for a subject to come into full focus and then snapping away. This may be a silly question to you regular 120 and 220 users, but does the film loading, advancement and rewinding work the same as a manual rewind 35mm or (perhaps less likely) an autorewind 35mm?

    Thanks a bunch in advance! :smile:
     
  2. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    The Yashica has a light meter. It's often dismissed as rudimentary and in a way I suppose it is, but while I don't rely on it, I'm surprised how often I carefully meter with my LunaPro SBC then find the in camera meter in absolute agreement - this is with my 124; the 124G meter may be better. If you can find one, I prefer the 124 to the 124G. The "G" stands for "gold" and has gold plated flash contacts. The other external differences is that it's almost all black where the 124 has a fair amount of chrome. The 124 is said to be more rugged internally too - I'm not sure of that, I mainly just like the way mine looks. :D I got a nice Yashicamat 124 for $160 on eBay. You could list a WTB ad.

    Handheld light meters, good ones, are very reliable. They do take a bit of learning to use. I use a LunaPro SBC. It, and the flash meter enabled brother the LunaPro F, are superb meters and commonly available used BUT - if you've never seen one they may be surprisingly big. There are certainly smaller meters around. You don't say what type of film but in practice, for something like street shooting with black and white or color neg, you can take a general meter reading for the prevailing light (a small pocket sized gray card is useful too,) set the camera for that, and shoot away as long as you don't move into widely different light.

    Don't count on people not noticing what you are doing. Some won't while some will. People tend to mind a lot less, though.

    Focusing at waist level is not something I'm comfortable doing with my Yashicamat 124, and I've never owned an autofocus camera except my little digisnapper. I use the magnifier in the Yashica and hold the camera up to my eye (but looking down) - then if wanted I can close the magnifier and compose from true waist level. Other than making use of the depth of field scale on the focus knob for zone focusing (so you set it to be in focus from infinity back to a certain distance, then be sure your subject is at least that far away - in good light with a wide range of focus this is a very fast way to work) I can't offer much more. This kind of street shooting isn't really my area.

    The film doesn't load, wind and rewind quite like a 35mm. The Yashica anyway is slower to load. You get better at it (get a manual or download one if you get this camera) and it isn't really difficult, but it's not as quick as 35mm. The film comes on a spool. There are two spool slots in the camera, one for the film you are shooting and one for the take up spool it winds on. After your last shot you keep winding and that winds the rest of the film on the take up spool. You open the back, remove the spool, fold the paper leader down and there's a piece of "lick and stick" or other paper tape you use to tape the paper leader down. I forget which film brands have which of different types as they're all pretty obvious. For your next roll you move the spool the last roll came on over to the take up side and put the new roll in the film side.

    Film winding with the Yashica may seem odd compared to 35mm but is easy and almost as quick. After winding the film leader onto the take up spool with the film crank it stops at the first frame. You then turn the crank a half turn backwards to cock the shutter and you're ready. After each shot you turn the crank a half turn until it stops, which winds the film, then turn it back a half turn to cock the shutter. Sounds odd but in practice is very fast.
     
  3. lesm

    lesm Member

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    One thing to remember if you get a 6x6 camera is you're only going to get about 12 shots per roll, so you'll be doing a lot of changing rolls in alleys and doorways! It can take you by surprise the first few times as you're blasting away and suddenly nothing happens. One of the advantages of a MF SLR is that most of them have at least an interchangeable insert, so you can pre-load several rolls at home and change quickly in the street.

    The RB is a magnificent camera but you might find its size and weight a bit daunting as your first medium format street camera (though there are some APUG experts here who use them for street work). I sometimes use a Mamiya 645 1000s for street. It's easy to hand hold and you can get a WLF for it and you get 15 shots per roll. Whether you can find one in your budget range I don't know; likewise (and even more so) an RB.

    If your main issue is regarding bringing the camera up to your eye, there are are other ways of taking photos on the street with a 35mm camera. With a wide angle lens you can shoot from the hip and be pretty sure of getting something usable. I sometimes use a small camera (Pentax MX in my case, but there are many others) and just hold it in one hand by my side, zone focused and pre-metered, and just hit the shutter as I'm walking along. Some people have ingenious ways of hiding the camera - I'm sure you can find plenty to try. Might be worth looking into before you part with your hard-earned.
     
  4. JohnMeadows

    JohnMeadows Subscriber

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    I would second the suggestion on the Mamiya 645 series. I have two of them, with a third body on the way to have as a back-up, and if you shop carefully you should be able to find something close to your price range. I checked keh.com and they have affordable examples, but I don't know what the shipping implications would be.
     
  5. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    645 is a good format BUT not the best if you specifically want to shoot with a WLF. The 6x6 was used with cameras with waist level finders in part to avoid having to turn the camera. With a square image there is no horizontal or vertical orientation. Depending on the film path and the format, a rectangular format will either shoot a vertical or horizontal from waist level, but you will have to turn it very awkwardly to shoot the other.

    12 exposures is not a huge limitation, at least for me. In fact I prefer it to the 36 exposure loads of 35mm, but that's me and I'm not that much of a street shooter. The comment about inserts or backs is on target as loading does take longer (without preloaded backs or inserts) and you get fewer shots. For specifically shooting with a WLF though I'd recommend one of the 6x6 SLRs if quick film loading is needed. That would be the SQ-B among the OP's original list.

    This doesn't apply to the RB with its rotating back, but as mentioned that's a big monster of a camera for street shooting. If you haven't seen one I'd not recommend buying one for this application until you see one in person. They are seriously big for any hand holding, much less street shooting - but some people do make it work. I wouldn't count on being unobtrusive with one though, regardless of finder!
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Yes the RB67 is a monster of a camera, but you could use a monopod.

    Jeff
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I've got an SQ-B and a Mamiya RB 67 Pro S and love 'em both for very different reasons. For street shooting, the Mamiya works best on a tripod or monopod. The Bronica is almost petite by comparison and works well handheld with a WLF or 45 degree prism finder. The manual speed winder grip really improves its ergonomics, too. Just be aware the SQ-B won't power Bronica metered prisms made for the A/Ai models. While Mamiya RB 120 backs are still fairly plentiful, 120 backs for the SQ series are hard to find and usually pricey. With only 10-12 shots per roll, a spare back or two is nice to have. Focusing on either with the WLF+magnifier is easy. The Bronica has a split image focus aid; the Mamiya screen is like a small plasma panel with the magnifier--bright and sharp.

    Using a handheld meter is really the only way to go with these. A small handheld incident meter is really all you need--something like the Sekonic 318-328 or slightly pricier 308 are small, accurate and easy to use. Lugging around another camera just for its reflected meter will get old fast. You might want a spot meter later but an incident meter will get things rolling.

    The medium format shooting style is slower and more deliberate, thanks largely to the gear itself. The jump in image quality over 35mm isn't subtle. You'll like it.
     
  8. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    TLR. I don't understand it, but shooting in the street with a TLR is like putting on an invisibility cloak. I've stood right next to people, taken full-on face shots, and they look at me as if I am not there. And I am talking about typical MF slow work, needing to focus, frame, etc.

    I've used a Bronica ETRSi with WLF in the same situations and people notice. Something about that large single eye compared to the two small eyes on a TLR? I've used a TLR with a 45 degree prism on it and it still doesn't get noticed as much as an SLR, so I do think it is the smaller lenses and different shape of a TLR.

    You want a nice street TLR, get a Minolta Autocord. The way the focus lever sits at the bottom, you can cradle the camera in the left hand and focus with it, hold steady and fire the shutter with the right hand, I find it easier than a rollei-style focus knob on the side. A Rolleicord (another good option) before the type V series where they moved the focus knob to the left side is another good street shooter- left hand cradles and fires shutter, right hand focuses and winds.

    Well, I'm partial to TLRs. Other people use SLRs in the street and it works for them. APUG's medium format forum has a lot of SLR users. Rangefinder Forum's TLR forum might be worth looking over to get more input on TLRs and street work- http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=108
     
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  9. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Member

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    If $300 is out of his budget, I'm not sure how he'll be interested in $1900.
     
  10. vics

    vics Member

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    The TLR is your best bet. I, too, have stood right in front of a person, framing, focusing and shooting, and she never knew I was there. Your head is bent down, looking in the finder, and it just looks likle you're fiddling with something.
    Good street pictures are made by finding a spot with the right background, framing and focusing and getting the exposure set, then waiting for someone to come along and complete the picture. Robert Doisneau did this quite often to good effect with a Rollei. He would stand there and shoot a whole roll over a period of time. You can see this technique at work in his "Doisneau Paris" book. Perhaps the best street shooter of them all. One piece of advice: Save a little longer. $250 is pretty slim for good MF photography. Oh, and check our the Sekonic L308s. Small, light, accurate digi meter that does reflected, incident and flash, with and without cord.
    Vic
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It's the WLF--not any specific camera--that lets anyone do the Jedi mind trick("Don't pay attention to that goof with the camera..."). Use my Mamiya RB67 or Bronica with a prism at or near eye level and people duck, swerve or look away. Shoot the same cameras with a WLF and no one's onto me. It's a totally non-threatening posture that doesn't register as aggressive with most people, if they notice at all.
     
  12. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    I really like the Yashica TLRs. I've picked up several over the years and all produce fantastic photos, even the ones with the "less desirable" lenses.

    I happen to have a 124G, newly overhauled by KEH for sale right now within your price range. Also have "A" or "D" that I might part with for cheaper.

    Take a look, make an offer.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/98238-fs-yashica-124g-fresh-cla-keh-repair.html
     
  13. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Ugh...I have to retype this all over again because one of the quoted messages had a link? Just fantastic.

    So, thanks all for your help but I don't really get everything.

    Yeah, I recall reading the Yashica has a light meter, thanks. Where would one find a LunaPro SBC? Thanks for the recommendation on the 124, I had no idea about it. There is one on KEH for $149.00 (USD?) but no lens and doesn't say whether or not it has a 120 back or WLF. Also ugly condition only. Or are they built into the camera unlike Bronicas, Hasselblads, and Mamiyas?

    So, how exactly do these light meters work or any other meters like the Sekonic? Do you point a laser at the thing you want to meter?

    I just got back into film a few months ago so I'm mostly testing all sorts to get a feel for the best ones for me. For colour, I like Kodak Ektar, and black and white, a lot of Ilford and Tmax.

    What is this?

    What is this? Does it magnify the image before you as an artificial zoom in? How do you know what the peripherals of your image will turn out like, then?

    Interesting. I don't completely understand, but I think it will really click when I can visualize it with my own MF camera.

    Yeah, I was taken aback when I found that only 12 exposure are on a roll, especially for someone who loves 36 exposure film. But I guess that 120 film is cheaper (assuming it is because of the lower amount of frames per roll) so I guess I can still end up with the same amount of frames. Plus I can carry another camera or two with me for when the 120 runs out because I'd mostly be using this for street. I also take close care with what I take pictures of as I don't have a lot of money to blow on film, so I try to have as little wasted frames as possible.

    Thanks...this 1000s is actually pretty affordable. Mamiya 645 1000s with 120 back in EX+ on KEH is $159.00. Though, I am not sure how much a WLF or a good 80mm lens (because I like 50mm in 35mm terms) would cost. I will most definitely keep it in mind , though.

    Yeah, I've contemplated this, but I worry about missed shots and wasted frames. As an experiment, I tried this with digital, just so I could see the results right away, as well as not waste any film. Lots of awkward framing, cut off bodies, or bodies not even in the picture. If you have any tips that would make my skills with this much better, though, then by all means tell me.

    Also, it may be noteworthy that I originally was thinking a Nikon F3 or F4S but I've heard the WLF can be pricey as well as not have all metering options and a small image projected.

    This isn't much an issue for me as I almost always do landscape/horizontal orientation when shooting street. Actually, I don't remember the last time I did portrait orientation.

    I'd rather not do that, so I guess the RB67 is off limits for now.

    Great. What is the actual weight/dimensions of the Bronica? There is such little info available about Bronicas on the web. I'm assuming I can attach a strap and carry it "handheld" that way?

    Damn, that sucks. If I can find a 120 back for the SQ-B affordably, then I guess that would be nice. Ideally I'd want to buy the camera already with WLF and 120 back, and it coming with a lens would also be great.

    What's this?

    Thanks, and again, how do these light meters work handheld? And they wouldn't appear strange and intimidating to others on the street?

    Why is it slower and by how much if you could estimate?

    That is what has lured me to MF.

    Thanks! Looks nice and affordable. But will it last? Does it have a built in meter that is accurate? There is one on KEH in EX condition for $245.00 that comes with a 75mm lens. But it mentions in the description, "rokkor" and "speeds off." What does that mean? Also, I'm assuming with TLRs I don't need to shop for backs and WLF separately, right?

    Thank you for the recommendation. I'll definitely look into that book, as I've never heard of him.

    Thanks a lot for the offer, but as I stated originally, I am hoping to begin saving for a MF with WLF, as I don't currently have the funds for something of that sort. I'll probably start saving soon after the holidays.

    ~~

    Additional questions

    1) I've read on multiple occasions that MF has less depth of field and bokeh. But lenses I've seen can go down to f2.8 and f3.5, which is pretty good. Unless, it is with a different metric like the focal length is. Plus, I've seen some fabulous depth of field with a Rollei or Mamiya or Hasselblad, so it can't be that bad, can it?

    2) KEH - how does it work and have you had good experience with it? I've never used it but it is constantly recommended and mentioned, so it can't be that bad, can it? What is shipping and duties like to Canada?

    Thank you all again for all your help in the matter!
     
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  15. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    Buy LyleB's camera. His 124G, or the D. When it shows up, half of your questions will be answered. After the second roll, come back here with the two questions not answered and the three new ones!! :smile:

    (Oh, you want a nice street machine? Bronica ETRSi with WLF and 50mm lens. Compact, nice viewfinder.)
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Member

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    You really need to do some research on your own. Some basics would be incident/reflected light metering, formats(645/6x6/6x7), medium format cameras, TLRs-vs-SLRs, and maybe even a trip to a library.
     
  17. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Dan Daniel:

    Perhaps, to an extent. But I also want to know about a product before purchasing it, instead of buying something blindly because it was recommended by someone. What if I figure out what something is after purchasing, when it is actually something I rather dislike and now would rather not use the camera. It would be a waste of money.

    CGW:

    You're probably right, but I do want you to know that I have been looking but I'm finding online resources fairly scarce. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong spots? Do you know any good sites to look at? I don't know of a library in 2011 that has good film photography resources, even for 35mm, maybe you're lucky in the GTA.

    I do know a bit about the different sizes that can be used on 120 (6X4.5,6X6,6X7,6X8,6X9, and so forth) and about TLRs vs SLRs (I'm guessing you brought this up due to my asking about needing to look separately for a WLF or back for a TLR? Well, I'm guessing I wouldn't need to, but I'd just like a clarification).
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Dude, Google is your friend. There's a crapload of information out there on nearly all MF cameras made over the past 30 years from the major brands. Otherwise, you'll wear out your welcome quick with questions you could probably go some distance answering on your own. The "I've got 5 minutes, tell me all you know about X" approach won't get you far, OK?
     
  19. Matthew Rusbarsky

    Matthew Rusbarsky Member

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    I don't understand it either. I've shot a TLRs on an active drug corners after dark. Folks either ignore me, ask questions about the camera, or want their photo taken. If it was an SLR, I would have gotten a bullet in my head.
     
  20. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    For street shooting 2 cameras come to mind: Mamiya 645 with 80mm 2.8 with WLF or a Mamiya C330 or C220 twin lens. I've used both of them successfully. The 645 has the advantage of 15 shots per roll and a pretty modest cost. The Mamiya twin lens cameras are standard 6x6 with 12 frames per roll and with interchangeable lenses from 45mm to 250mm. I use a lovely 65mm which draws beautifully. The C330 winds the shutter and advances the film in one stroke; the C220 requires a separate shutter cocking action. One rarely noted attribute of a twin lens reflex is that there is no mirror black out since there is no moving mirror. Neither have built in meters--on most MF cameras you will have to meter separately. It's pretty easy once you start doing it. As a poster said previously, you meter once and don't change your settings unless the light changes. Suggest Apug Classifieds or KEH. I've used KEH repeatedly over the years with only good things to say about them. I wouldn't suggest the auction site unless you knew what you were doing. Use the web for info on these and other models. There is a wealth of info available even on Wikipedia. Also, try camerapedia.org-it's a goldmine. Happy hunting!
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    h.v.:

    As I said in the other thread, welcome to APUG.

    There may actually be someone from APUG nearby (Edmonton) who you could talk to to help you with this stuff.

    I buy from a variety of sources, including KEH, but because I am just minutes from a border crossing, I have the option of having items shipped to my US mailing address. For that reason KEH is great for me.

    Most likely you won't have to pay duty if you import something using KEH, but you will have to pay shipping and GST, and as KEH seems to insist on using UPS or Fedex, you will often get hit with their (UPS or FEDEX's) outrageous "brokerage" charges.

    I've had a look at the Alberta Craigslist sites - for photographic stuff, it seems clear that Vancouver is way better. I don't know whether Kijiji is any better. That being said you might want to consider posting a WTB listing for a hand meter.

    The 124G has a waist-level finder and a fixed lens - Lyle's listing looks to be the sort of thing you are looking for.

    You might consider looking at some of the camera instruction manuals on Mike Butkus' excellent website, butkus.org. The manual there for the Yashica 124G takes you through the operation of that camera, and may very well give you some perspective on many of these issues.
     
  22. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Dude, I have used Google. Thanks. I actually have been lurking on this site for a while and have searched some even on APUG. I registered because I couldn't find everything out there on what I was looking for in terms of info. If you're going to mention some concept, and the recipient of your message doesn't understand, you should be able to explain yourself or give a link to a place where information can be gathered. Otherwise, you shouldn't be mentioning it because you aren't going to explain yourself. You shouldn't assume everybody will know everything about photography. At least, that's the way I look at it.

    I've actually used Camerapedia before, it is a good website. But again, little info on medium format. The RB67 page is just noting the format of the camera and posting a picture. There is nothing on the Bronica SQ-B. See, this is why I came here, as I've already learned so much from APUG prior to registering and it seems like there are some really educated people on the matter.

    I looked at the C330 and C220 before but the ones I saw were out of price range. Also, I know about the no blacking out and I find that extremely strange (how else are you supposed to know the photo was taken, aside from the noise of a quiet leaf shutter) but I'm sure would be very interesting to see in use.

    Again about meters...how is it that you know what you're metering? Do you point the meter in the direction of something?

    Thanks.
     
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  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    As someone said, yeah, just buy LyleB's 124G. The G is fine, the 124 might be cheaper if you see one.

    I don't feel like pasting all that I'd need to paste to answer these inline so:

    1. Luna Pro SBC is just what I have. The Luna Pro F is the same, except it also works as a flash meter. There are many other good meters available. The earlier Luna Pro was designed for mercury cell batteries that are no longer available. There are work arounds to use them but the SBC uses a 9v battery, available anywhere. The point is to just be sure you can get batteries for your meter. The Luna Pros are very large though. Definitely a hand full, and for street shooting you might want to get something smaller. There are many on the market. Watch the classifieds here. Also as a direct answer to your question:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=84013

    But as I said, that's a pretty physically large meter. Take a look at some currently available new:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_search.php?rfnp=2600&q=meters&rfnc=2609&

    EDIT: Oops, that's an older LunaPro, not an SBC. My mistake.

    Something like this is small and should work fine:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/40120...cident-and-Reflective-Light-Meter?cat_id=2609

    Or if you prefer digital:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/4006-Gossen-Digisix-Light-Meter?cat_id=2609

    You can get a good meter for less money used, of course.

    They do look strange to people who aren't photographers and most will have no idea what they are or what you are doing. But I never stick my meter in the face of someone I don't know well enough, either. Just meter something else in the same light - but it sounds like you are new enough to manually metering that this may take some practice. It's easy.

    2. Any 124 or 124G will have a lens. The lens is not interchangeable so they don't list it separately. Likewise the WLF. It's an 80mm f/3.5, roughly equivalent to a 50mm on a 35mm camera. They also all have a WLF. That's just how they are made - it's built in. The Yashica also has a pop out magnifier that, by holding your eye close to the magnifier, gives an enlarged view of the ground glass. It also has a "sports finder" which is really just a framing aid. You can focus separately then use the sports finder to frame a shot from eye level.

    The magnifier doesn't give a zoom effect. You can see all the way to the edge of the ground glass and the edge of your image, it just makes what you see look larger and thus easier to judge critical sharpness.

    Download the manual if you're really interested in these cameras. It will make a lot of things more clear. The 124 and 124G also differ in how the pressure plate is set for 120 or 220 film. I have a 124 so I don't recall how the G works, but both will use both 120 and 220 film. This isn't a big thing nowadays as not much film is available in 220, though the excellent Kodak Portras ARE.

    Manual can be downloaded here for the 124:

    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/yashica/yashica_mat_124/yashica_mat_124.htm

    here for the 124G:

    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/yashica/yashica_mat124g/yashica_mat_124g.htm


    3. Metering - you don't "point a laser" at anything! For a reflected light reading you point the meter at the subject, or more specifically at a part of the subject you wish to render as a medium gray shade. An incident reading is taken (with a different meter or by setting a versatile meter for such) by holding the meter at the subject, pointing it at the camera, and reading the light falling on, rather than reflected off, the subject. By taking a reflected reading of a calibrated gray card (available online) you get the same reading as an incident reading and you're sure you're measuring a value that is the shade the meter is giving you an exposure for. By "metering for prevailing light" I just mean, well, just that. Meter a medium gray value, or a gray card, in the light like the subject and if the light is about the same you don't have to take another reading for each shot. I often just keep a guesstimate exposure set and "wing it" if I don't have time to meter it. This does take some practice and experience, though.

    If it's really important to have more than 12 shots (or 15 for a 645 format camera) you can get 220 film in the Portras and some Fujis (mostly aimed at those wedding photographers who still use film) with twice as much film and thus exposures on the roll. A roll of 120 is a bit cheaper, usually, than 36 exposures of 35mm but not greatly as it has nearly the same surface area coated with emulsion. You can also, as discussed here, carry an extra back, pre-loaded inserts, or just an extra camera depending on the type of camera.

    4. The reason MF has less depth of field has to do with the lenses. A normal lens for 6x6 cm, like on my Yashica, is 80mm. It will have the same DOF as an 80mm lens would on a 35mm camera but that would be a short tele on a 35mm but normal on a 6x6. A 50mm lens on a 6x6 camera like the SQ-B would have the same depth of field as a 50mm on a 35 camera, but it would be a wide angle instead of a normal, and would have less depth of field than the 28mm lens on a 35mm camera that would give about the same amount of subject in the frame.

    I've bought a fair amount of stuff from KEH and never had a problem. But I think it would help you a lot to see some of this gear, if there's a local club or something where you could meet others that shoot MF.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2011
  24. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Roger Cole, thank you kindly for the thorough response. I've read it but I'll reply with follow up questions at a later time.

    Hello, again!

    How much is usually paid through those brokerage charges? I've heard a lot of bad stuff about Craigslist and Kijiji, so I'm a little hesitant to use either. But it can't hurt to check, I suppose. You're right - Lyle's listing looks good. But I'm really without a clue on how the whole process of buying from an APUG member works and I'm, being new here, not sure of having to give a shipping address to a stranger. Maybe when I get better acquainted with the site. Also, like I said, this would not be something I can buy right now, so unless Lyle can hold out for a few months, then that just isn't going to work.

    Thanks for reminding me about Butkus, I completely forgot about that website. I have used it for manuals on my 35mm equipment.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The community here is pretty good - I certainly wouldn't hesitate to share my shipping address with anyone who has posted a few times.

    As I look at it, it really is no different then giving your shipping address to a store, or a magazine, or a credit card company, or your local, friendly taxation authority.

    If you see something you are interested in, communicate with the seller using either PM or email (check their APUG profile). Work out any terms that are acceptable to both of you, and proceed.

    The risks involved are the same as any long distance transaction. If you are buying from someone who has been here for a while, that can give you some comfort. I've bought and sold here, and have had excellent experiences (sales as far away as UK and Australia!).

    You may never have purchased long distance from an individual. If so, your concerns are understandable, but you need to know that many people transact business regularly that way, with generally good results.

    And as for Craigslist, I have had excellent results (sales and purchases). Of course, it really helps to know what you are buying or selling and what the value is. In addition, due to the fact that things like moderate value used film cameras aren't exactly the most popular items, there is less likelihood of buying something that turns out to be stolen or purchased using a stolen credit card.

    In your case, as you don't really know what to check for, it might be hard for you to evaluate the condition of something on Craigslist. But you could always post a link to the ad here and ask for specific advice.

    And as for "brokerage" charges - $50+ isn't unusual from UPS or Fedex. If it goes via USPS and Canada Post, there is usually no "brokerage, but sometimes it is $10 (+ GST).
     
  26. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    Buying a camera is a tricky thing. it's like buying a car, shoes, choosing a long-term (or short-term) mate. What works for me won't work for you. Or what works for me works for you, but for completely different reasons. Face it, you will not 'know' about a camera until you use it. The more cameras you use, the easier these decisions become, but even after 40 years of cameras i need to hold a camera and take it out before I 'know' about that particular camera. Decades ago my two favorite cameras were a TLR and a 35mm rangefinder. 30 years later, I am right back to these, except that the rangefinder is a 6x9 because I like medium format negatives. But no one could have convinced me that I didn't need to use a MF SLR or a 4x5 view camera or a three different 35mm SLR systems or 6 different digital cameras in the meantime. Buying and selling cameras is usually part of the process.

    The TLR being sold by LyleB can be sold for what you pay him if it doesn't work out. That may sound cruel or short-sighted, but it's the reality. I bet most people here have been through a few cameras over the years. So it isn't a waste of money. Think of owning many of these cameras as simply renting them until you sell them on.

    A problem for you is that $250 is not a lot to spend. Most MF cameras are old and need maintenance or repair. So even if you get a Bronica ETR series with a 50mm and 120 back, there is a decent chance that the back will develop a leak in the next year, the shutter could freeze up, etc. That's a chance with any of these cameras. So condition is very important. This is where buying from a place like KEH, a known entity or place like here where people identify with their sales, or locally, becomes helpful.

    One thing I haven't heard mentioned- the reversed image of a WLF. On both TLRs and SLRs, the image will be upright but reversed. Some people, maybe most, get used to this very quickly. But it does take time, especially on the street where you often want to react but find yourself moving the wrong way or such.