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Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Jul 7, 2008.
Are there any good non-folding vintage medium-format rangefinder cameras availible?
Fujica G690. Interchangeable lenses, too. But not very vintage, they're younger than I am.
Go to Sylvain Halgand's site (http://www.collection-appareils.fr/phpBB2/index.php ) and look around. He shows many.
How about the Kodak Medalist? The lens is not interchangeable, but is maybe the finest med format lens I've ever used.
Graflex 70 (rare and takes 70mm)
Second the Omega Rapid and Mamiya Press suggestions. They too have interchangeable lenses. The Omegas shoot 6x7, IIRC there are Mamiya Press holders for 6x7 and 6x9. The 6x9s are supposed to have the best film flatness of any 6x9 roll holder. But, like the G690, these fine cameras aren't all that vintage.
Darin, what are you hoping to accomplish this time?
Dan, I'd like to find a nice "walkabout" MF camera. it does not need to have interchangeable lenses. There has been alot of talk about folders, but I was curious what else was available.
Regarding the pro MF cameras from yesteryear.. The Mamiya Press is an excellent camera, but I find it bulky and awkward.
I handled a Koni Omega camera once and I was extremely impressed by the useability and handling. Most reviews have said the lens quality is excellent as well. However they are a little larger than what I was looking for.
Matt: thank you for mentioning the Kodak medalist. I had forgotten about them. Are these cameras heavy? They look fairly compact from the photos Ive seen.
Dan, thanks for the link, I'll take a look.
Darin, small and non-folding MF camera don't go together that well. But look at 6x6 Alsaphots with fixed collapsible lenses. I've never had one, even so believe they're a large step up from, e.g., Holga/Diana. Don't even think of a Cyclops, they're cult items and go for absurd prices.
By all means handle a Medalist. I believe you'll find it bulky and heavy, would be happy to be mistaken.
Also, if you can find one to touch, a G690.
Bronica RF 645, there are 4 lenses available. Camera is small. They might be hard to find. I purchased one of the very first ones 00009 and I have been very happy with it. These are some of the sharpest lenses I have owned (to my eye). Lenses available are 45 mm, 65 mm , 100 mm and 135 mm. It was produced for a very short time and has been out of production for a few years....I would nt classify it vintage, but you also said good, and oh my it is good!
The Medalist is fairly compact, but heavy and bulky, its like carrying a brick. The negatives are big & sharp & beautiful though. That lens is amazing. The big con with the Medalist is that it uses 620 reels. You can have it converted to 120, buy a converted one, or roll your own 620. I rolled my own.
The Mamiya Press has the 6x9 backs that are roughly the same proportion as 35mm, and they also offer the Super 23 that takes the press lenses and offers movements in the back of the camera that can take a ground glass back that can shoot sheet film in 2 1/4 by 3 1/4. The Universal Press can use pack film in a Polaroid back. They make 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 90mm, 100mm, 127mm, 150mm and 250mm lenses. The cameras are bulky for the camera bag and they are difficult to repair, but offer big negatives for enlargements.
Dave, what you say about the Bronica is true, i.e., good camera.
But I fear that calling it vintage is a stretch. My memory is failing, but IIRC it was still in production ten years ago.
Also, and here I'm committing the sin of thinking for the OP, to my eye 6x4.5 isn't that much larger than 35 mm. I know that many people are delighted with 6x4.5, but I've never seen it. I still remember seeing one of my friends who loved his Pentax 645 deflate visibly on seeing some some of my 6x9 trannies shot with a 2x3 Graphic. But then, 645 is half frame 6x9. No need to tell me that 6x9 trannies look pretty punk next to 4x5s, I already know that.
A. A. Blaker, whom I respect highly, wrote in his book Field Photography that the gain in the quality of the final print from moving up in format wasn't worth the trouble unless the larger format was at least twice as large as the smaller on both dimensions. Whence the next format up from 24x36 ought to be 48x72, i.e., nominal 6x7. Not everyone agrees.
Agreed Dan, I noted it was not "vintage". I got the camera for street photography and for its vertical orientation for street and informal portraits. I was quite surprised at the quality from these lenses, I also use the RB 67 and agree there is an appreciable difference in the neg size....I do see a great difference in comparison of 645 to 35 mm. I am not sure how many years the RF 645 was in production? Or how many were produced? The lenses are f/4. Interestingly enough I checked the bay today as I havent seen these cameras in quite awhile. I can no longer afford even a used one. For some reason the prices on the used marked are unreasonably high? I have been in the market for a second body for quite some time., sorry off topic and rambling. cheers.
I see a huge difference between 35mm and 645 prints. The difference in area is about 2.7x, which is a bigger gain than going from 645 to 6x9. Still, nothing can beat large format.
The Medalist is over 3# (has a cast metal body).
The 120-620 re-roll is the simplest way.
I believe there are 2 or 3 places/people that offer a 'half-conversion', which allows a 120 roll to fit on the feed side, and one still uses a 620 spool for winding onto. You have to remember to get it back if you have a lab do processing.
Bald Mountain/Ken Ruth is the only source (I know of) of a 'both sides' (feed and take-up) conversion service but it is very labor intensive and thus costly. It is much more invasive than the 120-only conversion.
If you ride the tide of varying eBay prices, a 6x9 sheet film back is occasionally available. I found one, very mildewed, and left it on the roof of my car one afternoon to get some sun (in the hopes it would kill the mildew), forgot & it landed in the street.
I was lucky & found a 2nd in excellent shape, minus the mildew. Someone must have felt sorry for me because the cost for both was still better than typical eBay prices.
The filmholders are metal, single sided, and hard to find (especially if you don't know what they look like).
I am shooting my first 2x3 sheet film with one this weekend (we'll see, it was my first time loading sheet film holders too).
Well, its not a rangefinder, but the Horseman Convertible is a compact 6x9 camera with a wide angle lens. There was just one on e-bay that did not sell.
Fuji 645 series.
IMO, if you want a walk-around then a folder is the best choice. A Zeiss Nettar or Agfa/Ansco folder will both fit in your pocket and leave something in your pocketbook.