Are any square (or larger) formats still actively supported?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by AutumnJazz, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

    Messages:
    730
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Fairfield, C
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I ask this because I am considering getting a MF outfit. Hasselblad, Mamiya, et al. seems to have moved backwards to 645 because it's cheaper to make smaller sensors. I've been considering a Bronica SQ-Ai or GS-1, but I'm just not sure it would be a good idea for me to get a dead-end system. I realize this is a strange thing to ask, consdering how many people on APUG use 100 year old cameras made by long gone companies...But right now, I have a Nikon F100. I can still get new lenses and accessories for it, and Nikon can still repair it for a nominal fee. Nikon still makes a new film camera (the F6), and many film shooters are even hoping for an F7 (basically a film D3/700), and honestly, so am I. I just don't see how I could go from a platform that has new lenses coming out for it all the time, to one that stopped production years ago.

    So is there a Nikon or Canon of the MF world, that is a company whose products work with their current offerings, and previous ones. Somewhat like how I can get a brand new 14-24mm lens by Nikon, and strap it on to my F100, or an even older camera. Or should I just not worry about it?

    (On a side note, does Tamron still service Bronicas?)
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,517
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  3. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

    Messages:
    454
    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Location:
    los angeles
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Rollei, Sinar are both supporting film in a major way.

    Both Rollei 6000 series and the new Sinar (Rollei made) have incredible lenses from both Zeiss and Schneider. Both cameras can accept film as well as digital backs.

    Check them out.




    Per Volquartz

    http://www.pervolquartz.com
     
  4. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,211
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I am trying to think of a 100 year old camera that someone might be using. an old plate camera? From companies long gone? I guess there are a few cameras that people use that are from companies long gone. Mamiya Hasselblad Rollei I guess Pentax stopped making film cameras.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    There still are highly qualified repair technicians who can service older cameras, and it's not as if there are really enormous advances in lenses for medium format happening, since most of them are prime lenses that don't have features like image stabilization, and most of them are manual focus.

    If you like the Bronica system, it's cheap enough that you can afford plenty of backups. I think Tamron is committed to servicing the system for 7 years from discontinuation, but there are also places like Koh's and CameraWiz (Frank Marshman) that do excellent work on Bronicas.

    If you want an older system that offers compatibility with those backs that aren't discussed on APUG, I'd look at Mamiya or Hasselblad.
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    A quick check on B&H shows that they're selling new MF cameras from Hasselblad, Mamiya, Pentax, and Rollei. Of these, I see 6x6 square format options only for the Hasselblad and Rollei. B&H doesn't carry them, but Kiev MF cameras are also available new in 6x6 format. I'm not really 100% positive that the Kievs are still being made, though (new stock on FSU cameras seems to last for years after production has ceased), and I wouldn't exactly want to count on them for new lens designs in the future or getting the latest technology, even if the factory's still churning the cameras out today.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Well, there's my 11x14" American Optical, which probably dates from the 1890s. I also have a 5x7" Press Graflex and 7x17" Korona that are still going in their nineties. My oldest lens would be a Petzval from the 1860s.
     
  8. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

    Messages:
    730
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Fairfield, C
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I think I may just stick with Bronica, as it is just so much cheaper than Mamiya.

    Now, what about 6x6 vs. 6x7? Is that extra cm worth having access to pretty much no slide projectors, high-quality consumer scanners (Nikon's most expensive one only does 35mm, 645, and 6x6), having to rotate the camera for vertical shots, and just general incompatibility. I'm having a hard time deciding between the SQ-Ai and GS-1, now.
     
  9. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

    Messages:
    279
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The 6x6 cm format was more or less popularised by the Rolleiflex - the idea was
    a) you would never need to worry about turning the camera on its side and
    b) you would tend to frame fairly loosely when taking editorial pictures to allow a number of cropping options.
    Today, in a nutshell, the difference between 6x6 and 6x7 is that 6x6 cameras are significantly more compact and lighter (compare a Hassleblad with a Mamiya RB67), while 6x7 provides a much bigger effective negative (you will tend to use most or all of it for the final picture). A lot of users think the Mamiya 7 is a useful combination of compactness and a big negative.
     
  10. lns

    lns Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nikon's Supercoolscan 9000 does scan 6x7 film -- actually it can handle film up to 6x9.

    -Laura

    P.S. -- I didn't mean to talk about anything forbidden; I'm just noting that this shouldn't necessarily be a factor in choosing 6x6 or 6x7. I prefer 6x6, personally, but I love the square, so I don't often crop it down. If I would regularly crop to a rectangle, I'd use a 6x7 and get a larger negative to boot.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2008
  11. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use 6x6, but one advantage of 6x7 "Ideal Format" negs. is that they are the right size and proportion to print on to standard printing paper sizes to take full advantage of the whole negative.
     
  13. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

    Messages:
    533
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Franke & Heidecke offers new 6x6 of various kinds. You may look here for further information.

    Ulrich
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

    Messages:
    506
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney Austr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, I guess current MF gear means: Mamiya, Rollei, Hassies and Arax. If we're talking "new".
    That doesn't mean you can't get excellent 2nd-hand Bronica, Pentax, Contax and other gear, for many years to come!

    Sure: expecting a pre-WW2 Rollei in mint condition to pop-up just like that, might be stretching the relationship a bit too far... Still, even supposedly "cheap and nasty" gear can be truly amazing in the MF world.
    Just put up this page: http://wizofoz2k.deviantart.com/journal/20107727/
    to comment on the use of such cheap gear and what it can achieve if minimal care is taken.
    (warning for the purists: digital content as well!)

    Note that it's not an "artistic statement". Just a simple example of what can be achieved with very cheap gear.

    Isn't MF wonderful? Hope you get a lot of fun out of it!
     
  16. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

    Messages:
    730
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Fairfield, C
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks Laura, I just looked at the page for the Nikon scanner, and you're right! I wonder why I thought it could only do 6x6...(Scanning is very important to me...I like traditional prints, and a hybrid workflow. Not to mention, it is much easier to share my pictures with my friends over Flickr than trying to bring prints to them!)

    And on the note of larger negs, I really wish there was an SLR that one could carry around that did 6x8. That would be even better than 6x7 or 6x9 if I'm printing in a 4:5 aspect ratio. The 6x8 Mamiya looks like it is the size of a 4x5 camera. I like lens systems (wide angle, macro, and tele = must), so the only-in-Japan 6x8 Fuji is out, too. Why didn't anyone ever make a 6x7.5 camera?

    I don't know...Used Mamiya RZ67's look pretty cheap, although they are a bit more than Bronicas. And the AE prisms are as much as the body costs. (Why is the grip left handed, is it because the winder is on the right side? Why are Mamiyas and Hasselblads like that, compared to 35mm and other MF cameras?)
     
  17. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Don't get hung up on negatiev size too much. Blowing a 6x6 neg up to 6x7 size only takes 1.3x extra enlargement (and then you'll have the equivalent of a 7x7 image, i.e. extra!).
    That small, extra amount of enlarging really does not show.

    What does however 'show' are the advantages of having a smaller, less bulky and less heavy camera, without a need for rotating backs and/or 90 degree prism finders.


    Cameras like the Hasselblad were designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand (in Victor Hasselblad's rather smallish hand, in fact).
    They are small enough not to need two hands, so a choice had to be made in which of our two hands it should be held. And that turned out to be the left hand, leaving the right hand free to do anything else.

    A camera made and handled like 35 mm thingies may sound a nice idea, but it really is not.
    Raising the camera in front of your face takes your arms away from your body, then no longer able to provide a stable support. (That's also why 45 degree prisms are favoured over 90 degree prisms). It's a lot more comfortable to hold the camera at chest height. Provides much better support too, reducing the risk of shake.

    That's why with the exception of the Pentax, all MF SLRs are designed the way they are, and not like 35 mm thingies.

    Even most 6x4.5 cameras. Though they need to be turned on their sides to change image orientation, thus need a 90 degree prism, and also need to be held at eye level.
    If they were given a rotating back, they could be more comfortable to hold, but also lose any advantage they might have compared to other MF cameras: size. They would be bigger again.

    The rotating back as found in the Mamiyas is a great solution. The RB and RZ Mamiyas are great cameras.
    But not just great, but also hefty, heavy.

    Paying the above mentioned (small) price of needing a 1.3 times more enlargement to make the same size print, you can reduce the size and weight of the camera again, making handling it (no need to rotate back or camera) much better.
    So for a truly negligible loss in image quality compared to larger formats, providing a great loss in bulk and weight, and a great gain in ergonomics, you'll want 6x6 SLRs.
     
  18. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

    Messages:
    730
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Fairfield, C
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I guess I should go see if Adorama rents Hasselblads and Mamiyas. To find what is right for me, I should try a camera first, right?

    Oh wow...Adorama does rent them! A Hasselblad outfit is about $100, and an RZ67 outfit is about $80. I think that's a small price to pay to figure out if I would prefer a smaller 6x6 camera, or a larger 6x7 camera. Then again, there is no AE prism for the 'blad, and I don't have a light meter. :sad:

    I was actually thinking of the turntable cameras that some use.

    On another note, does the Fuji GSW690III have a built in meter?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2008
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Calumet rents them, and so should Lens and Repro, since I guess you would be renting in New York. Most rental houses have weekend deals where you can pick up the camera on a Friday and return it on a Monday for one day's rental fee. You can call ahead to reserve.
     
  20. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    An addition to this: The Praktisix/Pentacon Six line, and the similar Kiev 6C/60, are designed like oversize 35mm SLRs.

    You can pick up an inexpensive light meter on eBay for very little money -- probably $10 or less if you shop carefully, and definitely under $50. This most likely won't be a top-of-the-line model, but it should be functional enough for testing a camera. Since you're talking about at least $180 to rent a pair of cameras, an extra $10-$50 shouldn't be that big of a deal.
     
  21. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

    Messages:
    2,412
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Van Buren, A
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Arax? Not quite a manufacturer. He takes Kiev cameras and "upgrades" them. But one can still get brand new Kiev 88 and Kiev 60 medium-format cameras that utilize the 6x6 format. I think the factory (Arsenal) makes them up in batches when needed. The factory also builds other things.

    No one has mentioned Seagull, which makes several 6x6 TLR cameras similar to the older Yashica-Mat. The current (manufactured by Fuji) Hasselblad bodies are not 6x6, but 6x4.5. I think the new Sinar6 made by Rollei is also a 6x4.5 camera.

    There is still some Hasselblad 6x6 gear available new, but it may be old stock. However, Hasselblad was so widely used that it is fairly safe that repair and good used accessories will be available for the foreseeable future. ..and they take modern digital backs, if needed.
     
  22. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

    Messages:
    279
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Has this been discontinued?
    http://www.hasselblad.com/products/v-system/503cw.aspx
    It's news to me!
     
  23. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    ???
    There are prisms with built-in meter for and from Hasselblad too, of course...
    No problem!
     
  24. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  25. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,058
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, they wind on the right, And the Mamiya you need to cock the shutter AND advance the film unless you have a powered back.

    Both the Rollei and Hasselblad have/had a pistol grip that fit under the camera but, they still require holding the camera with the left hand and advance is done with the right. The pistol grip also releases the shutter via a trigger so you don't have to juggle the thing.

    Nikon also made a very high quality pistol grip that used a cable release or electric connection for the F36 motor drive. The grip angle could be adjusted so it could be used right or left handed. I seem to recall they also made a cable for the F2 motor
     
  26. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

    Messages:
    232
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The extra amount of enlarging does not show? You are presenting your own personal opinions as if they were absolute indisputable facts. I have printed many 16x20 and 20x24 prints from both 6x6 and 6x7 negatives, and in my experience the extra amount of enlarging most certainly does show. That is my own opinion based on my own personal experience.

    Here is an absolute indisputable fact:

    When printing a 16x20 from a 6x6 negative, you are only using a 6x4.5 crop from the 6x6. The surface area of a 6x4.5 neg is 27 sq cm. The surface area of a 6x7 neg is 42 sq cm. The 6x7 neg has a little more than 1.5 times as much surface area as 6x4.5. That's more than 50% increase, and it is indisputable fact.

    If you only print square prints, THEN the difference wouldn't be noticeable because you would be cropping 6x7 down to 6x6.

    More personal opinions being presented as if they were absolute indisputable facts. That's how so much misinformation gets propagated on the internet. For me personally, it is NOT more comfortable to hold the camera at chest height. For me, eye level is more comfortable AND more stable. I can't stand using waist level finders, and I ALWAYS use a prism finder. It's all about personal preferences.