beginner medium format camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by melmoth, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. melmoth

    melmoth Member

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    ireland
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hallo,

    I know it is an old chestnut but I intend to move in to medium format photography.

    I'm looking for suggestions for a new camera. I use a nikon fm3a normally and shoot in b/w.
    Ideally, I'd buy a broncia RF. I enjoy shooting people on the street. But I can't afford it. And so..for perhaps half the price...what camera should I look at? (my favourite lens in 35mm photography is a 40mm).

    I am very grateful for any suggestions.

    cheers Mel.
     
  2. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

    Messages:
    1,117
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    I think most people will probably recommend a cheap TLR. Perhaps something like a Yashica. That was how I got started in medium format.
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Plenty of Twin Lens Reflexes on the used market. Then there are the Russian and Chinese medium format cameras. Check with Lomographics.

    For the money, a used Mamiya 6 or 7 rangefinder camera would be great for street shooting.
     
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,416
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NE U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    TLR's are great, light, compact, unobtrusive. Reflex viewing may be a bit of a learning experience though. Most are fixed-lens and will be a bit tighter than a 40 on a 35mm.
    A rangefinder folder might be a good choice, they are inexpensive compared to the interchangeable lens MF rangefinders, and light and compact, at least when folded.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mamiya 645's are ridiculously cheap second-hand, very reliable, excellent lenses and great ton use hand-held.

    Ian
     
  6. Marcust101

    Marcust101 Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Dublin
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I would second the cheap TLR approach and suggest maybe a cheap Fuji rangefinder, but you'd need to like RF's

    Marcus
     
  7. carsten

    carsten Member

    Messages:
    131
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hello,
    Me I started with a Kiev (model: Kiev 88). It is a russian medium format camera (6x6), very similar to Hasselblads.
    I made a lot of pictures with it and I was never disappointed.
    I think it is quite cheap, and it is solid and sturdy.
    Ciao
    Carlo
     
  8. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

    Messages:
    1,117
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    You might also consider a folding camera. They may be even cheaper than a TLR, are more compact and you don't need to worry about reflex viewing.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I second the folder.

    Among the best are the late Zeiss Ikon Super Ikontas, with coupled rangefinder. Just behind that are the Zeiss Ikon Ikontas, with no rangefinder. Another nice one is the Daiichi Zenobia, especially the late ones with coated Neo-Hesper lenses. BTW - the Zeiss Ikons come with Tessar lenses, and the later ones are coated, too.

    And there are several Voigtländers, Weltas, Agfas, and so on. All very good cameras for very little money!
     
  10. rlsnuffy

    rlsnuffy Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Location:
    Penfield, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'll throw in a vote for a Fuji GA645 - I have one and really like it.
     
  11. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,023
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Location:
    The Cape
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would agree with this selection....as it isn't just a beginner camera, but you'll want to use it for years to come.:wink:
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Drew, I've been using mine for about 25 years, you don't grow out of them :D

    Ian
     
  13. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

    Messages:
    3,924
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Location:
    Columbia Cou
    Shooter:
    Holga
    A Mamiya c220 or c330 (heavier, more expensive) twin lens reflex will allow you to use different focal length lenses at minimal cost.
    Great rugged cameras with very sharp lenses.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. ray*j*gun

    ray*j*gun Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Location:
    Phila. Area
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Folders in good shape can get costly especially if they have range finders built in. I use a TLR Mamayia c220 and a prism view finder and it's served me well for many years! It also gives you lens interchangeability if you need it. Good luck with your search.

    Ray
     
  16. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,023
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Location:
    The Cape
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    er...Ian, you don't have a 35mm lens for sale do you??? :D
     
  17. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

    Messages:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Bend,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm surprised that so many people are recommending TLRs, when the man has mentioned that he would like a Bronica RF. There are lots of other medium format rangefinders that he could try, including the Koni-Omega and Rapid-Omega cameras in 6x7, which are quite reasonable and have excellent lenses. A 6x9 folder would have an aspect ratio familiar to a miniature format shooter and would also make a good starter camera. The last thing that I would recommend is a TLR, with a square format which will seem foreign and with a viewfinder which will frustrate him with the "backward" movements to frame the picture.
     
  18. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you like a 40mm on 35mm and want a RF then one of the Fujis is the obvious choice. The big 6x9 with the normal lens or the smaller 645. Either is cheaper then the wide lens models. Should be a fair bit less then the Bronica RF.
     
  19. cordeliaflyte

    cordeliaflyte Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    I would put a word in to stay away from the "Seagull" TLR being sold by the lomo people. I borrowed one to try when I was looking for my first "real" 120 camera (as opposed to my beloved original diana and other oddities). I found the Seagull, at least the one I had my hands on to be a real mess – especially at the prices they're charging for them. The film counter didn't work properly and the lens was nowhere near as sharp as I wanted for medium format. I ended up getting a great deal on a Mamiya 220 from a fellow on photo.net and it takes beautiful pictures. It's got a bit of a learning curve with the bellows action and paralax adjustments (and it's extremely heavy) but it's a lovely, sturdy camera – and you can get different lenses for it even though it's a TLR. I would recommend taking a look at this one, or other Mamiyas. I think you can probably get something of great quality for not a lot of moula. Have fun!
     
  20. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If the OP really wants a decent modern rangefinder camera then the Fuji GA645 series is about all he can get that is significantly cheaper than the Bronica. Folders are likely to be hard work, especially the zone focusing (and RF ones are way overpriced). A MF SLR is definitely a non-starter if you want to be discreet – one of those babies could wake the dead.

    TLRs are discreet, often cheap, but tricky to learn how to use. Having said that my first MF camera, if you discount the Brownie 127 I had as a kid, was a Yashicamat TLR. It gave decent results before it fell to bits...


    Richard
     
  21. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,540
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For street shooting TLR's are good ,(the less professional looking the better), with the waist level finder, you are looking down into it, not at them, (you're subject) you can also point one way and the camera the other, and above all they are quiet
     
  22. pcyco

    pcyco Member

    Messages:
    429
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Location:
    near vienna
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hallo

    yashica d

    fine thing, cheap, easy to use, a real no problem thing

    ag

    thomas
     
  23. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,727
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    yashica d

    fine thing, cheap, easy to use, a real no problem thing

    ag

    *****
    Ag is correct and my first 6x6 was the Yashica D in the very early 1960s. Later I traded it off for a "broken" Contax III. Turned out the neither of us knew at the time that the Contax had a shutter release lock and the camera was not really broken. It, thus, was a good trade. Howemsoever, I always missed the Yash D. I later acquired a 635 which is a Yash D with 35mm capability which I never use any more. All the advantages of the TLR make it a great people shooter.
     
  24. Will S

    Will S Member

    Messages:
    717
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Madison, Wis
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I started with Fuji GS645 (the folder) and it is still my favorite camera. The shutter gets cocked up occasionally, but nothing beats it for portability and price. I've got a yashica mat 124G that I use a lot too. If you find one, make sure the bellows is good.

    The Mamiya 6/7 are what I want. Just too darn expensive. I guess I don't need one enough yet.

    Good luck,

    Will
     
  25. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Amen to that! If you can swing it, and if you have strong arms and are in reasonably good shape, you can go for a Mamiya RB67 or RZ67. They are much bigger and heavier than the 645's, but are selling for stupid money on the used market right now. A nice one may not put you back much more than a clean 645. The resulting negative is much bigger, and unlike the square format, needs very little cropping to fit the standard 4/5 print dimension. Extreme closeups are easy with standard lenses because the bellows focusing mechanism allows for lots of extension.
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For the experience that is most like your current setup in terms of aspect ratio,angle of view, and general operation, I would say a 6x4.5 horizontally-oriented SLR with a 65mm lens and prism finder, loaded with 220 film for 30 shots per roll (similar to 35mm). This setup is almost exactly like shooting a large 35mm camera. You'd have to use Tri-X 320, though, as that is the only b/w film I know of that comes in 220 type. It will be about 2 degrees tighter AOV horizontally than your Nikon with a 40mm. If you use a 55mm instead, you'll be about 5 degrees wider than your nikon with the 40. Both lenses are options; you just have to decide if you want a little tighter than the 40, or a little wider.

    These cameras go for dirt these days. I would get a Mamiya or Pentax, as they are super cheap. If you want a Mamiya, and you want interchangeable magazines, you must get one of the newer ones (Pro, Super, as opposed to 1000S, etc.). You pay a bit more, but this is the only big drawback of the older ones, and they took care of it with the newer models. If you don't need interchangeable magazines, I'd go for an M6451000S or plain M645. Try to find one that already has the lens you want, as you will pay a lot less in total that way.

    I have no hands-on experience with the Pentaxes. I sure they are probably just as good. The big draw to the Mamiya system for me was the lenses, however. 80mm f/1.9, 200mm f 2.8, 300mm f/2.8, plus the handful of leaf-shuttered lenses, all of which work in even their new digital-capable bodies.

    Here is why I say they go for dirt. For $380 shipped, I got the following:

    -M6451000S with magnifier hood, with sportsfinder frame and mask, bargain condition, but perfectly working (Hood and sportsfinder are mint, though)
    -80mm f/2.8 lens in mint condition with lens hood and Hoya HMC filter
    -55mm f/2.8 lens in mint condition with lens hood and Hoya HMC filter
    -Metered prism (non AE)
    -Deluxe trigger grip
    -Mamiya quick-focusing handle
    -polarizing, 80 HMC, and 85 HMC filters
    -120 inserts (2)
    -220 inserts (2)
    -Metal KME hard case, foam lined
    -seller paid for installation of new foam ($45)

    Shop first, be patient, don't let the money burn a hole in your pocket, and you will get a similar deal.

    If you do end up getting one that happens to have a plain prism, and would rather have a metered prism, I will trade you for mine. I never use the meter anyhow, and would rather not have all the metering info on the side of the viewfinder.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2008