C220+grip+prism vs 645 camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I have a c220 and although I enjoy waist-level viewing, but sometimes I want eye-level viewing for handheld candids. I was thinking of getting a grip and prism or just getting a 645 SLR. Medium format RF's are ideal but too expensive.

    I know that these are two completely different cameras/systems, so i was wondering if anyone can share their experiences and offer some advice. I shoot in available light and with a handheld meter so I don't need auto-focus, auto-exposure, or TTL Flash capabilities and I can live with the limitations of a TLR (parralax, no backs, etc), but I'm mainly concerned with the quality of the viewfinder and ergonomics.

    More specifically,
    1) Is a C220/C330+Grip+Prism awkward to use handheld?
    2) Are the 645 screens/prisms noticeably superior? Are they inverted? I'm undecided between Pentax and Mamiya.
    3) Is shooting horizontal orientation with a 645 camera a pain? I prefer square, then horizontal. I've never handled a 645 so I'm not sure how they feel.
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I never found Mamiya TLRs especially light or fast-handling--grip or no grip.

    Mamiya 645 prisms for the Super/Pro/ProTL are reasonably bright, more so than the fixed prism Pentax. They're not reversed L/R. With a split image screen, they're fast focusing.

    For me, the ergonomics of the Mamiya 645 suck without a winder grip. Despite the added weight and noise, the winder transforms an awkward box into a camera that handles like a late model Nikon/Canon film SLR with a battery grip. No need to break eye contact with a power winder. The shift from landscape to portrait with the Mamiya 645 is no sweat and very 35mm-like. With Mamiya, I'd avoid the old, heavy metal 645 cameras--too many age-related issues.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I nhave a C-220 and C-330 plus a porrofinder(metered) and hand grip, makes a great combo for street shooting, or any other type of shooting. It's an aftermarket side handle not the pistol grip, I find it balances better for me. The porrofinder is lighter than the prism, the trade off is darker image, but not too dark.
     
  4. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I have a C330f with a prism finder and a trigger grip. When I do use it, it works very well although it's a little on the heavy side. It's pretty quick to use but not anywhere near as bright as my cds chimney finder.
     
  5. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    Same experience with my C330f. I recently dumped the pistol grip because it was too much weight and found that I do not miss it.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have a C330 that I used to shoot weddings with - almost exclusively with the prism finder and the left hand trigger grip.

    I used to mount a Metz 60 CT flash-head to the grip as well - all together quite a large piece of kit :smile:.

    I also own and use a Mamiya 645 Pro with prism finder.

    Here are a few observations:

    1) The C330 (or C220) with prism is a fair bit dimmer than the 645 Pro with prism, but I still found the C330 with prism worked well for weddings;

    2) Both the C330 (or C220) with prism and the 645 Pro with prism give you an image that is right side up and right side around;

    3) Don't confuse the C series porro finder with the C series prism finder - the porro finder is large, quite dim, and images are laterally reversed. It is, however, quite a bit lighter than the prism finder;

    4) The "native" orientation for the Mamiya 645 cameras I have used (the Super and the Pro) is horizontal. You have to turn them sideways for a vertical orientation;

    5) I prefer the left hand grip for my 645 Pro to the right hand power winder, but I am left-handed.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I guess I got the porro and prism finders mixed up; I had the impression that the prism was laterally reversed. I also thought that all 645 cameras were vertical ...

    Still not sure what the right solution is, but thank you for your replies.
     
  8. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    When I worked for a newspaper, I would occasionally use a Mamiya C220 and attach a prism finder, a pistol grip, and a powerful flash so I could shoot night football with a 180mm lens at a 1/500-second flash sync speed.

    Even though I have used rectangular and square medium format cameras, I prefer the square format in this shooting scenario.
     
  9. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    To the OP,
    With your C220, you already know you have a camera that works. That's money in the bank!

    Basically the only major weight you will be adding to the camera is the prism.
    C220's don't have a chin mounted shutter button, so the L-brackets are simple and light weight for the 220's.

    I would acquire a prism and simple bracket; see if this combination will work for you.

    Marc
     
  10. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Yeah you're probably right. I felt that 645 cameras were geared toward eye-level shooter shooters while TLR's for waist-level shooters.

    My concern is that this combo would be a waste of money if proven too cumbersome. It works for some, but not for others. I'll see if it works for me.
     
  11. robtmwall

    robtmwall Member

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    I have two C330f pros, and used to use them for weddings. They were used with a Metz 45 or an old Vivitar hand grip and 283 that were pretty easy to handle. I have both the Porrofinder and the prism finder. I found both of them fairly useless, and it was far easier to flip up the magnifier and use that as it was brighter and sharper then either of the add on finders. I did some model work with both of them, primarily on a tripod so that may not be helpful. If I didn't need the tele or wide angle lens, the Yashicamats were easier to handle, lighter weight and a brighter viewfinder. I always used a hand grip with those also, either the Vivitar or a no-name grip that was lightweight and sturdy.
     
  12. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Not sure about the C220 with a grip, but it's a lot more cumbersome in my view than a 645 pro with a power winder. Like has already been mentioned, it's incredibly easy to use and with the winder, no need to mess with the camera or take your eye from the prism.
    I like the C220 but it's a bit slower to use (which is sometimes a good thing).