Considering first MF purchase - input appreciated

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by gus., Mar 12, 2013.

  1. gus.

    gus. Subscriber

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    Hey folks! Name's Gus - washed up digital photographer gone film! ;D

    I've been shooting 35mm for fun for a few years now and have finally given into the MF bug. For a while I was interested in the Mamiya 645 for it's modularity. I figured 120 was the next step up. However, my goal is to get even REMOTELY close to shooting wonderful b/w portraits like this,

    [​IMG]

    (I apologize but I do not know the photographer to credit.)

    I want MF because I want as much possible information in the negs. (I already develop/print at home) That brought me to consider going 6x7. So my question is, what do you guys/gals think about the Pentax 6x7? It doesn't offer modular options - is there something that does? Does it really matter that I cannot switch film cartridges mid-shoot? I've been keeping my eye on this Ebay option - http://www.ebay.com/itm/321085249452?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 Seems like a good deal but I don't know the market for these very well. Thoughts?

    Thanks so much everybody.
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Both Hasselblads and RZ7's are available at ridiculously low prices right now. I prefer HAsselblad because it is light and easier for me to use. The Mamyiyas are heavy and thus are tripod only cameras for most people. I alos prefer the Hasselblad lenses. These are the only two makes I would consider.
     
  3. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    The Pentax is said to be a good and sturdy camera with good lenses. I do not have personal experience with it though. It is often recommended to get the version with mirror lock up, but since you want to shoot portraits this would be of no use I think. The 105/2,4 is a lens capable of amazing results from what I´ve seen. Otherwise, Mamiya RB67 or RZ67 with 110mm and 180mm lenses are the classic portrait machines for 6x7. These are very modular also. Do you need the cameras to be portable? These are rather big. If you need a sleek and light camera I would rather recommend a Rolleiflex TLR or Hasselblad. I assume that you want to print on conventional paper sizes? If so, and because you wanted the maximum of information, I would recommend 6x7 over 6x6, since the latter is not more than 6x4,5 or 6x5 when cropped to meet standard paper sizes.
     
  4. vysk

    vysk Member

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    I'd go Hasselblad. Much more modular. Now affordable.
     
  5. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    The RB67 is available at prices below ridiculous !
    An extremely modular system of finders, film backs, and excellent lenses.
    I haven't used the 500C since I bought the RB67 last summer. The weight
    is also ridiculous, but I can manage without a tripod down to 1/60th. of a second.
    I also love the 120 /220 6X8 Motorized Power Drive Film Holders !
    It's just too tedious to cock the shutter, and advance the film separately.
    And of course the backs rotate to allow for portraits.

    Ron
    .
     
  6. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    RZ67 and Hasselblad 500/501/503 series are the only options I would consider for a modular medium format studio camera. I hate the 645 format and find 645 SLRs to be too similar in weight and bulk to 6x6 cameras. I use a pair of Hasselblads -constantly- for what it's worth. I also use a Pentax 67, and love it, but find it less of a studio camera (it begs to be outside).

    You can't go wrong with an RZ if you want a 6x7 modular studio camera though, they're pretty much the defacto standard definition for "6x7 modular studio camera". My father has used them for 20 years, formerly with cases upon cases of Portra and Tri-X, now with a Leaf back.
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Rolleiflex also offered a nice modular 6x6 system, although the cost might be out of your price range. Some lenses will cost you several thousand dollars.

    More recently, there is the Pentax 645 system, which of course is 6x4.5.

    Personally, I like the 6x6 format.
     
  8. Dave Ludwig

    Dave Ludwig Member

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    Camera's Jim mentioned are good. The question back to you " is changing film mid-shoot something you often do?" Only you can answer if this is needed. Whether you need to hand hold is a good question. Jim is right, hassy's are nice, RB/RZ are tripod mounts, alternatives could be a Bronica GS-1 (my favorite), Mamiya 7 (RangeFinder but sweet), on the lesser $ scale but also good would be a Koni-Omega 100 or 200, also a RF,was the wedding camera of choice back in the day. Excellent len's, easy to hand hold but still a bit clumsy, but easy on the pocketbook. The Pentax 6x7 is "said" to have shutter and mirror vibration at slower speeds (1/60) when hand held. I did not see if the camera on ebay had MLU (Mirror Lock Up) which might be handy at slow speeds on a tripod. Was going to buy a 67 then I looked into and bought a GS-1, feel I got more for less, easy to hand hold also. Am sure others will pipe in with other alternatives just as good or better. Have been getting stung recently on Eprey so be careful, this guy looks legite though. Good Luck.
     
  9. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I'm somewhat new to MF, but for portrait/studio work the two Mamiya cameras, RB and RZ are great for that kind of work.

    The RB67 is the older of the two. It is fully mechanical. Advantages are a removable and rotating back. The biggest disadvantage is that its a BIG, HEAVY camera. If its going to sit on a tripod in the studio, thats not a problem thought

    The RZ67 is a newer electronic "super updated" version of the RB. It also has a removable rotating back, and a variety of lenses to choose from. The camera is much more electronic than its predecessor so it allows for AE modes as well as fully manual.
     
  10. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Just one little remark: The RZ is not the successor to the RB. Both cameras were sold simultaneously for a long time.
     
  11. FL Guy

    FL Guy Member

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    Gus:

    I don't think there are any bad choices with what has been offered as suggestions. The Pentax you linked to on eBay looks very clean, and is sold with some nice glass in the kit.

    I might be wrong, but I think the format (6x6, 6x7 etc.) is probably your first decision and that will guide you towards the hardware. If studio work is going to be where you use the MF equipment, I would downplay the need for interchangeable backs since the studio is a static environment, and depending on the format you are 10 or 12 exposures away from a re-load. A little different than 35mm.

    A suggestion on the eBay purchase route, I would identify some likely hardware "targets" that are offered and watch (save in your profile) how the auctions progress and the price-points where things trade (if they do), some of the "buy-it-now" sellers are delusional in their offers. Another thought is to identify a likely repair facility for what you are considering in advance of a purchase, so that the inevitable CLA cost and turnaround time are known in advance. You can also learn of any common maintenance issues prior to ownership through a conversation.

    I personally own a Rolleiflex 3.5F TLR and the Rolleiflex SLX series 2 (w/ 80mm and 150mm lenses), each for over 10 years, they are both great cameras in different ways. Enjoy!

    FL Guy
     
  12. batwister

    batwister Member

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    I use a Hasselblad and a Pentax 67 and personally agree that the 67 makes better sense outdoors. I bought my replacement Pentax 67 body from someone on APUG, who sold it because he found the RZ67 better for indoor work. The Hasselblad was my first and it would be if I was about to embark on MF now. Not to fear monger, but it's also somewhat future proof.

    Also, it's easy to make photographs like that when you know celebrities. :smile:
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I would go foe the Mamyia RB67 also. Good selection of lenses. You can have two or more backs (I have 3). Heavy maybe but you could use a tripod. I have to use a tripod because I'm a little disabled. The RB67 is a great camera and with a big negative that gives great pictures.

    Jeff
     
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  15. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    you can actually still buy both new.
     
  16. ToddB

    ToddB Subscriber

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    I'm partial to the Rollei TLR cameras. Small compact camera that has superior lens with a lot of horse power.

    ToddB
     
  17. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    Rolleicord Va/Vb or Automats to start with.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    *10

    Welcome to APUG
     
  19. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I've owned them all except the RZ. The Pentax 67II, the last incarnation of the venerable line, was the nicest to hold and lightest. Unfortunately I didn't own it but got my hands on it when a bunch of us met up in Miami. At the time I was shooting an RB that got sold because it weighed the same as my 4x5. If one were to do any landscape stuff at all the 67II would be my pick. In the 645 format the Pentax NII was highly liked. If your intending it to be studio bound a RZ or RB is fine. The camera I would not shoot in a studio would be a 6x6.
     
  20. skellum

    skellum Member

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    Do you like square images? Do you prefer the shape of 6x7? Although you CAN crop anything into anything you'll always be happier shooting a format you 'see in.' Assuming you wet print, do you already have an enlarger that's multi-format, or will your camera choice have consequences in the darkroom. Small issues- 6x6 is easy to contact print and file, 6x7 is a PITA. If you can begin with a clear idea of what you want to shoot, it will help lead you to the right camera.
     
  21. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Define your budget.
    Select a format 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7 or 6x9, but be prepared to switch.
    Define your primary type of shooting; portraits, landscape, etc.
    Define your shooting environment and its needs; studio, on location, walking about, etc.
    Will you be carrying it a lot or shooting from a fixed location (studio or near a car)? Bulk and weight are factors when you have to carry the kit any distance.
    You said you print your own. What size enlarger do you have? If you have a 6x6 enlarger, are you willing to replace it with a 6x7 enlarger?
    Do you need to shoot fast and a lot? That speaks to either a camera with film back to do a quick back change or a 2nd body to switch to.

    Personal opinion, if you are going MF, why stop a 6x4.5, go up to 6x6 or 6x7 or all the way up to 6x9 for more negative area. Granted if you crop into a 6x6 you might effectively be printing from a 6x4.5. But as you show in the pix in your post, there are shots that fit a square quite well. It is easier to find 6x7 enlargers than a 6x9 enlarger. Also 6x9 cameras are not very common. I would go with 6x6 or 6x7.

    Options are:
    - TLR, most are 6x6, most are fixed focal length cameras, so you are stuck with the 75 or 80mm lens. Mamiya has 2 TLRs with interchangeable lenses.
    - SLR, 6x4.5 Mamiya, Pentax. 6x6: Hasselblad, Bronica. 6x7: Mamiya RB and RZ, Pentax
    - RF 6x4.5: ? . 6x7: Mamiya 7. RF are generally lighter than a SLR. Some have fixed lens, so like the TLR you are stuck with the lens on the camera.
    - press, Koni/Omega (I forget the format of this camera)

    Even though the spotlight is usually on the SLR, don't overlook the TLR. LOTs of great photos were done with a TLR.

    I have not handled a Pentax 6x7, so cannot comment on it.
     
  22. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I started with Mamiya 645 Super, Rolleicord V, went to 645 Pro, then went to RB-SD

    To me, decision was a combination of:
    Availability
    Modularity (repair by swap)
    Price/Affordability
    Portability
    Functionality
    Reliability
    Film size
    and yeah-that-looks-nice

    It was impossible to meet all of them at the same time. So by going RB, I sacrificed portability. I figured since going Mamiya 7 was out of my budget, anything else I choose with 6x7 size wouldn't be significantly lighter. (I wanted 6x7 film format) It's do'able but heavy. I have no experience with Pentax 67.

    Modularity/repair by swap is an important factor for me. Sending a MF camera components for repair/CLA will cost just as much or often more than buying another part on second-hand market. So I had to choose a system that's highly modular.

    Many people as the same question as you do (OP). What's the best MF camera for me? All of those threads pretty much ends the same way. Just about every make and model gets mentioned and OP is left confused. One good thing is, if you buy wisely, you can pretty much get most of what you invest in it back when you sell.
     
  23. Pfiltz

    Pfiltz Member

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    My first MF was and is the RB67.

    Having to do it over I would have gotten a blad, just due to the weight and footprint, compared to the RB.
     
  24. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    For as much information as possible, consider LF, too.
     
  25. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    While you are deciding which 6x6 or 6x7 you want, you might consider hitting some rummage sales and flea markets to find a very cheap Twin Lens Reflex camera. That way you can start to satisfy the urge while you decide which expensive system you want.
     
  26. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    Like ac12 says above, DON'T OVERLOOK THE TLR CAMERA! I have owned, handled and used almost all the cameras mentioned above and have my preferences. 1. First thing to think about is format size. Most women think "bigger is better" and when it comes to film size I feel the same way. The bigger the negative the better/larger the print/scan(as long as the lens quality is up there). 2. Next, is how are you going to use said camera? Weddings, street, landscape or fast moving pets/children - inside and out? Now I'll throw my 2 cents in! A very good street camera that is nearly silent. Is the Mamiya C220/C330 TLR. It has great lenses, can do 1:1, lovely focusing screen, very well built and rugged. I have had several and I never could blame the Mamiya outfit for a bad picture. Of course it's square format, but not bad. I just sold a nice Mamiya M645/1000s with AE prism and 80mm f1.9 lens that is/was as close as you can get to a medium format 35mm style camera. My problem with thw Maymiya 645's is the 645 format. Just to small for me, but that's just me. Other TLR's are top notch too and I still own two Rollei's and a very nice Yashiga 124G, but only use the Rollei's on very rare occasions. I still have two Koni Omega 6x7 cameras and must say they are great to use. A little big, but what a nice negative. The lenses for the Koni cameras are as good as any can be for medium format and the price is very cheap too. My very first wedding camera was a Bronica S2A with three Mags and I'll have to say it turned me into a professional wedding photographer. Thos interchangeable backs were a Godsend. I've had one newer Bronica and that was the SQA. It was a very nice systems camera, but I already had a Hasselblad so I sold it. I always wanted to try a Bronica GS-1 out for size, but I was pretty much done with weddings and doing camera shows and trading by that time. Now, if you want to invest in a system I believe there is only one and that's Hasselblad. Rollei's are great too and shouldn't be overlooked if the price is right. Even a old and used 500C is a thing to admire. I don't even want to get started on lenses for the 'blads, but will say that if you can't do it with those, then you ain't going to do it! I still have two Hasselblad bodies and one Superwide and they will be handed down to my grandson when I go. Nice cameras, but still that damn square format. Now to the Pentax 67? I have two bodies(they're cheap as 'blad backs right now) and eight lenses and it is my most used camera with my Hasselblad Super Wide next. It's really more of a tripod camera, but I have had some good results hand-held if you know what you're doing. I usually find a wall, tree, car or something to lean and steady the camera on for hand-helds. I also love the 6x7 negative/slide it pumps out and it's lenses are all very good also. Another good camera is the Fuji rangefinder cameras in 67 or 69 format. I used one of each for travel cameras and the results would take your breath away. The only thing that made me dump them was the lack of being able to focus close. So, I really don't know what you want to do or how you want to do it, but here might be a good place to start. Mamiya 330f PRO with the 80mm f2.8 "black" lens(chrome nose lenses are older). It's as cheap as you can get for a systems camera and will deliver the goods. Of course if you have money to burn then you can just buy a Hasselblad system and be done with it all. What I'm saying is that no matter what anybody says here, if you get hooked onto medium format film, then you'll likely end up with a 'blad sooner or later. If you have the money it might just as well be sooner. If you have any specific questions about any of the cameras I mentioned I'll try and answer them. Have fun shopping! JOhnW