Considering Medium format

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Markok765, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thinking about dipping into MF. I adore shooting people. have somewhat of a darkroom set up (would just need 6x7 neg carrier and 90mm for the enlarger)

    I've been looking around toronto C-list, and some RB67's with lenses are only around 350.. I know its a heavy camera, but I'm used to shooting the heavier nikons with a 20-35 2.8, so I can't imagine it being terrible... or am I wrong?

    How do you guys feel about MF? what do you like about it? is the 'slowing down' and quality difference justifiable for the weight and different style of shooting, given that I don't enlarger larger than 11x14 most days?
     
  2. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,128
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I walk around with my RB67 and use it handheld in the street. A couple of things: the lens you use makes a difference. I have a 65mm and a 127mm lens, and the 127mm is easier to handhold (it is actually noticeably lighter and shorter than the 65). A good comfortable strap makes a difference. And after two or three hours you will start to feel it.
     
  3. Riverman

    Riverman Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Try MF. A rangefinder or TLR would be a much better walk around MF though. I wanted to get into mf for the image quality and used a mamiya 6 as my main camera from 2007 - 2009. I loved the tonal smoothness of mf images. The quality from the mamiya rangefinder lenses is stunning.
     
  4. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,122
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Go MF! It´s addictive ;-) I find the waist level finder really handy for shooting people.
     
  5. nosmok

    nosmok Subscriber

    Messages:
    226
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The availability of film types is limited (1 color, 1 b+w) , but a 127 film TLR would be the smallest way to get into MF. Baby Rollei's and Yashica 44's are pretty cheap, and easy to carry, and your negative is twice as large as 35mm. The lenses on both those cameras should be pretty terrific.

    --nosmok
     
  6. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

    Messages:
    4,589
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    İstanbul
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Quality and brand of a lens makes too much difference. I believe every brand of camera lenses are different schools and not every lens from same brand is at same high level.
    Mamiya is extremelly contrasty and good for full depth of field. Someone posted at gallery , Ireland pictures and I suggest to look for them and study his lens. It is excellent and gives the all curves, skin details and shadows plus light plays at the face. Its like classic Hasselblad shots. But this was for bw work. One lens in Mamiya family is really awful may be 110 mm , I am not remembering now and You must be careful before walking on this land mine.

    Pentax lenses are too much saturated and gives plastic colors inside shots. But out of depth of field , it gives a noise on the subject like an Leica. If you will shoot from the distance Mamiya is better , if you will shoot crowds from close distance with recording too many out of focus play , Pentax is better.

    For color , Mamiya is more neutral if you like pink skin tones. Hasselblad is sharper and better color curve but I found its black is so strong , some of the daylight shadow pictures tend to dark looking.

    But overall Hasselblad is winner but I dont like their Distagon
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,740
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I love the RB. Having fewer shots per roll is great for me, means film doesn't wait in the camera near as much.

    I do some hand holding but more often it's on a monopod or a tripod. The monopod is sweet for walking about.

    I have an older non-C 90mm lens that is "just fine thank you", and a 150SF C that is truly special as far as I'm concerned.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Put together an RB kit 3 years ago this month. Yup, it's big but too much is made of its size and weight blocking its ability to deliver stunning images. It's a killer portrait camera. Close focuses without pricey macro lenses, extension tubes or diopters. The rotating back allows quick portrait/landscape changes without shifting the camera's significant mass(try that with a Pentax 67 on a less-than-robust tripod/head--scary).

    Watch out on CL stuff, especially if you're unfamiliar with the Mamiya RB 67. Go for a Pro S or Pro SD body+backs. The old RB has no double exp. lock-outs--problematic until you get used to the shutter cock/film advance 2-step. They're also getting very old. These were studio gear that usually did long, heavy duty service. A kit with, say, a Pro S body, WLF, 120 Pro S back, and a 90/3.8C lens is a good start. Backs and RB adapters often need new light seals--a fairly easy DIY fix. I'd almost recommend building a kit from pieces rather than jumping at a kit--while the trade-off is better quality often at a slightly higher price, there's also the old problem of "pay less get less" with used gear.

    I have 645 and 6x6 cameras but take out the big Mamiya most often. It's not a camera for fast moving subjects. The huge, plasma-like viewfinder with its magnifier allows for very precise focus. Remember that you'll need an accurate incident light meter, too, and flash metering capability if you plan on using strobes. The purely mechanical operation forces you to take your time and 10 shots on a 120 roll discourages carelessness.
     
  9. teleugeot

    teleugeot Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Location:
    Gig Harbor,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Do it, do it! Are you stuck on 6x7 for any reason? I take all my best pictures with my Rolleicord V. It's light and VERY portable with the great Schneider Xenar... That and a Gossen Luna-pro is really all I need...
     
  10. gmay

    gmay Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Location:
    MA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If all you shoot are head and shoulders portraits, I'm not sure you'll notice the difference at 11x14. But if you're shooting full-bodies I would guess that you will notice the difference in detail. Plus, the larger negs are easier to work with. You'll get used to the WLF.
     
  11. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You say you like to take people pictures, but how? Street photography, posed, studio? Bear in mind that using a MF camera with a waist level finder means just that, you'll be shooting from the vantage point of your stomach, about the viewpoint of about an 8 year old child. This would probably be most noticeable if you were fairly close to a standing subject, but still it's a different perspective than eye level. If you don't enlarge more than 11x14, your probably not going to notice the difference between 6x7 and 645. The 645 is a much easier camera to handle. I've used all medium formats and found that to me the Pentax or Mamiya 645s with eye level prisms are the easiest to use if your out and about. The basic Pentax has the advantage of multiple exposure choices including my favorite, aperture priority, and a built in motor drive. I also like the old Rolleiflex and Rolleicord cameras, as they are light and have decent lenses. (the newer ones have better lenses) The RB67 and RZ67s are great cameras, but are heavy and somewhat awkward to use hand held. If money is no object buy a Hasselblad. It'll last forever, and give as sharp a picture as you can take. If money is a real issue, buy a Holga, and just have fun taking weird pictures. There are lots of options for you to choose from, and you will definitely see the difference from 35mm with almost all of them. (except maybe the Holga) Good luck, and try to enjoy the process.
     
  12. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

    Messages:
    4,589
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    İstanbul
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Rolleicord with Zeiss Triotar lens is a very special camera , not because of brand name but the lens. If they had been built this lens on Holga , I would not think a moment.
    For color pictures , it has a color spectrum not very appealing with todays standarts but it has a hell of sharpness and resolution. To look to its bw pictures is like looking 1950s large format bw pictures.

    Anyone will buy a MF Camera , must see these pictures.
    Higher the need of resolution with smallest details , this lens works better.
    And the portraits are exactly whatever Zeiss school means.
    Low contrast print or film , high contrast print or film , equally works matchless.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/zgodzinski/sets/72157616706901761/detail/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2012
  13. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    hmm, lots to think about. I'm not stuck on 6x7, actually would prefer 6x6 but can't afford a 'blad (really mostly caught my attention cause the price on the RB67 was so low)

    about the people pictures, my favourite is studio - though that is not that accessible all the time, so mostly 'life'/journalism styled
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,740
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Many TLRs are reasonable, and I've even thought about getting one.

    The reason I don't is because the RB's modular system is so darn handy that it can adapt to almost any need. It even seems to me that there's a nice 6x6 shot in every 6x7 frame if I want it.
     
  16. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,926
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Go with the RB67, just can't beat it.

    Jeff
     
  17. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

    Messages:
    1,926
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought a Yashica 124G a couple months ago, and have been continually impressed.
     
  18. fmajor

    fmajor Member

    Messages:
    259
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My 1st foray into MF was with a TLR. A Yashica Mat124 - what a great experience that was. It got me hooked into MF with it's amazing "feel" and *HUGE* negatives. Since i really like Minolta, i flipped when i learned Minolta made a TLR (the Autocord). I promptly sourced one and love it.

    Fortunately/unfortunately i met someone who had a Mamiya RB67 Pro-S. It was "love at 1st sight"! I was immediately intrigued with it's Revolving Back (RB) and how modular the camera is. Everything from a nice selection of lenses, formats (more than just 6x7), view-finders and more!!! Also, these cameras are/were professional grade/quality through and through so image quality potential was top notch. The cameras are also reknown for durability - something important for me because i take my camera outdoors alot. And finally, the price of admission was very low - especially for the quality received.
     
  19. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

    Messages:
    786
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Location:
    Fort Collins
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You should look at the Bronica GS-1 as well. Its smaller and easier to handle than the RB/RZ cameras. Doesn't have a rotating back, though.
     
  20. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I want to thank Mustafa for his comments about the Rolleicord/triotar lens camera. His pictures posted are great, to my eye. I have collected 3 of these cameras over the years, including the original model with the metal deco panels instead of leather. They are all pre-war, with uncoated lenses, but still work. A few years ago, my wife and I, and her visiting daughter went to Oxford MS to William Faulkners old home, "Rowan Oak" to take some pictures. I thought it would be fun for each of us to use one of these cameras, and compare results. With low expectations, we were quite surprised with how much we liked what we saw in the prints. The photos looked like they were actually taken back when Faulkner still lived there. I made my step-daughter some prints to take home with her, because she liked them so much. When I mention this to other photographers I usually get a look like "seriously?" The pictures are not razor sharp, high contrast pictures. But they have such nice tonal range and detail. Quite a vintage look for sure. I've got a couple of post war Rolleiflexs with coated tessar lenses, that take great pictures also, but have a different look, edgier, more contrast, but still not quite like modern lenses. This is what I love about photography, after over 40 years taking pictures, there's always something new to try, things to learn, still using film.

    "I use different equipment, to see how something will look photographed with that camera or lens" - agnosticnikon

    "I photograph, to find out how something will look photographed" - Garry Winogrand
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,196
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Marko:

    A 6x6 TLR is a great place to start. A good one will give you a big jump in negative size, and give you a chance to decide whether a waist-level finder works for you. A Mamiya C series TLR gives you the functionality of interchangeable lenses, but is larger than some other good choices (like the Yashica options).
    There is even a good, if somewhat dark prism finder.

    I've added an RB67 to my options in recent years, but the Mamiya C330 I've had and used since the 1970s is still a very useful option.

    This was shot with a C220 a couple of years ago that I sold because I didn't think I needed as many backup cameras. Either body, plus two lenses, fits within a very nice, compact kit.
     

    Attached Files:

  22. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,055
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I love my RZ. Can't get used to the waist level finder though. Never got used to the flopped image. I bought a prism on eBay and it changed how a shoot with it. The thing weighs as much as a 35mm camera. RZ and RB lenses are sharp. It's more of a studio camera but I hike with it too. You'll get grainless 16x20 prints shooting Ilford Fp4.
     
  23. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

    Messages:
    276
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Location:
    Yukon, OK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I also recommend you start out with a TLR type camera. I made wonderful, sharp photos with a Yashica 124G years ago, and still can. You can use it easily close to the floor, waist level or hold it eye level. In the "old" days, all I did was candid photos with it. There was not one thing I could not do with that little camera.

    Unless you get a real deal on an RB or RZ, get one of the TLRs (months ago I would have recommended a certain brand or model, not anymore.....just get something and get started. Once you get one of these type cameras, you will get another, so just find something). Great, great cameras. Try to get one from an actual user so you won't buy junk.......unless you get junk for next to nothing and put good money into a CLA and end up with a beautiful, used, perfect camera.

    Bob E.
     
  24. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

    Messages:
    359
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I used to shoot 35mm, 100% of the time. I had a F3, two F4's and F5, the fastest f/1.4 and f/2.8 glass I could afford. Then one day I bought an RZ67 on impulse with a 80mm/2.8 and 120 back. After my first roll of Kodachrome came back I was amazed at the detail and tonality that I could never dream of achieving with my Nikon system. All my films felt like they were alive, Velvia 50 was incredible, even TMax 3200 didn't seem grainy anymore, it took on a totally different look.

    Needless to say I recently bought a Mamiya 645 Pro to replace my 35mm cameras I take on trips and vacations, and now my Nikon equipment is gathering dust in my closet, among them are some expensive Nikon pro zooms, now I carry a basic 55mm, 80mm and 150mm 3-lens kit.

    Also with only 10 or 15 shots per roll, you slow down and take your time, which is always nice.
     
  25. Richard Mendales

    Richard Mendales Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Charleston,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The 6x7 format is one of the best compromises you can make between the convenience of 35mm and the huge negatives you get with large format. Because you use more of the 6x7 frame than you do either with 35mm or 6x6, the usable size of your negative makes truly impressive prints, with almost the kind of detail and fine shading that you can get from 4x5", while preserving your ability to handhold the camera (at least for short periods). While I notice that most of the posts here have referred to MF SLRs, you might also think of the Mamiya 67, which is truly portable and yet gives you the enormous 6x7 negatives that are the main reason for getting into MF.
     
  26. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,068
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So do I (mine, not yours!).


    Steve.