did you replace Leica with a 120 rangefinder?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, May 25, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I have Leica gear and 120 gear (well just Rolleiflex). I oftentimes want to expand my 120 gear as I use that more often than 35mm but I can't justify spending more money in photography with a modest Leica system that is largely unused...I actually use my Rollei 35 more than my Leica these days. Well, I'm going to cut down on my Leica system and perhaps look into some 120 rangefinders after releasing some funds. I'm not a street shooter. I just want to have a camera to shoot my family and friends and i think that a few 120 RF's might do the trick: Mamiya 6, Plaubel Makina, or Fuji GF670. I prefer to be more selective and shoot less. I will sell some lenses and maybe my spare body and see how it works and if I don't miss leica then maybe thaat system will go too....12 frames in 6x6 is fine with me and however many frames 645 or 67 gets is probably fine too (but I prefer the 1:1 aspect ratio...).

    I know that this oftentimes comes up but people just end up going back to Leica. Did you leave Leica for 120?
     
  2. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Yes, I left Leica for 120. I got a Zeiss Super Ikonta III, and it's smaller than my Leica M3 was. I didn't need 36 exposures or fast lenses, so 35mm does not make that much sense for me. However, I have retained a Rollei 35 too for when I want something *really* small.

    Leica cameras are beautiful, no question about that, but the 35mm frame is only worth it for me if I want to take a lot of shots, like on vacation maybe.
     
  3. okto

    okto Member

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    How is that possible? The M3 body is only a quarter-inch taller than a 120 spool.
     
  4. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    As with the suggestion for the Zeiss, I would suggest dipping your toe in the water with a cheaper folding camera. As an alternative perhaps a 6x9 Agfa Record III with the excellent Solinar lens. Because of the price's on Ebay you can hopefully get one before starting to sell off other equipment, just in case you and 120 don't get along.

    Steve
     
  5. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    I got a Mamiya 6 with all three lenses. Sold my Hasselblad to get it, and still have my Leicas, but I no longer use them much. I love rangefinders, and with the Mamiya 6 so small and light compared to the Hassy I replaced with the Mamiya, it seems like the Leicas are not really needed.
     
  6. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Over the years I've used a bunch of different 120 rangefinders. They can make wonderful pictures, of course, but I've found that for me they can't replace 35mm, both because the range of conditions under which I can use them effectively hand-held is substantially restricted compared to a 35 with a fast lens, and because the overhead of developing means I can't work as freely as I can with 36 (or sometimes 72) exposures per roll. And conversely, once I go to the trouble of lugging a tripod, I usually prefer to go all the way to large format.

    As always, you just need to try it and see what works best for you.
     
  7. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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  8. okto

    okto Member

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    That's my point. A 120 rangefinder can't be smaller than an M3.
     
  9. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    It depends on how larded up with accessories your M3 is. If it has a rigid Summicron and a meter or accessory viewfinder on top the Zeiss will fold up flatter and will be about the same height. I think thegman was talking in practical user terms, not trying to generate a 'mine is smaller than yours' battle, but it's one of the few times in life where bragging rights seem to go to how diminutive your 'equipment' is.


    Steve
     
  10. ghart

    ghart Member

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    Some years ago I sold my 135 gear (Nikon SLR) and bought a Mamiya 6 with 3 lenses. I then sold it to move to LF with a Rollei TLR. Wanted more frames per roll and rectangular format for travel purposes, so returned to 135 (Leica MP this time). Then bought a Fotoman 69 with 3 lenses. So now I'm a happy user of all formats, and I grab what suits best for each occasion!

    Bottom line is don't sell a camera unless you have to, because more likely than not you will miss it later.

    George
     
  11. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I didn't give up my Leicas, but supplemented them with a Plaubel 67W. OK, it doesn't change lenses like a Mamiya, but I find that once I get shooting in wide angle I don't mind staying in wide angle, for the most part. It's a great travel camera, folds so flat, built-in light meter, very quiet leaf shutter. I think you'd like it.
     
  12. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    I never had a Leica but did have a Voigtlander Bessa R and a Fuji Klasse (same as the Rollei 35 I think). I ended up selling both to finance a move to medium format rangefinders. I ended up with the Mamiya 6 and the Fuji GF670 and I can't say enough good things about them both. On the other hand, if you aren't using your Leica now, you might not actually enjoy a MF rangefinder all that much and those cameras I mentioned are expensive. I still prefer my medium format SLR cameras on a tripod for landscape photos but really enjoy handheld casual photography with the rangefinders, especially in B&W.

    As for George's comment about not selling cameras, I guess it comes down to whether you are more interested in collecting or photography. My advice would be the opposite, don't keep a camera unless you are using it! Of course I must confess that I don't always follow that advice myself. (Don't ask about the Pentax 645 I brought home today for no other reason than because it was cheap!)
     
  13. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion but I actually had some folders and didn't like them. The ergonomics and viewfinders were not the best. I haven't handled the GF670 or Makina but I believe they are better in this regard (but I'd look more in depth before dropping money on them). I also prefer 6x6 because I don't have to worry about orientation. I feel more comfortable working with just square which is why I'd prefer 6x6 to 6x7 or 6x9. I like a larger negative but 6x6 itself is fine. But again, I can't have it all and so I would consider other ratios if the cameras were better for me (i.e. Makina 67). All I care about is normal lens too and so I think that all three of the above mentioned cameras are suitable and maybe even a few others. None of them are prefect but many of them will probably be good enough for me.

    I can understand George's perspective and also revdocjim's but I guess things are relative. Right now I have 2 bodies and 4 lenses and so the first action for me is to reduce and see how I feel. (I am thinking of sticking with M3 + 50 'cron and maybe keeping my M2 body). There is no point for me to have more than one 50mm if I only use one lens once or twice a month (that is how often i shoot my Leica at the present).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2013
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  15. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    The only reason I could see to shoot 135 would be go the final outcome, like If your shooting slides for a projector. Yes there are medium format projectors but it's not like you can put 40 slides on a tray and click through them real easy.

    On the usability side of things, I don't see 135 being much easer and faster to use then medium format. At least for the way I shoot.
     
  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    This question makes me think of "Would you trade in your Maserati for a Ford F-150?" It's comparing apples and oranges.
     
  17. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    In the same way a plumber may choose a particular pipe/valve configuration for the job he/she is doing, then so a photographer chooses the best tools for the job. If you swap Leica for medium format, you probably have a particular task in mind that lends itself more to medium format.
     
  18. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I didn't give up my Leicas, but supplemented them

    To supplement is the way to go.

    I normally shoot with a Bronica RF645 kit. It's a first rank designed and quality manufactured camera. The RF's range finder is bigger and just as bright/contrasty as my MP. When I look at MF images I often say why shoot small format. MF 120 roll film's sharpness and tonality trumps small format and the negs are easier to print and evaluate. That said, I'm keeping a Leica as long as I shoot and print.
    Reasons:

    1. Shape of neg and print format
    2. Depth of field
    3. Small size and tiny lenses
    4. Fun factor
    5. The lenses are excellent
    6. Prefer to do portraits enlarged to 5x7 with the Leica kit 28/40/50/90.
    7. Better system for street shooting/reportage
    8. Marginally better travel camera
    9. Shoot quality images at f2.8 - I own older Leica optics

    The RF645 is more modern than the M 6/7 or Fuji 670 and much smaller. Great lenses and ergonomics with the features you want and no extras. Simple, light, small, great results. F/4 lenses are slow so I supplement with a Leica.
     
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  19. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    Of course another reason to keep at least the Leica lenses is because one day you may want to short circuit the quest for sharpness and buy a Leica digital body, either crop format in an M8, or full frame with an M9. And the more of these people buy, the more the value of Leica lenses goes up, so they are worth hanging onto. Yes I know film has a different character, lets not start on that old chestnut, but an M8 body will give as 'good' in terms of sharpness as a 6x6, and cost less than a good Plaubel or Mamiya 6 outfit, and you have some lenses already.

    Steve
     
  20. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    ofcourse this is apples and oranges but I am just seeking general advice and experiences.
     
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  21. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    If I needed a truck then maybe I would. (+ cash ofcourse)
     
  22. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    Wow! That sounds rather elitist! So you really think comparing an old M3 or M2 to a Fuji GF670, or a Plaubel Makina 67 or the Mamiya 6 is similar to comparing a Maserati to a Ford F-150? I am either misunderstanding your logic or I think you are soundly lost in the deep end of the Leica fantasy world. There's no doubt that Leicas are extremely fine cameras with an almost "jewel" like built quality that allows them to command prices that have close to nothing to do with their photographic performance. But the three other cameras mentioned above have virtually no qualities that would place them in the category of utility pickup truck, other than the fact that they are quite a bit larger than a Leica.
     
  23. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    To answer the OP's question directly, yes I went directly from an M3 with 35mm to a Fuji 6x9 and never looked back. The principal reason for the change was that, for the work that I like to do, I stick to one camera/lens and the tonality/grain/print size combination that I wanted was very difficult to achieve with 35mm (after all, once you start trying to get ever finer grain and end up using a Leica with Tech Pan on a tripod it rather negates the point of having a hand-held 35 camera). After a few years of happy use with the Fuji, I borrowed a friend's Mamiya 7 with 65mm lens. I swiftly sold the Fuji and have stuck ever since with the Mamiya combination.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  24. AOCo

    AOCo Member

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    That's a very nice way to express it.

    My votes goes to the Bronica RF645, surely isn't the same as a Leica, but as image quality is real nice.
     
  25. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Please reread my port. My comment concerned the very different styles of photography between the two types of cameras. Apples and oranges or sport car versus truck. I don't own a Leica, can't afford one, so I cannot be accused of being elitist.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2013
  26. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    Thanks for the explanation Gerald. I guess that's why I qualified my comments with the caveat about possibly misunderstanding your logic. I guess your choice of a sports car that costs about 5 times as much as the F150 is what threw me, since that isn't the case at all with an M3 and the medium format rangefinders in question. But I will gladly retract my comment about your comment sounding elitist, with due apologies! :smile: