Entry level MF camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Kennedy, Jul 1, 2006.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    I have been thinking of getting a medium format camera. So many to choose from, so little money. There is a nice Yashica Mat in the classified forum but $175.00 is out of my reach. Are the Yashica D's any good?
    Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Mike
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Holga - around $25 US or less.
     
  3. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Yashica D would be ok I guess, depends on which ones you get, there is one I think a Yashica 635 or so that will take both 120 film and 35mm if you have the special adapter with it.

    For medium format on a budget I wrote these two articles online.
    MFOB: TLRs
    MFOB: Folders
     
  4. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Why do you want a medium format camera? If it's for the larger and better negative/transparency quality than you can obtain from a 35mm outfit, then save your money until you can afford a kit that can actually deliver on that goal. Otherwise, a Holga is a good idea. You can spend more on a pizza than it costs to own one, and you can enjoy the larger neg/tranny for whatever reason has motivated you in this direction...other than superior quality from a fine mf camera and lens.

    When and if you can afford something good, there are plenty of threads here that discuss what's available. (one that Ailsa started a while ago was very extensive and informative as I recall.)
     
  5. DBP

    DBP Member

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    There is a wide range of respectable TLRs. For people wanting to try out medium format, I usually recommend the Ciroflex (aka Graflex 22), which you can find for under $20 US. The Ciroflex has a red window advance, shutter to either 1/200 (Alphax) or 1/400 (Rapax) and triplet lens (except for the F, which is a Tessar and quite a bit pricier). Moving up from there is a matter of adding film handling features and sometimes lens quality. At the top end of your price range, look for the Minolta Autocords, Yashinon lensed Yashicas (the Yashicamat 12 is often a bargain), and Meopta Flexaret IV-VII, all of which are fairly common. There is a great deal of information at http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/tlr.html, and elsewhere on that site and this one. Rick Oleson has quite a bit more information, including details on American made TLRs here http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-168.html and here http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-76.html. There are also quite a few threads on TLR choices, some rather contentious, elsewhere on this site.
     
  6. DBP

    DBP Member

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  7. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    You can pick up these old TLR's and folders quite cheaply, and they're good cameras, but take into account that the shutters may or may not be accurate due to aged lubricants and accumulated dirt. I think it's quite common for folks to use these a while and be disappointed with the results without realizing that a large part of their problems are that the shutter speeds are way off. Having said that, if you pick 'em up cheap and account for the cost of sending the shutter off to APUG's own Carol Flutot Miller (http://www.flutotscamerarepair.com/ ) these old cameras can still be a real bargain. (Scroll down to 'Cameras' on the Services page for folders and TLR's)

    I'm sure a great many folks have gone down the same path that I did, buying old cameras, flushing the shutters with ligher fluid and messing around. Although I had a lot of fun with that, the truth is, for the small price Carol charges to do the job properly it's worth it (and then some) to be able to trust your camera and be out takin' pitchers.

    Now stepping off of the soapbox,
    Nathan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2006
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Like Jovo said why do you want a MF camera?

    In some ways it's hard to beat a 6x9 folder.

    For other things the 6x6 TLRs are great.

    If you don't mind using a screwdriver you could look for a Kiev 60. The basic units that haven't been checked over aren't that expensive. Frame spacing can be fixed at home if that's an issue.

    But it all depends on why you want a MF.
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    A Yashicamat at $175 is expensive. Check the Yashica D, 635, Yashicamat, and later models that have actually sold on ebay for a more realistic price. I've found the Yashica TLRs with the Yashinon lenses to make good images. The Yashicor three element lenses aren't quite as good. The shutters on Yashica TLRs don't seem as reliable as on some other cameras.

    The Holga and similar cameras are a fad. They don't make technically good images. If the emotional content of the photo is much more important than the sharpness, a Holga may do. The early 120 film Kodak box cameras were better.
     
  10. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Feel free to virtually bitchslap me accross the net for this.
    But in my opinion if he's going for bigger better picture quality, getting a better 35mm SLR would be less than to say get a digital SLR, where as a MF SLR body you can get much more quality than most digitals or 35mm but at alot cheaper, not to mention medium format scans a hell of alot easier than 35mm when it comes to resolving detail even on a cheap 150$ flatbed I can easily get upto 20 to 30 megapixels ( once downsampled til sharp at 100% ) from my Mamiya C3/C33 TLR, Mamiya RB67, Kodak 1914 Junior No.1 6x9 or a Hassy 500C/M. Where as a good sharp 35mm SLR with say transparencies on a cheaper flatbed scanner yer probally gona be lucky to get 12 Mpixel equivilent due to what the scanner has to be able to resolve.

    That is of course only relavent if
    1) he's looking for something with more resolution.
    and
    2) If he's gona scan them himself.

    I mean don't get me wrong I own a Canon FTb, Minolta X-370, Mamiya 1000DTL, Kodak Pony, Zenit-11 and other 35mm SLRs, and I like most of them, but for me its all about 120 film and my Mamiya RB67, Zeiss Nettar 515 645, etc. I like how its seems easier to develop in a steel reel, I like how big the pictures are to look at while they're drying, I love being able to hold up a 6x9 Transparency upto the light. So maybe I'm just a little bias.
     
  11. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Try a Ricoh TLR and some Fuji Acros100
    Peter
     
  12. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I paid $65 for my Minolta Autocord. $85 for a Yashicamat 124 G for my daughter. Your idea is sound, just wait a bit for a good camera at a good price. The Autocord makes stunning negs on Velvia with it's little 75mm f3.5 Tessar type lens.
     
  13. battra92

    battra92 Member

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    Again, I have to echo what everyone else is saying: Why do you want MF?

    If you want a larger format, or maybe if you like square images a 6x6 folder or TLR will do the trick. There are some great 6x6 folders from Zeiss Ikon, Agfa (Ansco), and Voigtlander. I have an Ansco Speedex 45 Special with the Apotar lens and it takes some great images.

    For 645, I have a Nettar 515 with a Novar Anastigmat (three element) lens that takes fantastic 645 chromes and fits right in your pocket.

    Some may say you need a Tessar or Solinar or whatever. Honestly, I would be damned to beat my Ikon for what I use it for. I'm sure someone should show me a lens comparison at wide open how a Tessar is so much better but 1) I almost never shoot at wide open and 2) I like the look of my Novar.

    It's hard to put an exact price on these things as shutter and lens combos make all the difference. However, on eBay I got my 515 for around $30 and it's miles and miles ahead of any Holga in terms of a quality camera.

    TLRs are fun, but admiditly the "best" TLR I have is an Argoflex E, which is not a bad camera at all, it's just not all that great. :wink:
     
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  15. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    I wuv my Nettar

    [​IMG]


    But its as you say, small pocketible, decently sharp I think the lens on mine might be the same as yours, The only downside to the one I own is that it needs some cleaning on the shutter, speeds above 1/10th of a second seem to be close to accurate but anything slower gets stuck. But far as 'scanning' resolution on a flatbed, I'd easily get 8 to 12 megapixels off the camera above on some Fuji Neopan Arcos, or ilford FP4+.

    examples:

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    I think you can get a Nettar 515 for under a 100$ now days in dare I say working condition.

    Theres also a Nettar 515/B which is just a 6x9 variation of the small guy.
     
  16. battra92

    battra92 Member

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    I admit to being ignorant here, how do you figure what megapixels you get out of the film?
     
  17. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    You scan at say 2400 DPI.
    Then you zoom in at 100% after doing any touch ups or dust spotting needed. Then you downsample (decrease the resolution) until the pixels at 100% view appear sharp. Then you take the X times the Y to figure the megapixels. Rarely do any of my stuff appear sharp right at 2400 DPI, so I just scan that as the ceiling and downsample til sharp.
     
  18. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    If you scan at 2400 ppi (pixels per inch), and the film is 2.25 inches square then you get 5400 pixels per side. 5400 x 5400 = 29.160 megapixels per image. As mentioned above, it may not always be that simple, a lot depends on the film and the scanner.
     
  19. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    exactly, which is why you have to use discretion from shot to shot, because it depends on.

    -Film Size
    -Film Sharpness
    -Film Grain
    -Lens Sharpness
    -Lens Focus
    -Scanner Focus
    -Film's Flatness on the Scanner
    etc.

    But when I say something like "I get yada yada MPixels on such and such" , I'm speaking from general experience of what I'd generally get from slow speed ( ISO 125 and lower ) , fine grain film and such. Your results will vary of course, but medium format being as big as it is is quite easy to scan on a flatbed scanner and get at minimum what you'd expect from a good digital camera or a dedicated 35mm scanner.
     
  20. gchpaco

    gchpaco Member

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    My first serious MF camera was a Yashica 124G, which I loved; it's since been eclipsed by my 6x6 SLR and my Fuji rangefinder kit, but was a dandy little thing starting out.

    Holgas are not like other MF cameras. If you want a Holga, you'll probably know it.

    I have a 6x9 folder, but I'm not very fond of it. It's very difficult to hold steady, I've found, largely due to very primitive ergonomics. The Fuji G690 kit I have now is considerably easier to hold steady even though it weighs almost five times as much. But they're not cheap.

    All in all, I suggest a TLR. Find a cheap one with a Tessar; the Yashicas aren't bad.
     
  21. eubielicious

    eubielicious Member

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    Personally, I'd go for the Zeiss Ikon (cheap on ebay - my current one cost the princely sum of £8!), I have had two Nettars and both have produced some half-decent pics, although the first had a bit of a light leak which showed on some images. The other one to go for IMO is a Rolleicord, the later ones with the Xenar taking lens are meant to be the best but I had an earlier Rolleicord III with a Tessar lens and it was fab (cost me £28 which I guess is about $50). I got rid of it before moving house and have regretted it since.

    Euan
     
  22. battra92

    battra92 Member

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    Do you know where the leak is? It might be an easy fix.

    By the way, Penfold was one cool sidekick! :wink:
     
  23. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Ditto, its not uncommon to find folding cameras online which have light leaks possibly in their bellows, in which case minor ones can be fixed with some ellectrical tape on the inside.
     
  24. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I think that a Yashica is a good choice. Check out this for some info: http://www.williamsphotographic.com/yashica.html

    I bought a 124 recently and will be picking up another cheap Yashica A that a friend of mine owns. I shot a test roll thru the A and was VERY surprised. Only thing is the GG is very bad but I will be replacing that.
     
  25. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    Getting into MF is not just about increased resolution, but also about tonality, the fact that in most cases you are forced to slow down, the fact that you now can afford it, the love of using older camera, etc., etc.

    To get started a TLR is the obvious choice, and you should be able to get something very reasonable for under $100 (Yashica, Minolta, Ricoh, Flexaret, Ikoflex, etc.). If you are prepared to spend a bit more, you could get started with a Mamiya C220. This will give you the option of additional lenses, from wide to moderate telephoto. You may or may not "click" with the WLF and reversed image.

    Folders are another way, and open up more format options, from 6x4.5 up to 6x9. Contrary to what some seem to think, most folders don't come with bellows full of holes. Of the half dozen or so MF folders I have, not one has a single hole & all were bought off ebay. Some specific brands are known for holes due to the bellows material - Agfa for example - so for these be extra careful. For many other brands, such as Zeiss, the Russian Moskva and Iskras, Baldas etc. the bellows are generally OK providing they haven't been abused.

    The best cost/value/quality compromise is in uncoupled RF folders, of which there are quite a few. The Zeiss Mess-Ikonta (6x6 version) with Novar lens is generally good value and very good performer, as is the Balda Baldix. For something less well known, and generally much cheaper, you could consider one of the later AGI Agifold cameras.

    Cheaper but slightly less convenient, you could get a folder without RF and buy an accessory RF - these are generally pretty cheap. In that case, you will have a much broader choice, and at lower cost. You may like to grab one of the dual format 6x6/6x9 folders in that case.

    Unless a Holga is really what you want, I wouldn't recommend one of these as a first foray in MF.
     
  26. mitspooner

    mitspooner Member

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    Mike - I would check what your local lab can do. Mine can't do 6x9 anymore and some days I don't feel like scanning rolls of film. I started of with a Yashicamat and haven't looked back. There are some great deals here in Canada as there is not as many buyers running around scooping up stuff. With all MF stuff I have picked up I still shoot my 'mat all the time.
     
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