Favourite 6x6 system

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jblake, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. jblake

    jblake Member

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    Hi all,

    I am interested to know what 6x6 system you have chosen and why? I was considering a Mamiya 6 however I'm not sure I will be fully comfortable with a RF and other restrictions to the system. I find a Blad a little bulky to move with but perhaps I could adjust to this. I shoot mostly landscape, some people photography and street work. 6x7 is also an option but I love 6x6. I have considered 6x4.5 but I think the bigger neg. are better options. Over to you!

    Many thanks for any contributions
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I love my Mamiya 7 system. I've seen wonderful work made on the Mamiya 6. All rangefinder systems take getting use to. All systems have restrictions. We must live within limits.

    Before you buy, see if you can try out a number of systems to see what feels correct to you eye, and works well in you hands.
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    At one time, for a long time, I used a wheelbarrow full of Hassie stuff.
    Things change, today I don't do a high volume of 120, and the Koni Omega is a stunning solution for what I need.

    And yet, if I ever got rid of the 35, the 4x5 and the 8x10... and the Koni, I would be perfectly happy with a late model TLR Rolleiflex, the most perfect camera ever made.

    .
     
  4. steckmeyer

    steckmeyer Member

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    Stating the obvious, unless you are going to make only square prints the 6 X 6 format has to be cropped. That leads one to a 645 or 6 X 7. Be sure and handle your choice before you commit. A Mamiya 645 Pro with a power winder and prism finder is very much like a 35mm SLR. There is an incredible array of lenses and accessories for the 645 Pro. A 645 Pro can do everything you ask and with careful exposure, developing and printing can easily make 11 X 14 fine art prints just like a 6 X 6 negative. A RB67 is best on a tripod. Either is much less expensive than a ‘Blad and both are as capable. You could have both for the price of a “Blad.
     
  5. RIchardn

    RIchardn Member

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    I love using my Mamiya c330 TLR a nice well built (that means heavy) camera which you can pick up at a reasonable price these days and the lenses are great.
    Although I occasionally crop to 645 format I really like the square 6x6 format a lot and find myself using that more and more.
     
  6. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I love my complete Hasselblad system for its flexibility and my Rolleiflex for traveling and street.
    For me, both systems complete each other and fill the gaps that enable me as a photographer to
    work in any way possible.
    The Hasselblad is flexible and perfect for demanding projects of any kind as I can choose any lens,
    back or accessory that fits the job at hand, but the Rolleiflex with its compact size and quiet shutter
    takes over as my traveling and walking camera of choice.
     
  7. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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  8. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    I changed from my pentax 645 / 67 to hasselblad (500cm) last year.
    I also do a lot of landscape work and fine art.

    Why?
    When i compaired the results shot with the zeiss lenses my mouth fell on the floor.:D The increase in quality is high, which i never would have believed if not tested myself.

    So i think any system that has zeiss lenses will do.
     
  9. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    The Hasselblad V system is pure joy to use and I agree that the Zeiss lenses have a beautiful image quality that goes way beyond a simple description of resolution or MTF. The expense of Hasselblad equipment isn't arbitrary--it reflects the quality of the camera and the optics. You can't find a more extensive system of bodies, backs, accessories and optics.
     
  10. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    Regarding rangefinders I think that if you are the type of photographer who likes to linger over and think about his compositions you are probably better with a TLR or SLR. Occassionally I borrow my friends Mamiya 6 or 7 and the range finder always kills me. I am a contemplative photographer and I find the range finder hard to relate to for various reasons.
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    The Mamiya 6 system is fabulous. That's the only system I like so much that I bought up several bodies. The 6/7 lenses are incomparably sharp, providing truly LF-like levels of detail. The 6 system is very compact and thus ideal for travel and hiking, and the character of the lenses is perfect for documentary and scenic shooting. However, because it is an RF with no integral close-focusing capability and the lenses are not very fast, I would not recommend the 6/6MF/7/7ii system for portraiture and closeups and shallow DOF stuff in general; for that I use the rb and 645 afd systems. But in terms of detail, I think you can bet your bottom dollar that the mamiya RF lenses are tops, and you pretty much have to shoot slide or very fine b&w film to see what they can do.

    I don't understand the comment above about RFs not being suited to contemplative photography. In my experience, RFs are especially well suited to this style of photography. But of course, different strokes for different folks.
     
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  12. lns

    lns Member

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    I agree with the advice to try (or at least handle) a few different types of cameras before you buy. Each system has strengths and weaknesses, and the form factor is also very different. Some are really heavy, too. Finally, I'd urge you to consider which type of the uses you cited -- street, landscape and people -- is most important to you for this camera. In the alternative, which can be handled by another camera or by another format you already have.

    For me, 35mm is perfect for travel and snapshots of people, and would be fine for street if I shot street. So I am really happy with a Hasselblad on a tripod. I use it for more formal portraits and landscapes. But you may really want a medium format camera mostly to take street shots or candids of people or travel pictures. In which case my recommendation would be a bit off.

    -Laura
     
  13. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    Because the range view doesn't have the same look. It is like looking through a window. And often that window is partially obscurred with a lens shade. And you don't compose to all the view you see, you must compose in a little superimposed box. And also it is easier to be contemplative when you can look at a focusing screen through a WLF.

    The Mamiya lenses are as good as hasselblad and Rollei no doubt but in my opinion the image quality lacks character. In my opinion of course.
     
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  15. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I will add my .02 here. I use both a Hasselblad and a Mamiya 6 system. Each has their good aspects like Mamiya is so much more portable and lighter than a Blad set up, but I would not use a Mamiya 6 for close-up/portrait work as it's completely unsuitable for that for the most part. The Blad is best in this case. Lens quality wise, the Mamiya 6 lenses beat the zeiss equivalents by a decent margin in some tests. However you would be very hard pressed to see this difference unless you had lab/bench equipment to measure it. The Mamiya 6 50mm has just about zero distortion across it's field of view, and has phenomenal resolving power. The newer Zeiss 50's (CFi) are close with their FLE capabilty, but the older non FLE versions get trounced by the Mamiya 6 50mm lens. :smile:

    I've considered selling my Mamiya 6 RF several times due to the prices they fetch up on E'Bay, but I just cannot bring myself to do it!

    The square format has become intuitive to me to use as well. I really hate cropping, but I have that flexibility if the rare occasion presents itself where I have to crop.
     
  16. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    I've got a Bronica SQ-A (a medium format SLR) that I use for studio portraits, but I HATE lugging it around for landscapes and street work. I also hate the slap of that huge mirror every time I take a picture. I lock it up most of the time, but then that defeats the purpose of an SLR, doesn't it?

    I just bought a Mamiya 6 and I absolutely love it. Quiet, easy to carry, sharp images. I have no problem with rangefinders, I find I prefer them to SLRs. I've started using it in the studio too, both handheld and on a tripod.

    I do wish I had more format options. I would like to have a wider negative for landscapes. Yesterday I saw a Mamiya Press. It's a big monster but what options! 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, 4x5, roll film, sheet film, polaroid, whatever. And built like a tank. I can feel my Stimulus Package pointing in that direction.
     
  17. david b

    david b Member

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    I have owned a Hasselblad kit for more than 7 or 8 years and never had an issue with mine, other than the usual film back maintenance. There is a long list of positives as to why you should own one:
    -lenses
    -interchangeable backs
    -accessories
    -quality
    -lenses

    blah blah blah.

    The Mamiya 6 is a wonderful camera but it has a serious flaw: the film winding mechanism. And since these camera are no longer made or service by Mamiya, you are taking a serious gamble with the camera. It could stop working at anytime. This is probably why Keith owns several bodies. I would too if I wanted to use this camera.

    The Hasselblad is a time tested and well proven system. The design is really simple and smart. You can even put a digital back on it, if you moved that direction. But you can shoot some b&w, take the back off, and put on another one loaded with color film. The lenses are top notch and those MTF charts are only good if you are photographing newspaper print or printing bigger than 16x20, which you probably aren't.

    So get the camera that is a true system, the Hasselblad. It is still being service by Hasselblad. Just be sure to buy CF or newer (CFi or CFe) lenses, as they have run out of parts for the very old C lenses (made in the 1960's and 1970's).
     
  18. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Well not 4X5, but I have used my Universal as my primary landscape camera for 22 years, bought it used in 1986. The lens are for the most part excellent, I have an early 150 which is only average, the latter models said to be better. I dont have the $250mm, for that matter I have only seen a couple 250mm over the years and they tend to be pricy. I find that I use the 80mm and 65mm most often, the 65mm uses a 45mm filter which can be hard to find. You need a really steady tripod. I have the grip and I have shot weddings and other events hand held. You can also find ground glass backs. But the newest cameras are at least 25years old, I think Mamyia stopped making the press line in the late 70s or early 80s, so they are getting long in the tooth.
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    yup!
     
  20. david b

    david b Member

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  21. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    I have both the Mamiya 6 system and the Bronica RF645 system. Both are excellent! If you want to shoot square certainly go for the Mamiya 6. The lenses are the sharpest medium format lenses available. You'll be amazed. As for the winding mechanism, I've never had any problems. Just don't crank really hard on it and you'll be fine. Rangefinders do have drawbacks and certainly are not for everyone. If you don't need to focus very close, need telephoto lenses, or need absolute precise framing, then this is the system will work for you. It feels just like a 35mm SLR in your hands. Keep an eye on ebay for good deals. Again, I highly recommend it.
     
  22. jblake

    jblake Member

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    Well thank you to everyone for your thoughts. Sorry I'm so late to reply but I'm in Australia, that doesn't mean we're slow, just time reversed. There's some really great advice here and ideas. I'm not super super keen on a RF I have to say but something in the posts has drawn my attention and that is the TLR Rolleiflex. Interestingly I've never never even considered this camera probably due to its age, not that that has anything to do with what it can produce, far from it. Ideally I would buy a Blad. I have used them before and love the camera but have some practice to do to become comfortable with it. I'm figuring that the Rolleiflex may be an excellent intro. into this kind of photography and would help me to eventually ease into a Blad. If anyone is able to share any more info on this camera I'd be appreciative. They are reasonably priced on ebay and might just fit the bill for now. I have a beautiful Canon F1 in excellent condition to compliment and some primes. i was shooting on a 5D and still have it but have been drawn seriously back to film. Only film holds the magic for me!
     
  23. arigram

    arigram Member

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  24. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I've used Rollei TLR's for almost 30 years. They are wonderful street cameras; silent, easy to shoot without being noticed. You can prefocus and aim by just glancing down into the viewfinder. I've taken pictures of people from four feet away without them knowing. The lenses are excellent. If the screen is dim, replace it with a Maxwell or Intenscreen and focusing will be much easier. I've shot everything from portraits to horse races with a TLR.
    Some people don't like the square format because "you have to crop it." On the contrary, I consider that an advantage. I tend to shoot a lot of verticals, and with most rectangular format cameras, you have to turn them sideways to shoot verticals. A square format offers the opportunity to crop either vertical or horizontal without changing the orientation of the camera. This is a real advantage when using a tripod.
    And you just might prefer to compose for a square...
     
  25. jblake

    jblake Member

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    Thanks Arigram and Eddym. I will check the thread. I love the square format, I like square images and I love composing in the space.
     
  26. keeds

    keeds Member

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    Why do you have to crop it? Just print square...