Feeling a bad case of GAS coming on: square formats

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by SuzanneR, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Has anyone tried the Fujifilm GF670? I'm not lacking for kit, but I'm interested in adding a square format to the camera bag. The downside, it's pricy, and it's bound to have the rangefinder issue of not being able to get particularly close to your subject. I would love to know how it compares in size to a Mamiya 7, for example. I like that if folds up, and becomes more compact.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...6019089_GF670_Rangefinder_Folding_Camera.html

    Next option... maybe a Yashicamat 124G or some such. Way affordable. Pretty compact... not much of a downside...

    I have a Holga, and though I like it fine, I'd like to have a bit more measure of control over the lens. Ideally, I want a slightly better lens on a Holga! :cool:

    Thoughts anyone? TIA
     
  2. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    A friend of mine has the GF670 and I have used it a fair amount. It is smaller than the Mamiya 7, which I own, and when folded is a very tidy package indeed. It carries very well using the shoulder strap. The lens is at least as good as the 80mm Mamiya and I really like being able to choose either 6x7 or6x6. I don't remember how close it focuses, but one nice feature is that the framelines move as you focus so framing is a bit more accurate. It feels very solid and well built. If I didn't have a Mamiya 7 I would think very seriously of getting the Fuji, or Voigtlander version.
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    GF670 is not likely to be square format... or was that part of a different thought? :confused: [edit: after reading Richard W's post I might have to stand corrected... and ignorant on the GF670 format capabilities.]

    I LOVE SQUARE FORMAT, but it is as much a state-of-mind as it is equipment. Anything can be shot with the intent to crop square.

    But it is wonderful to work with a real 120, MF, square-format camera. Whatever you do, don't get the "cheaaps" and push yourself into frustration. For many years I shot with a Rollei TLR and had a great time. I think the principal reason I had a great time is that the lens is decent and good quality photos can reasily result. But also because I spent enough money to get a "low mileage" example of the latest model and had it serviced befroe I started shooting.

    Now I shoot with a Hassy (a big investment but well worth it) and rolll film backs (including a 6x6) on Graphic press cameras.

    Those are my thoughts for you to consider. Good luck and have fun!
     
  4. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Suzanne.... I think Sandy King has migrated away from the Mamiya 7 to use the Fuji GSW670 (super-wide) as it's so compact. If you are testing the waters, why not look for a used 6x6 folder from yesteryear? ie a Super Baldax, Agfa Isolette, or Ikonta?? They will be similar to use as the fuji (although the RF might be dimmer than the Fuji), but they will have more control than a holga, and not anywhere near the cost of a new Fuji GF670... That way, you can at least try it out?? Also, some of the older folding RF lenses have some funkiness to them (sharper center, and fall off at the edges. The lenses are usually relatively low contrast which is great for B&W film. Some are single coated, and some can be VERY sharp depending on the model/lens combination. If you go the route of the Yashica 124G.... Add the Wollensak Ciroflex to your list, or Ricoh, super ricohflex. These can be had for a steal, and produce wonderful results.
     
  5. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Brian, it's my understanding that the Fuji gives you the option to shoot 6x7 or 6x6. I prefer to shoot the format I ultimately want, rather than plan to crop, just how my brain works. One of the things that attracts me to this camera is the fact that you can choose either format. I have the Mamiya 7, and love it, but would also like something that can pack up a bit more compactly than the Mamiya, and take it to, say, the pool with the kids. Fold it up, put it in the pool bag, throw in a few rolls of film, and not carry a separate camera bag like I feel I have to with the Mamiya.

    And Richard thanks, just the kind of information I'm looking for.

    Thanks, Andrew... I had thought about older folders, but didn't know all the names. Are they generally a square format? I'd prefer it, but if not, that still might be a way to go for the compactness of it all.
     
  6. MDR

    MDR Member

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    If you like square you might prefer the Mamiya 6 to the Fuji and Mamiya 7. The 6 is great camera with great lenses and just a little smaller than the Fuji. In TLR Land I personally prefer the classic plain yashicamat to the jazzed up 124G it might not have a lightmeter but it is better built, another option would be one of the Tessar Rolleis not much more expensive than the Yashicamat but better parallax compensation and construction.

    Good luck

    Dominik
     
  7. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Suzanne, they are usually 6x6, but do come in 645, 6x9 as well. I have a Balda Super Baldax which is 6x6 and has an 80mm f2.8 Baltar lens (rebadged Schneider Radionar!) and it's a great user camera. Super light, and VERY compact. I believe it is one of the smallest, most compact rangefinders out there.
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    The Yashica TLR's are nice and light, albeit not as small as a folder. It sounds as though you are looking for some modern conveniences like a biult in meter, MC lenses, etc. I love both folder and twin, with the nod toward TLR's, an old relationship with Yash's especially. I'm not familiar with the Fuji, as to interchangable lenses, the down side to the Yash. I've used auxillary glass on my Yash, not to fond of them. They have an unmistakable look, appeal, and charm that most older folks recognize and smile at, and ask about.
     
  9. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I've handled the GF670 (unfolded) and Mamiya 7 next to each other, and while the Fuji is definitely smaller, it's still a very substantial camera---to me it felt much bulkier than I expected from looking at pictures of it, or than any of my ancient folders. IMHO, it would be good to get one in your hands before committing to it (especially at the price).

    There are quite a few 6x6 folders around, some with rangefinders (the Super Ikontas (Ikontae?) are generally thought of as the cream of the crop), but most are scale-focussing with triplet lenses. That's not particularly damning for certain uses---I've taken a lot of photos I liked with low-end folders---but it obviously puts them in a whole different class from the expensive modern rangefinders.

    I don't think there are any old folders with useful built-in meters or MC lenses, though there are some very good uncoated and single-coated lenses out there (mostly Tessar types, but Voigtlaender folders sometimes came with Heliars).

    -NT
     
  10. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Yes, that was my misuderstanding about the Fuji. I edited my post, and am just getting over the embarassment.

    I think I understand you better now. I tried similar with old MF folder -- Kodak Six-20. It (or something like it) showed promise as an easily transportable MF camera. I was also intriqued by the (albeit 645) vertical format since I was interested primarily in portaiture. Ran into a few problems with using an older folder: respooling onto 620 is easy but has to be planned ahead or one gets into the field without enough film; Estimating range (the Kodak is range-focus, not RF) isn't as easy ans I imagined; and the ruby window leaks if one doesn't use slow film or keep it shaded. Other than that, if I could find a 120 MF folder I'd try it again. I look forward to your conclusion because I might just do whatever you decide to do!
     
  11. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    The Fuji/Voigtlander has a much better lens than the older folders. Plus the camera will be aligned properly, which cannot be said of all the other ones—which are 50 plus years old. The meter is also excellent. It is a VERY nice camera!
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I'll bet you are right, Richard. Only problem from my perspective (now that I'm getting a case of "GAS" too) is the price. Not cheap but seems like a nice piece of equipment for the money!
     
  13. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Suzanne - keep in touch with Whitey as he may just come across something you might want/need. I am buying a nice Rolleicord from him.
     
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  15. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Nice old folder

    The Mamiya six folder not the modern one, has a very sharp lens though not as sharp as modern folders. The Agfa Super Isolette with a Solinar lens is another option. A less well known camera is the Balda Hapo 66e with the Ennagon lens. All three cameras I've mentioned are excellent picture takers and much smaller than the Fuji 670 or Mamiya.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Also look for a Minolta Autocord - They're highly praised for an "inexpensive" TLR. One cheap 6x6 folding rangefinder NOT to get is a Seagull - I had one, it's fun, but the lens is unpredictable. Sometimes it would give me soft-focus effects and sometimes not, and I could never figure out the when/why.

    If you get a Yashica or Minolta TLR and decide you like the shooting style, then go grab a Rollei when you want to upgrade. Don't stint - go for the 2.8 Planar lens if you decide to get a Rollei.
     
  17. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I've taken a liking to TLRs. People (photo subjects and strangers) like them. They make good photos. I've got a yashica C (3-element 80mm) and a Rolleiflex (automat mx with tessar 75/3.5 lens). The yashica was free and I paid $100ish to get it in proper working order. The Rollei was $200 on c-list all working properly. Both make perfect 8x10's at any aperture. The tessar takes an edge on 16" prints. Both cameras take the same filters, etc... If you've never had one, borrow one and run a few rolls through it.

    I've got GAS for a folder, but aren't showing symptons yet. I keep an eye on ebay seller certo6. Nice fixed up folders; several to choose from all the time.
     
  18. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I have one and love it. I have several medium format cameras but never had a square format and I was attracted to it early on but the price was too high. There's been a price drop, I got mine from B&H for $1640.00 and I'm pretty happy that I have a 6x6 in my kit. The viewfinder is the brightest I've ever looked through, negs are sharp, shutter is nice and quiet, it focuses closely enough for what I use it for and is a very usable camera....Cheers, Evan Clarke
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Square formt is great, when I had Maniya C33*'s years ago I didn't really enjoy the square format, but loved the cameras, I was always cropping.

    I bought a Yashica 124 off this forum when I moved to Turkey 5 years ago and now find I love the square format, I won't crop it these days. One word of caution though most older TLR's need their shutters CLA'd, that adds extra costs but is well worth it. I had to have both my Yashicamat and Rollieflex serviced and the Rollei had less than a dozen films through it in over 45 years :D

    There's no real differance betweem a Yashicamat 124 and the 124G, gold contacts and more plastice :smile: The 124's are fun to use a bit lighter than the Rolleiflex.

    Ian
     
  20. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the ideas, all. I impulsively bought what looks like a nicely CLA'd Agfa Isolette from an ebay seller someone mentioned, certo6. I want something that should work, so I figured, a camera that's had a recent CLA is a good way to go, and should resolve any issues of GAS I have for considerably less than the new Fuji. Still, a built in meter, aperture priority, the choice of two formats... *sigh*... I may have only cured a symptom, but not the disease!!
     
  21. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    If you get it from certo6 it will perform flawlessly.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I migrated from a Mamiya C330 to Hasselblad and never looked back.

    Now I also shoot 4"x5" Pacemaker Speed Graphic and a 4"x5" Graflex Model D.

    Hmmm .... there may be a pattern here.

    The slope is slippery.

    Steve
     
  23. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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  24. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  25. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Nice going Suzanne, hope you enjoy the square format as much as I. My first square was a Yashica D, very basic but capable as they come. I figured you wanted conveniences, but this will certainly help you get your feet wet. You will come to love never having to turn the camera 90 degrees fot any shots. Square gives you bonus area to fill and full format prints are beautiful.
     
  26. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Enjoy your Isolette. They are great cameras.... Going back to your original post, they will produce GREAT results, and are a major improvement over a Holga control wise. Looking forward to what you do with it.