First time holding an MF

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by AeisLugh, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I had the opportunity to check out a medium format camera today. one of the second hand shops here in town had a Bronica ETRs sitting in a display case, and let me check it out.

    I tell you, holding the thing in my hands, if I'd had the $1500 bucks they were asking for it, I probably would have bought it. It just seemed to fit so nicely in these huge things I call hands. the whole left-right reversal thing felt a bit weird to deal with, but I imagine I'd get used to that in time.

    So, now more than ever, I wanna get my hands on an MF camera! Hopefully before the summer is out I'll be able to order one from KEH :D
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have an older Bronica S2a, but the modern Bronicas are really well designed, from the point of view of ergonomics. If I were in the market for one, I'd be looking at an SQ series camera myself. You can find them used for a lot less than $1500.
     
  3. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm

    OH, I know, at KEH for example, I can get an ETR series camera for about 3-400, and I've been seriously looking at the Mamiya RB67 (which they have listed for even less), so 1500 bucks seemed like a bit much to me, especially for used. Sure, I may have to pay 100 bucks for shipping, and/or wait a month for it to actually get to me, but I'll wait and save the money lol. Being able to hold such a camera for the first time was really nice though, let me see how it would feel in my hands. Confused the hell out of me that I wasn't seeing anything through the viewfinder at first, made me think it was broken. Then I cocked the shutter and there was the image on the ground glass.

    I have to say, as someone who is damned near blind without his glasses, using the waist level finder is a really nice change from putting the camera up to my eye and worrying about smudging/scratching my glasses. It was SOOO much more natural feeling
     
  4. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just in case you don't know, the RB67 is much larger and heavier than the Bronicas - in the order of x2. If you are thinking along those lines, you may want to handle one of those before making up your mind. 6x7 is a nice format though.

    I have an SQA and find much as you did that the waist level finder means I do not really need my reading glasses. Somewhat surprisingly, I do not need them with the magnifying lens flipped up although it is the standard lens and not one of the different diopter replacements you can buy.

    If you do go MF you will not regret it as the quality improvement those large negatives give over 35mm is very noticeable. Of course, once down that slippery slope it's only a matter of time before the siren call of LF beckons... :smile:

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Did it have the grip or winder? I find the ETRS to be a little unbalanced on it's own. It's front heavy I guess. But adding the winder grip makes hand holding very easy.
     
  6. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    no, it didn't have a grip. It felt pretty balanced to me, but I have pretty big hands, so *shrugs*
     
  7. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Oh, I'm aware the RB67 is heavier, but I'm not overly worried. Like I've said before, I'm a big guy, with pretty big hands. I find so many camears just feel so fragile to me. Something with some decent weight will likely be a refreshing change :D

    LoL, I've actually already been kind of reading up on LF, mostly out of curiousity. The cameras just seem so huge for getting out and about with. Would be great for studio work though (if I ever get myself a studio lol). When I get to that stage though, I think I'll likely try making one. I'm one of those people that loves building things, and it looks like LF camera building isn't all that difficult.
     
  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,371
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    AeisLugh,
    If you want to try LF cobble together a 5X4 or 10X8 pinhole & make some contact prints.
     
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually the grip makes it bigger and heavier-) But it also moves the centre of gravity back.
     
  10. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The RZ and RB67s aren't much if any lighter then many field 4x5s.
     
  11. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,650
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    Manitoba, Ca
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Chalk up another member for the 'Camera Fondler's Club" Welcome!
     
  12. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I saw an RZ in a local shop a while ago and was amazed at the size. It's significantly larger than my Kiev 60 and seems a bit larger than my 4x5 Speed Graphic. Probably more than I would want to carry around regularly, and I'm 6'2". (I do carry my Kiev (ARAX) 88 regularly when walking around the city. B&H lists a weight of almost 6 lbs for the RB with back, WL, and 127mm, which is probably slightly more than the Speed. And many modern field cameras are lighter. So don't think that medium format is invariably easier to transport.
     
  13. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would love to have an rz76 and im 13, i wouldnt mind the weight for the quality
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    once I start doing my own darkroom stuff, I may just do that :smile:
     
  16. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    are they really THAT heavy?
     
  17. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    LoL, yup, that's me, a camera fondler. there's something so sensual about a nice medium format camera....

    hehee
     
  18. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well, I'll have to admit that price difference is one factor in going for one of the RB67's listed on KEH. I can get an RB for as low as 214, the bronica ETR series are at least another 100 bucks. I'm trying to satisfy an urge without killing my budget lol
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    An RZ or RB has all that mechanical SLR stuff going on inside. A view camera is mostly air, so 4x5" cameras for the field range from about 2.5-7 lbs. (Toho Shimo, Gowland, and Ikeda Anba at the light end, Linhof Technika and Sinar F at the heavier end, and most folding field cameras somewhere in between).
     
  20. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    RB67 with 127mm and back: 5.9 lbs*
    RZ67 with 110mm and back: 5.0 lbs*
    Horseman 4x5 Woodman (body only): 3.2lbs* (lenses run well under 1 lb)
    Hasselblad 503CW with 80mm, WL, and back: 3.3 lbs*
    Canon EOS-3: 1.72lbs, 24-85mm .89lb*
    4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic: 5.72lb**

    * From B&H web site
    ** From http://www.cosmonet.org/camera/spgr_e.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2006
  21. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I wouldnt mind that
     
  22. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pretty much: a quick google says 5.9 lbs for the RB67 Pro, making it within a few ounces of my Shen Hao, and the Shen is a fairly heavy 4x5: there are many that are lighter.

    The RB67 is a lot bigger than it looks in a photo - like DBP I was very surprised the first time I saw one in the flesh - especially when you consider that the negative is only 1cm wider than my SQA's... Of course, if you are putting it on a tripod then it's size and weight is of little consequence unless you are trekking a long distance with it, and even then an extra 2 or 3 lbs on top of all the other stuff you need to carry is not a major inconvenience.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  23. AeisLugh

    AeisLugh Member

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    hrmm...that might be something I'll want to consider then. But with waist level viewing, or doing tripod work, it wouldn't be too bad I imagine. It's not like it holding it up to eye level would be
     
  24. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bronica SQ w/80mm and back 3 lbs*

    *from my bathroom scale
     
  25. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It's surprising that the RB is selling for less than the 645, considering the price difference was the other way when they were new. If you can you might want to get an RZ, they can use the RZ and RB lenses, so it gives you a little more choice.
     
  26. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Frankly, I don't know why anyone would buy a Bronica over an RB67... Its not just the "1cm wider" negative. The system is just much more capable and flexible, frankly, I think the glass is better, too (although I doubt I could tell the difference, this is one of those academic differences). Not to mention, I have never heard of any mystery illnesses in an RB - I have heard, read and seen enough rants about various Bronicas that it boils down to a fact: the strictly pro-workhorse that is a Mamiya is bulletproof, dead-bolts reliable and acutally pretty resiliant to assaults of human incompetence (which all of launch at our cameras at one point or another - its Murphy's law!).
    If a Bronica could be had for half, or even two-thirds of a RB system, I'd say sure. But given the prices...

    As to the size and weight issue - yeah its big. A friend of mine and I compared his RB with a prism (which is heavier than a WLF) to his early Arca Swiss monorail - and yes, its heavier (then again, tryhandholding a monorail:smile:). But its well designed, rather ergonomic for all but the smallest in stature, and because of that wonderful rotating back, once you get it comfy on your body, you don't have to do any acrobatics with it. I am a farily average sized six footer, but even my wife who is 5'8 and has much smaller hands than mine (thank God!), can handle and shoot an RB with no issues. Lets not make a Leviathan out of the thing - its still a camera, and people use it. Normal, human sized people. Prisms and lenses and backs still have to be attached by mechanical means - throwing them at the camera and hoping they'll go into orbit around it does not happen. NASA has never used one to accelerate space ships. When it lays around the house, it does not lay around the house... All the ones I have seen do not have their own area codes. To the best of my knowledge, Duece Bigolow has never exclaimed "That's a huge bitch!" when seeing one. Unlike the great wall of China and parking lots full of unsold KIA's, it can not be seen from outer space. My cat does not fit inside one - and its a small cat.

    Anyway, take with a grain of salt as always:smile:

    Peter.