Going MF?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ambar, May 20, 2011.

  1. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    So, I've only shot 35mm so far but I've got my eye open to step up to a MF. Question is.. which family do I go for? I know there's a lot of personal opinion going for everybody, but let me try to explain my situation.

    Let's be pretty basic before going on to brands and stuff.
    6x6 format is quite attractive but the possibility to go 6x7 is just as appealing to me. A camera that could do both is best.
    I have a 35mm slr family of lenses. I stick with fixed lenses always. So, I am accustomed to sticking with one lens (a normal lens fits the bill for most of my stuff).
    Portability and ease of operation. I'd like something that is as straight forward as my FM2n. I'm a quick learner so adapting to something new isn't my problem. Just that once I've adapted.. I don't want to feel like I'm fighting the camera every time just to get a light meter going.
    Quiet operation? Dunno how these cameras operate noise-wise.. but I stopped using one of my nikon bodies almost exclusively because of this problem (n8008). I'm using a FM2n.. how do other MFs compare? similar?

    I guess the usual suspects are Hassleblad 5xx and Mamiya RZs/RBs for SLRs with interchangeable lens systems. We have an interesting used market here in Brazil so, I could find myself a Rolleiflex with a 2.8 planar lens for something around $900 (us dollars). They are good buys I guess, but I do get stuck with one lens and no 6x7 option. I recently was reading about the Fuji GF670 (apparently Voigtlander builds an identical one aswell). The form factor and possibility of shooting both 6x6 and 6x7 without additional backs and accessories were quite appealing (it is a range finder). Does anybody have any experience with this camera? It does go for over $1600, which I find a little steep (Am I nuts?). Don't think I can get a used one either.
    PS: I've gotten word of a used Hasselblad 500CM with a Zeiss 80/2.8 lens going for $1930. I haven't seen it, so, I don't know the actual condition it's in but something tells me that still ain't cheap.

    Anyways.. I'm putting some money aside for this project but I just feel a little lost amidst these options. Also, have I over looked some other option?

    Any input will make me happy! Thanks!
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    You could always crop your 6x7 frames to 6x6.

    If you like SLRs you can consider the Pentax 6x7 too.
     
  3. segedi

    segedi Member

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    The Fuji GF670 is a great single lens, quiet, compact camera that I think would fit your requirements nicely. It has a meter and AE if I'm not mistaken, so slr like in that respect. No personal experience with it... yet. Your next best bet is Hasselblad. But they are loud. No 6x7 either, but so nice to use. But you can find much better deals than the one you heard about. I recently stepped up to MF and hope you enjoy the format as much as I am.
     
  4. Makten

    Makten Member

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    Are you gonna shoot from a tripod or handheld? That's an important question since most "box shaped" SLR:s aren't very convenient for handheld shooting (I know many others disagree about that).
    Also, a waist level finder (just looking directly at the matte screen) can be a PITA to compose images with. But it's also a nice way to slow down of course.

    Noise? Don't even think of the Pentax!!! It makes any 35 mm SLR seem very, very quiet. I think you can say the same about all MF SLR:s.
    There are a lot of different rangefinders too, but you're maybe gonna be surprised of how large they are IRL.

    I think we need to know a bit more about your shooting style. Do you need an inbuilt meter? Do you want smooth bokeh, or are you gonna shoot well stopped down? Do you need to frame the image accurately and/or fast?
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Most TLRs are quiet. While the RB67 is not really that quiet but is really cheap from KEH.

    Jeff
     
  6. StigHagen

    StigHagen Member

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    Why not go Large Format 4x5? The weight of my LF is not more than my MF. But it all depends on your shooting style off coarse!
     
  7. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    Your right.. This info should be useful..
    I shoot hand held 95% percent of the time. I tend to take advantage of shallow depth of focus so (I'll stop down as far as 5.6 or maybe 8 on my 35mm, but my preferred MO is f/4 or f/2.8). I do quite a bit of low light handheld stuff (which goes against the whole MF ideia), but I will frequently and quite happily push film (tri-x to 1600) in these situations.. even if my nikkor goes all the way to f/1.4 I'll try to stay above f/2.8. I think I can deal with a f/3.5 lens but I wouldn't get anything slower I think, at least not as my all round/default/first lens.
    I like to frame things relatively fast. I'm a patient photographer but I'm not meditating during my shooting.. If you know what I mean. :cool:
    THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
    I NEED AN INBUILT METER! Yes this is very true and well pointed out Markten. It's a reason for shying away from most of the Rolleis, as well as a point of severe confusion on my behalf when looking at some Hasselblads. After all.. do they have a meter? yes or no/sometimes/it depends?
     
  8. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    If you plan to do no handheld, I agree with going 4x5. I do however, think you should start small. MF is a whole new ball game. I would start out with a yashica tlr of some sort (one of the ones with a light meter and the nicer lens), easy to use, lightweight, small, rarely a problem with it, and very quiet. Judging from your noise complaints, you will hate pretty much any MF slr, the mirror slap is incredibly loud. Personally, i like the loud camera, but obviously, you do not. So I'd stick with a tlr, and if at some point you decide to go for an slr, then you can at least have an idea of what your willing to compromise with. Those prices all seem extremely high, I've seen hassys go for 500 w/ lens, back, and WLF (in bad condition, but still) on ebay. I would not spend that much. I would also not start with an slr, as i said. Jut get a yashica tlr, and even though it's 6x6, you can always go for a 6x7 later. If i were going 6x7, i would go for the pentax personally.
    the mamiya is just too big.
     
  9. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    KEH? (What does this stand for?)
    Pardon the ignorance..

    Thanks for the feedback Luseboy! That's really good info. I do like to be quiet when I'm shooting. I often find myself shooting in Recording studios (audio, I'm an audio engineer aswell) and the quiet concert here and there. I also plan on doing a series on rehearsals which, needless to say, requires an unobtrusive demeanor.

    StigHagen,
    I WILL GO LF ONE DAY!! Yes, I have every intention of shooting 4x5' or even 8x10'. But this isn't what I'm going for now. I want to be able to push film and play around with some bigger enlargements later on. I could dish out some heavy cash and upgrade all of my lenses.. but that just doesn't make any sense. I still won't get that all round look and detail that MF affords. I think I might be hitting he 35mm wall soon..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2011
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I'm not sure myself but they do sell used equipment and are very good.

    Jeff
     
  11. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    Jeff,
    KEH!! HAHA!! It's a store! I'm sorry.. I never realized this! I'm checking it right now!
     
  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    6x7 = 4x5, but without the fiddling. If you don't like extended fiddling like shifts, rise, focus in-out, swing, tilt, rotate, filter compensation, dark slide in-out, cock shutter, (scene and light has changed completely at this point); repeat then FIRE, then stick with the fixed format that will no doubt come with its own meter and save you a lot of grief (and developing a caustic temperament to boot).

    The 6x6 format is excellent — unbeatable for simple subjects in B&W landscape, an evergreen choice for those tying the knot and lots of basics in framing and composition can be learnt instinctively from that attractive format. A Russian photographer friend I correspond in Beijing with shoots all his Velvia landscapes using 6x6, plus star trails — anything and everything.
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    :laugh::wink:

    Jeff
     
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  15. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    Quick question.. do all Hasselblads 5xx lack a light meter? I can't seem to understand the lineup..
     
  16. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    What about the RZ series? are they noisy?
     
  17. elekm

    elekm Member

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    If you're shooting in situations where it helps to be discrete, a Rolleiflex is a big benefit. The leaf shutter and lack of mirror make for a very quiet camera.

    Anything with a mirror is going to be loud and, depending on the situation, might draw unwanted attention to you.

    The fact that the leaf shutter is behind a metal shroud further dampens the shutter noise. It's not silent, but it is unobtrusive. Downside will be a dimmer focusing screen, although you can always change to a better aftermarket version.

    KEH (keh.com) is an Atlanta-based seller of used camera gear. I'm a folding camera fan, and most of the older 6x6 cameras can be held like an SLR.

    A Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta III (and also the 532/16), for example, can be focused with the thumb of the left hand. Downside: These had Tessar lenses. No slouch, but the later Carl Zeiss Planar is a better performer wide open. These are 6x6 cameras.

    As with all cameras, there's always a compromise involved. Speed vs. weight vs. noise vs. flexibility.
     
  18. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    Already mentioned GF670 Fuji or the same model C.V. Bessa III 667 range finder camera. 6x6cm and 6x7cm possibility, great 3,5/80mm Heliar lens, light in weight: 1000 grams exactly, portable and compact, build in light meter, AE, collapsible, super quiet.

    But the price is pretty high and very difficult to get second hand because this camera is on the market for only two years.


    http://www.voigtlaender.de/cms/voigtlaender/voigtlaender_cms.nsf/id/pa_fdih7jzkae.html

    [​IMG]

    Mill in R'stein: 6x7cm Rollei Retro 100 TONAL

    [​IMG]

    Odessa opera building: 6x6cm Fuji Reala 100
     
  19. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    It sounds like you might like a Pentax 645N, if you want a meter. They have built-in matrix metering and are good for handheld shooting. Medium format cameras with metering are pretty rare. Medium format cameras with good/useful meters are even more rare.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Hasselblad with a PME prism handles like a slightly larger 35mm SLR. The swing of the Hasselblad is not quite as fast, but the ergonomics are as good or better than a 35mm camera. [I have multiples of both] Mirror slap is an urban myth that is perpetrated by the rangefinder fanatics who know that they have been left in the dust. :D The PME contains a light meter.

    Makten is so full of huey that ...
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    With regard to 6x6/6x7/6x4.5 any can be cropped to whatever you want. Even cropped one direction any MF will be a considerable step up from 35mm.

    One thought here in regard to the light meter, by all means if you "really need/want" an in camera metering do that.

    That said, every camera's internal meter is a bit different and every time you switch lenses the angle it measures changes, it takes practice to become proficient with each meter and switching from meter to meter depending on what camera you grab that minute/day adds another layer of decisions about how to take a photo.

    A nice handheld meter can help you standardize how you meter across all your cameras. I know I get much better and more consistent results using my handheld meter.
     
  22. bluedog

    bluedog Member

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    Yes they are noisy - but what a beautiful noise. I looked at Bronica's and RB's and finally settled on an RZ. I am extremely happy with the RZ. Be warned they are a brick - body and lenses can add up to quite a bit weight wise. However, the images they produce are just fantastic. They are now at bargain prices. Lenses and accessories are also readily obtainable. These cameras were the professional's workhorse and are built to last.
     
  23. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Given the requirements (but one) I would go for an old, second-hand folding MF with leaf shutter. Extremely portable, very silent, the quality of MF in the pocket of your jacket. Frame ("sport") viewfinder is good for "walking". You can use those hand-held and you can use them with a tripod.
    A TLR should also conform pretty well to your requirements. Less portable, a bit heavier, but equally silent.

    I agree with Mark, don't worry about in-camera metering. Unless you do wildlife, sport, etc. you are normally better off with external metering, either incident light meter or, when you cannot use incident metering, spot reflected light metering. Generally speaking, you need precise metering only with slides. If B&W is your field, metering should come behind any other camera requirement. External meters are both more precise and, for most kind of photographic activities, even more practical than in-camera meters.

    If you practice the "zone system" you need an external spot meter anyway. In old cameras, in-camera meters are probably not working, not working long in the future, not sensitive enough, etc.
     
  24. Makten

    Makten Member

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    Then forget 99% of the cameras with a waist level finder (no metering), forget all the SLR:s (way too loud). Now there's two choices left; a TLR with a metering prism or a rangefinder with reasonably fast lens(es), which is very uncommon. That folding Fuji might actually be the best one since it does have metering and an f/3.5 lens, plus it's much smaller when folded than any of the other rangefinders (that I know of).


    I don't understand what that means, but I suppose it isn't anything kind.
     
  25. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    I second these feelings. I have bought a GF670 recently and it is absolutely outstanding. It's great to have 6x6 and 6x7, one lens and less worries, folding, great ergonomics, fantastic metering system and...the shutter. Oh my God...I thought Leica and Rolleiflex were soft and quite but that baby is beyond stealth. It's like a feather going by, with no vibration whatsoever, and I can easily shoot hand-held at incredibly low speeds. Great camera!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2011
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The shutters on SLR are not that loud. Just another urban legend.

    Leaf shutters will synch with strobes at all speeds. Focal plane shutter will only synch are one or a few speeds. With a leaf shutter one sets the aperture based on the guide number regardless of shutter speed. With focal plane shutters, only one shutter speed is typically available so there is no need for special calculations. However with focal plane shutters, focal plane flash bulbs need to be used and the shutter speed will make a difference on the aperature setting.

    Steve