hand-held MF?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jgcull, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. jgcull

    jgcull Member

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    Is there a medium format camera that is easier to use hand-held than my Hasselblad? How might the trade be, dollar wise? I have a 150mm lens and an 80.

    My 35mm images are consistently better, though of course the large negative is more desirable. I do have rather bony, delicate :wink: hands.

    I just don't get what I like when I'm dragging a tripod. Thanks.

    Janet
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I'm not sure exactly what you don't like about the Hassleblad but there are plenty of handholdable MF cameras.

    The various Fuji RF. Ranging from 645 to 690. The 645 can be very basic or gadget wonderfull.

    The various 645 SLRs. I like the Bronica ETRSI with a waistlevel but the Pentax 645 is very 35mm like. If you strip the Bronica down to just the basics [body,back,lens and waist finder ] it's fairly light. Add a grip and it's even nicer to hold.

    No idea about trade value but in general the Hassleblad will have higher selling prices then any/most of the choices I've mentioned.
     
  3. jgcull

    jgcull Member

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    >>>I'm not sure exactly what you don't like about the Hassleblad<<<

    I don't do well with it hand-held. I find it awkward and bulky. Before I ditch it (*if* I do) I think I'll make myself shoot with it on the run more and see if I can make it work for me, but I'd love something with a different feel to it that shoots 120. Holga doesn't count for this question.

    Janet
     
  4. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I have a Mamiya 7II that works quite well hand held. Nice large negs, very good lenses.
     
  5. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Medium-format SLRs tend to be made mainly with tripod use in mind - before you sell your Hasselblad or spend a lot of money, try it with an L-handle or other grip, preferably one with a built-in shutter release.

    Regards,

    David
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I agree with David, try an L grip. I have one for my RB67 and find it fairly easy to hand hold despite the RB67 being similar to an anvil in size and weight!



    Steve.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I haven't used a 6x6 hand held for years but do use my Mamiya 645 still for work occasionally. But a MF camera with a leaf shutter and no mirror is far easier to hold steady, even on a tripod the mirror slap will knock the edge of sharpness which is why you use the mirror up function

    Currently I'm shooting with a 6x17 hand-held and the results are definitely sharper than using the 645 hand held.

    So using a range-finder MF camera makes a lot of sense.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2007
  8. bwakel

    bwakel Member

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    As previously mentioned, the Mamiya 7II's the obvious choice. Works great with lenses from 43mm to 150mm. It's lighter than most modern SLRs and there's no mirror vibration. You can get away with slower shutter speeds and still get crisp(ish) negs.
     
  9. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Restricted Access

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    g'day Janet

    maybe your question should be, how do i get the best out of the equipment i have on hand? or how/what techniques should i learn to improve my images when hand holding my mf camera?
     
  10. erl

    erl Member

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    Without being too obvious, are you holding the Blad correctly? This is pretty important to achieve steady release. I have worked most of my life with Blad as the only work tool, and most of that handheld. Yes, you can spoil some pics, but I always blame the operator (me) for most of that. Understanding which lenses will go "how slow" in your hands is vital. Do not exceed the reality, or suffer. I actually find currently that I spoil more pics with my Leica, because I tend to push the limits, than I do with the Blad simply because I understands its limits better. So often, failure is the responsibility of the photographer rather than the camera.

    The attached image taken very recently was handheld using a 150mm @ about 1/90th sec. Too slow in my estimation, but I got away with it! Normally, I would opt for a min. handheld at 1/250th.
     

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  11. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Hi Janet
    What kind of subjects are you shooting and what filmspeed are you using?
    Why are your 35mm shots better than your MF shots? camera shake? Blur caused by moving subject? Timing? Is it due to the MF gear being inapropiate for the kind of shooting you are doing? Try to specifuy the problem a bit more and perhaps do some analysis of it.
    Kind regards
    Søren
     
  12. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Seems like you beat me to it :smile:
     
  13. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    Hi Janet,

    as a rule of thumb the shutter should not be slower than the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens. It's the absolute minimum! Better have the half of it.
    So have at least 1/160 with the 80mm and 1/300 with the 150mm (the closest approximation will be 1/125 and 1/250).
    With cameras without slapping mirror you may get away with much slower speeds. You will have to use TLR or RF cameras then. YMMV though.
    Using a monopod can improve your pictures by far without loosing much of the convenience of handheld shooting. I'd suggest to give this a try first. It is the least expensive way to go.

    cheers

    Ulrich
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Janet,

    If you use a 45 degree prism, your Hassy will gain more stability from the contact with your head.

    Faster film, faster shutter speed, lower f/numbers, ... the usual suspects.

    Or you can send your Hassy to me, where it will have a good home and get feed lots of healthy film. :wink:

    Steve
     
  16. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Lots of good advice. To get back to your original question, I shoot a rb67. That's not the answer to your question. When I go out shooting hand held, I have used the rb with the 50mm lens and have gotten good results. More often I will use my c220 with a 65mm lens. That's not the answer either. Too big and awkward. When I am out with my daughters, just playing tourist, I often use a zone focus 6x6 folder. That's not the answer either. It's not a professional camera, just a lot of fun and takes great photos.

    The answer is... A Rollieflex 600X sitting on a pistol grip with the strap around your neck. It's an amazingly well balanced camera with superb optics. I don't own one, money being what it is, but I have tested them and it would be on the short list of perfectly designed cameras from an ergonomic point of view.

    tim in san jose
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Pistol grips are very much underrated for boxy medium format cameras. I have one for my Bronica S2a, and it makes for a very stable package with a prism finder (it's awkward, though, with the WLF)--like a small movie camera.
     
  18. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Janet,

    I handhold my Hasselblad 503CW with the CW Winder and PME45 prism. Very ergo, very stable. I don't know what model you have, but if it's a CW or CXI model, try it with the CW Winder and you will feel and see the difference.

    Regards, Art.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2007
  19. tac

    tac Member

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    I've hand-held my RZ67 a couple times, for street photography; lightened it up as much as possible, 65mm w/ rubber hood, and waistlevel- end result is, it's still a honking big, heavy camera. I don't do that any more.

    Then I borrowed a friend's Mamiya 7; if you like RF's at all- I think this is the hottest film camera to come down the pike in years. I have small hands, and it fits like a well worn glove, controls where I want them, and beautiful sharp lenses. Not cheap, but neither are hassy's.

    If you can arrange for a test-run with a Mamiya 7/7II, would encourage you to try it. The Mamiya 6 is probably the same, but I don't know that; might also be worth looking into.
     
  20. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    I have one for my SL66. It is practically unusable without it handheld. I usually screw it onto my monopod when I cannot use a tripod. I prefer to use a TLR when I can get away with normal focal length tough.

    Ulrich
     
  21. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I second the suggestion of a monopod. Relatively inexpensive and easy to use. A pistol grip is a good idea, too, but not as sturdy as the monopod. I almost never handhold a MF. I own a Hasselblad, a Rollei TLR and a Fuji 6x9. The Fuji is the only one remotely close to handholdable for me, and then only with fast film. I'm just a bit too unsteady to pull it off.

    Adding flash is a good way to help cut the shake as well. If you're photographing people, flash + ambient light will improve your sharpness and can add that "artistic" blur on long exposures. It also will increase the bulk you're trying to handhold . . .

    Peter Gomena
     
  22. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Some of the MF rangefinder cameras are as easy to use off the tripod as 35mm rangfinder, and the size and weight differential is not all that great. In particular I would recommend the Fuji GA645Zi because of its size, fit in the hand, and smooth release. The Mamiya 7II also has a very smooth and quiet release, comparable or superior to Leica IMO, and the large 6X7 cm negative delivers a lot of quality. I have also used the Fuji GW690III hand held a lot, and with high speed film it gives outstanding results, but the release is not as smooth as with the GA645Zi and Mamiya 7.




    Sandy King
     
  23. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Just get a Pentax 645N or NII; it handles like a 35mm with all the AF and automated programs but - for the purists - manual override. Sharp lenses to boot. What else do you want? Are there ifs and buts (o my goodness no filmback! just and insert and what if in midroll you happen to want to switch to another film??? never happened to me), yes, but no camera without those. Go for what you want, not for what people tell you to buy. Full stop.

    Hans
     
  24. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Alpa. Silly money -- but worth it if you can afford it. Limited, of course, to wide-angle lenses. Zeiss found 50% higher resolution with the 38/4.5 on the Alpa than on the SWC, simply because the Alpa is easier to hold still and release smoothly. On a tripod, it shouldn't matter.

    The advice about 1/focal length is (sorry, Ulrich) flat wrong, even with reflexes. That's a not-very-reliable rule of thumb for 35mm, too lax for long focal lengths (go for 1/500 or 1/1000 with a 300mm lens), unnecessarily stringent with ultra-wides: 1/15 will be OK as often as not with a 21mm, and you can often get away with 1/8. Over 30 years' experience on that one.

    This is because a bigger neg is enlarged less. This is how press photographers with 4x5 inch/9x12cm lenses (135mm and 127mm lenses) got away with 1/10 and even 1/5 second or longer. I certainly don't worry about 1/30 or 1/60 with an MF SLR and 80mm standard lens. Again, some decades' actual practice and careful observation speaking here.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  25. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    First let me say I didn't read every post on this issue.

    I to don't like using my Hassy handheld, but love it on a tripod. My answer was to get a Koni Omega 100 for carry around handheld. It takes great pictures, easier for me to hand hold, and was dirt cheap.

    My two cents.

    Mike
     
  26. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I have the same issue with my Hassie, but I kept it and use it on a monopod or tripod. I have a Pentax 645N that is just like a 35mm (though heavy and loud). My hands aren't terribly big, either.