Handheld 6x7 MF Camera Advice

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by b.cipolla, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. b.cipolla

    b.cipolla Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hey guys. I have been shooting 4x5 for the past couple of years and want to make the move to MF for more portability and versatility without sacrificing negative size by shooting 35 mm. Ideally, I would like to shoot 6x7, but I've got the feeling that tripods are often used with cumbersome 6x7 SLR systems like the Pentax 6x7 and Mamiya RB or RZ systems, which I would like to get away from after shooting 4x5. At first, I wanted an SLR because I did not love the focusing system of a rangefinder or twin lens reflex. However, I got the feeling that if I want to shoot 6x7, I'm going to have to get used to a rangefinder or a twin lens reflex if I don't want a very large camera. In general, I am looking for a good handheld MF camera, that I can find for a moderate price, for a range of subjects, that will take a good negative. I don't tend to focus on one subject matter. I was wondering if any of you had any other suggestions for good handheld 6x7 MF cameras. Thanks!
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,709
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    Good Afternoon, b.cipolla,

    About the moderate price, I'm not sure, but I find the Fuji 6 x 7 rangefinder to be an exceptionally competent camera. The 90mm lens is terrific. There are also 6 x 9 and WA versions available, about which others may wish to comment. The Koni-Omega rangefinders also have very good lenses, perhaps just a little less sharp than the somewhat newer Fuji offerings, but a variety of lenses plus interchangeable magazines and various other accessories make them more versatile than the Fujis. The other obvious choice would be the Mamiya Universal or 23, also part of a system with good lenses and interchangeability. The bad news is that the used market for all these cameras is not as buyer-friendly as it was a few years ago, and condition is a major factor for individual cameras, especially the older Konis and Mamiyas.

    Konical
     
  3. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

    Messages:
    786
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Location:
    Fort Collins
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I handhold my Bronica GS-1 all the time. It's the smallest of the big 3 6x7 SLRs.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Subscriber

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Location:
    Dortmund, Ge
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like my Makina 67 very much. It is fine for handheld images - and a real beauty...
    Heinz
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mamiya 7 is about it for a modern 6x7 that's lighter than usual SLR subjects like the Mamiya RB and Pentax. They're not giveaway priced, though. I love the Bronica GS-1 but gave up trying to build a kit with a few lenses and backs, thanks to their relative scarcity and high prices. Can't bully a friend to sell me the kit I borrow occasionally...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2011
  6. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

    Messages:
    2,563
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Mamiya 7... no doubt.
     
  7. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,176
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Washington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you cannot use a Mamiya RB67 handheld, you aren't trying very hard.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,005
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Personally, the Linhof Tech V 23 works for me for this purpose. I got it when we had a child, and traveling with a 4x5" or larger camera just got more difficult, and I realized that a 2x3" Technika gives me most of the functionality of the 4x5" in about half the space for the full kit, and that includes shooting handheld press camera style with the rangefinder or view camera style on a tripod with the groundglass and camera movements.

    If you want an SLR, though, the Bronica GS-1 is probably the most suited to handheld work.
     
  9. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    5,308
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Fuji rangefinders are all very good cameras with excellent glass. I have the GW670 II (w/ 90 mm f3.5 lens) and the GSW690 III (w/ 65 mm f5.6 lens) and am quite happy with the results I get from both. I also shoot 4x5 and 5x7, and the Fuji cameras give me plenty of sharpness & tonality to satisfy my image needs.
    These cameras are moderately priced, quite affordable.

    The Mamiya 67 is a really nice system with excellent lenses, but at a higher premium. It is a lighter kit to carry around than lugging two Fujis (I am used to the heft of the Fujis).

    As far as results go, I think you would be very happy with either system.

    My $0.02... YMMV.
     
  10. Toffle

    Toffle Member

    Messages:
    1,859
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Point Pelee,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Another vote for the GS-1. No rotating back, but a very solid piece of kit. I prefer it with the WLF as opposed to a prism; makes it a lot lighter, and gives the compositional advantage of a ground glass. Whatever you choose, 6x7 is a great format.
     
  11. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,265
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm voting for the brick Koni Omega Rapid etc despite it's size.
    Cheap and simple with great glass and a leaf shutter.

    I dig the ergonomics for non tripod work where I want enlargement capabilities.
     
  12. chassis

    chassis Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have shot an RB67 handheld with good results. If indoors doing people shots, a grip flash will serve you well. Outdoors depending on subject and lighting, you can get away with the bare camera. A multi-angle grip or L-grip is recommended.
     
  13. NJS

    NJS Member

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format

    ..and what compositional dis-advantage when you try to use it in portrait orientation! :laugh:
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There's a rotary prism for that!
     
  16. Toffle

    Toffle Member

    Messages:
    1,859
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Point Pelee,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That is very true. I have acutally tried it in portrait mode, but I wouldn't recommend it.
    Handheld + WLF + Portrait orientation = a very good reason to choose a different camera. :blink:

    (But I still love my GS-1)
     
  17. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,926
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I geuss I'm strange I always use a tripod, from 35mm to medium format.

    Jeff
     
  18. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

    Messages:
    281
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Re. the rangefinder Mamiya 7, I'm told there are issues with rangefinder accuracy when using the 150mm lens, but it's fine with the wides and normal lenses. I often use a Mamiyaflex C330s and find it's possible to handhold steadily lenses up to the 135mm pair. The leaf shutters are virtually vibration free. I have often gone out with a C330, plus 55mm, 80mm, and 135mm lenses in a small bag with no tripod. It's actually lighter to cart around than some 35mm equivalent outfits!
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,144
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The secret of handheld work in any format is choice of film.

    I shoot almost all my 6x6 Yashicamat & Rolleiflex hand held and quite a bit of 5x4 with a Crown Graphic and now a Super Graphic and taht means using a film that allows at least 1/100th at f16 or 22 with the 5x4, f11/f16 with the TLR's.

    With a MF SLR camera 6x6, 645 or 6x7 you do need to use higher shutter speeds hand held because of the effcts of the mirror.

    So you nneed to go for films like Tmax & Delta 400, or HP5 unless it's very bright weather or your happy working at wide apertures.

    Ian
     
  20. Arthurwg

    Arthurwg Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    Mamiya 7

    Got to be the Mamiya 7. VERY easy to handhold down to 1/15 sec. Great lenses, great versatility. Only shortcoming is portraiture. Not so easy to get tight enough for a headshot.
     
  21. Роберт

    Роберт Member

    Messages:
    334
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Location:
    Ukraine - Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Light (1000g), portable and collapsable. Film format 6x6cm or 6x7cm and shutter speeds till 1/15S-1/30S handhold and a super silent shutter:
    C.V. Bessa III 667.
     
  22. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

    Messages:
    1,132
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you can live with the Rangefinder issues (close focus, lack of long lenses, non-SLR viewfinder), the Mamiya 7 is the best, no doubt. If you want an SLR, the Mamiya RZ is really not that bad, hand-holding. I handhold mine all the time, and that's with a grip, motor drive, prism, and any of the lenses. It's heavy, sure, but reasonably ergonomic (stop laughing!) with the L-grip and prism. The motor is a nice addition, since it frees up from having to deal with winding between shots. I've even handheld it with the above stuff and the 500mm f/6 APO. Not for long stretches, but enough to shoot a whole airshow that way.

    for handheld 4x5, there are options too though. I have a Chamonix Saber, which is a great little 4x5 built on the polaroid-style design. Very hand-holdable, works great with many types of backs, and can be fitted with a modern lens. There's also the usual litany of Polaroid 110/etc. type conversions to 4x5, but all of those are more clunky and far less elegant than the Saber, IMNSHO.

    -Ed
     
  23. jbbooks

    jbbooks Member

    Messages:
    173
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What Ed said, without any doubt at all.
     
  24. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,926
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm not!:sad: I'm weak!

    Jeff
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,734
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually if the tripod is the issue, a monopod may be the fix. I use my RB that way a bunch.
     
  26. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

    Messages:
    682
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Not meant as a recommendation above the other cameras mentioned already, but I will speak up for the Pentax 6x7 as a hand held camera. I worried about it when I bought one, but never had any trouble. I didn't even find a need for particularly high shutter speeds (I think most of the kerchunk is when the mirror slaps back down).

    The Pentax 6x7 was about the most fun camera I ever shot with. I even used it as my bicycle camera for a while, though it did noticeably affect the bicycle's handling (carried a the handlebar bag).