I want a 6x6, but do I need one? And if so, which?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by RyanC, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. RyanC

    RyanC Member

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    So, I have been getting deeper and deeper into the world of film in the last 6 months. Starting with just casually shooting my film M as a companion to my M9 to now leaving the M9 at home most of the time and shooting film almost exclusively, developing it myself, and I've even set up a darkroom... Literally all in less than 6 months. Apparently, I'm sick.

    Anyway, for some reason I can't explain or rationalize I now want to play around with an MF camera - more specifically something in the square 6x6 format.

    I've got a budget of around $500. What would you guys suggest? Is there anything out there that I won't grow out of quickly and that can give me something (maybe not necessarily better) over my every day setup of an M7 with a 35mm ASPH Lux? I shoot Kodak Tri-x and Tmax 400 almost exclusively. I've never even so much as held a MF camera.

    Ideas? Thoughts?
     
  2. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    Hasselblad 500 or Bronica SQ. Both are modular, and you'll never outgrow them. $500 starting budget is reasonable for either, and you can expand both later.
     
  3. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Subscriber

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    What will you do with 6x6 negatives ? Scan or print ? Do you have a suitable enlarger ? What is your enlarger lens ? What is your paper and paper developer ? How do you like to develop your films ? Do you know the difference of lenses characteristics of different brands , schools ?
    M7 and M9 in 6 months ? I bet you can hire a national geographic team to shoot for you at amazon or deep africa ! I bet you will dislike your hasselblad in next month and turn to iphone.
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Hasselblad is the only complete system. Further there are new and used parts easily available. Service is available and easily accessed. None other compare. End of story.
     
  5. dosilverhalide

    dosilverhalide Member

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    Spend less that $200 on any of numerous tlr's and see what you think of the larger negative. A tlr isn't as versatile as a Hasselblad or a Bronica but each type has its own traits. Make sure you have an enlarger lens that brings out the best in the 6x6 negative.
     
  6. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Mamiya c330 TLR a poor mans down payment on a blad, better quality, even if it is not as twee.
     
  7. frank

    frank Member

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    I suggest trying a rolleicord tlr with an upgraded viewing screen.

    Or a Perkeo ll if a folder is more your style.
     
  8. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I agree with others that mention a TLR. Particularly a Mamiya which will give you a better choice of lenses. But TLRs are not as versatile as an SLR. for $500 you could get a bronica SQ-a with prism a back and two lenses. Look at KEH.com. If you had a larger budget I would recommend a hasselblad. One will last a lifetime. But for $500 you buy a used body and you won't have much left over for anything else, like a prism, back, and a lens. And hasselblad lenses are expensive if you're looking for the newer CF or T* lenses. You may be able to put something together reasonably if you look for an old 500c camera with the older C lenses. Choices, choices!!
     
  9. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I highly doubt anyone could find a Hasselblad for $500 (unless it was broken and/or incomplete.) If so, I would have bought one or more a long time ago.

    Perhaps a Rolleiflex Automat? They are quite numerous, not too expensive on the bay (compared to the f2.8 models), and take really good pictures.
     
  10. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    $200 for a 500EL/M w/ WLF from KEH in EX condition. I was *this close* to snagging it, but can't justify having another MF system, nor can I justify the $$$$ of the lenses...
     
  11. momus

    momus Member

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    Try an Autocord. They're economical and the lenses are very good. However, my favorite 6x6 camera is an older Rolleicord w/ a Triotar lens. Try to find a later one w/ a shutter that goes to 1/500. You'll have to replace the mirror and focus screenm which is cheap, and get a yellow filter and a hood, but those cameras are small, light and make wonderful images, especially portraits. Great lens even if it is a 3 element. Very sharp in the center, beautiful bokeh. You could get 2 or 3 for your price point, so get one and buy a ton of Tri-X :}
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Mamiya C330 with waist-level finder and a 65mm or 80mm lens (black) - from KEH will get you under your target price.

    Mine has been serving me well since I bought it from store stock in or about 1976.
     
  13. RyanC

    RyanC Member

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    What are you making up for here exactly? Are you short or something? Bad job maybe? Didn't make it where you felt you should?

    In any case, don't sweat it... I won't judge you for having judged me. It's just not in my nature.

    Oh, and ironically... I do work for Nat Geo. How about them apples?

    .......

    To the rest of you, thanks so much for the help. With my 35mm negs, I both scan them for web use and use my Focomat IC (35mm only enlarger) to make prints. I take photos for both work and pleasure. The work stuff is mostly with the M9 and sometimes with scanned negs. The pleasure stuff is mostly film these days. I figured if I really liked working with the 6x6 neg, I'd sell the IC and get a more flexible enlarger.

    I think the 500C is probably what I really want, but I just don't have the budget for it right now. From what I can tell, it takes $1000 to get into a decent kit and start taking photos.
     
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  15. RyanC

    RyanC Member

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    I will check those out for sure. Thanks!
     
  16. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    Only you

    You are the only person who can say which camera would suit yourself. I would not deem to suggest the best hound dog or spouse for somebody else. All the cameras mentioned are fine. You need to rent/borrow/beg some cameras and try them out. I worked for a publisher that provided all of their photogs with a 'Blad, three lenses and two film backs. Nice camera but limited. Lousy for fast shooting. Fine lenses but $$$$$. Not very robust when used in the field. A hothouse (studio) camera IMO.
     
  17. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Everybody needs a 6x6. Personally, I'm a fan of TLRs, but there do seem to be people who don't like them---I think mostly because of the reversal in the WLF, or the inconvenience of long-lens arrangements. As plenty of other people have pointed out, you can try out a decent one in the Rolleicord or Autocord class fairly cheaply, but it isn't all *that* expensive---though over your current budget---to get into a Rolleiflex, which will stand up to any MF system on the planet for image quality.

    It basically confines you to a normal lens, and you probably already know whether that would be acceptable or not. To my taste it's a feature.

    -NT
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I traded in my Mamiya C330 and all the lenses as well as every gadget ever made for it for a Hasselblad. I never looked back.
     
  19. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    If you ignore everything else only the Mamiyas and Autocords (a few of the backs and old folders) have straight run film paths.

    So a contorted path camera is ok in a warm studio where you are loading, shooting and reloading or you will have to dump the wrinkled frame.

    More critical with lens wide open... than at Medium apertures.
     
  20. RyanC

    RyanC Member

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    I'm very much a one camera, one lens sort of guy. In fact, I only own two lenses... A 35mm lux and a 90mm el marit. The 35 is mounted 95% of the time... So maybe a TLR is something I should look at.

    I assume the the folders from the 1950s are pretty far behind the standards of most?
     
  21. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    I was actually very impressed with my Agfa Isolette. More impressed when you factor in what I paid-- $45.

    Scale focusing is kind of a pain. The Super Isolette or Ansco Super Speededx have rangefinder focusing, and a slightly nicer lens. They go for a decent chunk of change more, though.

    The Agfa Isolette was enough for me to realize I didn't want squares all the time, but gave me some awesome images in the meantime.
     
  22. jimjm

    jimjm Subscriber

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    I'd agree with most of the advice given here. Hassys are great if your budget allows, the cost for additional lenses and accessories is high. Bronica SQ gives you 95% of what the Hassy does, much less expensive and very versatile. Not very light or small, considering you're only shooting 6x6, but great for portraits, landscapes, close-up, or if you like to use wide or long lenses. The first time you trip the shutter, the mirror slap is a bit of a shock, though. I've had an SQ-A for over 10 years and have had zero problems - the low prices have allowed me to amass a considerable amount of gear :wink:

    Rolleis are great, and deserve their reputation. Surprisingly small and light and the lenses are excellent. Most folks don't seem to have a problem transitioning to waist-level viewing, and they are very quiet. I use mine for a lot of street photography. A Rolleicord or Rolleiflex Automat in excellent condition will easily come under your budget. I'm sure a clean Yashicamat or Minolta Autocord will also be good options. I had a Mamiya C33 and C220, but found them too heavy and bulky for my taste. Big benefit is interchangeable lenses and they are built like tanks.

    Another type to consider is a rangefinder. A Zeiss Super Ikonta B or, other folder in good condition, is a great shooter and will fall within your budget. Check out Jurgen's site at http://www.certo6.com/ - he services and sells all types of folding cameras and recently did a total overhaul of my 1939 Super Ikonta B. Cosmetically it's almost mint, but had been sitting unused for several decades. Once it was serviced, it's now working like new. Try to look for a post-war model as the pre-war ones had uncoated lenses, so flare is more of a concern. Also the build quality is outstanding - easily the equal of any Leicas.

    With any of the above, or almost any medium-format film camera, you'll be happy with the bigger negatives/transparencies. You may need to try several types of cameras before deciding what you're comfortable with and what suits your style.

    Good Luck!
     
  23. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Get a TLR, less to fiddle with, great picture takers. Good Luck.
     
  24. jimjm

    jimjm Subscriber

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    I can only speak for the Zeiss Super Ikontas, but with a clean VF/RF it's really nice to use, the Zeiss lenses are excellent and it folds up nice and compact. Not really "pocketable" unless you wear a trenchcoat. The build quality is outstanding and the Zeiss folders seem to have fewer problems with holes and light leaks from the bellows as do other makes. Sure, the VF/RF is not going to be in the same class as a Leica M, but if it's clean and adjusted it's worlds better than any screwmount Leica.
     
  25. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Rolleiflex automat. I use it more than anything the past year or so. Yashica makes a good TLR as well; a little lighter than a rollei. The Rollei is way lighter and quieter than a "system" camera. If you photograph people (like street or environmental portraits), they will dig it. If you want head and shoulders portraits or macro, save for the MF SLR like hassy, bronica, etc...
     
  26. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    :laugh:

    (I literally did "lol" ...)