Ideas on a MF Folder

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by dustym, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. dustym

    dustym Member

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    Thanks for the help on the Strangley drawn to MF thread, can any body suggest a MF folding camera I could look to buy as an economical introduction to MF
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Zeiss Ikon and Voigtländer are the obvious choises, but the good models with good coated lenses tend to cost a good lump of money. A cheaper - but no less good - alternative is the Japanese Daiichi Zenobia!

    I have one of these, as well as a selection of Zeiss Ikon and Voigtländer cameras. I'll have to admit that except for the ZI with coated Tessar lens, the Zenobia is tops :smile:
     
  3. dustym

    dustym Member

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    I've taken yr advice and bought a Zenobia, I remember where I saw one for sale and paid £45 for it in E++ ex collection camera with a guarantee, I should have it tomorrow.
     
  4. sanking

    sanking Member

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    As Ole notes, the really good folders like the Ikonta C and Bessa models with coated lenses are very expensive. They are so expensive in fact that I really think one would do better in terms of price, if image quality is a major consideration, with one of the modern rangefinder cameras. For example, a Zeiss Super Ikonta C in good condition will cost about the same, or *more* than a modern Fuji GWII or GSWIII 6X7 or 6X9 camera with multi-coated lens. And from experience I will state for the record tht the Fuji 6X7 and 6X9 cameras, with their multi-coated EBC lenses, give vastly superior performance whn compared to the Super Ikonta C. Not that the Super Ikonta lenses are bad, but the entire system of the old folders is just no match for the new Fujis.

    I suspect that some here will disagree with my comments, but please understand they are based on real life experience in comparing image quality with a number of old folders, including the Zeiss Super Ikonta C, with the modern 6X7 and 6X9 Fuji cameras. In fact, I am convinced that even a new Fuji in 6X4.5 format will give much better performance than any of the old 6X9 folders. For example, I have a Fuji GA 645Zi that gives vastly superior performance to any of the 6X9 folders I have tested.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2005
  5. PRB

    PRB Member

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    Hi,

    I don't know what you consider economical, but a Fuji GS645 Professional was a good choice for me. The camera has a grewat lens and will fit in a coat pocket when folded. 645 format. You can find them on eBay and at KEH.com for $400 to $600 depending on the condition. Some people bad mouth the Fuji because the bellows has a reputation for being fragile. I've never had any trouble with mine.But I take care not to touch the bellows when the camera is open. Your mileage may vary. With the 645 format you get 15 exposures with 120 film and 30 with 220.

    Onward,
    Paul
     
  6. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    I would skip the folder and get something with modern optics.
     
  7. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Consider a Crown Graphic with a 6x7 or 6x9 film holder back. You can use as wide as a 65mm lens on this camera and you can hand hold it (if you're a hand held camera type) like an RB-67! If you want to shoot 4x5 or Polaroids you still have that option. Your choice of lenses to use on this camera is quite extensive.
     
  8. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    If you mean a 2x3 Crown, the Century Graphic is very nearly identical, often less expensive.

    65 mm is not the limit on those cameras. Relatively modern WA lenses have somewhat longer flange-to-film distances at infinity than 65/6.8 Angulon and Raptar that one usually associates with 2x3 Graphics. The shortest lens I'm aware of that has been used on a Century is the 35/4.5 ApoGrandagon. I can't afford one, or perhaps don't want one badly enough to pay the going rate, so get by with 38/4.5 Biogon, 47/5.6 Super Angulon, and 58/5.6 Grandagon on my Century.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  9. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    The whole point of a MF folder is that they are small. A century camera won't fit in your pocket. It's nice to be able to change lenses but this guy is looking for a small (cheap) folder to test the MF waters.

    I use a agfa billy record myself. It fits my pocket so I actually take it with me. It cost less than $100 including a new bellows. And it takes 6x9 photos.

    I agree the fuji takes better pictures. But that is getting into the next price bracket. The agfa is so much better than a 35mm that I'm perfectly happy with the quality. One can always step up to more expensive gear later.
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Kevin said exactly what I was going to: If it's about image quality, there are lots of better choises. But none of these will fit in a pocket. And we all know that the best pictures are taken with the camera you have brought along, not the one left at home.
     
  11. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Ole, of course you and Kevin are right. But some supposedly pocketable 6x9 folders require quite a large pocket. The Ensign Selfix 820, for example.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Dan, my Bessa-I is pocketable - barely. The 6x6 and 6x4.5 models (Z-I, Vld', Daiichi, and so on) are very pocketable, though...
     
  13. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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  14. dustym

    dustym Member

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    Again thankyou very much , much food for thought .

    Rgds from Essex
     
  15. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    And I can recommend an old beauty, Iskra or Iskra-II - both with excellent lens, fully automated frame counter, very pocketable and cool to use. The leaf shutter has a sync for flash, speeds from 1s to 1/500, and 3.5 max aperture. The only problem is to find Iskra in a really nice condition, with frame counter working, and the filters with unusual thread - but as a pocket MF camera, Iskra is a very very good choice.

    Zhenya
     
  16. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    Iskra's are good - probably the best viewfinder on an old folder, and a nice sharp lens too. I usually use this as my carry-all-day camera when on holiday.

    The filter problem can be sorted by getting a 35mm series 6 push on adapter.

    Like any old camera though, you need to get a good one, or get it serviced. I got lucky with both mine :smile:

    Paul
     
  17. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Given that you are looking for a folder at a reasonable price to get you feet wet, you might look at the Voigtlander Bessa RF. They can be had for a decent price. A CLA is not going to kill you and they can be had with decent glass. You certainly should be able to get one with a CLA and new bellows, if needed, for under $250. If you don't need the bellows replaced then perhaps $150 to $175. Bill Barber
     
  18. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The plain Ikontas with Novars are relatively inexpensive -- less than $40 -- and when stopped down to f/8 or smaller should give you plenty of sharpness.

    Othe possibilities include Agfas, although their weak spots are bellows and lens lubricant that has by now turned into cement.

    The Voigtlanders are nice, although I'm not familiar enough with them to make an informed decision.

    Now, regarding a Tessar lens. When clean and correctly collimated, it can hold its own with any modern day camera.

    Some links (apologies to those who've already seen these). These are f/4.5 10.5cm Tessar lenses on each camera:

    Ikonta, 1937

    Anothe sample page, same Ikonta

    7th Street Bridge, Super Ikonta, 1935

    Parade barricades, Super Ikonta, 1935

    The Ikonta cost me $50. The Super Ikonta, I think, was about three times that. Maybe slightly more.
     
  19. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    If you can live without a coupled rangefinder, you can get some real bargains. I picked up a Bessa-I with a very nice coated Color Skopar lens in a Synchro-Compur shutter, completely CLA'd, for $125. Added a rangefinder that fits on the cold shoe for $15, and I ended up with a very nice 6x9 folder for $140. (I got mine from Jurgen Kreckel - a.k.a. Certo6. He does extremely nice work on these cameras, although the Bessas generally don't need new bellows. Plus, he stands behind his work...always a plus.)

    If you can live with a smaller size than 6x9, there are some truly great bargains out there in 6x6.

    The Fuji cameras are wonderful, but will stretch your budget further. I got the deal of a lifetime on a Fuji GA645Pro, but it still set me back $250. Generally those go for closer to $400. The images are gorgeous, but $400 is a lot of money for a pocketable medium format camera if you're not sure the format is right for you. But the Fuji lens is world's ahead of the older lenses for sharpness and for color work, so the cameras are definately worth investigating.

    Elekm - By the way, thanks for the shot of the 7th Street Bridge...always nice to see good pictures of the home town!
     
  20. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    The plain Voigtlander Bessa cameras can also be a very cheap alternative to the Bessa I or II (which are very pricey). If you are patient, you can find very late, post-war Bessa 6x9's with coated lenses (vaskar or color-skopar). The Bessas are very abundant, and often go overlooked compared to the Bessa I and II. Just make sure you get one with a good lens and in good shape. I picked up one with the excellent 105/3.5 color-skopar recently for under $30.The other advantage is that it came in a compur rapid shutter, which I prefer over the prontor in my Bessa I, since the compur goes to higher speeds (1/400 vs 1/200).

    I also like the Perkeo cameras (6x6) very much. I prefer the ones with color-skopar lenses, but I've heard the vaskar is good also. The Perkeo I can be a good deal for arouind $50, Perkeo II and Perkeo E cameras are getting to be very expensive. The camera's best attribute is that it's tiny, not much bigger than a 35mm folder. A Bessa 66 with a late coated lens might also be a cheaper alternative.

    I usually carry 3 of these backpacking: a perkeo (6x6), and 2 bessas, one with an insert so I can shoot 6x9 as well as 6x4.5! The 3 cameras are lighter than my Mamiya TLR, which I used to carry, but was just too heavy ,and took too long to unpack. I can keep a folder in a pocket to take pictures without havign to fully unpack.

    Tim
     
  21. polaski

    polaski Member

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    Voigtlander Bessa 66 & Perkeo II are good options

    I started with a Bessa 66, also known as a Baby Bessa. Uncoated lenses shouldn't pose much of a problem if the light sources are controlled, even if controlling is a simple as holding up a hand to shade the lens.

    A newly CLA'ed Perkeo II just arrived in the mail. I'm taking it wdown to Wiliamsburg VA this weekend and we'll see how it performs. The Bessa 66 is very affordable; the Perkeo II cost cost, and was also worth the extra money for the CLA.

    It may be apparent that in MF, I'm more fascinated by the 6x6 square format.
     
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  22. polaski

    polaski Member

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    Voigtlander lens rankings

    Voigtlander lenses have been ranked as follows, with the best first:

    Heliar (5 elements in 3 groups)
    Skopar (4 elements in 3 groups)
    Vaskar (3 elements in 3 groups)
    Voigtar (3 elements in 3 groups)

    "Color Skopar" most likely designates color correction. I've read that the Vaskar is a renamed Voigtar, but have never seen that confirmed.
     
  23. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I think "Color Skopar" most probably means coated optics. I have coated Skopars and uncoated Skopars on Bessas and I cant see any difference in the color pictures I've taken with them.
     
  24. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    And I've got a 1928-ish Skopar in my Rollfilmkamera that is perfectly fine with color film. AFAIK, there was no color roll film available anywhere yet in that time frame (though lots of ways to shoot color on plates or sheet film).