Inexpensive intro to medium format, aka the failure of the Pocket Kodak.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by powasky, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. powasky

    powasky Member

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    I just got my first roll developed from my Pocket Kodak, and unfortunately, none of the shots came out. The camera was a pain the butt to use anyway, so I'm looking to get something new to shoot with. I'd like to spend less than $250, have anything but 645 negs, would like a usable viewfinder and a tripod mount. I've been on certo6's site, but the amount of choices there are overwhelming. Perhaps you guys could give me a few options to explore. I would prefer something compact, which is why I'm considering a folding bellows camera.
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Yashica TLR, either a Mat or a D with a 4 element taking lens. Minolta autocord or if you are lucky a Rollicord. You may be able to pick up a working Mamyia C 22 or Press for under $250.
     
  3. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I'd go with a folder, a Zeiss Super Ikonta III, Agfa Super Isolette, or maybe Iskra.

    I put off getting an old folder, suspecting it would be "rickety", but my Super Ikonta III is a killer camera, with fantastic build quality. Only thing is that frame spacing is very tight, but it's easily fixed by applying some thick sticky tape to the start of the backing paper.

    Otherwise, can't go wrong with a Rolleiflex.
     
  4. powasky

    powasky Member

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    There's a C33 Professional for sale locally for $200...should I jump on it?
     
  5. powasky

    powasky Member

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    The nicer folders that you mentioned are out of my price range. I'm always guilty of trying to extend my budget a little further than I comfortably can, so I'm really trying to stick to $250 or less this time. After all, I'm gonna need some money for film :D
     
  6. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    I have a Zeiss Ikonta 521/16 6x6. Paid $100, used it for a year and then paid another $100 for a CLA. It may be more basic than you want, and more fiddly to use, but it is a lovely piece of precision engineering, and highly capable.

    Another 6x6, the 534 is probably easier to use with a coupled range finder and built in meter. I currently lust over that and the 524/2, an uncoupled range finder with the HUGE 6x9 negatives.

    All of them fold up and fit easily in a jacket pocket and are pretty quick to have out and ready. Easier to carry around than a 35mm slr.

    I also have, and love, a C33. The lenses are absolutely top quality and produce a fine image that the older Zeiss can't match. But it really is a heavy, bulky bitch to carry around compared to the folders. It's a completely different kind of photography.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2013
  7. loman

    loman Subscriber

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    Yes! Mamiya Tlrs are great cameras (I'm biased since the Mamiya c33/c330 are my prefered medium format camera of choice along with the rolleiflex, and I've shot and owned a Hasselblad 500c/m, a pentax 67, a Bronica SQA, a Bronica Etrs and a mamiya 645 1000s!!! at one time or another).
    If it works 200 dollars for a c33 is a good price.
     
  8. ggeeraer

    ggeeraer Member

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    With a folder camera, the critical point you might want to consider is the presence of a rangefinder. It might be hard to find a Zeis ikonta with coupled rangefinder for under 250$.

    Alternatives to Zeis ikonta are the Voigtländer Bessa II: a very nice folder, with excellent lens, and coupled rangefinder.
    If you are a little bit adventurous, you can take look at the Moskva line of cameras: they are soviet-era clones of zeiss ikonta. A Moskva 5 should fit in your budget, and can be an excellent camera, if in good condition and well-adjusted.

    Cheers
     
  9. thegman

    thegman Member

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    You're right, Super Ikonta III is out of budget, but Super Ikomat B appears in budget, looks like Iskra is too.

    The portability of the folders is hard to beat, my Super Ikonta takes up significantly less space in my bag my my Leica M3 did, but provides 6x6 quality, not 35mm. If you don't mind a bigger camera, then Yashica Mat or Rollei is perfect.
     
  10. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    The C33 is an older model (1965), but a great camera nonetheless. $200 is a reasonable price if it has been recently CLA'd and is in very good condition. Does it have more than one lens with it? The shutter comes with the lens assembly, so they tend to be expensive.

    Pro: Well built camera with changeable lenses (I have the 65, 80 and 135 mm versions- there are more...55 to 250, I believe) Very sharp optics and pretty straightforward in use.
    Con: Heavy as hell– not exactly a pocket model.

    Important considerations that you can put in pro or con category as you think fit: Square format, TLR. I happen to think these are both pluses, but opinions differ. If you haven't shot with a TLR, try to borrow one for a roll or two to see if it's something you'll be able to get into. It's a very different experience from putting a small box up to your eye to take a picture. Tripod use is different as well– not hard, but you have to have an eye-level viewer or use a short tripod.

    Medium format cameras with linked rangefinders also tend to be expensive, though as is the case with much of this older stuff, patience in shopping may pay off. "Jump[ing] on it" can prove to be short sighted. If, however, you like the camera, and can afford it, go for it. I have too many cameras to be the person who says "don't buy it" with a straight face.
     
  11. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Folders with rangefinders tend to be quite expensive, but accessory rangefinders can be found cheap, and learning to scale focus is a good exercise (it actually isn't all that hard if you aren't close up or wide open). I'm a fan of Nettars, which are basically low-spec versions of the Ikonta---they're dirt cheap and they were built like tanks.

    And yes, TLRs are profoundly wonderful. The most common good ones in your price range seem to be the various flavors of Yashica; you might score a Rolleicord as well. Either is capable of excellent performance. The Mamiyas have a fantastic reputation but I've never shot one personally.

    -NT
     
  12. powasky

    powasky Member

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    Whiteymorange-

    I haven't yet asked if it's been CLA'd. It comes with the 80mm lens.

    There is also a Minolta Autocord for $100 that comes with some filters (ad was not specific). The ad suggests that it's just been sitting around for a while, so I doubt it's been CLA'd either.

    Lastly, There's a 124G also listed for $100. Ad says that camera "works perfectly", but I have not asked about a CLA.

    It seems to me that the 124G might be the best buy right now, especially if it doesn't need any more money thrown into it.
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    You'd actually have quite a bit of options if you don't mind ugly looking camera and have $250 to spend. Very user Mamiya 645 and Bronica are quite available and in your price range. You may even be able to buy old RBs. If you buy from places like KEH, you can get a fully functional camera with a warranty. Unless you like TLR and that particular camera, I don't see a need to jump-in. By the way, Rolleicord and other TLRs are in that price range too....
     
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  15. powasky

    powasky Member

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    I've looked at picking up an RB67 kit, but I'm worried about the backs needing to have their light seals replaced, and lenses add up. I've never replaced light seals before and don't really want to dump extra cash into a system to get it functional. Ideally, I would buy a proven set up from someone here, but it doesn't seem like many full kits come up in the classifieds.

    I could care less what the camera looks like, or what condition it's in, so long as it's fully functional. I do not want a 645 neg; 6x6 and 6x7 are what I'm looking at hard right now.
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    That's true for most cameras in that vintage. Light seals are the first thing to go. TLRs and folders all have (well, most do) seals. Don't let that scare you though.... they are easily do-able. You can buy a kit with instructions and do it yourself really cheaply and in few hours.

    Right now, someone is selling 6x6 in APUG classified. You might want to go look at it.
     
  17. powasky

    powasky Member

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    I've sent him a PM already :whistling:
     
  18. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Really, nice MF outift do appear cheaply from time to time here. Just keep looking and you'll run into one. Sometimes, it's hard to NOT buy it because it's cheap. (and stop yourself realizing you already have a few)
     
  19. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Actually, it's uncommon for German folding cameras to have light seals. In fact, almost never.

    With a $350 budget, you have a lot of options. You can get anything from a nice Rolleiflex or Rolleicord to a folding camera with a built-in rangefinder.

    You probably could pick up a Zeiss Ikon Mess Ikonta 524/16 (6x6) with a Tessar. Or possibly an Agfa Isolette III with a Solinar. Make sure that both have been serviced.

    I'm not up on the Japanese medium format cameras, so I won't offer any thoughts on those.
     
  20. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    You could have a look at a Moscov from KMZ if you want a cheap folder with a range finder. Personally I would go for a TLR though. They are not that much bigger and they are light and easy to work with. I find it easier to compose a picture on a screen than through a very old viewfinder (my personal opinion).
     
  21. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    A Super Ricohflex might not be a bad idea and you would have plenty of money left over for film and chemistry. Sweet TLR at bargain price.
     
  22. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I really miss my C33, wish i wouldn't have sold it. It was a tank, and produced wonderful images. I think you'd like it.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The C33 was a more robust camera than the later C330's but all Mamiya TLR's suffer from wear on the wind mechanism and may need parts replaced so you need to be careful. I liked my C33 & C3 but they were stolen in the early 1980's, I find the Yashicamat 124 more fun to use, it's lighter and smaller but of course doesn't have interchangeable lenses.

    Ian
     
  24. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    Look for something like Balda. I just got a Balda Super Baldax from a Dealer, had a CLA, and working perfectly, comes with coupled rangefinder, and paid £59 GBP, also the Ensign Selfix range, with the wonderful Ross express lens, terrific cameras, I have 3, including a 820, and paid under a £100GBP for each one, they are all working perfectly, no rangefinder with them, but you can pick up shoe mounted rangefinders £10 to £15, I have a Ikonta B, again very simple but a great lens, and paid under £30 for it, and I am just looking at some of my personal collection of working folders that are in use all the time, I have never paid more than £90 for any, and that was for an Ensign Commando, 1948, built in rangefinder and uncoated lens in perfect working order, and all from dealers, so you do not have to pay an arm and a leg for MF, just look around,
    Richard
     
  25. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Interchangable lenses is an advantage of the C33 over the Yashica TLR plus as someone said the Yashica lens is four element, whereas the 80mm lens of the C33 is five element, and likely sharper.
     
  26. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I'm just speaking for myself here, but I've never been particularly drawn to the Mamiya TLRs precisely *because* of the interchangeable lenses. They seem sort of at odds with the "light, straightforward, no complications" gestalt of the TLR concept, and I do the vast majority of my shooting with a normal lens anyway. That's not to say they aren't wonderful cameras---by all accounts they are---but it seems to me like a strange direction to go with a TLR specifically.

    -NT