Inexpensive Medium Format Camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ektagraphic, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Hi Guys- I am looking to just toy around with some MF. I am looking for a camera (I would rather not have a folder) that costs around $25. I was looking at the Agfa Isoly and a few other similar cameras.
     
  2. mightyomega

    mightyomega Member

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    If you're looking for cheap and no control, why not try a box camera, like an Ansco Shur-Shot or Kodak Brownie? They can be had for next to nothing and can often take surprisingly un-bad pictures. Some of the ones with metal bodies are even pretty light tight! They can easily be had from That Auction Site for less than $5. Beware of the ones that take 116 and 620 film, however.
     
  3. cknapp1961

    cknapp1961 Member

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    Not sure of your prejudice against "folders", but you can routinely pick up Franka Rolfix 6x9 folders with a Schneider-Kreuznach F4.5 Radionar lens for about $50 US on "the bay site", double your budget, but I think that German lens is hard to beat, great for B&W. Produces great 16x20 inch prints with sharp centers, corners are slightly soft at wider apertures, but I think it is a nice effect. I have been shooting 35mm since the 1970s, I admit to being a "slow learner" but only recently experienced the epiphany that 35mm attempts to create through technology (sharper lenses as in Lines Per Millimeter of resolution), what older, larger formats achieved through sheer film size.
     
  4. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    Do you want to be able to focus it? What speed film do you want to use?
    I recommend a TLR. Yashica TLRs, for example, can be had pretty cheap. They are far better than a junk folder which has to be focused by guess and by golly. You can even put one on a tripod and take a long exposure in low light.

    I have a couple of Yashica-D cameras which were very reasonable. You just have to be a bit patient to find a bargain. The earlier cameras in this series take good photos, too.
     
  5. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I am sertainly not prejudice to folders of TLRs ( I do love them!), but I have a couple already.
     
  6. cknapp1961

    cknapp1961 Member

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    I don't have to guess the distance with my Franka Rolfix 6x9 camera, I carry a small rangefider in my pocket, take the reading and set the lens accordingly. For a budget of $25 I suspect the originator of this thread is not planning on taking any "action" photos.
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    You can pick up a Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor for that amount. It came in 6x9 and 6x4.5. I can't recall ever seeing one that was 6x6, other than the Tengoflex, which will be way, way out of budget.

    The postwar version is a bit sharper than the prewar camera, although I've gotten acceptable results from the prewar camera with the lens set at its medium distance.

    I think the postwar camera with the powder chrome and black leather is very handsome.

    It takes 120 film, so no need to respool.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd get a box camera that takes 120, like a Brownie no. 2. They are great fun, and with some precautions (due to the fact that they were designed for blue-sensitive films), they will take great pix with no light leaks.
     
  9. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I've got an Agfa Isola.

    I bought it expecting a toy camera - and it is very primitive, but it soon grew on me. Despite having a lot of plastic in it and having a very simple spec, it is actually very well made and quite rugged. It is a delight to use, I like the simplicity, although it does have a built in yellow filter and double exposure prevention. Mine is an Isola 1 with just two shutter settings, "B" and 1/35th second. That is it's failing, the shutter speed is a bit slow to hand hold reliably and is a bit slow for modern films.
    The Isola II has both 1/30 and 1/100th sec shutter speeds and a better lens, so that might be the one to go for. It lacks the yellow filter, though... Should be available for very little on eBarGumbay.
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Somewhere I have a Balda Baldixette. It is 6x6 on 120, non-folding and is surprisingly sharp with a wider than normal 72mm lens.

    It's a bit limited in the shutter speed and aperture department though.


    Steve.
     
  11. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    I'd add a vote to the box camera. You clearly already have cameras that will perform, and are looking for some cheap fun (aren't we all?), and the constraints of a box camera add to its charm. I have three that I really like : a Brownie No.2 Model F Portrait version, which takes 120 and has a flip-out lens for close focussing, and two Box Tengors. One takes 6x9, the other 6x4.5. When people see me using them, especially on a tripod, they fall over laughing. Take your family out to the park, like my Dad used to do fifty years ago, and take a picture of them, all posed in their Sunday best, for the family album.

    They're great fun.
     
  12. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I'm partial to my Kodak Duaflex II TLR, purchased at a yard sale for an incredible $1 . My suggestion yo you is visit lots of yard sales, thrift shops, junk shops, estate sales, and even auction houses. Your pursuit of a fun and cheap medium format could become a hobby unto itself, and an excuse to photograph more. Just a thought.
    Rick
     
  13. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Buy a HOLGA -- have fun!!!
     
  14. Anton Lukoszevieze

    Anton Lukoszevieze Subscriber

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    Get a Weltaflex, they are simple, cheap and very stylish.........
     
  15. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I don't want a holga!
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Look at pawn shops, especially now, garage sales, yard sales, ...
     
  17. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    Just grab the first box camera or Agfa Clack that comes your way...

    The only photos I ever took which hung briefly in a real museum were with an Ansco shur-shot box camera.
     
  18. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    How about an Agfa Isolette if you go the folder route; they can still be found for less than $25. I have an early one that has the Jsolette spelling and it is quite nice to use.

    Or, if you go the TLR way how about a Richoflex. They are quite useable and can still be found cheap but I have seen some go for silly prices recently.
     
  19. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I see old Kodak or Ansco cameras at yard sales, flea markets, etc. all the time. They're normally priced at $20+, but oftentimes you can talk them down.

    Especially check estate sales or antique stores. They're pretty simple devices so as long as the shutter trips and there's no fungus then you should be fine. Good luck!