Mamiya or Bronica

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by lilmsmaggie, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    I don't currently own a MF or LF camera. The past several months I have been considering exploring LF with a 4X5. However, since I've been taking a 35mm B&W photography class, many questions have arisen as to whether MF would be a more cost effective alternative to LF.

    These questions have centered around film processing and printing and the time, effort and expense associated with those processes. I must admit the biggest concern I have about going the LF route is the cost of accoutrements needed for this format (lens boards and shutters, dark cloth, film, film holders, and lenses). I also realize I've been waffling between MF & LF. The only cameras out of these two formats that I have even considered are the Chamonix 45n-1 and the Mamiya RZ67.

    The Mamiya RZ67 PRO II seems like a good option. I believe you can rotate the back (portrait to landscape). I don't know much about Bronica's.

    Has anyone out there used both or either cameras?
     
  2. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    There's a thread on this very topic a few pages down. The Mamiyas are easier to get repaired and there are a lot of lenses, backs, etc. still available on the used market. The Bronica GS-1 is getting harder to find, but I'm happy with mine. They tend to be less costly to get into.
     
  3. EricO

    EricO Member

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    I don’t know much about the Bronica but I bought my first MF (Mamiya RZ67) and love it. There are some MF bodies that seem to be more comfortable for hand holding but the RZ67 can be manageable with grips, straps, etc. I just got mine back from repair and can’t wait to get started shooting again.
     
  4. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    "There's a thread on this very topic a few pages down ..." What exactly is the thread topic?

    I've noticed there have been more used RZ/RB 67's for sale. Maybe that's a good sign.
     
  5. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    So, you're committed to shooting 6x7 or 6x9?

    I shoot 6x6 and love it...it is a consideration.
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Lensboards aren't very expensive if you stick to cameras that take Linhof types or even the Sinar. Lenses come with shutters in almost all cases. You can make a darkcloth out of very little.

    Film costs more per shot but you'll shoot less. You'll need a 4x5 enlarger to enlarge but these aren't expensive today.

    I have the Mamiya RZ it out wieghs the 4x5 you're considering . I doubt a setup is really much(any) cheaper then a good used 4x5. The RZ is a nice camera. So are the Bronicas. I have the ETRSI which is 645 and can be very cheap with some luck on the used market. Closer to 35mm in handling. Much easier to handhold then a RZ.

    What to buy? I've no idea what you want to use it for. All these cameras will do some things great others less so. Tells us why you want a bigger format.
     
  7. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Here it is.

    There were a lot more Mamiya's sold, thus a larger pool of cameras and accessories on the used market. Bronica didn't push the GS-1 too hard, it seems. It's a nice sized camera and handles very well with the Speed Grip.
     
  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I don't know if the Chaminoix will take a roll film holder but if it does you could have MF & LF in one camera. The problem you might have is using wide angle lenses for MF where you may need a recessed lens board anything longer than 110 or so is easy..
     
  9. Stuart Turnbull

    Stuart Turnbull Member

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    I've been using a Bronica SQAI for 8 years now and I think its fab. I've also got a 6x4.5 back for it if I choose, but I love the 6x6 format. There are often excellent deals on eBay UK, but always beware if you decide to buy and make sure you ask the seller plenty of questions.
     
  10. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    IQ and resolution is one criteria I'm considering when thinking MF/LF.

    Initially, landscapes -- maybe architecture. The Chamonix (sans lens) is a very lightweight camera . As someone pointed out, even lighter than a MF camera. But I'm hesitant to get into used glass. Buying a used body (35mm, MF or LF) is one thing, glass that's a totally different subject.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Buying used glass should not be any different. Just stick to reliable sources that allow returns if you are not happy - KEH, B&H, ...

    Besides, nothing beats a good piece of glass!

    Steve
     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Used classic LF lenses is in itself a reason to go LF.

    But if you really need new lenses MF lenses are often more expensive from what I've seen then new LF
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would go for the Mamiya because of first the revolving back, second they have become an industry standard, third are still easy to get repaired.
     
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  15. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    Don't worry too much about used glass - there are some LF lenses out there that have been in circulation since the 50's and still work perfectly.
     
  16. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Interesting... I didn't really appreciate my GS-1 until I stripped the Speed Grip and prism off it and started shooting with the WLF.

    Cheers,
     
  17. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    I'm not so sure. Last night I sat down with a copy of KEH's current catalog. Used LF lenses are not cheap. That said ... I'm still hesitant.
     
  18. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Hear you Steve! That said I think I've reached the sad age where I can't choose between peace of mind - or a piece of *ss :D

    Bob H
     
  19. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Always a compromise when it comes to area :tongue:
     
  20. Ihmemies

    Ihmemies Member

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    If you don't mind the weight, consider RZ. The bodies are dirt cheap, accessories, lenses, everything. You can get a very good set with a few hundred euros/dollars. 6x7 film has a lot bigger area than 6x6 and personally I don't like the square format that much :smile:
     
  21. timk

    timk Member

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    the mamiya RZ/RB's are absolute tanks. bigger and heavier than the bronnies. Both will give you excellent results. I'd side with the RZ/RB because I like the format of 6x7 alot better than 6x6 (what do you get with 6x6 if you want a rectangular frame? 6x4.5 :sad:

    As far as value for money goes the RB67's are pretty hard to beat if you don't mind putting your back out trying to handhold the damn thing and having to use an external meter. I picked one up not long ago and I'm extremely impressed at the quality of the lenses (even a single coated BGN lens from B&H), nice sharp and contrasty. You can pick up a kit for ridiculous prices on ebay or KEH (~$300 US or so) and there are heaps of them out there so easy to get repaired and find parts & accessories for.

    I also recommend getting a prism finder if you're short like me.
     
  22. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    The Bronica GS-1 is a 6x7cm camera.
     
  23. timk

    timk Member

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    so it is! :cool:
     
  24. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    This is very true. My tripod turned over this last weekend and my RB67 went into the water. The camera is ok, the waist level finder is smashed, but the rest of the camera is a true tank.

    I would suggest an RB67 and a hand-held light-meter so you don't have to mess with batteries and a lot of electronics. The lenses are wonderful and the revolving back makes it a joy to use.
     
  25. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    I use an RZ67 ProII and couldn't be happier with it. I bought most of my kit from KEH. Don't listen to anyone who says it's a pain to shoot hand held. I use mine hand held almost 100% of the time. I even take it onto the subway here in LA and take candid shots with it (using Delta 3200). If you need a good, factory trained repair guy on the west coast, email me and I'll give you the info...he's in LA.
     
  26. Joe Grodis

    Joe Grodis Member

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    Mamiya & Bronica are my 2 favorite MF cameras and I've been using both for years. Mamiya is more modern and more reliable from my experience at least. But when it comes down to it I find myself using my Bronica's more often. I love the look and feel of my Chrome Bronica ETR w/ custom bracket but there's just something romantic if you will about the old Bronica-S that keeps me using it every chance I get.
    Aside from the "feel-good" aspect of Bronica, Mamiya is a more logical choice.