Mamiya RB67 Vs Mamiya 645 Pro TL

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by QuinnRobot, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    Excuse me for being a complete medium format novice here and asking what is no doubt a straight forward base knowledge question, but I am looking to get a medium format camera and have settled on the RB67 or 645 series Mamiyas.

    But I can't seem to find a comparison of the two anywhere to make things clearer for me.

    Whilst I'm new to medium format im definitely no novice to photography in general so I would like this camera to be an upgrade from 35mm rather than just an entry level MF.

    I've been offered a 645 TL For £250, is that a good deal or should I hold out and try to go for a RB67 range, or better value 645 range??

    Please help!
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    They both have their strengths and weaknesses.

    The RB67 has almost twice the negative area of the 645 but it is also bigger and heavier. I like hand holding mine but others would only consider using it on a tripod.

    The 645 is lighter and easier to carry but has a smaller negative area. It gets 15 (or is it 16) shots to a roll of 120 compared to only ten with the RB67.

    They will probably both cost about the same and either would be a step up from quality compared to 35mm so really it's down to their individual features and your personal preferences to mke the decision.

    have a look at this thread for some related discussion: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/84287-645-format-vs-35mm.html


    Steve.
     
  3. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    That's excellent, it's information I hadn't even thought that I'd need. I've been spoilt by having a standard 24/36 exposure to a film with 35mm.

    What are the dimensions with the two negative sizes?
     
  4. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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  5. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    Being that my first name is also Steve. I'm really appreciating the help with this thread!

    Are the two ranges completely separate. Or is one universally thought to be superior.

    To use a car analogy are we comparing a Ford Mondeo with a Ford Focus?
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Oh yes.... Welcome to APUG.

    I assume you are in the U.K. as you are quoting prices in £.

    Have a look at Ffordes website to get a feel for prices of medium format equipment.



    Steve.
     
  7. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Both negative sizes have quality systems built around them but then also there are lower quality options too (such as Holga for 6x6). So I think it's accurate to say there's a full range of choices. Some systems are more 'complete' than others, for example I have a Bronica RF645 which has a very limited number of lenses (4) compared to other systems. I suppose I depends upon what you want to shoot and how you plan to produce your photos (darkroom prints, scans, web only, etc). Personally, I think 645 is overkill for much of what I do.
     
  8. film_man

    film_man Member

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    To use a car analogy, you are comparing a Focus to a Land Rover Defender. Different things for different purposes so you cannot really compare them. Both cars use petrol and get you from A to B but that's about it. Same with the cameras, both take the same size film and shoot photographs but that's about it.

    And to elaborate a bit more:

    The 645 vs the RB is:
    Lighter
    Smaller
    Has faster lenses (e.g. you can get a 150/2.8, the fastest tele for the RB is f/4.5) so you can get higher shutter speeds (however note that due to film size a f/4.5 6x7 lens has roughly the same DOF as a 645 f/2.8 lens which has roughly the same DOF as a 35mm f/1.8 lens)
    Has the 80/1.9 which is the fastest MF lens available (I think)
    Gets you more shots per roll
    Can be used as bigger 35mm SLR

    The RB vs the 645 is:
    Heavier
    Bigger
    Slower to operate
    Focuses very close
    Can be used with a waist level finder due to the revolving back (the 645 may be used with a waist level finder but how do you shoot in portrait orientation...?)
    Has more resolution due to the film size
    Can have 6x6 and 645 backs

    So basically, it is very possible that somebody will own both systems and use one or the other depending on what is to be achieved. I know, not much help... :D
     
  9. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    You might think that wasn't much help but believe me it'll probably end up invaluable!

    I think I'm edging towards the 645 system. It seems there's just that little more adaptability to it over the 6x7 system.

    Or I've got lost along the way already!
     
  10. film_man

    film_man Member

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    Can I just add another comment, if you shoot 35mm then a 645 system with a grip will be just like a bigger 35mm camera to you minus some automation. The image quality is an "upgrade" too.

    An RB/RZ or something else like a Bronica SQB will be a completely different experience.

    Start by thinking what it is you want to do with the new camera you will buy. This will eventually dictate what system you need.

    Also, as far as adaptability is concerned, both the 645 and RB systems have pretty much an equal number of add ons and accessories.
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    One difference between the systems (apart from negative size) which I can think of is the shutter.

    The RB67 lenses have in built leaf shutters whereas the 645 has a focal plane shutter. This may be of some consideration if you intend to use flash a lot as the RB67 will synchronise at all speeds whereas the 645 will have a maximum sync. speed of 1/60 (I think).

    There are leaf shutter lenses for the 645 but they are not standard. If you want high flash sync speeds and the 645 format then the Bronica ETRS system might also be worth considering as its lenses have built in leaf shutters.


    Steve.
     
  12. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    I know you were kind enough to refer me to a couple of places for price comparisons, but would you be able to give a quick opinion on whether or not you think that £250 would be value for money for a Mamiya 645 Pro TL with an 80mm Lens, Non-metered Prism and undoubtedly a film back.

    Or are there some other things I should be looking for?
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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  15. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    Thanks Steve,

    I've started to hunt a little for a Bronica ETRS but the system seems to be a step up at least in terms of money.

    But then, As I'm typing this I've just seen that there's one on ffordes for £199? with waist level viewfinder.
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Don't blow your money on a Mamiya 645 or Bronica ETRs with a WLF--they're useless unless you shoot exclusively in landscape orientation. Price-wise, you might look outside the UK, too. If you get either 645 camera, budget for a winder grip--both are awkward handheld without them.
     
  17. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    I'm a little overwhelmed with the amount of almost instant help I'm receiving! Thank you all so much!

    I think this seems to becoming a Mamiya 645 Vs Bronica ETRS thread, which is fine by me. Does anyone have experience with both or insight into a comparison?
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I have an ETRS with waist level and prism finders and also the grip. Sometimes I fit the prism and the grip and use it at eye level and other times I take off the grip and fit the waist level finder. I like using it both ways but it really is a landscape format camera with the waist level finder.

    I have only used a Mamiya 645 once and my personal thoughts were that I prefered it just slightly to the Bronica but I couldn't really tell you why!

    If you let us know where you are, there might be someone near to you who could show you one or the other (or both!). Often these things come down to personal preference rather than which is better and the only way to know is to handle them.


    Steve.
     
  19. film_man

    film_man Member

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    A decent ETRS kit should set you back about £170-200 with prism and grip on ebay or about £250-300 in a shop. And I think Mamiyas are maybe a tiny bit more expensive than ETRS ones?

    I have no hands-on experience with the Mamiya system but I think £250 is a good price if the equipment is in good condition. One difference between the Mamiya and ETRS is that the ETRS has leaf shutter lenses. If buying an ETRS, I'd rather spend £20-30 more to buy one of the newer PE lenses than the old ones, purely to have a bit of peace of mind with regards to the shutter. I owned 5 Bronica lenses in total over the last 2 years for ETRS and SQ systems, 2 of which had sticky shutters. It was not a coincidence that they were the oldest of the lot.

    As said, a 645 camera with just the waist level finder is a bit useless (unless you are only interested in landscape orientation) so if a prism is not with the kit, price that in as well.

    The advice about trying them is very good. The Mamiya vs ETRS feel quite different in the hand, especially with the power grip on.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2011
  20. film_man

    film_man Member

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    Don't know if this sheds any more light but a Mamiya TL kit with winder and prism is on for £500 on Mifsuds. And their prices are generally good on used stuff.
     
  21. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    One thing to keep in mind is that while we discuss relative "quality" of build of the camera and resulting negatives to death, all medium format cameras are professional level equipment that originally cost thousands of dollars. They all do fine job in most applications.

    I have a Mamiya 645Pro. To me, portability is a big issue. Mamiya M645 series is fairly light and small especially without the motor winder.
     
  22. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    The RB67 was my first MF camera and I love it. It is heavy and loud, its only real drawbacks. If you want quiet and light I say a 6x6 TLR is the way to go instead. I carry mine around using the flash bracket/left-hand-grip and a neck strap and it is quite usable this way but you do need to be strong to carry it for long periods; if you aren't strong before you buy the RB67, you will be...

    Do you like a rectangular aspect ratio? 6x4.5 is even wider than 36x24 (effectively 6x4) while the RB67 is closer to square at 6x7. I find it much easier to print the big negatives from my RB67 to standard 8x10 and 11x14 paper than 35mm which I'm always having to either crop or cut the paper to fit. The 6x7 size is really like 4 35mm frames so it is a ton of area and really looks good when enlarged, great sharpness and less grain.

    If you do much shooting in portrait orientation the I say go fo the RB67 as the landscape oriented 6x4.5 cameras are a pain in portait orientation and you need to crop and enlarge a lot if you get lazy and just shoot portraits in landscape, then it ends up being little bigger than 36mm. The rotating back on the RB67 is really convenient.

    As mentioned, for studio flash you can sync up to 1/400th with all RB67 lenses due to the leaf shutter on all lenses, very useful.

    The Polaroid back gives you 7.3x7.6mm which is much better than 6x45. You can also get a pack film adapter and use 3.25x4.25 sheet film in the same manner as the 3.25x4.25 Polaroids. In this way it is very versatile when you want to check lighting, shoot to single sheets, etc.
     
  23. QuinnRobot

    QuinnRobot Member

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    I think portability will be a big aspect for me, I think the strongest piece of advice provided so far is that the prism viewfinder is definitely the way to go.

    Im based in Hampshire so if anyone owns either of the cameras I'd love to be able to hold them and try them out for a bit. Even just seeing one with my own eyes will be very helpful.

    Finding this forum has been a revelation!

    I'm just going to start trawling eBay for some examples of an ETRS. The 645 is as I said before 250 with a prism viewfinder.

    Its really funny that I've never even looked at three websites that have been mentioned on here today, ffordes, mifsuds and keh (from a different thread). I feel like I'm dipping my toe in an ocean!
     
  24. film_man

    film_man Member

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    The ratios are:
    6x6 = 1:1 (obviously)
    6x7 = 1.17:1
    6x4.5 = 1.33:1
    6x8 = 1.33:1
    Standard TV/computer monitor = 1.33:1
    135/35mm (36x24mm) = 1.5:1
    6x9 = 1.5:1
    HDTV = 1.7:1
    XPan (65x24mm) = 2.7:1

    So 645 is more "square" than 35mm film.
     
  25. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I don't know if I'd eliminate WLF as potential candidate that fast. I'd say that's a matter of personal preference.
     
  26. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I have all three systems you have mentioned...RB67, M645100s and a Bronica ETRS. If you want portability then either the M645 or the ETRS are the way to go. If you think you will shoot more in an indoor type environment then the RB67 may be the way to go.
    All three systems are very high quality professional level gear. I have actually been using my ETRS more than my M645 because I have a complete system where my M645 I have the body and three lenses. I have done my own image comparisons between the two 645 cameras and "I" can't distinguish one from the other.
    The ETRS has removable backs but that also means it has a dark slide that can be lost or cause you to miss a shot if you forget to remove it before you press the shutter release.

    The RB67 has such beautiful negatives...you have three get choices!