medium format conumdrum

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jnanian, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi

    i am in a pickle - sort of.

    i have a ton of 120 film ( maybe 50 - 60 rolls ) and none of the medium format gear i have is what i want to shoot the film with. i have 22 + 23 backs for 4x5 cameras, a holga and a few odd folding and box cameras. i want to shoot off the cuff portraits and not have to worry about taking the back off the 4x5 to put on the roll back. the folders + box cameras are nice, but i can't really get the quality of focus that i want ( crude scale or no scale at all ) and while i originally bought the holga for this sort of "burn the film and don't look back" project, i am not as enthousiastic about the resulting images as i had hoped.

    i almost fell off the deep end and bought a mamiya tlr, a graflex 3x4 slr (with a roll back) and most recently a modified-gowlandflex tlr ... but have shy'd away from all three for different reasons.

    i used to have a yashica 124 for this sort of thing, but when i was broke 14/15 years ago i sold it off ( with a ton of film .. ) and have regretted it ever since.

    maybe it is just something i would just borrow from a friend ?
    maybe it is something that i buy and sell when i am done with it ?

    now, i am thinking of a koni omega on the cheep side ...
    any suggestions of a camera that will not cost more than 150-200$ with a portrait lens that i can sink my teeth into for a few months ?

    i'm all eyes ...

    -john
     
  2. photomc

    photomc Member

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    John, PM sent....
     
  3. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    With reference to your Yashicamat, I have a Mam645 kit with various lenses and I love it. The funny thing though is that I also have a Yashicamat LM TLR and the best portraits I have ever taken, bar none, came from the Yashica. Seems counterintuitive as the Mam definitely has better lenses and the range of focal lengths helps, but for some unknown reason the TLR continues to surprise me with the results I get from it.

    My suggestion, go find a cheap second hand TLR and knock yourself out..

    Glenn.
     
  4. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    When you say "Off the Cuff portraits" is one to assume you mean candid? Or do you mean when you get the urge to take a portrait but do not wish to make a production out of it.?

    Personally, I like TLR cameras; However, if you regularly are using one or more cameras that do not have the right/left reversal than the TLR when used without a prism can very confusing if used for candids or grab shots. Rollei cameras with the flip back finder allow for ground glass focussing and direct viewing. It is unlikely that you will find a good Rollei for $150-$200. If you can afford the higher initial price, I would conjecture that you could buy and resell the camera later with little financial penalty. I have not been following the price of Rollei equipment lately. I do know however that Rolleis have kept pace with inflation in times past.

    I have not used a Koni-Omega myself. I do have a good deal of experience in using a Linhof Technica 23. Accurate framing with longer lenses was difficult and proper focussing problematic using rangefinder when employing a 240mm lens. It was also somewhat touchy with a 150mm lens. Even the paragon of a rangefinder cameras Leica are hard to compose with when using a 135mm lens.

    So, what do I reccomend? Go back and rethink your attitude about Mamiya TLRs and get a servicable camera such as the C220 with a 135mm lens. Or get a used Seagull TLR with the Tessar type lens.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    thank you mike, glenn, claire and whitey for your help and suggstions.

    i appreciate your input, experiences &C with various medium format "stuffs."

    claire - i was hoping to do (street) candids, no frills, not too much gear to lug around just point and shoot kind of stuff, but with a big negative + not a big production.

    i am too clutzy these days to be able to remember that left-right thing. if i was using the lf with a roll back i would be shoothing slow enough that it would be no problem ...

    maybe i should lock my speed graphic focus on a certain distance and just use the sport's finder ? anyone have experience doing that - no focus thing ? ... but then i just realized i would have to remember where my frame ends ( smaller than the 4x5 viewer ) ... i guess i should nix that idea ...

    thanks again!

    john
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Keh has a few Bronica ETRS with 150mm lens right now at $250 or less. One even seems to have a speed grip. I think they all have prisms.
     
  7. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Since you probably will not be happy until you replace your Yashica 124, just go buy one in excellent condition on eBay for about $100.
     
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I checked phot.net on Seagull cameras. There is a general opinion that the cameras are mechanocally unreliable. I no longer recommend one.

    It is now 1:27 pm Sunday. There is a nice clean Yashica 124 closiing about 7 hours from now. The seller has a 100% favorable response. I do not now if the camera has a ceter portion of the hood that folds back to use as a frame finder. It does have an accesory shoe. You could easily get a cheap viewfinder for it and take your photos at eye level w/o even opening the hood by estimating your distance. If you were trying to be sneaky you could face 90º away from your subject and use ground glass framing and focussing..

    My own exoerience has been that with a bit of practice you can judge distance well enough to work at f8 or f11 between 4 to 20 feet.

    If you use a speed Graphic the one thing you will not be is inconspicuous.

    The Minolta Auto cord is also a nice TLR.
     
  9. rexp

    rexp Member

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    Too bad you couldn't find someone to loan you a camera.... (sorry - I couldn't resist). My Koni should be back in mid January, so if you don't have something by then let me know. You could be the next victim of the MF Loaner Program. I think you missed the last one by hours if I remember correctly.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    thanks rex :smile:

    i'll keep you in mind come january !

    -john
     
  11. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    Hi John,

    I've done a lot of street shooting with a Mamiya TLR "fix focused". I typically set the focus around 15 feet, then an aperature between f8 and f16 depending on the lighting (usually a faster shutter speed for handheld, like 1/125). TLRs are good for attracting not too much attention. People usually notice the big camera, but since you are looking down in the WL finder (rather than looking at your subject), they dont think you are actually taking a picture of them. The quiet shutter helps. Also, holding the camera at waist or chest level helps in this manner too. I have used a monopod at times which allows the use of slower speeds, and is not very cumbersome and doesnt attract too much attention. For such candid shots, plan on taking a good number of frames (not a problem for you if you have so much film!). I find that a reasonable number of frames are trash, but if you take enough, you'll get what you're looking for.

    cheers

    Tim
     
  12. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    John, I recently sold a gorgeous Pentax 67 outfit with 4 lenses etc when I discovered the joys of a $65 Minolta Autocord. It's as good a solution as I've found for TTL focus while the grandbabie action is unfolding. And it's light as a feather. I dream of an autofocus Fuji 645 but just haven't found one for 65 bucks yet.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi again --

    i wanted to thank you all for your help and suggestions.
    i ended up getting a folding mamiya 6 ( olde not new ) and it will arrive
    sometime in the next few days in that truck in the plain brown wrapper.

    i've a bunch of film to shoot with it, and when i am done, who knows, i might keep it!

    i'll post some "stuff" i shoot with it here in the gallery, if i can find the time to process + print my film..

    thanks again for your help!

    -john
     
  14. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Find a Yashica 124 (not G). Essentially the same camera with a different paint job and metal gears (instead of plastic). Great little kit and I got my last excellent example for $80
     
  15. 127

    127 Member

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    Fuji 645. The Ga645 is litterally a 645 point and shoot! The Ga645i is a bit more the throws in a zoom!

    Both are autofocus, AE, motor wind, with built in flash! They are litterally a 35mm compact scaled up for 120 film.

    Prices are great, and results are good.

    Ian
     
  16. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Congratulations on the Mamiya 6 John - from what I have seen of them, think it will be a good match for what you wanted to do. Be sure to have fun, and don't forget to share the images with us. :wink:
     
  17. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Seconded. The shutter in my Seagull (purchased new in Nov of 04) died horribly after less than 250 frames. I'll never buy another one.