medium format for the field

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by scott k, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. scott k

    scott k Member

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    I shoot primarily 4x5, black and white with some color transparencies as well. My subject is nature/landscape photography but since I live in New England old barns and churches are sometimes subjects as well. I have a nice Minolta Autocord but I'm thinking about a medium format camera that will allow me to change focal lengths. I've tried the Mamiya C220 and just didn't like it at all.

    I'm thinking about a Pentax 67 or Hasselblad 500 C/M. Gustavo's RZ set-up it extremely attractive but it wouldn't be too much lighter than my 4x5 with a 90-150-210mm lens kit and I would loose perspective control and tilt. The Pentax is less expensive but I couldn't change films like with the Hassie.

    Any thoughts?

    Scott
     
  2. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Would a Bronica be out of the question? I have an S and really like it. It's heavier than a TLR but the viewfinder is wonderful, and much more usable in low light.

    I bought mine because Hassies are too expensive.
     
  3. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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    I use an RB-67 when I can't take my 4x5. I have three lenses for it and love it, but it weighs a ton. If I had the money, I would buy a Mamiya 7 right now. No interchangeable backs, but you could always get two bodies if you were really flush. They are extremely light, lighter than most DSLR's, I think.
     
  4. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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  5. scott k

    scott k Member

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    I had forgotten about Bronicas. They are less expensive than the Hassies so lets throw them into the mix as well:wink:

    Scott
     
  6. scott k

    scott k Member

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    They are ideal but out of my price range.

    Scott
     
  7. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I have and use a P67, and a C220. The two biggest advantages of the Pentax are the ability to use dof preview, and the ability to use filters that require being able to see what they're doing, i.e polarizers and GND filters. But, the Pentax is a much heavier kit than the 220, and when you use a prism finder on the TLR, it's a much more satisfying experience. And then too, the 6x7 negative can be cropped to 6x6 square, while cropping the 6x6 to a rectangle results in a yet smaller negative.

    All that said, I'd like to get a Hassie because I'm very partial to square, and being an SLR, the advantages of the Pentax are similar. There's also no need to turn the camera on its side like the P67, and that means, for me at least, a light ball head on a CF 'pod is sufficient support.

    In any case, good luck making a decision.
     
  8. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    For light weight, walking around medium format, I prefer the Mamiya 7 rangefinder system. True it can't do close-ups, but can shoot 120, 220, and 35 mm panoramic formats. Good choice of lens focal lengths, and its weight can't be beat. I traveled most of Tuscany with this system and never missed much.

    I do own a Hasselblad system, too, and would never think of schlepping it around like I do the Mamiya 7 system. I'd rather carry a Crown Graphic 4x5 than the Hassy system.
     
  9. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I highly recommend the Mamiya 7. If you use this camera on a tripod quality is almost on a par with 4X5, and there is a fairly wide range of lenses, 43mm, 50mm, 65mm, 80mm and 150mm. I actually prefer a rangefinder camera to SLR for the type of work you describe.

    Sandy King
     
  10. scott k

    scott k Member

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    Wow! that says a lot. Are you exaggerating or are you serious? The only advantage of the Mamiya RB/RZ would be the macro capabilities. I also like macro a lot but I realize that not one camera system will fit all needs. Is the Mamiya 7 really THAT good? I would like to check one out but I'm kind of isolated here and have never seen one in person. It seems like a lot of cash for 6x7 but if it is as good as 4x5 it might be worth it. If I sold off my 4x5 gear I could get the Mamiya 7 and lighten my load quite a bit but it seems like a hell of a gamble.

    Scott
     
  11. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    :confused:

    they are cheaper than hasselblad - Mamiya 6 or 7..

    (but I don't know your price range - just bought one for 800$ - it's a lot of money, but cheap for that kind of camera..)
     
  12. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I happen to be partial to Hasselblads, and have no hesitation in using it as a walking around camera.
    However, yes, from what I've seen, the Mamiya 7 is that good. I'd even venture to say it would take top drawer optics on the 4x5 to outperform a Mamiya 7.
     
  13. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't have an over/under camera - that's a better configuration for a skeet shotgun. Rangefinders, while sometimes adequate, eventually will make you wish you could have seen what the film sees.

    I have both the Hassy and RB67 systems and, even tho both present their own particular pains in the drain, they have their place, but ... that's only one person's opinion - I'm certainly not the "end-all" in this arena.
     
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  15. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If you aren't printing square then why not 645?

    Plenty of choices. Bronica,Mamiya or Pentax. I'd lean towards a system camera like the Bronica. Fairly cheap.
     
  16. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I'd not try to solve to many problems with one body. Pick the most important one or two problems and find a system that solves them.

    Medium format RFs are a weapon for easily portable scenic / landscape photography, truly remarkable for wide work, albeit inappropriate for some other things where very precise framing is essential. An RB or RZ would be great for closeups and portraiture and macro and such, and there is a shift lens, but this camera was not designed ot do everything. The fuji gx680 family might be more appropriate for indoor and architectural stuff if minor shifts and tilts are needed, but it is a hefty piece.

    I have a Horseman VH, which is a mini-view camera that takes a number of LF lenses and 3.25x2.25" sheets, the Horseman 6x9 back, and the rb 6x7 and 6x8 backs, among others. Very versatile, but.... not so good for wide, for that I have an adapter gizmo that I made. But you might consider scaling down to something like a Horseman or Galvin. The Horseman collapses to a tidy little package about half the size and weight of an rb, with a lens inside! Quite cute. But... at soem point, one has to do the math and decide whether standard LF lenses on a medium format body are the best way to go. For many/most things, I think the system is a winner, but for other things....

    Overall, though, I am quite convinced that the rb system is the best deal on wheels, it's super modular and robust. Much is said about its heft; when travelling, if you pack in a couple lenses, those lenses and backs really add weight and are rather bulky. But... once I'm set up, I'm very happy to have its stability, and I see absolutely no compromises in the newer lenses.
     
  17. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Like you, I also shoot mostly B&W landscapes with the occassionally something else thrown in. My main camera is my Tachihara 4x5. My #2 camera, which I had prior to moving up to 4x5, is a Bronica SQa. Great camera with very good lenses. And right now, extremely cheap, too cheap in fact. I've greatly reduced my Broncia outfit, from 2 bodies and 5 lenses to 1 body and 3 lenses. But still, my Tachihara outfit is lighter to carry around (minus the film holders), and in the NM mountains, that means a lot.

    As Nick mentioned above, if you're not printing the 6x6 square, you could look at a Bronica ETRS outfit; lighter weight than the SQA but just as cheap.

    Or, if you don't like hauling a bunch of 4x5 film holders around all the time, get a 6x7 back for the 4x5. I have a Calument C2 in 6x7 and also an old Adapt-A-Roll 620 back in 6x9. For me, they come in handy for shooting color.
     
  18. scott k

    scott k Member

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    I have definitely considered a 120 back for the Shen Hao, maybe even one of the 6x12 backs.

    I'm not getting any younger and I'd like to get some hight quality film images from mountain tops so light weight would be very nice. I've thought about building a 4x5 'hobo' style camera for my 90mm Super Angulon for such occasions but I don't know if I'll do that. Besides the weight of the film holders, tripod and all the other accessories is at least half of the issue.

    Scott
     
  19. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    When not using my Shen Hao, I use my SQA. One body, three backs and three lenses covers most eventualities and weighs in at about half my Shen Hao kit with 10 holders and 3 lenses (excluding the tripod). The Bronica lenses are electronically timed (leaf shutter in the lens, electronics in the body) so it does need a battery to work (with one manual "emergency" speed).

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  20. f/stopblues

    f/stopblues Member

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    There's always the oft-forgotten Bronica GS-1. It's a (slightly) smaller and lighter version of the Mamiya 6x7 SLR's, though arguably not as robust. I am able to handhold mine for an afternoon and not come home with back problems.
     
  21. david b

    david b Member

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    (Don't flame me too hard for this...)

    The Mamiya 7 is a great camera if you like wide to normal lenses. The 150mm sucks and the 210 is pointless. So, you can buy the 43mm, 50mm, 65mm or 80mm. It's quiet and lightweight. As a two lens kit, I would go with the 50mm and the 80mm.

    But I am seriously partial to my Hasselblad 503cw. I've owned a mamiya 6, mamiya 7, pentax 67, and a Fuji 6x9 but I always go back to the Hasselblad. I've taken the camera all over the place without ever an issue. With the way prices are falling, you can do pretty good with a tight budget, which you did not mention the amount.

    If you do buy a Hasselblad, buy CF or CFi/CFe lenses as the older C type lenses are getting harder and harder to find parts for.

    The Hasselblad can be transformed into anything you want it to be. It has the waist level view finder, a 45 degree and a 90 degree view finder. You can shoot 6x4.5 and 6x6. Lenses for the 500 series camera are 30mm 40mm 50mm 65mm 80mm 100mm 120mm 150mm 180mm 250mm.

    Landscapes to weddings, it's a great system.
     
  22. scott k

    scott k Member

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    I just did some pricing and I can get a Bronica SQAi body and a 80mm lens both rated EX from KEH for $361 and a WLF in nice conidtiion from the bay for $150. KEH is out o fthe WLF and I would prefer the WLF to a prism finder anyway. Pretty darn tempting:wink:

    Scott
     
  23. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Are you serious? The 150 is perhaps my favourite lens on the Mamiya 6. I really value being able to see around my composition and the 150 I use is maybe the very sharpest lens that I possess, with possible exception of the 50 which is a distortionless widewonderlens. The 75 is the slight disappointment in the Mamiya 6 line, it's not up to the lofty standards of the 80 for the 7/7ii systems and as a portrait lens I'd prefer it be at least one stop faster. Ah well, you can't have everything, but you can waste many years looking for something that does everything!

    The 210 would be for scale focusing, which is pretty much how I work with the RFs anyway (hyperfocally, I mean), so I don't see why it's pointless.

    Overall, in terms of detail captured per pound of camera lugged, the Mamiyas and the Fuji RFs are in their own class- certainly something to consider if portability is the main issue.

    If movements are moderately essential then consider how much you can to correct perspective either at an enlarger or digitally. These RFs deliver jaw-dropping levels of detail to slide, you won't be short of detail to work with. Coming from 4x5, these are systems that won't disappoint.

    The main shortcoming of these MF RFs is close focus and, if you are a bokeh-lover, they really aren't fast enough for what you might want. But I have resorted to putting mamiya 6 chromes on my enlarger, using tilts there while enlarging to LF film, and... it's good fun.
     
  24. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Don't they have a kit in stock? Might be cheaper. 150 for a WLF? Expensive isn't it?
     
  25. scott k

    scott k Member

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    All the kits come with a metered prism and a motor drive and I'm not interested in either. The WLF looks to be brand new w/a box in 'new' shape but you are right-that is a lot of money. I can get a BGN prism finder w/o a meter for $49 or an EX one for $84 from KEH but I really like WLFs:sad:
     
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  26. david b

    david b Member

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    My view is from using a 150 on the Mamiya 7, not the Mamiya 6.