Medium format ... which one?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Eralen, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Eralen

    Eralen Member

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    I'm looking at MF cameras and I'm sort of overwhelmed and confused about which one would be the best choice for me. I shoot 35mm but i'm sort of getting bored of the format ... I've held one MF camera before and i really liked the feel and the look and the machinery (and I don't need to mention the size advantage of negs).
    My budget is around $300-350, I'm looking at SLRs. I don't need AF or AE, or anything automated for that matter, hopefully that should drive the price down. I have a slight preference towards 645 format, being the cameras are generally more compact and cheaper, but I'm also willing to use 6x6. I don't think a 6x7 camera would be right for me because I've read that they're bulky and expensive. I would prefer interchangeable backs (and rotating back, if they make those in 645), but beggars can't be choosers.

    I saw a Mamiya M645 kit at my local camera shop (I'm not sure about everything included in the kit) for $250. I might buy that camera, but I've read reviews saying that its difficult/cumbersome to shoot vertical photos (rotating back would help with this). Also, it does not have a removable back.

    I've heard good things about Bronicas, Hassys are probably (definitely) way out of my league.

    Or am I simply asking too much?

    I have a terrible attention span, researching things (even cameras) doesn't really agree with me, should I expect to get at least one "suck it up and do your own research" reply?
     
  2. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    Sure: Suck it up and do your own research, eh?

    Ok, with that out of the way, get a Bronica ETR/S/i with a 75mm lens, a prims finder, a speed grip, and a 120 back. The prism finder makes it like a 35mm- rotate the camera for portrait format. Should run about $2-300 I think. Look at KEH for a package. KEH is well-respected for used gear, honest grading, and willingness to accept returns.

    Shoot that for a while. See what you think. You'll learn if the extra film turf is worth it for you and what you want out of photography. If MF strikes your fancy, then a whole new world of cameras and lenses and such awaits.
     
  3. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    The Bronica is probably the best value.


    Kent in SD
     
  4. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Where are you located?
     
  5. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Mamiya 645E is a good camera, easy to use, lightweight and very good viewfinder, very good AE.

    Jon
     
  6. krb

    krb Member

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    This is only an issue if you are using the waist level finder and it applies to all cameras, not just the Mamiya.
    If you use a prism finder then you can shoot vertical or horizontal just as easily as you can with any other camera.
     
  7. zsas

    zsas Member

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    As a Mamiya guy myself, consider if 1/500 is going to work for you? In the summer or otherwise bright days, 1/1000 is important to me (have a 1000s Mamiya), but I shoot wide open a lot, if you are landscaping this is not relevant or if it is relevant shoot 50 or 100 speed film and/or have a ND filter handy. You can't go wrong w a Mamiya 645, happy camper here (so long as you plan for the nuances).
     
  8. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    I have a Pentax 645, and I've had it for years. The Pentax has a second tripod socket on it if you want to shoot a lot of verticals. If the Mamiya has that, then no problem. Also, how many times do you get heavy on the verticals?

    Consider a Yashica TLR, or similar. These are light, cheap, and have very good lenses.
     
  9. woosang

    woosang Member

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    I picked up an RB67 for $129 all up, 90mm Lens & rotating back. so bargains are out there have you thought of a Kodak tourist that shoots 6x9? Around $25-50 on the bay.. Or a cheap yashica mat I paid $80 for a great one.
     
  10. Eralen

    Eralen Member

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    zsas, I'm in Charlotte, NC

    Also, I think the camera in the shop was a 1000S, it had "Mamiya465" on the front, I believe the standard 645 only has "Mamiya" on the front
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2012
  11. Eralen

    Eralen Member

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    Brian, I'd have to say about 50/50 landscape/vertical.
     
  12. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Excellent since you are in the states be sure to spend some time at KEH researching prices/kits
     
  13. Eralen

    Eralen Member

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    yeah thats step #2, now that i've got #1 out of the way... heh...
     
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  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Check out Mamiya RB67. Look up KEH.

    Jeff
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Those are getting very long in the tooth.They also lack the interchangeable backs of he newer Super/Pro/ ProTL bodies, which are common and not much pricier. Price kits but also consider buying separates--body, lens, finder, film back. A winder grip is a borderline "must have" accessory, too. The inexpensive 80/2.8 "normal" lens is sweet.
     
  17. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    +1 on the mamiya RB67 its 6x7 which is worth jumping from 645. Its fairly priced and built like a tank. Sure its heavy but its got a rotating back and will take some great pictures
     
  18. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    kiev 66 kit for 100 dollars , pay another 100 for CLA and you have the sexiest girl.
     
  19. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    +1 for Bronica ETR series.
     
  20. eskil

    eskil Member

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    I would also advise you to get either a Bronica ETR/s/i or a Pentax 645, both are capable, lightweight (for MF) cameras with very good, decently priced lenses.
    But don't let anybody talk you out of a TLR! Waist-level finders, no mirror shake so they're dead silent, and they're extremely lightweit. Plus, they can be had very cheaply if you go with a Yashica-Mat or a Minolta Autocord. Even Rolleicords can be had for a decent price.
     
  21. Johnkpap

    Johnkpap Member

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    +2 for ETRS / si

    I have a nice outfit, has never let me down, nice system and every thing is CHEAP !!! but good.

    The 150mm PE is my most used lens 250mm with a spacer is a close second.

    Good luck

    John
     
  22. rakeshmravi

    rakeshmravi Member

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    I suppose you want to focus mostly on the landscape work. In that case, I would not use 645. Carrying the slight extra weight is not an issue when you consider the whole package you might end up carrying anyway.

    Personally, I prefer the 6x7 format.

    I would go with good RB67 and focus on spending the rest on good lenses.
     
  23. Eralen

    Eralen Member

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    No comments on the bronica SQ series? (currently looking at SQ-A) I'd also like to shoot 6x6, and upon research I see that 6x6 backs are not made for the RB67. The square format really somehow appeals to me, its very unique and strange to see a square negative. Is the 6x6 format all hype? Is the 6x7 format more useful/versatile?
     
  24. OddE

    OddE Member

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    -Time for my favourite answer: That depends.

    I've shot 6x6 and 6x7 in MF, and personally, I find 6x6 to be the most versatile. (I may have been of another opinion if the alternative was 6x8 or 6x9 - 6x7, to my eyes, anyway - is not rectangular enough to really make a strong case for a composition being shot either vertically or horizontally. Thus, I get distracted when trying to figure out whether I'd get a stronger composition by tilting the camera 90 degrees.

    Looking through a square finder (or at a ground glass, or whatever) on the other hand, I'm free to consider whether, in that particular case, I would be best served by cropping to horizontal or vertical afterwards - or go for a square print. The negative will be the same anyway, the camera orientation is the same - there's simply less decisions to make.

    So - it can be argued that I find 6x6 to be the most versatile in that it takes one item out of my (easily distractable...) thought process whenever I'm trying to figure out how to shoot something. Your mileage may vary.
     
  25. Marvin

    Marvin Member

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    +3 for the Bronica ETRSi.
     
  26. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The 6x7 format is described as the 'ideal format' with no cropping necessary for enlargements to common paper sizes; by comparison, a bit of material waste with the 6x6 format when enlarging. The 6x6 format certainly appeals to me but I only set my Zero Image pinhole camera to that format. Romance of any specific format aside, you use what is appropriate for the style and type of photography that should click naturally with you (not others!). Your smallish budget will I think severely limit the choices available to you: I would consider holding out to release more funds to build it up, maybe to double the amount. I am not a fan of heavily used ex-pro gear and would seriously consider looking at well-looked after, near-new or mint condition equipment.