MF camera choice.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by digiconvert, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Hi , my enlarger arrived today (old meopta 5a but two good Nikon lensesfor 35mm and 66/645 work) and I am now looking at getting a decent, inexpensive 'real' MF to supplement my Lubitel (Fun but not the world's greatest lens). My shortlist is as follows;
    -Mamiya 645J at about £150
    -Bronica ETRSi NEW from Robert White at about £390
    -As new SQA/SQB at about £400
    -well used S2a at £160 (dealer has cut price without any prompting as body has a 'number of scratches')
    Mamiya C330/C220 at around £200-250

    All are dealer prices, with 80mm/75mm lens WLF and backs/inserts (I want to avoid e-bay for reasons I won't go into) and with warranties of 4 to 6 months.

    I do like the 6 x 6 format but the price of the 645J and ETRSi are tempting.
    Any comments, views, howls of derisive laughter etc. etc. much appreciated.

    Cheers CJB
     
  2. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    You would do well with any one of those, and the prices seem pretty good - no "steals," but no rip offs either. They all have very good lenses available. The C330/C220 has the usual limitations of a TLR, but all of the advantages as well as interchangeable lenses. I guess the real deciding factor - or the first one you must come to terms with anyway - is how much do you like the 6X6 format over 6X4.5. I like and use both for different reasons and in different situations, but don't prefer one over the other and wouldn't miss one if it were taken away from me. So once you decide how important the square or the rectangle are, any one of the cameras listed will bring you MF joy you would not have thought possible.

    Joe
     
  3. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Let me know what you end up with. My Kiev 60 is...well, a Kiev. And the shutter on my Seagull TLR has died badly. A C330 is my first choice, but an older Rolleiflex isn't out of the question, nor is a Fuji 645.
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have an ETRS which has given me plent of nice pictures over many years. The only irritating point was the format - when I shot lots of portraits I quickly gave in and bought a prism finder. Vertical format with a WLF is not easy!
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Dave Parker had a very nice Bronica S-series kit up for a while in the classifieds--2 or three bodies, 3 or 4 lenses, backs and accessories at a good price. Did he sell it? You might want to PM "Satinsnow".

    There was also a C220 kit up recently that looked pretty attractive--3 lenses, Pelican case, and accessories, excellent price.
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Might be new old stock [sticking on a store shelf] but it can't be NEW. They haven't been made for over a year I think. That's about $700 US I guess? If it's really in like new condition it's an okay price.


    The ETRSI is going to be the newest of the choices you have. It'll have the best feature set if that matters. If you don't need 6x6 I'd go for the ETRSI. If you do I'd ask about a SQAI.

    Read the manual.

    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/bronica_etrsi/bronica_etrsi.htm


    I'd suggest seeing if you can try them out. Alot depends on how things feel to you.
     
  7. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    If I had those choices, my preference would be the Bronica SQa/b. But that's me. Tho I use a couple of Fuji MF rangefinders for my MF work.

    gene
     
  8. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    As others have said, you cannot go wrong with any of your choices.

    My personal preference is for the 6x6 format so that I don’t have to consider landscape or portrait (horizontal or vertical) orientation while I am shooting. If you prefer the rectangular format, and if your enlarger can handle larger image sizes, you should also consider the 6x7, 6x8, and 6x9cm cameras.

    My personal preference is also for the Mamiya TLR because I prefer to shoot with less noise that that produced by the SLR. I also prefer the C220 to the C330 is because I tend to place more trust in cameras with fewer moving parts and less automation (no automatic shutter cocking). My only reservation is that Mamiya has abandoned the sale and service of this great TLR camera system.

    If you have not considered the Pentax 645, maybe you should add it to your list.
     
  9. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    I would recommend a Bronica GS-1. There's a number of backs and lenses you can use. With an AE finder, it's as easy to use as a 35mm. Zenza Bronica glass is outstanding.
     
  10. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Thanks, you echo a lot of my views. The only reason I am considering the ETRSi is that it's less likely to have worn film seals etc. I really like the look of 6 x 6 on the Lubitel and I don't fancy using a WLF in portrait mode. As for the Mamiya TLRs I like TLRs but I am thinking of using the Lubitel as my 'quiet' camera and for carrying on my bike. The S2A is tempting but I have read about the design flaw which puts the finder out of focus. Since I am looking for better quality than my SLR this seems to defeat the purpose of the purchase !
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Check the finder foam every few years on an S/S2/S2A/C, and that usually takes care of the focus issue.
     
  12. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I might suggest you consider a Mamiya 645 Super if you are interested in the 645 format (which it sounds like you might not be). It has interchangable backs, has a great winder available which improves hand held performance immensely and is quite a bit newer than a 645J. I have had two older 645s, an original 645 and a 1000s both go out on me, so I am a bit leery there. Of course I got them on eBay with no warranty. :smile:

    Prices for the super are not much higher than the older models. KEH has a kit with unmetered prism, winder, back, and 80mm lens for about $350. Not sure what they would charge to ship to the UK, but it might be worth looking into.
     
  13. knutb

    knutb Member

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    I have a M645 (the old one, no interchangable back) and like it very much. No negative experiences so far. Lots of used lenses at reasonable prices to choose from. The 645J is a somewhat simplified version of the M645, no mirror lockup, IIRC only one shutter release where the M645 has two, and probably a few other details I don't recall... The importance of mirror lockup has been discussed at length, but I feel it's a useful feature for this camera. So my advice would be to look for a version with MLU; ie. the M645 or the M645 1000s.
     
  14. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    I went through this question about 2 years ago when I got into MF. I looked at them all and this is conclusion I came to:

    I ruled out 645 formats because it is not a huge format for th extra bulk of the camera over 35mm

    If I want to shoot in the same format as 645 with a 66 camera I can frame and crop afterwards.

    I looked at the various 6x6 choices and went for the Hasselblad 500C/M - it cost £525 complete with 80mm Planar and film back etc. in nice condition, from a dealer (MW Classic cameras, in London). I figured I could have had a Bronica for a lot less money, but the sheer quality and rugged build of the Hasselblad, along with those amazing Zeiss lenses made the choice too easy. Plus the sheer range of accessories is almost endless - it has to be the ultimate MF System. The nice thing is that over time you can gradually build up your kit. I now have three film backs, the 250mm Sonnar, lens hood, prism, side handle - been eyeing up the Schneider 140-280 Zoom though!

    Matt
     
  15. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    Lots of excellent choices. I opted for a Mamiya 645 Pro TL and several lenses. I relly love the Mamiya glass. I also have a Bronica RF645 - great travel camera.

    Robert
     
  16. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I arrived at the same conclusion. I would only consider the 645 format if I did not have a good 35mm system. Otherwise, I would go with a larger medium format.