MF Folders, any particular ones to look out for?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Phillip P. Dimor, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I was browsing some pages online and had found; http://www.davidrichert.com/classic_camera_contest.htm
    http://www.davidrichert.com/classic_camera_contest_2.htm
    http://www.davidrichert.com/classic_page_3.htm

    There are a lot of beautiful images, many taken w/ MF folders. I'm thinking of picking one up from the *bay as there aren't any good old camera stores around here. Any particular models that aren't too expensive? I'm looking for something that is 6x4.5/6x6/6x7 and _maybe_ 6x9. I don't think I need a coupled rangefinder, but I don't think I could accurately 'guess distance'.
    I would like something that is durable, but would consider a Russian one.
    Also do not mind a 3-element lens. A nice fast lens would be great but I can get by w/ a 3.5 or 4.5.

    Any popular ones?
     
  2. Charlie-J

    Charlie-J Member

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    MF Folder's

    Hello Phillip

    I use a Voigtlander Bessea with the compur shutter and a Skopar lens. This camera will shoot 6x9 and 6x4.5 with a mask. They are on ebay all the time.

    I also use a Zeiss Ikonata 520 This camera is fitted with a 7cm 3.5 Tessar and shoots 6X4.5
    This little camera is a jem it is very compact and the Tessar produces very sharp photos.
    I have quite allot of old cameras and have found the compur shutters the most reliable and the easiest ones to fix when suffering from sluggish slow shutter speeds.

    Charlie
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One of the best on the "value-for-money-scale" must be the Japanese Daiichi Zenobia.

    Zeiss Ikon Ikontas tend to be more expensive, at least with a coated Tessar lens.

    If your distance guesses are too far out, there are cheap accessory rangefinders too. :smile:
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've owned a few and decided the keeper for me was the Voigtlander Perkeo II with the Color-Skopar, which I use with a non-coupled shoe mount rangefinder. If you try the search engine, you can find some links to photos I've made with this camera.

    I had the very desirable Bessa II 6x9 with the Color-Heliar for a while, but the ergonomics didn't work for me--too left handed, and film flatness was a little wonky.

    Given the design of most folders, I think 6x6 is about as large as they can be with film flatness that I can tolerate. The 6x6 folders are also quite pocketable. The Perkeo II is smaller than many 35mm rangefinder cameras, though the shoe mount rangefinder adds some bulk. I see these as cameras for handheld use, so a folder that works well on a tripod but isn't comfortably handholdable doesn't work for me.
     
  5. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Silly question but how do the accessory rangefinders work? Do you actually align two images like a rangefinder and then read off the distance on a scale, then transfer to the lens?

    I've seen a few Ikontas, they look really nice but probably out of my price range. I guess I was going for under $50, is that doable? Oh, and i'm definitely looking for something that is able to be used handheld. Kind of a kick-around camera that I can grab when I'm running out the door to a new place. Even any websites that are dedicated to folders or have some information would be really helpful as this is all new to me.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Exactly. They are usually easy to calibrate as well. I have one made by "Widor" and get perfectly accurate focus as close as 3.5 feet, which is the near focus limit of my lens. Usually if I want to get that close, I set the rangefinder and move my head back and forth until it is in focus, switch to the viewfinder to frame, and shoot.
     
  7. geauxpez

    geauxpez Member

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    Phillip -- I was in your shoes eight or so months ago. I was looking for a reasonably-priced MF folder and picked up a Balda 6x6 with built in (uncoupled) range finder, Compur shutter & f2.8 lens for around $100 including shipping from Germany which I thought was a pretty good deal. You may struggle to find somehthing in good shape for $50.

    For the rangefinder function, you look through the viewfinder and turn a dial until two faint images become one. The number indicated on the dial is the distance you set the lens to. you set the aperture & shutter speeds, cock the shutter and shoot.

    Not bad to use -- I carried a light meter. For my purposes, I was using a tripod a good bit, so I actually preferred to use a TLR. The Balda saw two or three rolls of film and will probably be sold off soon as part of a recent gear reduction effort. (c:

    Feel free to PM me with any questions.

    Adam
     
  8. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    There are so many folders out there, why not try em all? After all you can get a decent folder these days for about $30-$60 depending on condition n lens.

    Once you get started with these gems, just be aware you will get hooked, I mean junkie hooked on em. I started out buying a cheap Ikonta for $5 to fix up and haven't stopped buying yet.

    OH BTW you just may learn a new aspect to photography... repairing these oldies. It's so much fun, it will eat you up!

    Enjoy!
     
  9. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    Visit www.certo6.com

    Another to consider: A Franka Solida III comes with a uncoupled rangefinder and a Schnieider Radionar (triplet) lens.

    Almost always these older shutters will be slow or sticky on the slower speeds, but at the higher speeds they are often fine.
     
  10. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Um, er, ah, if you can't take beautiful images with the gear you're now using, you'll do no better with an MF folder. They aren't magic bullets, won't make up for the user's shortcomings.
     
  11. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Dan, while that's true.. I don't like to lug my hasselblad around on a whim.
    I tend to bring gear with me when I am specifically going somewhere to take pictures. I want something to keep with me in a glovebox, etc.
     
  12. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Phillip, thanks for the explanation. Since you're already shooting 6x6, I'll second David's suggestion of a Perkeo II. And I'll second the several suggestions that you budget for at least a shutter CLA as well as for the basic camera.
     
  13. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    I've shot several of these. My own favorite is the Balda Super Baldax, which has a coupled rangefinder. Nice camera and inexpensive to come by -- visit Jurgen Krekel at www.certo6.com for good users. Sanders
     
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  15. JPD

    JPD Member

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    I'd suggest the Voigtländer Perkeo II too. Especially with the Color-Skopar, that is said to be one of the absolute sharpest front-cell focussing lenses.

    The Perkeo II plus the accessory Voigtländer rangefinder should be a nice combination. :smile:
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Perkeo II is nice, especially with the Color-Skopar. so they tend to be expensive, especially with the Color-Skopar... :smile:

    If I take a folder with me to the oil rigs it's the Zenobia: Cheap, 6x4.5 gives 16 exposures per roll, and the Neo-Hesper is yet another coated Tessar-clone. It just happens to work well, too!

    I have several other folders: Bessa, Perkeo, Ikonta, Balda, Welta et cetera. The Zenobia may not be the best, but it's still the most "bang for the buck"!
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Look for unit-focusing rather than front-cell-focusing lenses, as the latter are often, in my reasonably extensive experience over the last 40 years, significantly less sharp.
     
  18. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Ah yes Roger. I still need to figure out a way to give you a ZI nettar 6x6 so you can see how sharp a littl' 3 element front focusing folder can be.

    I have photos taken with the nettar you couldn't tell were not taken with my rb67.

    tim in san jose
     
  19. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Another vote for Jurgen Kreckel, a.k.a Certo6. You have to email him and ask him what he's got currently, and give him a price range.

    I picked up an Isolette III (with Apotar lens) from him about a year ago - beautifully restored. It's got an uncoupled rangefinder. It was about US$200.

    I've recently been stockpiling expired 120 film so I can shoot with it more - the 6x6 is definitely a different experience.
     
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Tim,

    I'm prepared to believe there are good ones, hence the qualifiers in my post (largely due to you). It's just that I've been regularly disappointed by the ones I've tried.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  21. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    Of the several coupled and uncoupled RF folders I have in 6x6 and 6x9, my favourite remains the Russian Iskra. Great lens (unit focus), probably the best viewfinder on a folder, automatic film advance and not too expensive.

    Get one from a reliable seller, make sure the film advance mechanism has been tested, and I'm sure you'll really enjoy caryying and using it.

    Another nice one, assuming the RF is in good condition, it the Certo Six. Very well made, great lens (unit focus), but the focus lever is not to everyone's taste.
     
  22. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    I've tried several folding cameras. I like the voigtlanders and ikontas.But now I use an Agfa Record III, 6x9, uncoupled RF and Solinar lens.

    The other records are good too. The Record I doesn't have the RF but an accessory finder will work just as well. They are much cheaper than the Record III. look for the solinar lens. and the integrated finder, not the flip up viewfinder. The Ventura 66 or 69 are renamed and record Is. Not sure if they have a solinar lens though.

    Agfas are notorius for leaky bellows though. You'll have to send it to Jurgen for a CLA and new bellows. It costs around $125 but if you decide to sell the camera later you will make the money back. Cameras advertised as rebuilt by certo6 go for much more than others. Almost any folder will need, or will at least be improved, by his care.
     
  23. JPD

    JPD Member

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    Aren't front cell focussing lenses overcorrected at infinity and undercorrected at real close distances? In that case, they should have a "sweet spot" at around 10 meters or so.
     
  24. JPD

    JPD Member

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    The Record I came with the Agnar lens. At least the later ones. The Record II could be found with Apotar and Solinar. I have a II with Solinar and Compur-Rapid. I cleaned the lens and shutter, and got new bellows from Jürgen Kreckel. It's an early Record II, so it takes 37,5mm filters. 37mm filters don't fit. So I use it for colour, and my RF-Bessa and Ercona II for b/w (they use 37mm filters).
     
  25. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    With the old folders it's all about how well the lens standard stays parallel to the film plane. In this respect the 6x4.5 or 6x6 cameras will always have the edge. Judging by your question it would seem that your choice would need to be compact so I would opt for a Voitlander Perkeo for the reasons already outlined or for the plain Ikontas or Nettar. Don't fret about the Novar lens as it is really good when stopped down a little, probably due as much to the solid alignment from these Zeiss folders, about the best of all the folders IMHO. Don't know much about the Certos but they seem popular with other Apuggers and the Agfa Isolettes are also an option.
    It's quite amazing how compact these beasts are when folded up...have fun.
    Tony
     
  26. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    I picked up and old late 1940's/early 1950's Mamiya 6 folder a few years back for $40.00 that I just had CLAd'. I took this camera on a recent trip to California and was astonished on the quality of pictures it takes. Mine has the 75mm F3.5 Olympus Zuiko lens. The attached is a shot taken from the deck of the Queen Mary. Ilford Delta 100 in Rodinal 1+50, F4.0 at 1/50th (or so) hand held.

    Jim Bielecki
     

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