Nikon FE Medium Format Equivalent ?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jaime Marin, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    I really want to start shooting medium format but I feel like this is a whole different ball park from my 35mm experiences. I currently have a Nikon FE. Is there any Medium Format camera out there that has similar features to my FE? As in metering and mostly manual operation? Any other suggestions as to a easy to use and quality MF camera would be great too. Thanks!
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Try the Pentax 67
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A Mamiya 645e has some similarities.
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Based on your question, consider a Pentax 645...but a lot depends on what kind of photography you wish to do. If it is a lot of hand held work, the P645 is a good option. The Pentax 67 looks and to some extent behaves like a big 35mm camera if you have a metering prism, it is really big and heavy. Some folks use it handheld, but most people keep it permanently mounted to a heavy tripod. If you mostly work off a tripod, though (I do), it is a great option. If you really want to work with an in-camera meter, you could also consider any camera (like Bronicas) with a metering prism, but they do handle much differently than a 35mm.

    Personally, though, I'd recommend learning how to hand meter regardless of the camera you get. The metering will be more accurate as you learn how to do it plus it forces you to think about your exposure and lighting more. It really isn't that difficult or inconvenient. That opens up pretty much all options in medium format.
     
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  5. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Must it be an SLR? If not, the Mamiya 7 has a built in meter, very easy to use, and quiet as a mouse. Also Rolleiflexes are small, and some have meters.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd go for Mamiya, Pentax, or Bronica 6x4.5 cameras. Though the Pentax 6x7 is laid out a pretty much just like a 35mm SLR, I actually think the Bronica 6x4.5 SLRs with the thumb winder feel the most like a 35 of any medium format camera I've used. They are smaller/lighter than the P67's, and they are a bit closer to the 35mm aspect ratio. None of the 6x4.5's I named feel that much different than a 35mm camera to me. In fact, they are the about same size as – or even smaller than – some modern SLR cameras with zoom lenses.

    My personal favorites are the '80's Mamiyas with exchangeable magazines and a right hand grip. They feel the most intuitive to use to my mind/hand. That will vary person to person, though. Maybe you can go to a camera swap meet and try out a few different kinds to see how they feel.
     
  7. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Owning,and really liking,the FE2 and MD12 motor,I think you would really enjoy the 645 Bronica ETRSi with its associated motor drive.
    My ETR never had the motor, just the thumb-wind speedgrip, but it was the goods for wedding photography in the day.
    Later, a Hasselblad ELM - but,15 frames before you reload is arguably better than 12.
     
  8. bushpig

    bushpig Member

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    Too vague a question, Jaime.

    You need to specify what format you want to shoot (6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7!, 6x9, etc). That plays a huge part.

    Also, what sorts of subjects you enjoy shooting helps too.

    And let's not forget budget!

    I personally own 3 medium format cameras: A Zeiss Ikon 6x4.5 (about to be given to a good friend), a Koni-Omega Rapid M (Awesome and Konica, but rangefinder and I prefer SLR), and a Mamiya RB67 Pro S (My main shooter).

    Listen to every suggestion, and try to find people near you with the cameras so you can hold them and see what you like.

    Also, DON'T let ANYONE tell you that the RB67 cannot be handheld!

    "Don't believe the hype"
    -Public Enemy
     
  9. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    Rollei 6000 series.
     
  10. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I can only speak from experience and would say if you are looking for the closest match then Mamiya M645 1000S is the way to go. I owned and loved my Nikon cameras from years past and my two main cameras were the Nikon F2 with the DP12 finder (F2AS) and the FE2. I ran more film through the FE2 and truly loved that camera. About four years ago a fellow wanted to sell a Mamiya M645 1000S kit to me and the price was to good to pass up. The camera had only four rolls run through it and look as if it were bought yesterday. I mean like new! It came with 55mm, 80mm f1.8, 210mm lenses, Plus, a standard prism, AE prism, waist level, sports finder, all the manuals and a beautiful aluminum case. I set it aside as no.1 I'm not a big 645 format fan and no.2 I already had a Pentax 67 outfit, two Rollei's, Hassy SWC and three other Hassy SLR's. One day I thought I'd try it out and was really taken by how much it reminded me of the FE2. I then picked up a winder for it and it really did some singing. With the AE prism and winder it was like using a slightly large FE2 with winder. I could set it on aperture preferred and blast away. Well, the winder is a little slower so I should say shoot away instead of blast away. The only drawback to this system was that it took film inserts instead of interchangeable backs, but your FE or FE2 doesn't have that anyway. Now, some other cameras might be closer to your FE, but for me, this was a perfect match and the lenses on this camera were excellent. In fact I couldn't believe how good that 210mm was. Alas, like most of my film stuff it's gone now, but certainly not forgotten. JohnW:D
     
  11. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    I would love to be able to shoot 6x6 but it seems like there isnt many hand held cameras that shoot that. But then again I dont know as much as some of you. I would love to get an SLR as I have no idea how a rangefinder works but from my understanding sometimes the framing isnt the same as what you see through it and that just sounds like it could be a problem. Ive been checking out the FUJI GA645 but again it doesnt shoot 6x6 to bad they dont just have a version that shoots that instead.
     
  12. chioque

    chioque Member

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    Mamiya 6 is a rangefinder that shoots 6x6, if you want to give RF a try. Also Bessa iii can switch 6x6 and 6x7
     
  13. Dr.Pain-MD

    Dr.Pain-MD Member

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    If you want to shoot 6x6 handheld, then TLRs are the answer! Yes, they're pretty different from an SLR and they take some getting used to, but once you do it's the greatest shooting experience. Like you, I shot mostly with my Nikon FE for a little while before jumping into the MF game. I first shot with a borrowed Mamiya C-220, then got my own C-33. After a short time, I grew to love the TLR and had tons of fun shooting. I did dislike the bulk of the Mamiya and sold it, now I own a Yashica Mat and a Rolleicord and I couldn't be happier. I seriously urge you to look into a TLR if you want a portable 6x6 camera to shoot handheld stuff (as long as you don't need macro or something like that).
     
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  15. NJS

    NJS Member

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    what John Wiegerink said about M645 1000s + CDs prism.
     
  16. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    @DRPAIN

    IS the TLR systems you recommended pretty handheld. Or could I get like a "Grip" for it or is it better to just hold from beneath and work that way. Also Im assuming you can put a strap to hold it from your neck for support right? Sorry im super new to this so those are pretty basic questions i know. Also do they just have a fixed lens or are there other lens's that you could add on. I dont need anything large more like a 50mm equivalent.
     
  17. bushpig

    bushpig Member

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    TLRs are almost all pretty light. Most of them have fixed lenses that will give you pretty much a 50mm equivalent. Some of them (most well known is the Mamiya C330) have interchangeable lenses. You can (and probably should) attach a strap.
     
  18. film_man

    film_man Member

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    6x6 handheld? Apart from the TLRs what's wrong with a Bronica SQ or Hasselblad 500 series? They are 6x6, can be fitted with prism/grip and I've been doing fine using these handheld.

    One thing you need to realise is that you are never going to shoot a medium format camera (maybe a 645...) like you do a 35mm SLR. You just don't, it comes naturally the way the camera operates and you end up framing/focusing.
     
  19. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    A switch from 35 to medium format embodies more than the change in format--there is a change in how you visualize and how you shoot. An FE with a motor drive will dictate a shooting style which is radically different from a MF camera. I've been shooting 6x6, 6x4.5 and 6x7 for several years and I find that with the larger medium I tend to be more deliberate and more painstaking in setting up the final shot. I still shoot with my 35mm (SLR's rarely, more often with a Leica). My first medium format was a Mamiya 645 which was purchased many years ago, which I still have and still shoot. Even though I have a prism for it, I find that I'm happier composing with a waist level finder. That's more indicative of my personal preference, but medium format SLR and TLR cameras tend to function better in that mode. Rangefinder M/F's will give you a faster shooting style that might be more to your preference and will probably give you a smoother transition to this format. The Bronica 645 RF and the Fuji 645zi (the autofocus zoom model) would be a good starting point because of their speed and eye level viewing. Welcome to the diverse world of Medium Format!
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Jaime,

    Why do you want to change?

    And

    What are "the defects/problems" you have found with your 35mm results that you are trying to fix?
     
  21. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    The FE was the replacement for the budget Nikkormat line. It had Aperture Priority AE and match needle, a 1/125 flash sync (which was pretty fast in its day). I don't recall that it had spot metering or Advanced Multi-Pattern or TTL flash metering.

    Most any medium format camera with an AE prism from the past 3 decades will have greater sophistication. Caveat being all but the Contax will have a slower flash sync when used with non-leaf shutter lenses. If that's important to you, leaf shutter lenses of any brand flash sync at all available speeds. But later Bronicas (SQs, ETRSi) also have OTF/TTL flash metering (even w/o AE prisms) and leaf shutters in all their lenses (503 CX Hassies also feature this, I think? But I mention the Broni because the bare bodies and lenses are almost being given away. Broni metering prisms are expensive, however).

    I got into MF several years ago (following several decades of 135 format use exclusively) with a Pentax 645N and a manual focus SMC-A 35mm f/3.5. This particular lens was the reason for my format jump and for which brand I chose. The particular niche that MF fills for me is less distorting ultrawide angle views. So this is the only MF lens I've got; it's worthy of legendary status. I don't need to make MF do it all as I have other formats that cover the other niches better, at least this is so for me. The Pentax 645N is extraordinarily ergonomic in use, has a simple yet elegant interface, and is one of the most transparent-to-the-picture-taking-process cameras imaginable. Mirror lockup is not needed as the mirror is extremely well damped so if you decide to go this route, you can safely ignore the P645NII at double the price.
     
  22. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I won't argue the merits of a good TLR for hand held photography and loved my Mamiya TLR's(long gone now), but I still love my Rollei's and my mint Yashica 124G. The Mamyia cameras are first rate systems cameras with more accessories than you can shake a stick at and would be the way to go if you want 6x6 at an affordable price point. I can't recommend a Yashica or Rolleicord or any TLR that doesn't allow you to use a prism finder/eye level type finder. The reason? I have looked at your attached link and the style of shooting you do. A TLR camera with waist level (looking down and backward)finder would drive you crazy. If you were trying to take a picture of one of your friends on his skateboard or bike while looking down into the waist level finder he would be going backward and you'll want to pan in the opposite direction. Now, if you take that same TLR camera and put a prism finder on it it will let you view just like your Nikon FE. The Mamiya cameras let you put a prism on them and a grip, but the others don't. The later Rollei cameras do, but you're talking very big dollars to buy a late Rollei with that capability. You can get a good C33 or C330 for a good price on the big auction site, but the additional prism will cost you. It might even be as much as the camera itself. Of course, if your not really worried about cosmetics you'll pay much less. You'll also have to go to a small hand-held meter to go with the camera, but this isn't a big deal for your type of shooting. Just meter the scene and set the camera. Change scenes and meter again for the setting. You really dont' have to meter every shot unless you change scenes or lighting. Still, I think the Mamiya M645 1000S with the CDS prism, winder or sports finder would be ideal for your type of shooting. The 645 is a pretty good jump over 35mm and if you're printing out to even 8x10 you'll be cropping your 6x6 shot to 645 anyway. So, just shoot the 645 for what composition you want and print full 8x10 or whatever. Just my opinion of course! JohnW
     
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  23. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    Yup, the Pentax 645N is another very good suggestion and maybe the best one yet for you. Of course it's 645, but what's not to like. Great build, ease of use and most of all? Great optics! This is a very good suggestion by the way. JohnW
     
  24. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    I dont quite have a problem with my FE I love it and it does exactly what I want it to do. However I like how much of the surrounding environment and I guess "full frame" that the Medium Format can capture. Plus the quality is much higher. Im currently looking at the Yashica-Mat 124g since it has a light meter but I might have to buy a hand held light meter because I dont know how accurate that could be.
     
  25. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    Dang really? Yeah it would definitly drive me crazy viewing everything backwards. So i guess the Yashica mat wouldnt be the best choice. Ill look into C33 and C330. What does the prism do exactly it. It just makes the viewing normal?
     
  26. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    Yes, the prism would make the viewing normal just like your Nikon FE. Don't rule out the Yashica as it can work for you, but not as easy as a prism finder. The Yashica has a built-in sports finder and when you use it you are viewing at eye level. Here's how to use the eye-level sports-finder. First, you either focus with the waist level finder to get accurate focus or just use the scale on the focus knob to guess focus(you can get very good at this), then you push the center in on the front view hood and view at eye level through the little black square in the back. Very easy and works perfect. The meters on the Yashica 124G's are very accurate, but require the non-existent mercury 1.3V batteries. You can get 1.5V replacement batteries that will work, but your meter will read a little off. To cure that you can take a meter reading with your FE of a grey wall and remember the ASA/ISO(set to your normal film speed), f-stop and shutter speed(write it down). Then take the Yashica and set the shutter speed the same and the f-stop the same as the FE was. Now, turn the ASA dial on the Yashica so that the meter needle reads in the middle of the indicator circle. Look at the "new" ASA/ISO setting on the Yashica's dial and that's your "new" setting for that film with the 1.5V battery and it's also now calibrated to your FE. You might have to tweak it a little one way or the other, but probably not much. One bit of advice on the Yashica cameras with the wid cranks on the side(Yashica 12's 24's, 124's and 124G's) is that the wind mechanisms aren't super heavy duty so don't wind them like some damn press photographer, but rather slowly and evenly and they'll last along time. Do a search for Yashica 124G manual and butkus will come up. He has an online manual you can view to give you some idea of what I'm talking about. JohnW