Picking MF SLR help

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by andreios, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. andreios

    andreios Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Prague, e.g.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hello,

    I know you must all be very tired of this kind of question, but alas, I didn't manage to find the answers myself..

    I am a hobby photorgrapher, dabbling nowadays mostly with large format, but due to the amount of time spend outdoors with very small children I seem to need something more portable that I would be able to set up quickly - and that would mean MF. I have a couple of TLR's, use the Rolleicord Va quite often - it's fine for some quick snapshots but given the rather dim focusing screen and certain handling inconveniences I've begun to think about an SLR.
    Here are my criteria -

    Format - as a matter of fact I am open to anything from 6x4,5 to 6x7 (or 6x9), though I slightly prefer the square. And if going the SLR route I would like to have exchangeable backs - so no Pentax 6x7.

    I would like to be able to focus rather closely - closer than with the 'cord (even though I have the Rolleinar I, i would prefer even closer) - that led me to Mamiya RB and it's bellows (I could live with the weight and that it would be almost bound to the tripod), but

    I would like to have convenient bulb setting (for night-ish photography - when the kids are asleep :smile: ) - and I got it from reading some threads that the RB doesn't have a true B setting... Does the mamiya 645 have one? I gather Bronicas do... Or am I wrong? I prefer waist level finder but the possibility of a prism (for the night) would be nice..

    So if not the RB which system have a fine and reasonably priced macro lens (which could be an all-rounder as well)? And as for other lenses - for the moment I'd be content with an all-rounder standart lenght and a wide perhaps - I do mostly landscape and details-in-the-landscape sort of stuff, not much of portraiture or other...

    PS: I've forgotten about financial matters, but you might have guessed, that price is a BIG issue (meaning it ought to be small), so no 'blads or SL66s.. Alas..)

    I hope I didn't muggle it too much...
    Thank you all!

    a.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2012
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I got it from reading some threads that the RB doesn't have a true B setting...

    It does have "T" setting that works the same way--check an online Mamiya RB67 Pro S manual for details. Great camera system for close-ups without tubes, diopters or dedicated macro lenses.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,436
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NE U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If close up work, and cost are issues, and weight and size are not, then an RZ/RB would be the way to go. If you want a square composition, you can always crop that out of your 6x7 neg, or else locate a 6x6 back for the RB.
    If you want to stick with squares, a Mamiya C330 might be a consideration, you loose interchangable backs, but it has bellows focus for working close, and a good selection of lenses.
    Aside from the RB/RZ's, most of the other "affordable" SLRs will accessories to go close.
     
  4. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    But those things are available if you really want to get crazy close.
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Sure. The short 45mm tube works well with the 90mm standard lens. It's often priced all over the place. I got mine for around $25.The dedicated macro lens can be pricey.
     
  6. John Austin

    John Austin Member

    Messages:
    521
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Location:
    Southern For
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    For fun, try the $100 Great Wall Corfield copy on the classified section if it is still there

    Do that and you will remove the temptation

    But better than that is the wonderful Meopta Flexarette, (Think drum roll and celestial trumpets) - The magnificent Flexarette was the first TLR camera used by Jan Saudek - You live in Prague, be proud and use the camera from Meopta - Oooops, you said SLR, but please consider

    I have one here that needs the shutter cleaning, which is the only reason I do not use it, but I have a new/old Synchro Compur shutter that will fit - More later

    (The RB 67 is heavy and awkward in my not very humble opinion)

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2012
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As mention before check out Mamiya RB67.

    Jeff
     
  8. John Austin

    John Austin Member

    Messages:
    521
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Location:
    Southern For
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Flexarette Rules In Prague - Hooray Flexarette!!!!!

    Oooops, you said SLR, but please consider
     
  9. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

    Messages:
    421
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Location:
    Hartford, Co
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Look for a Bronica S2A -- 6x6; interchangeable lenses; interchangeable backs (which can accommodate 120 or 220 film); excellent lenses -- Nikkors, Zenzanons, Komuras.
     
  10. BrianL

    BrianL Member

    Messages:
    547
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto ON C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Bronica ETR series should do the job for you. A workhorse camera with great lenses including I think 3 or 4 macro in the 100mm range plus 3 extension tubes and an automatic bellows are all available. Prices are quite depressed right now making the series and accessories absolute bargains. Prices have seemed to bottomed out but not yet started rising.

    I have 1 of the maro lenses plus 3 of the extension tubes and no complaints with them. I have thought about getting the bellows. While the waist level finder is a great way to shoot, either the AEII or AEIII with the auto metering is a great addition unless using a flash that negates the need for the metering.

    I use mine with a geared tripod for close up and macro work and the results re truly first rate.
     
  11. andreios

    andreios Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Prague, e.g.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you guys for all replys so far. I'll check the mamiya manual concerning long exposures when I'm at my computer. As for close up stuff- I don't need 1:1 magnification, just to get that lcouple of inches closer where my TLR doesn't allow me.
    As for TLR in general, I have maybe 4 or 5 of them (although strangely none of them is a flexaret). One thing that irkes me with them are the dim viewfinders (and I confess I can't bring myself to pay almost twice the money for a Maxwell or a beattie screen than I paid for the camera) so I am hoping for a brighter viewfinder as well. (I am often told mamyias have one of the best screens...)

    Now what about other choices? Are Bronicas any good for long exposures? Or Mamiya 645? (The old one, or a Super.)
     
  12. astroclimb

    astroclimb Subscriber

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    My small contribution....

    ....is that the Mamiya 645 solution, esp. for example the "Pro" or "Pro TL" models. Often I see these advertised used as a "system that includes the 120mm macro lens, and usually these are packaged at a very reasonable proce. The 120mm is a very nice lens that get you to 1:1 if you like macro and don't want to mess with extension tubes, etc., and functions nicely as a medium telephoto. I've carried my 645 plus a few lenses in a backpack for rather long hikes (e.g. Yosemite) or touring (e.g. Rome...) and the size/weight really aren't a problem.

    YMMV,

    Todd
     
  13. andreios

    andreios Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Prague, e.g.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the ETR and M645 input - sound's good to me.. The combination of a 120mm and something wide might really do the trick. (in small format SLR - the mighty OM - I find myself using almost exclusively the combination of 28mm and 85mm).
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,034
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Location:
    Sweden/Germany
    Shooter:
    35mm
    One option is to buy a Mamiya RB/RZ screen, cut it to size, put it in the Rolleicord Va. Get a Rolleiparkeil/Rolleinar 2 for the extra inches of close-up. Not much money and it would feel like a new camera.

    Apart from that, I like the RB/RZ for close-ups.
     
  16. andreios

    andreios Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Prague, e.g.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's an interesting idea, I didn't know it could be done (the cutting of the screen).. Will surely think about it.Even if I do end up with a different camera. Could this replacement be done at home or do I have to send it to a service to have it replaced?)
     
  17. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,034
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Location:
    Sweden/Germany
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I did it at home, with a small, fine-toothed sawblade. I measured it carefully, scored a line in the plastic screen with a very sharp razor to have something to start off the sawblade on. There is one homepage with photos of the process, http://www.panum.de/rolleiflex_screen.htm. Read it carefully. It's been up to discussion if you need to realign the focus mechanism or not, but I never had any trouble with the two I did.

    If you don't want to do that, Rick Oleson has replacement screens that are nice and bright too.
     
  18. andreios

    andreios Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Prague, e.g.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you for the link, I'll try. Although I will still look round for a nice SLR most likely... :smile:
     
  19. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Pac/NW
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    'Bulb' and 'Time' settings on lenses. As stated, they're pretty much the same.

    With the Bulb setting, when you depress the cable release, the lens will stay
    open the entire time you hold or lock the cable release button down.

    On the Time setting, you click the cable release once, the shutter opens.
    Click/depress the cable release a second time, the shutter closes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2012
  20. John Austin

    John Austin Member

    Messages:
    521
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Location:
    Southern For
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Oooops, sorry, I have just re-read your original post, and see why you have specified SLR

    So now a suggestion without stating my preference in that format - Let your hands and eyes answer the question - Do you know any photographers or photo shops in Prague who would let you feel and look through a range of cameras?

    If yes, try a few, Hasselblad, Bronica, Mamiya, the lot, and see what your eyes and hands like the most - In reality lens quality is going to be similar between all of them for practical purposes at normal print sizes
     
  21. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    120mm macro lenses for the 645 are $400 and up--often way up.
     
  22. BrianL

    BrianL Member

    Messages:
    547
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto ON C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Bronica lenses each have a time setting. So longer exposures are not a problem.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,030
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 120mm macro lens for the Mamiya 645 is one of the few lenses that I don't have but would really like. It is expensive though.

    The 80mm macro lens for the Mamiya 645 is fairly reasonable - about $200 currently from KEH.

    Based on the OP's comments here, the basic close focus capability of something like the standard 80mm (0.15 life size) or 55mm (0.18 life size) might be sufficient.
     
  24. andreios

    andreios Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Prague, e.g.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you all for your input..
    I've done some reading and some e-window shopping - found out the truth about the 120mm macro... But I almost think that the basic close focus capability that Matt mentiones might do the trick for me... So either way - bellows or not, it looks like a Mamiya for me..
    Although, I remember reading somewhere, that the M645 needs some finicky accesories to use remote cord shutter release - is that true? Or is it true only of some particular models?
     
  25. EKDobbs

    EKDobbs Member

    Messages:
    124
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Location:
    NC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There are pin-based inputs on the 645PRO series, I imagine those are for flash sync, but I'm not sure. Never seen them used. To use a mechanical release cord, you need to have the power grip unfortunately.
     
  26. andreios

    andreios Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Prague, e.g.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've done some reading today, in the end I am almost at the same point as before.. :smile:
    There are the bellows on the RB, but if I decide against the weight and bulk, there will be for me not much difference between Mamiya or Bronica I deem. So I shall wait what will cross my path and mind...
    The negative size I do not deem too big a difference for me - I seldom print larger than 18x24cm or 24x30cm and larger part of my printing is in lith (or bromoil) where grain really isn't that much of an issue.. :smile: