Please help me sort out my 6x7 thoughts

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by yardkat, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. yardkat

    yardkat Member

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    Hello everyone,
    For the last year or so I've been thinking about getting a 6x7 camera. This week I had an extra gig so I've got a little bit of fun money and I've decided to go ahead and go for the 6x7. I've always assumed that I would just get Pentax 67, but over the past few days I've started re-thinking it. Suddenly I'm intimidated by the weight, and I'm afraid that I would spend the money and never use it. This is just my hobby, and I spend a lot on paper and other stuff, so the camera itself can't be too pricey, otherwise I won't be able to print! So in other words, I can't afford the Mamiya 7, and I'm sure it's a fantastic system, but it's not an option for me right now.

    I currently use an F100 and a Rolleiflex. I guess I generally shoot landscapes, but would also shoot portraits, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I almost exclusively shoot black and white. I like to throw my cameras in my camelback and shoot while we're out snowshoeing or hiking, or just have my nikon around my shoulder while I'm XC skiing...and while I have a couple of zooms for my nikon, my most used lenses are my 50mm and my 18-35mm. I make my husband carry the tripod. :wink:

    I like the convenience of 35mm, and I like the beauty negs from my Rolleiflex, and I'm thinking about 6x7 for a specific project where I'd love a big negative, but don't see it in square. I'm not interested in 6x4.5, and I already have the 6x6 format, so here are my thoughts about the different 67 systems I've thought about, and I would love to hear from anyone who owns them, has tried them, or if there's anything I haven't considered.

    Pentax 67- everyone I've talked to that has one says that it's a great camera, but it's a beast. I think all of them have in fact used the word beast. I'm not a small girl, but I tend toward wimpy hands/wrists sometimes, and while I know that all 6x7 cameras are going to be heavy, I'm a little intimidated. If I get one I'm intending to get the 67 version rather than a 6x7 version just because it will be newer and hopefully not need immediate cla or repairs. Is that silly? I also would want a 90mm and 45mm lens. Since I mostly just shoot b&w, the lack of interchangeable backs doesn't bother me. I would also get the wood hand grip, and while I have a spot meter, I'd probably still try to get a metered prism, just because. Also, while I think I want the 90mm lens, all of the kits on KEH right now come with the 105, is that a decent lens?

    Fuji Gw670 any version-I don't know anyone who has one. I've read that they're light, which interests me, and while my Rolleiflex doesn't have interchangeable lenses and I don't really feel limited by that, I think I'd like that option, particularly on the wider end. I've also never used a rangefinder. But I am very curious about this camera...and curious about the 690 as well, so please feel free to offer opinions.

    Mamiya RB-I think this is probably too heavy for what I have in mind. I think I could find one locally to look at in person, at least, but I don't know much about this camera. It just doesn't strike me as a "throw it in my camelback and go out on skis" kind of camera. (I realize that probably no 6x7 really is.) But I'm very interested in anyone's opinions, and the rotating back thing does intrique me.

    Bronica gs-1-I'm *very* curious about this camera, but it seems like there aren't as many people using them out there. It's lighter, so I'm interested, but don't know anyone who has one, and so can't see one in person. Are the lenses good? As good as the Pentax? I know there aren't as many focal lengths to choose from, but again I don't really use the longer lenses that much. I'd probably go with the 50mm and 100mm. Do people prefer the grip on the bronica or not?

    I think at this point my preference is probably Pentax first, then Bronica, but I'm just working through all my thoughts and trying to balance it all out, probably over-thinking it, too. And a lot of my indecision has to do that with the Bronica I would just be ordering one sight unseen without knowing anyone personally who has owned one and can give recommendations or not.

    As far as buying, I'm looking at KEH mostly, ebay secondarily.

    Anyway, I know posts like this are annoying, thank you very much for bearing with me. It's probably going to be helpful just having written it all down, maybe ow it won't echo around inside my empty ole head all day now. :wink:
    Thanks again for your time,
    Julie
     
  2. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I have a Pentax 67, both the non-metered mirror lock-up model and the newer Pentax 67II. If you go with the pentax, get the 67II which has an excellent metering system including spot metering. While it is a beast, it is very well built. If you are trying to go light, the 67II with a 90 mm lens is not bad. I carry a 67II, 165 mm and 90 mm lens in an rounded top, rectangular (barn shaped) insulated lunch box with several rolls of film and a filter or two in the top. It is very manageable. From what I have seen, the 67II goes for about $1200 used which is quite a bit more than the regular 67MLU.

    The Bronica GS-1 is lighter than the Pentax and the lenses are supposed to be top rate but good luck finding them. They do have interchangeable backs also, and the Pentax does not, but that added extra weight and bulk.

    The 6x7 Fuji rangefinders might be a good bet for you in terms of lightness and convenience. But they are limited to a single focal length and are also a little harder to find.
     
  3. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I've have and use a P67 that I bought new about ten years ago. I have the 55, 105, and 200mm lenses. I've run countless rolls of film through it with great success, but I've never used it handheld, nor would I ever choose to! One of the best features of this system is the mirror lock-up, which, when the body is used on a tripod, helps keep the negs as sharp as possible. But, to actually use it like a 35mm camera without the pod would put sharp negs at serious risk because of some pretty significant mirror slap.

    Having several systems is a really good idea when your shooting styles vary a good deal. For your "around my shoulder" X-country skiing moments, stick with the 35mm.
     
  4. NormanV

    NormanV Member

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    I have an RB67, Rolleiflex 2.8C and a Fuji GW690. The Fuji wins hands down! It is my camera of choice
     
  5. jmain

    jmain Member

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    I second the motion for getting a 67II if you decide on a Pentax 6x7 system. The 67II has a built in grip which is very nice. The 67 would require an accessory hand grip.
     
  6. Doug Webb

    Doug Webb Member

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    Julie,
    Lots to think about. 6x7 cameras tend to be big and heavy. I have a Pentax 67 and Nikon F100. If you can handle the F100, which is fairly heavy, you can probably handle the Pentax 67 as well. The 67 is bigger than the F100 and a little heavier, some people might call it a beast when compared to the weight of a Nikon N80 which I also have, but I never thought of it as a beast. The Pentax 67 could become a little tiresome if you were handholding it for lots of shots during a long day, the lenses are also bigger and heavier than 35mm lenses. You may need a more substantial tripod for the Pentax 67, I don't know what you are using now, that could also add to the weight. I have the 45mm which is a great lens, but have never used the 105 or 90. The 45 may be wider than you imagine. There are forumlas for converting these to 35mm equivalents but the shape of a 35mm negative is different, a 67 negative is much more square, and to me, the 45mm Pentax 67 lens looks a lot like a 20mm lens in 35mm. There is also a 55mm lens that is probably as good as the 45mm. I also have a 75mm, which is about like a 35mm lens in 35mm and I use this lens more than any other for landscapes. I also have the 165 2.8 which is about like an 85mm in 35mm that I use a lot for portraits and sometimes for landscapes. The 90 and 105 are more or less "normal" lenses for the 67 and I can usually get away with using the 75 or 165. I replaced the screen with a Maxwell screen and liked it a lot better than the standard focusing screen. Places like KEH often have Pentax 67 bodies with brightscreens, they will also let you return the camera.
    Good luck
    Doug Webb
     
  7. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    my favorite camera of many that i have, plaubel makina folder. fits in an oversize pocket, very sharp lens.

    i haven't checked KEH lately but that is were i got mine several years ago
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have a Mamiya RB 67 and when I got a few years ago, I thought it was too heavy to carry around. After a while I got used to it and now like it.
    I love the big negative and the rotating back. Don't let the size and weight scare you.

    Jeff
     
  9. evilhomer78

    evilhomer78 Member

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    Julie,
    You've seen my bronica sq-a. From what I've seen the Bronica Gs-1 cameras are slightly bigger. The downside of the gs1 system is the lack of a revolving back, so you would have to tilt the camera, which means you would want a prism finder and a grip. Both add weight and bulk. The only advantage I see going the bronica over the pentax is the ability to change backs.
     
  10. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Here's a vote for the Koni-Omega/Rapid Omega cameras. Not small, but not too heavy. Absolutely superb lenses, though there are only four of them. With the Omega Rapid 200 and the Koni-Omega Rapid M (I think that's the correct name), you can swap backs mid-roll, if that's an important consideration.

    The cameras take a little bit of getting used to, just because their controls are a little different (like pull-push film advance), but they are very rugged and extremely affordable.
     
  11. dbonamo

    dbonamo Member

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    I second this thought, I have owned one for about 2 years now and love it. Recently purchased a later version of the camera, the SD. With the SD you can shoot up to 6x8. Weight is not that bad, especially with the WL finder. With the prism it makes it a little heavier but with a grip/bracket I think hand holding it would not be an issue.
     
  12. georgecp

    georgecp Member

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    6x7 Thoughts

    Hello Julie,

    First of all, kudos to your husband for carrying your tripod. That is what I call spousal support!

    Like many, I have gone through the process you are now going through. I ended up with a Mamiya 7 and a Bronica GS-1 system. They are both excellent for different things. If the Mamiya 7 were not an option for financial reasons, I would choose the GS-1. I owned a Pentax 67 system for a little while and returned it...to me it required a tripod to use and did not have interchangeable film magazines which I find beneficial.

    The most important advice I can give you is that, unfortunately, no one can tell you what works until you try it for yourself. The tradeoffs with all of these systems and their impact on your work are subtle. It this day and age, the value of MF film equipment is very low ---good for you. Try an outfit from KEH or discuss a 2 week rental with a credit towards a purchase if you like it. They are good folks to deal with as are many others.

    Some specific answers to your questions about the GS-1:

    - The lenses are very sharp. In my opinion, you should treat the lenses for all of these systems as functionally the same in terms of image quality.

    - I use the 65mm, 100mm, and 200mm focal lengths and the teleconverter. There are longer and shorter lenses available as well.

    - If you are doing portraits and landscapes (or small scale landscapes) intercheangeable lenses will be a plus

    - You can get a waist-level finder, or prism/prism metered finders with the system

    - I travelled around the world several times with a GS-1, a couple of lenses, and a couple of backs that fit in my carry-on. The sytem is light and travels well.

    I wish you luck in your search. They are all great systems.

    Regards,
    George Pappas
     
  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    If the goal lis lightweight 6x7 for landscape/documentary (i.e. not portraiture or macro) then I would recommend looking into these:

    Mamiya 7/7ii (it's well worth the wait even if you need to save up)
    Fuji GSW/GW690
    Fuji GSW/GW670

    and there is also the Fuji GW/GSW680. But note: none of these cameras is well suited for portraiture or macro: they don't close focus (without a lot of fuss) and the lenses aren't rather slow.

    The rb is a great, inexpensive, all 'round performer, really fabulous for macro and portraiture etc., but as you know, it is not nearly as handholdable as the above. But you can get way more bang for your buck with the rb system than just about anything else, and I think it is a great way to get started in medium format. N.b. the rz is slightly lighter and much more automated and can also take most of the less expensive rb lenses. I shoot 6x8 pretty routinely on the rb67 pro sd, it is my go-to camera for closeups of any sort.
     
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  15. Resoman

    Resoman Member

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    I think I've used all the roll film formats (with the exception of 6x8) and the only one I wouldn't care to work with again is 6x7. I just didn't like the shape of the pictures - almost square but not quite. One can always crop, of course, but I like to print full frame most all the time.

    I like square pictures very much, as well as the 35mm 2:3 aspect ratio. At this point, I've got three 6x6 cameras plus the Fuji GW 690. The Fuji is a wonderful camera, fairly affordable, and handles very much like 35mm. For me, it's a great companion to a Rollei.

    Anyway, good luck with your decision!

    Gary,
    East Snook, TX
     
  16. naknak

    naknak Member

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    If you want an all around hand held medium format (6x9) buy a second hand old style folding camera.

    Kyprianos
     
  17. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I have always liked my Pentax 6x7. You would be surprised how easy it is to get accustomed to shooting hand held by flipping up the mirror then releasing the shutter right afterward. Believe it or not, that is actually helpful for portraiture when you tell your subject "hold until the second click." Of course, the clicks are quite audible. My two cents. BTW, I use the 135mm Macro much of the time.
     
  18. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    My vote (for me, perhaps not for you) would be for the RB67. They're cheap, rather plentiful, glass is really good and not too expensive, large negative that fits a standard format (8X10, 4X5, 16X20, et al) without cropping and really isn't too heavy until one starts piling on the accessories - the prisms are not light.

    Price-wise, the RB and Hasselblad are close competitors in the used market.

    Years ago, I used mine to shoot weddings (handheld with grip) and it didn't make me look like AAHNOLD. They are, however, better suited to a tripod.

    One plus over some other cameras is the RB's leaf shutter - flash sync at any shutter speed (as is the Hassy).

    I still have two RBs and one Hassyblad - and use them.
     
  19. domaz

    domaz Member

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    The Pentax 6x7 with the waist level finder (the cheapie one not the magnified one) and the 90mm 2.8 should come out to be about 4 pounds. Not really that heavy considering the quality. It's not hard to get hand-held shots with it either as long as you don't push your shutter speeds. You will have to pack your tripod on serious outings however. There is no way you will get the landscape shots you want (i.e. high aperture) without one. Personally I don't find the Pentax heavy but bulky- it's hard to pack in a bag, especially with a prism but otherwise it's very workable in the outdoors.
     
  20. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    I agree with the Plaubel recommendation, but if your budget will not allow a Mamiya 7, then the Plaubel is out of reach. That leaves the various Fuji cameras as the only rangefinder choices.

    In SLR 6x7, the RZ67 has really come down in price, and cane be outfitted to be slightly less weight than an RB67. I highly recommend getting a grip for either of those, if you want to shoot hand held. The prism finder is also a good idea, though with the rotating back the waist level finder is easy enough to use.

    The Bronica GS1 is slightly lighter than the Mamiya RB/RZ67. Lenses arguably not as good, though I think the results could be very good with Bronica lenses.

    The Pentax looks like a larger 35mm, but you will notice the weight difference. Lots of lenses available. Overall a fairly strong camera. Handling and ergonomics are very different than the Mamiya and Bronica SLRs . . . it really depends upon how well you comfortably operate the camera.

    Ideally you could try out a few of these, or handle them. If nothing else, KEH does have a return policy, which few EBAY sellers will match.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography
     
  21. tomkatf

    tomkatf Member

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    I am a big fan of the 35mm (2:3) aspect ratio (and the 6 x 6 square... go figure!) 645, 6 x 7, 4 x 5 and similar aspect ratios seem too "blocky" to me. I'd recommend you have a look at 6x9... classic proportion and the nice big (and convenient) roll film negative.

    Best,
    Tom

    LOL...just read Resoman's reply above... we must have the same "aesthetic proportion" gene...!! I ended up with Hasselblads for the square and the later version of the Brooks Veriwide for 6 x 9... nice cause it takes Graflex XL backs and the XL polaroid back...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2008
  22. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    I've had the Pentax 67II with 55mm and 135mm for several years. It was a good camera, though not light at all. It is intended to be shot off the tripod, but is also manageable handhold. I was rather content with it, but a year ago it broke down (unrepairable). Since, I have acquired the Fuji GW 690 II and have not looked back a moment. This is the camera to choose, or if you like the 6x7cm aspect ratio, then the 670 version.

    If you say you prefer wider view, you can also choose the GSW 670. It has a 65mm lens, which is wide, but not too much. The only downside is, that it's only f:5.6 lens, so might be too slow at moments. I've had the GSW 690 for some time, it has the same lens, and the sharpness of the 65mm lens was excellent. (As is the 90mm).

    The only real downside of the Fuji rangefinders is the lack of builtin meter, although I have managed to guess the exposure at times well (and have learned to use that judgment for my LF shooting as well).
     
  23. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I’ve used a variety of 6x7 cameras, including the Koni-Omega M and the RB67, but my favorite, by far, is the Pentax 67. I use both a later model P67 and the new 67II in an aerial photography business, and would certainly spend the extra to get the newer 67II. The built-in handgrip makes it much easier for me to use in quick, handholding situations.
     
  24. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    If you shoot landscapes, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned a Century graphic. I use one for landscapes and handheld stuff too. It has a graflock back and is compatible with RB67 backs, I use mine with roll film backs in 6X7, but you can get roll film backs for 6X4.5 to 6X9. It folds up to about 6" square by 2" thick. It has limited movements, rise, shift, drop, swing. It's totally non-electronic so a handheld meter is a must. It will handle lenses from 47 to about 160mm, longer with a telephoto lens type. Focusing is by rangefinder, ground glass, or scale. In a lot of ways, it's more versatile than an SLR. You can carry different backs for different negative sizes and types of film, and it has a shutter that doesn't sound like a gunshot going off. I have a Pentacon Six which has one of the quietest shutters of medium format SLRs, and compared to the Compur Shutter on my Century Graphic, the Pentacon sounds loud.
    The Century Graphic is often referred to as the "Poor man's Linhoff" Just my .02.

    Rick
     
  25. yardkat

    yardkat Member

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    Wow, thank you all so much for your replies! I came home from a day at the darkroom to find so many helpful and thoughtful answers, and of course, so much more to think about.

    Evilhomer, everytime I look at the Bronica gs-1 online I think about your Sq-A. You are still happy with it, right? I realize it would be smaller than the gs-1, but the sq-a is certainly a fine size.

    Tomkatf and resoman bring up interesting points about the aspect ratio…I do tend to print my 35mm full frame, so perhaps 6x9 is really more what I should be looking at. Hmmmm. If I looked into the Fuji GW 690 would I feel limited by the single lens? More to chew on.

    I may just end up abusing the return policy at KEH. :wink:
     
  26. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Member

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    Hello Julie,

    Another vote here for the Pentax 67, though it is a fairly heavy camera. It's actually quite well balanced, but...still...I would never consider using it handheld. I know other photogs who do, but the awesome mirror slap really degrades your image! If you go the P67 route, I'd really recommend the P67II version if you can afford it and you typically shoot transparency film. The metering on this model is quite accurate. If you shoot mostly B&W and/or are good with a handheld spot meter (my preferred way to work), then save yourself a few bucks and go with the older version just before the II.

    The RB67's are good cameras, too, but also heavy and boxy. These babies can't be handheld, IMO...maybe the RZ67. I have a Hassie 500C/M which is much smaller than the RB, but due to its boxy nature even this camera is hard to handhold. All that said, I pretty much use the Hassie and the P67 interchangeably almost always on a tripod. Something else to think about if you go the P67 route...you'll need a sturdy tripod for best results. For lighter weight yet solid performance I'd recommend a good carbon fiber tripod. I use a Dutchhill P900 which holds me P67 with my longest lens (200mm) solid as a rock!

    Good luck with your decision.