Portable medium format suggestions

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jeremy, Nov 2, 2003.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I'm on the look-out for a compact medium format camera that can go everywhere in a much easier fashion than my M645. I've been looking at the Fuji series of rangefinders, but have also jumped on the idea of an older folder. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm looking for f/4 or faster with a coupled rangefinder. Also, my price celiing is around $250-300 which is why I haven't picked up one of the fuji rangefinders yet. Just thought I would ask here first before trouncing around the net.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    If you want something with a coupled rangefinder in that price range it won't be easy. Maybe a Voigtlander Bessa II with a Color-Skopar instead of the more desirable Heliar. There are also older Fuji 645 folders that are supposed to be good if you can find one in decent shape.

    My compact is a Perkeo II with an uncoupled shoe mount rangefinder, though it's not much harder to carry the Bessa II in many instances. The Bessa II will fit in a jacket pocket or a briefcase easily enough.
     
  3. fingel

    fingel Member

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    I have a Zeiss Ikonta that I use when I want to go small with my medium format. It is scale focus, but in not that hard to use with fast film and small apiture.
    I would also second the recommendation for the Fuji 645 folder, they are near your price range and if they are anything like their large format lenses, they should be steller preformers.
     
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    After doing some thought and a categorization of my recent shots I've decided to bag the 4x5 (ad up on this site), grab a wide angle for the mamiya, and get rid of all my credit debt. No more camera shopping for a while. I've finally got a film and a developer I like so now I'm just going to stick with one camera.
     
  5. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    While I enjoy my Agfa Isolette V, a 6x6cm folder without a rangefinder, it's far from a substitute for my Rolleiflex and Yashica TLRs. I consider it more like a high grade Holga or Diana, fun for snapshots and arty stuff.

    Even adding a Rowi accessory shoe rangefinder hasn't helped as much as I'd hoped. The Rowi is calibrated in feet, the Isolette in meters.

    Also, the Isolette's focus ring isn't entirely accurate or...what's the word? Linear? I can either calibrate it to be accurate from 1 to 10 meters and not worry about infinity being quite sharp, or set it to be sharp from around 5 meters to infinity and not know whether anything closer than 5 meters is truly in focus.

    If I wanted a *serious* MF camera that was also lightweight I'd get a Mamiya 6 (the recently discontinued version, not the old folding camera), wide angle lens, have Mamiya refurbish it for reliability and use that as an alternative to my TLRs.

    There are some good old folders with uncoupled RFs and the really high zoot Voigtlanders, but I can think of better things to spend money on. For $250-up I'd be seriously tempted by the new Cosina-Voigtlander RFs and a really good wide angle.
     
  6. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I used to have the Bessa R but don't really like using 35mm all that much. I realized that most of the shots I'm talking about are actually just snap-shots that I wish I had taken a photo of and my stylus epic (35mm f/2.8 lens $80 camera) works wonderfully with color film or c41 black and white. As I love the waistlevel finder and 80mm is my most often used lens I plan on skipping the wide angle for the mamiya and just invest in a good CLA on my rolleicord. That suckers just so butter smooth to use and if the slow shutter speeds were more accurate I think I could carry it everywhere.
     
  7. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Good point, Jeremy. Before I spend another dollar on medium format gear I'll first have my Rolleiflex CLA'd and a bright screen added for user-friendlier focusing. It's such a delightful camera that has rewarded me with outstanding photos - it really deserves a good going over by a pro.
     
  8. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Lex, I'm going to call tomorrow about sending my rollei out. After doing some searching on the net I think I'll be going with Ross Yerkes due to his reputation, fair pricing, and quick turnaround times.

    Ross Yerkes Camera Repair 342 Kirby Street Los Angeles, CA 90042 adelheid@juno.com Tel: 323-256-1018
     
  9. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Yup, I've also heard good things about Ross.
     
  10. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    That's the spirit. Go with your Rollei! Why bother shopping for an old chevy when you can fix the benz in your garage? :smile:
     
  11. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    slight problem with my rollei as it appears it's in worse shape than previously thought. I ran a roll of film through it and I believe maybe 1 frame was in the correct place which would require a new film transport system? Also, there's spot of what appears to be fungus between two of the lens elements, will have to check that out some more.
     
  12. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    I wouldn't worry too much about the film transport problems. Irregular spacing and skipping doesn't necessarily indicate a need for expensive replacement parts. According to what I've read from various experts a CLA should fix it up. But don't use the camera any more 'til it's fixed - the residue of old, dried lubes might cause something to be stressed.

    The lens can probably be disassembled and the existing growth disinfected. As long as you protect the lens from flare inducing light you'll probably never notice any problems from a spot.
     
  13. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Lex is correct, a small bit of fungus can usually be removed without problem. It might even be something less serious.
     
  14. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    that's great, I'll set it aside while I drum up the money to have it CLA'd. I figure after the Christmas bank account drain is over I should be able to get it done right quick.