Recommend a camera to a noob

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by indierthanthou, May 29, 2008.

  1. indierthanthou

    indierthanthou Member

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    Hey all. I am new to photography, I primarily use 35mm, but would like to switch to medium format. I have a couple of older TLR's (brownie six-20 and kodak duaflex II) that I use, I'm not a huge fan of the waist level viewfinders. Can anyone suggest a MF SLR available for under $400, preferably including a lens or two? Also, is there any way I can get olympus OM lenses to work on a mf slr?

    Here is what I want:
    120 film
    SLR
    eye level metered viewfinder
    6x7 or larger
    $400

    Am I dreaming, or is something like this actually possible to get, at that price?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2008
  2. indierthanthou

    indierthanthou Member

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  3. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    The Pentax 6x7 is an excellent camera with very good optics. What you may settle on will depend on what kind of photography you plan on doing. Mamiya RB67s are going for about $400 with WL finder, back & lens. The Bronica SQAs are going for good prices also.
    Check out KEH.com for pricing.

    Good luck with your search.

    gene
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Your OM lenses won't work - they don't have enough coverage for the larger negatives.

    For 6x7, KEH has a number of Bargain Grade Bronica GS1 outfits that meet your criteria, and are at least close to your price range.

    If you are willing to consider 6x4.5, I have been happy with my Mamiya M645 Pro and Super (and I too use Olympus OM equipment for 35mm). The Mamiya is close to your price range at KEH.

    Have fun!

    Matt
     
  5. indierthanthou

    indierthanthou Member

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    I figured as much.

    I am seeing several of those pentax 6x7's on ebay, I might have to pick one up. Are there any lenses I should get as well? I plan on shooting a variety of things, from buildings and landscapes to flowers and portraits and macro.
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    That budget might bedoable but for little more than the body at that format. You could score a load of stuff to fill out a M645j Mamiya get up if you were willing to negligibly drop in format size. Well, maybe not quite so negligible but at least it's not a drop to 35mm.
     
  7. Doug Webb

    Doug Webb Member

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    If you get a Pentax 6x7:
    My most used lenses are in order:
    for landscapes 75mm (about a 35mm lens equivalent in 35mm) then the 45mm (somewhere between a 20 and 24mm equivalent in 35mm)
    for portraits 165mm 2.8 (about an 85mm equivalent in 35mm)
    for marco 135mm macro, often used with auto extension tubes
     
  8. DBP

    DBP Member

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    You might want to try a real TLR. The Brownie and the Duoflex are both really box cameras with prism viewfinders. A real TLR will focus onto a waist level ground glass. Also, some TLRs (Mamiyas and some Rolleis) can be fitted with a prism. Of course TLRs are all 6x6 or smaller (leaving aside rarities like the Gowlandflex). Options are pretty limited in 6x7 SLRs. Your choices expand very significantly if you are willing to consider smaller 120 formats, especially 6x6 and 645).
     
  9. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    Get on fleabay and look for a RB 67 Mamiya. The bodies and accessories such as the metered eye-level finder you want) are cheap, they are tanks (hard to hurt), glass is excellent and relatively inexpensive, 120 or 220 film is readily available. Format is 6 X 7 (2.25 X 2.75).

    A good body can be had for <$200, a standard lens (90mm or 127mm) for <$120, backs for around $25 - $50 (120 or 220).

    Their drawback is their size but - I shot a wedding with one (with a grip bracket) once. Not exactly an upper-body workout but can get old after a while.

    They're really more of a studio-type camera as there are two distict motions to make when you use it - one, cock the body, and two, advance the film as the back isn't coupled like the Hassyblads are.

    Even though the format is rectangular, you never have to turn the camera sideways as the back revolves.

    When looking at these, the least you would want is the "Pro-S" model - not the "Pro" as many of the likeable features of the ProS were not incorporated into the earlier Pro model.

    I have a Pro and two ProS bodies with quite a bit of stuff and lenses, plus a Hassyblad (500c/m) with stuff and lenses for it also. They both have their place in the grand order of things - I've not been able to part with either pile.
     
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  10. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

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    The Pentax 6x7 on ebay that you posted a link to is the older model without mirror lock up. If you decide to go with a P67, I would highly recommend that you find one with MLU. If it says 67 on the camera body rather than 6x7, then you know for sure it's the newer model with MLU. If it says 6x7 (like the one in the link), it might be an older one without MLU, or it could be a newer one with MLU. If the seller doesn't say whether or not it has MLU, the only way to tell is to look and see if it has the MLU switch on the camera. With the one in the link, the second picture shows that it doesn't have MLU.

    I agree with others who recommend the RB67. I believe the best bang for the buck is with the RB, especially in the US.
     
  11. indierthanthou

    indierthanthou Member

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    My budget is flexible, to some extent. I would like to keep it around/under $400, just because I am still new to photography, and am not positive I will stick with it, as I used to pick up and drop hobbies a few weeks into them, though I have stuck with this one for awhile. I am also flexible with the format, though I would prefer 6x7 or 6x6.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Yashica 124 G
     
  13. Ian Tindale

    Ian Tindale Member

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    Why suggest the intentionally inflated overpriced 'G' version? That's hardly fair to the OP and represents unnecessary expenditure in return for no increased utility. It would be more friendly to suggest any of the other Yashica Mats, such as the Yashica Mat 124 for example, or an earlier one with no meter, and get a cheap handheld meter to go with it.
     
  14. indierthanthou

    indierthanthou Member

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    Oh, I would also prefer manual focus. Auto focus drives me nuts, because sometimes I want the focus to be a certain, specific way, not necessarily "in focus" as the computer in the camera expects.
     
  15. indierthanthou

    indierthanthou Member

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  16. unibonded

    unibonded Member

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    If you're not interested in waist level (are you sure - it is a joy once you're used to it?) then you can't go far wrong with a Pentax 67, but as others have said, I wouln't go for one without mirror lock. Not sure you'd manage to get one on your budget though. I have a lot of time for the Mamiya 645, and they have the added benefit of being either waist level of view finder.
     
  17. indierthanthou

    indierthanthou Member

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    I bought that mamiya rb67.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Looks like a good deal (another RB-67 user here).


    Steve.
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You've got a remarkably good deal there, should be fun to use. I've always had a hankering to use an RB67 gain and there always seem to be plenty available on Ebay.

    The Sekor lenses are excellent, I've been using them for 30 years now. Good luck and psot some images :D

    Ian
     
  20. Greg Campbell

    Greg Campbell Member

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    Do you live near a good sized city?
    If so, find the time to visit any old camera stores that may still be in business, and play with their MF equipment. There is no substitute for handling a camera you're hoping to buy. When you're done, explain your budget and needs and offer them an opportunity to sell you something. You might be surprised with their offer. (Or they may well be idiots who want $200 for a used film back...)

    Some camera / photo clubs are also dedicated to older equipment, or may consist of older folks who have these cameras at home and would be more than happy to show you their toys.