Recommendations for a medium format folder

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by cliveh, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I am thinking of getting a medium format folder and wanted something that is not too bulky when folded; clear reasonably accurate viewfinder, good quality taking lens with a coupled rangefinder. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I love my Zeiss Super Ikonta IV. Very sharp lens and accurate meter.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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  4. BentleyR

    BentleyR Member

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    I've got an Agfa Isolette. Good features: internal hinged mask for 4.5X6 and 6X6, very compact - my wife calls it my point and shoot. Viewfinder is good and adjusts for the two formats. It falls down relative to your requirements in that it has no rangefinder. Also some flare from the uncoated 1936 optics (and some holes in the bellows:sad:). Use it a lot though because it is so easy to carry in your pocket and still get interesting images.
    img447_1sm.jpg
    Took this on a recent visit to the Palomar Observatory. The dome of the 200" Hale telescope.
     
  5. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Voigtlander RF or Bessa II.
     
  6. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    Perkeo ll
     
  7. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Agfa Super Isolette :smile:
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    The rangefinder is the hard part. The price list at Jurgen Kreckel's site (http://www.certo6.com/purchase) has quick summaries of most of the reasonably common alternatives.

    If you can live without coupling, accessory rangefinders can be had for cheap, and I've found them to be very helpful with the many scale-focus folders. But of course they are one more thing to do before firing the shutter.

    -NT
     
  9. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    Voigtlander Bessa. Simple. Prone to flare.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I've owned a few classics. Settled on the Voigtlander Perkeo II with Color-Skopar plus accessory uncoupled rangefinder. It's very compact, and I'm dubious of any of the classic 6x9 folders' ability to hold the film flat. Even the best ones are of relaitvely light build, as you might expect of a tourist camera. 6x6 is less of a flatness challenge.
     
  11. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Zeiss Ikon Suoer Ikonta III and IV would fit the bill. Also, the Agfa Isolette III with either the Apotar or Solinar. The Agfas can suffer from pinholes in bellows and frozen focusing.

    These are compact and reliable, although you should expect that any camera from the 1950s will require service.
     
  12. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    A Balda Super Baldax would suit, Super Ikonta or Perkeo 2, If you can live without a coupled rangefinder the the Franka Solida II rf is a fine camera, this is a few from personal experiance, all are fairly small when folded and very light, and work fine
    Richard
     
  13. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Just make sure that it uses 120 film.
     
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  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the suggestions which I will look into.
     
  16. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Or the identical Ansco version, the Super Speedex. A while ago I had a Super Isolette which was excellent. For some reason I sold it; I kicked myself for a couple of years over that stupid decision. Then a few years ago I found a Super Speedex with a locked up focus helical for a decent price. Got that sorted out myself. I'm not selling this version, even though I don't use it all the time.

    These are definitely the best of the 6x6 folders.

    The other folder with a coupled range finder I have used is the Zeiss Super Ikonta 532. It's an excellent camera, but a bit bulkier than the Super Speedex. It also has a fast f/2.8 lens. And they only shoot 11 frames on 120 film. Still highly recommended for the price. I'm tempted to sell mine since I haven't shot it in years, but for some reason I still hold onto it.
     
  17. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    From the pointers you guys have given me and investigations so far, I'm warming to leaving out the rangefinder and going for a Perkeo II. I know this may not be the best choice in quality and I once owned a Super Ikonta, which gave me superb results. However, there is something about the look and size of the Perkeo which I find quite appealing. Any pointers and things to look out for with these? How do they feel to handle? They also seem to be more common in the USA than England.
     
  18. DWThomas

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    There's no denying the Perkeo II is a nice size, I own one that I use a fair amount. I have found I do well enough with estimate and set to leave an accessory rangefinder at home. I've probably messed up focus more often by getting absorbed in the moment and forgetting to do it at all!

    I will note that while very compact, its weight is surprising, almost 1.25 pounds/545 grams -- not really heavy, but a sense of substance. Of course it dates back to when things were actually made of metal and glass! :D
     
  19. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Have you ruled out the current modern GF670 dual-format folder?

    Not quite as lightweight or compact as the vintage models. But in return one gets an in-production, supported camera where everything works correctly right out of the box, and can be expected to continue that way down the road. It has a sharp modern lens, beautiful viewfinder, excellent meter, and the rangefinder is a joy to use. And those two formats, for when the other one just feels better.

    Ken
     
  20. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Ken, I have never heard of a GF670 and so will check it out. Thanks for the post.
     
  21. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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  22. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Oh dear, when I started this post I was just thinking about getting an old folder as a bit of fun to use occasionally. Now Ken has introduced me to a GF670 and I am now re-thinking the whole concept. At that sort of price I would need to sell several of my existing cameras to pay for it, but would I then have an MF I could use like an M2? Decisions, decisions! I think I need more info about this GF670, in particular about how it’s viewfinder compares to the viewfinder of an M2.
     
  23. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    If you want cheap and cheerful, try a Moskva 4 or 5. Soviet clone of a Zeiss Ikonta 6x9 rangefinder model. The 5 has the best rangefinder and the best lens- a 105mm Industar f3.5. It is switchable between 6x6 and 6x9 formats. For $150 +/-, hard to go wrong!
     
  24. nosmok

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    Any of the Welta Welturs would do you up brown. Uncoated optics are the only drawback. Usually cheaper than any of the other well-known vintage options, great viewfinders, built like tanks. Handy depth of field table on the top plate. I love all of mine. Some of the 6x6 and 6x9 models convert down to 6x4.5 with an insert as well, but that insert is the first thing to be lost to history.

    --nosmok
     
  25. PaulMD

    PaulMD Member

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    There are very few options that fill all your requirements. If you accept modern options, I suggest the Fuji folders. My GS645 has a modern multicoated Planar, coupled RF, averaging meter, etc. It's great for travelling, that plus an Olympus XA covers normal and wide and they're tiny. They are not the most reliable things in the world, my first one would trip the shutter when folding up sometimes and it eventually had to be replaced. I got a warranty and highly recommend it. They are also fragile and cannot be forced, you MUST advance the film and reset the lens to infinity before the camera can be safely closed. The negative is only 6x4.5, but the cost is significantly less than the GF670 (I paid $375 for mine).

    If you've got big bucks, there's the GF670, which gets you all the way up to 6x7, there's the Plaubel Makina, same, or the Mamiya 6 (not Six) has a collapsible lens.

    If you're thinking vintage, Super Ikontas or a high end Voigtlander would be my recommendations. There's also TLRs, which are just a bit bigger. Love my Rolleiflex!
     
  26. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    For light travel you have the Fujifilm Auto Focus GA645ZI. Loks like a toy, but it's not. Tack sharp Zoom