Recommended SLR's?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by lancelottjones, May 24, 2007.

  1. lancelottjones

    lancelottjones Member

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    Hey, I'm new here.

    I've been using a medium format TLR (Yashica LM) for a while now, but I'd like to get myself an SLR.

    I'm looking for something with autofocus that is relatively inexpensive (though price isn't that much of an issue). What would you recommend?
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Nikon F100.

    I'm sure the Canon users will speak up now. HA!
     
  3. lancelottjones

    lancelottjones Member

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    sorry, I meant a medium format SLR

    however, I'll probably end up getting myself a 35mm SLR, so thanks
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    The only AF SLRs in MF I know of are the Mamiya 645 and Pentax 645. Otherwise you're in manual focus land.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    If cost is really not a driver, then consider getting a MF MF [Manual Focus Medium Format, for those without an LOAA] such as a Hasselblad. It is still manufactured and it has [nearly] complete upward and downward compatibilty of components. Later, if you choose, you can add a digital back and not have to replace all the equipment you brought.

    Steve
     
  6. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Relatively inexpensive is the tough part. I guess it depends on what is relatively inexpensive to you. KEH has a Mamiya 645 AF (their first model) with lens for about $530 and an AFD for about $900. The manual focus models will be quite a bit cheaper, or for similar money you could go into something like a used Hasselblad.
     
  7. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Rollei 6008AF is autofocus. You can afford the system if you have a nice car to sell :smile:

    I think you need to think this through. Do you really need AF for medium format (MF). E.g., Its unlikely you will be hand holding a MF SLR and chasing after toddlers.
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Many of the MF slrs are light enough to hand hold and chase. How many people would have problems with a Pentax 645 handheld?

    I just checked and the AF Pentax 645 latest model is lighter then the first manual focus model.
     
  9. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    We use the Mamiya 645AFD II here at work. It's not that large, actually, and fairly light. You could easily run about with it.

    We use it tethered for photographing manuscripts using a PhaseOne digital back, rather than with film, but the basic ergonomics of the camera are good and the lenses seem excellent.
     
  10. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Light + big mirror = VIBRATION. Yes, you can hand hold it but are your photos sharp? I'd rather have a sharp 35mm slide than a blurry MF trannie.

    That's certainly my experience. The SL66 is good to about 1/60 with a normal lens, but only because it has a very soft mirror slap and the camera is quite heavy. Its still hit and miss sometimes. With Hasselblad, most including myself have vibration issues unless shooting 1/125 or higher.
     
  11. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Light is a relative term. The Pentax is about 3 lbs for the body. Next to a RZ it's light.

    My Bronica is a similar weight but unless you stick a grip on it the thing is less balanced then the Pentax. It's easier to handhold the Pentax.
     
  12. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    I can handhold my Salyut down to about 1/30th I think. Or at least, the half dozen or so slides I took recently at that speed came out fine. The problem I have hand-holding it isn't shake, but the fact that the depth of field is shallow enough that I have to be very careful not to move the camera off the focus point -- by swaying back and forth -- when shooting it wide-open!

    The 645AFD, I'm pretty sure would be OK at normal shooting speeds. Unfortunately ours is screwed to a wallmounted column at the moment, or I'd take it off and shoot a few frames.
     
  13. lancelottjones

    lancelottjones Member

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    Hm, you've made me reconsider the whole AF thing. what, then, would you recommend as a starting MF SLR, autofocus or not?
     
  14. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Do you have a format in mind?

    A feature set you need? Or would like?

    I'd suggest the Bronica ETRSI because the price is so low right now.

    OTOH lots of other choices depending on what you need/want.
     
  15. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Hrm... guess no one heard of a tripod (or monopod for that matter).

    Autofocus is obviously going to be more expensive than the manual focus options, and there are plenty of manual focus bodies out there for very inexpensive price.

    I ended up getting a Mamiya RB67 + prism + 90mm f/3.8C and so forth... it ain't light, and I have shot it for several hours during an event handheld before. I plan to use it again this year, except I'm preped with a carbon fiber monopod and a good ball head that can handle the weight... and guess what, with the ball locked, and due to the heavy weight of the camera against the monpod, and propped to my face due to the eye-level viewing, I've done 1/8th of a second without a problem.

    But for inexpensive autofocus, I'd have to lean towards either the Pentax or Mamiya... the Rolleiflex 6008 and similar bodies while nice are most certainly more expensive than the previous two brands. You could shoot with any of them, its a matter of personal preference and knowing what your limitations are.

    It also helps to know a few things ahead of time.

    What format.. do you want 645, square (6x6) , or do you wish to go bigger like 6x7.
    Is weight much a concern do you see yourself shooting outside a lot or without a support of some sort.
    Is size of camera a concern, how you plan on traveling with it.
    Are you planning on using available light or will you at any point of time consider strobes or flashes and such.
    Have you ever had a chance to find a shop that would have these cameras to pick up and hold and feel.

    I chose the RB67 for two primary reasons, a BIG negative, and damn CHEAP now days for the camera, lens and it's accessories. The RZ67 is a newer lighter one, tiny bit more expensive, but is the next step up if you wish to slide more towards keeping a big negative, but being somewhat bias towards weight limitations.

    A second recomendation would be something like the Bronica SQ-A or SQ-Ai (main difference is an Ai has bulb mode, timed shutter upto 16 seconds as opposed to 8, and has an Flash TTL Metering against the film plane, as well as being compatible with a motor winder, but the SQ-A is quite a bit cheaper, you can get a good outfit for 400$ or less at keh.com) , the nice thing about the Bronica SQ is that they are 6x6 square format, but handles like most 645 cameras, and if you use a prism with them (which most outfits are sold with prisms) a speed grip is a very nice accessory to have, otherwise if you use the WLF, not having a grip works ok. This would been my second choice if I didn't go with the Mamiya RB67 mainly because its inexpensive for what you get and is still larger than 6x4.5, and you still got the square composition in mind that you've already experienced with a TLR.

    Oh in case I did not mention earlier, my Mamiya RB67 + 90mm f/3.8C lens + 120 Back + prism, is about 12 pounds in weight, so keep that in mind.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2007
  16. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    There is no such thing as a "starting MF SLR". They are all professionel grade tools which have their individual strengths and weeknesses. Which is the right tool for you depends on the kind of work you want to get done and what you feel comfortable with to achieve this.

    Ulrich
     
  17. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Could have just said "Holga", but then again starting out you'd learn eventually how it wasn't an SLR :D

    But ya, its kinda like picking out a large format camera, you can get something 'simple' (in all respect of the word), or you can tweak it to your specific preference and needs.
     
  18. yurihuta

    yurihuta Member

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    I just bought into some Pentax MF (both the 645, 645N and 67) gear. I must say that I am really enjoyng the Pentax 645N bodies and how easy they are to use. The metering system (dual, six segment as well as spot and averaged) is quite a step up from the 645 (averaged). I find myself using this more and more often and my 35mm gear as well as my Bronica SQ gear is getting less and less use.

    I have been using the 645N primarily with manual focus lenses, since I get focus confirmation in the viewfinder (and audibly if I choose). I do have an autofocus lens and it works quite nicely with this system. I also purchased an adapter that allows me to use the Pentax 67 lenses on the 645 series bodies. This works very well, as I have been playing around with the fantastic 35mm/4.5 fisheye (about a 16mm focal length equivalent in the 35mm film world).

    KEH is having a spring cleaning sale on many of their categories, including Pentax 645 -- I got a great price $220 on a 120mm Macro for the 645.