rethinking my MF

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ruvy, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Starting to enjoy LF I feels drawn to rethink my MF gear (Bronica SQAi with 50,80 and 150mm lenses). There are two issues that comes to mind perhaps more:
    1. sharpness: Hassi for instance does it better but there are other
    2. Portability: Fuji 645 can be hand held but there are other, more interesting too
    3. control: its the ability to better control composition, perspective, and exposure that got me to MF at the first place - don't want to loos it
    4. Cost: Hate to admit but its still a major issue
    5. Dependability: I still use MF to much larger extend than LF

    I have started to think about two directions:
    1 TLR cameras like the Rolleiflex 2. Rangefinder
    Both have limited or no option for lens replacement (to tele and WA) and a parallax problem. My main photographic interest with them is landscape, urban scenes, and portraits. They should be also my main camera for travel.

    reading my post here it looks like an age old topic that have most likely been discussed here before - hopefully from different angles ;-)
     
  2. micek

    micek Member

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    Bronica RF645. 3 excellent lenses available from moderate wide angle to (very) moderate tele. Light but very well built. Good lightmeter. Ergonomically superb. Comparatively speaking, it is also cheap.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Keep your Bronica.

    Despite having an almost infamous selection of LF gear and lenses, it's still the ETRS that goes with me on "non-photographic" trips. Having compared the sharpness of the Bronica lenses with a wide range of others, I don't believe Zeiss lenses (Hasselblad) are significantly sharper.
     
  4. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    This is from my short experience with a few good cameras, but no TLR's.

    I too have similar questions about MF, and actually I am so deep into LF that I rarely even want to pick up a MF camera.

    On the MF side, I really feel that you need 2 MF camera systems.

    One lightish RF like a Mamiya 6, Mamiya 7, Fuji GSW/GW690 or a GA645zi (if you want auto everything) for light travel, hiking and a grab and go camera, for landscapes etc. Actually the ZI is pretty cheap for what it is. For now I have settled on the ZI, but I sure wish it was a 690 format.

    Add to that a versitile MF slr or maybe a tlr like the mamiya c3 pro. Something you can put on a tripod (plus mlu for a SLR) or handhold at a higher shutter speed, and actually see what you are framing. Of those I think the Pentax 67II, Pentax 645ni fit the bill. Maybe a Kowa, just because they are so cheap. There are a multitude of other cameras out there too, like your camera. Did you ever get a chance to try another lens on your camera with B+W pan film, MLU on a good tripod ??
     
  5. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    You may be suffering from a mild case of GGS - greener grass syndrome (the grass is always greener . . .). Or, more precisely, the substrain that affects photographers, SLS - sharper lens syndrome (the lens is always sharper on the other person's camera body).

    Your Bronica is fine. Unless you repeatedly find that the work you do points out insufficiencies in your gear, there's no reason to change.
     
  6. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    Funny, Ruvy and I correspond a lot and I also suffer from GGS. One thing I will say is that a super super sharp lens usually cures my GGS temporarily.

    All I want is a pocket camera with a super sharp zoom lens, very minimal to infinite DOF that I can enlarge to the size of a bus.
     
  7. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree with Ralph. Don't get caught up in the GGS. Set yourself some sort of goal, such as to produce and sell a certain quanity of prints or stock sales before you allow yourself to buy something else.
     
  8. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    Keep the Bronica system. The Hassy will not be better.
     
  9. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    I'm currently saving for a new Mamiya 7 II. I'll be saving awhile, though - they ain't cheap.

    Bruce
     
  10. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    NO NO NO you really need that hassy.

    I'll be happy to help by taking the bronica off your hands at a reasonable price.
     
  11. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I just went throught the same thing. My med. format is now serving something more like 35mm used to be. Thus, I wanted something faster to use (had a C220F) and better to use handheld. I was teetering between a Pentax 645 and the SQ-A. For me the Pentax is perfect. To my mind, the Hasselblad system is just too expensive for me to take into the field (I am not harsh on equipment, just paranoid). Keep the Bronica.
     
  12. roteague

    roteague Member

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    You mention sharpness, but you don't give us what you are comparing. You can get some pretty old, soft lenses for your LF, or you can get some really sharp ones as well. What type of LF lenses do you have?
     
  13. celluloidpropaganda

    celluloidpropaganda Subscriber

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    I'd get a cheap TLR if you want 6x6 (Rolleicord or Autocord) with a good CLA or a Fuji GW670 if you're looking at a different format, and use those in addition to the SQ-Ai. I've never trusted the Hassy/Bronica-style SLRs for handholding.

    No reason to change from a Bronica to a Hassy, from what I've seen.
     
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  15. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    Well I use a Bronica SQ-Ai too so it might not surprise you that I'd suggest keeping it too. Here's why

    First I don't think you'll see much if any difference in your photography by switching to Hasselblad- or any other medium format slr system. A few years ago Hasselblad sought to persuade me to switch and loaned me a new 501CM and three lenses which I used alongside the Bronica for a little while. Frankly I couldn't see much difference and despite going uphill and down dale on this issue on Photo.net, I've still got the Bronicas. Frankly if I'd thought there was a noticeable quality advantage I'd have changed in a heartbeat because I'm not in the slightest attached to cameras.

    Second you won't get anything meaningful for your Bronica gear. I've just bought on eBay a virtually unused , not a mark on it, SQ-B complete for £275 as back-up. I felt guilty about it until the seller told me that Jessops had offered him £105! So compared with the quality of photographs you can make with it, selling your Bronica is going to get you nothing.

    Third, as you point out there are some things a slr medium format system isn't too good at - and some of those things are done better by rangefinders. However the same works in reverse- there are lots of things that you can't do well on a rangefinder that work well on an slr. The answer here is I'm afraid to stop looking at a rangefinder as an alternative to an slr system, and to think of it as complementary. Having been through the same debate I have for the last five years used a Mamiya 7 alongside the Bronica, and whilst continuing to see the Bronica as my "base" system I'll use the Mamiya where

    -I'm not allowed to use a tripod

    -I don't want to carry a tripod or indeed the weight ofthe Bronica

    - I need to work fast

    - I need to get the camera into an awkward position

    - My subject requires a rectangular approach

    - I want to shoot to crop to panoramic.

    Changing the Bronica for something else would not have grown my photography. Having the versatility of the two systems available has. Whilst the Mamiya 7 is expensive its also very good, and there are if you wish cheaper alternatives.
     
  16. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    My lenses are modern and I have compared them with other of same kind and it seems they are fine. I resolve about 30lpp mm which is not that high but could be acceptable. It could be something else but with same scanner I get much much sharper images out of scanning 5X4 negatives than 6X6 negatives. The difference is in the order of 4X to 7X sharper (comparison done with focal magic SW)
     
  17. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    David,

    Looking at your images at the past and realizing you are using an older and less powerful Epson scanner than mine is a part of the reason I am doubting the performance of my Bronica. Its true that internet presentations are telling just a part of the story but between weight, sharpness and mirror slap it seems just natural to look for a solution - your solution makes much sens to me and your rational covers most reasons I am debating this issue. I think I will have to find a less expensive alternative though.
     
  18. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Micek, have you used one? can you refer meto images done with it?
    thanks
    Ruvy
     
  19. Ruvy

    Ruvy Member

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    Thank you Ralph. your comment is very meaningful for me and touch an issue of which I am most aware. GGS (love this definition) and SLS are somehow hidden in mine (and many other) search for a better camera but its just a minor part of it here. A quest for sharpness and image quality made me start mf at the first place and not achieving it to the degree I see in other sites is an issue I carry with me for a long time. I would love to solve it with the Bronica I have but as of now I have no idea how.
    The Bronica has three other problems for me: weight, mirror slap, and difficulty in shooting hand held (at least with a waist level finder). Since this is my equivalent to a 35mm camera these traits are limiting spontaneity, shooting things in motion (like my grandson or street scenes) and to landscape where distance and terrain are a
    concern.
     
  20. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I find it difficult to believe your Bronica gives "unsharp" images; the limitation in sharpness with my ETRS is in the film, not the lenses. I have even checked EFKE R50 negatives with a microscope, since I couldn't quite believe the sharpness I was seeing!
     
  21. Terence

    Terence Member

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    I own toooo many med format cameras. The Hassie won't be any sharper. The Rollei will be more fun. Even a clean Rolleicord will seem like an epiphany. They're so light and steady it's almost a whole different world. No mirror slap. But no interchangeable lenses either. The Mamiya C330's are similar but weigh as much as the SLR's. Don't sell the Bronica.
     
  22. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    It sounds like you're falling into the exception area I mentioned, Ruvy, in that you're finding real insufficiencies with your current Bronica. Many years ago, I sold my Bronica and bought a Hassy. The difference was that I had the first Bronica model, and at that time their lenses weren't very good. Modern Bronica lenses are far better.

    Mirror slap, however, is part of the MF SLR beast, and difficult to get around if hand-holding the camera. A Hassy won't solve all of that problem, though. Along that line of thought, if spontaneity is a critical requirement, a rangefinder may be a better option. For me, that need is satisfied with a Leica M, because I don't feel the same need for the benefits of medium format for those types of images.
     
  23. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Agree with Mr. Barker here. For the type images needed for range finders, a 35mm will usually do the trick. I don't have the Leica type cash outlay available, but my Zorki is quiet, dependable (when it works), and takes great images with the Jupiter series lens.

    For MF, I shoot with a C220 for critical work, and cheap ZI 6x6 Nettars for hauling out and taking pictures of the kids.

    Now serious landscape work is done in LF, outside this discussion.

    I would keep the Broncia and see about picking up a good 35mm for your handheld work if that's within the requirements spec.

    tim in san jose
     
  24. C Rose

    C Rose Member

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    BLASPHEMY!

    Hassy = AWESOME- TOTALLY TOTALLY AWESOME
     
  25. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    Absolutely correct.

    Sharp lenses are awsome, but IMO most people that judge lenses as sharp during average shooting (F8 or more) or on a consumer flatbed, are missing the boat. Give me a lens that is super sharp WO and I am a happy camper, but you need a drum scanner or a microscope to see it. Judging a lens by way of an Epson flatbed, etc, of any sort is a waste of time (no offence to the OP please). Obviously Ruvy has some sort of problem, since a Bronica/Nikon lens should be resolving more than 30 lp/mm.
     
  26. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Sounds like it's time to solve some problems.
    We don't know much of Ruvys working habits
    Ruvy, How are you shooting
    Tripod or handheld ?
    If tripod, light or heavy ?
    How about tripod head ?
    Lens stopped down ? how far (generally) ?
    Shutterspeeds ?
    MLU ?
    Cable release ?
    Color og B&W
    If color , slides or printfilm ?
    Film/developer and agitation ?

    I was amazed to see the differences between handheld, light tripod, heavy tripod and heavy tripod using MLU in "The edge of darkness". From around 1/125sec to 1/4 sec there was a signíficant difference, using havy tripod and MLU gave much sharper images and off cource handheld gave more unsharp image allready at 1/125.
    I am using a light tripod myself (Manfrotto 055) and always MLU and I find my images wery sharp
    Regards Søren