RZ or SG for street photography

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Shootar401, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I'm going on a business trip to Manhattan in a few weeks, luckily this time I'll have a weekend off to do whatever I want. I'm staying at a hotel in the fashion district and want to take a camera along for some street photography.

    I was thinking of taking my RZ67 with a 110mm and two backs, one with HP5 and the other with Portra 400 or my 4x5 Speed Graphic with a 135mm and 20 holders with HP5 and portra 400 as well. I don't care about the weight since I carry either camera when I go hiking anyway. It would be awesome to have some 4x5 negs of Manhattan, and I'd love the chance to use the crap out of the speed for a day, but its also nice to blast though 20 rolls of 120 and not care.

    I can only fit one camera in my carry on, so bringing two is not an option. Any pros/cons? What would you do?
     
  2. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    RZ unless you want to find Louis Mendoza and get a shot with the 2 of you for a keepsake of your trip. :happy:
     
  3. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    If you are shooting hand held I would go with the RZ. If you are using a tripod I would use the Speed Graphic.

    In my opinion 4x5 sheet film costs too much to shoot hand held.

    I don't know how often you get to Manhattan but for me it would be a first experience so I would shoot 4x5 on a tripod if that's possible with all the people.
     
  4. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I was there last week and saw someone with a Speed and a Gralite flash taking photos but it wasn't Louis.
     
  5. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    I second the tripod issue, so if you are using a tripod, by all means use the SG!
    On the other hand you are very limited in the amount of frames you can take, at least much more than with the RZ. The RZ and 110 re a great combination and produce some fine negs. I usually take my RZ over my 4x5s in cities, since you never know when you have to 'sneak in' a frame and for me setup is just faster.
     
  6. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    How about the SG on a monopod? Not as good as a tripod surely, but you can probably get half the shutter speeds than handheld.
    But if you're going to shoot 120 rolls anyway to save on cost, just take the RZ...

    (personally, I'd take the RZ, or in my case Hasselbladski because I don't have an RZ)
     
  7. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Yea, soon the tourists will have press cameras and we will be reduced to 110 Kodak Instamatics so we can remain "hip" :devil:
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    The Speed Graphic plus tripod will be such an encumbrance on the streets of Manhattan, especially your first time there as a tourist, that I'd avoid that option and go with the RZ. Especially since the SG will limit the number of shots you can take and you'll always be second-guessing yourself as to whether you should take a given shot or not. And then you'll take one, walk around the corner, and find a much better shot waiting to happen that you CAN'T take because you're out of film, or you know you need to save film for other shots you want to get, etc etc. Although frankly I'd rather have my Rolleiflex than an RZ for street shooting (much stealthier, lighter and easier to carry, 12 shots vs. 10).
     
  9. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Excellent advice Scott.
    Plus…cant they harass you for a permit if you are wielding a tripod? ? ?
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    You should check to make sure that you can use a tripod. Some cities don't permit tripods because they impede pedestrian traffic.
     
  11. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I've used the Speed handheld before, and will not use a tripod. I've been there as a tourist many times but this is the frist time I'll have a chance to go and just take photos.

    The max I'm going to enlarge the negs are 11x14 so I know even 120 will give me great prints at the size, so its still a 50-50 choice for me. a 50 pack of 4x5 film is cheap, so film costs are not a issue for me.
     
  12. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I've handheld my pacemaker as well as long as there is ample light and use a 400 speed film.
    My rangefinder was good for that one 135 I had so it is def doable.

    I just think the RZ is a bit more manageable film wise and I have an AE prism so its a no brainer.
     
  13. palewin

    palewin Member

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    I think you answered the question when you said you would hand-hold the SG. My initial response was going to depend on your subject matter. For general shooting, the RZ is faster handling and easier to load. If you were going to shoot a lot of Manhattan architecture, the view camera and tripod would allow you to keep verticals vertical. But you eliminated the tripod, so the SG is not going to be used as a true view camera for perspective purposes. So we end up with the RZ.
     
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  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    There's a rule about tripods in New York - I forget exactly where it's posted but google it and you'll find it. The gist of it is that no permit is needed if it is just you and your tripod. If you are doing a commercial shoot that requires a crew (I think the minimum is three, but double-check), then you will need one. The permits are easy to obtain - I think you download a form from the city website, fill it out and fax it back to the proper office, and they'll send you back a permit (usually within 24 hours of them getting your request). I'd be surprised if there was no exception clause that would allow policemen to request you to move if you're set up somewhere that would block pedestrian traffic and/or create a hazardous situation if you don't have a permit. I know the permit question has been discussed here before and also on Large Format Info, so search both sites for the specifics.
     
  16. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    You want to use the Speed Graphic. Go with your instinct. Ignore all RZ (I have one of those too) comments.
     
  17. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    +1

    Go have fun. Load up a few Grafmatics and shoot the town. I love medium format but there is nothing like a 4x5 to bring home the detail, and there is tons of detail to find on the streets of Manhattan.
     
  18. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    My personal approach would be to get a cheap 35mm SLR with 35 or 50mm lens for £40 (which you will recoup on reduced film costs), travel light, walk lots and be more spontaneous. I think you will end up with more strong images as a result. Besides, the right shot in 35mm can go as big as you want when it comes to prints (for street) so format is a non-issue.
     
  19. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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    Go with the Speed, and bring along a roll film back as a back-up for when you run through your sheet film supply.

    Or, just visit B&H and pick up another 50 pack of 4x5.
     
  20. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Just FYI if you plan to use a tripod anywhere, be prepared to be harassed by policemen, they don't allow the use of anything that they consider and obstruction to movement, I've been removed from many of the classic shooting spots like grand central or Times Square, because you can't use a tripod there. They claim you could trip someone and that's the reason.

    Anyway, that's the only reason I vote for the RZ, the SG would be better otherwise for detail in such intricate environments.


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  21. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Oh and I agree don't bring a lot of film just buy fresh from B&H


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  22. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I envy your trip and would just like to spend a few hours there with a Leica II. Good luck.
     
  23. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    I use an RZ for street shooting frequently. I like the 110 lens myself, but if you have a 50mm uld lens, I'd use that instead; scary sharp and great dof.
     
  24. k.hendrik

    k.hendrik Subscriber

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    leave both camera's home and take the Contax G2 with 24 and 90mm, rent a bike> go to B&H> buy a lot of 35 film and have a great weekend in my favorite city. I've been there with too much(big) gear; it drives you crazy. Have fun !
     
  25. redhawk

    redhawk Member

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    I tangle with a cop every few months over my tripod but the reality is that they can't do a thing in public spaces (and I gently remind them of the laws, an absurdity in itself). The only limiting factor is your common sense and how much you are willing to be inconvenienced. That said, I live here so I sort of avoid Times Square like the plague. :laugh: If you must have the shot, you are still allowed to take it but it may not be without its annoyances. The only no-no with tripods is in the subway and in private spaces (which may not appear so private upon first glance). My biggest battle has been photographing in the subway. This was a bigger problem five years ago. MANY of the officers patrolling the subway system had not done their homework and believed it to be illegal to photograph anywhere in the system. After repeated interactions, the NYPD seemed to make an effort to educate their members on the actual laws they were enforcing and thankfully this is now a much less common occurrence.

    I have been shooting street here with Leica M and Nikon F for quite a few years but lately I have taken to the streets with a recent acquisition, a Bronica SQ-Ai. With a prism and a grip it is just as convenient as 35mm but when shooting people it does tend to get noticed however, not as much as I would have suspected. Now that I'm quite comfortable with it, it seems to put people at ease and I am getting less shots of people staring into the camera.

    As to which camera to bring, I think it depends on what you intend to shoot. If you want to capture people and all their little magic moments, that require you to work quickly and decisively (what I consider traditional street photography), I'd certainly prefer the MF rig. If I was more about the surroundings and the architecture the people were in, I would go 4x5. I know some guys shoot street with 4x5 hand-held without flash but I think that's being a bit masochistic! For me anyway, I'm on board with the sentiment that 4x5 is just too darn expensive to shoot without a tripod so I suppose the right answer is that you bring both! Have a good time!
     
  26. viridari

    viridari Member

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    Do you have any wider lenses for the Mamiya than 110mm? Something like 80mm or less? I ask because 110mm is a bit on the long side for street photography in an urban area with medium format cameras.

    The Speed Graphic is a perfectly capable street photographer's rig and no tripod is needed. Handheld is fine.

    I just did some street work with a Mamiya C330 yesterday, prism finder & 80mm lens. This was my first time using a prism finder on the street (usually I use a chimney finder). The upshot is I was composing images a lot more quickly and accurately, and they weren't at chest-level. The downside is I lost the element of surprise. I didn't use my 65mm lens because the bellow extensions usually require too much exposure compensation compared to the 80mm, which rarely requires any.