Sharpest Hand Held MF Camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by emanded, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. emanded

    emanded Member

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    Any views on the sharpest hand held MF set up?
    I have an Xpan which I use for 35mm - very sharp. I also have a Mamiya RZ system that I use for tripod work. What I'm looking for is something to fill the gap as I sometimes need to print 12x16 or above and the 35mm loses a little when enlarged over this size - especially if the frame is cropped.
    I need to be able to take it anywhere and use mostly hand held.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Probably Mamiya 7II or a Linhof 2x3" Technika with modern cammed lenses or Fuji rangefinders or Plaubel Makina of recent vintage.
     
  3. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Mamiya 7!
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    The Mamiya 6 system is my preference for resolution per pound. These are all very good suggestions.
     
  5. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    There is no answer to this.
    Because it depends on what hands are holding the thing how. Not the camera that is being held.
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I use Mamiya 7 and Fuji 6x9 and don't drink a lot of coffee before using them.
     
  7. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    A Hasselblad with a sturdy neck strap, A12 filled with 400-TMY2 and Bob's your uncle down to shutter speeds of 1/focal length.
     
  8. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    The ideal set up I find is a long nights sleep before, no alcohol for a month, plenty of light for a good shutter speed and aperture, and ofcourse a static subject :wink:

    ...oh.... I use a bronica with speed handle.
     
  9. mcfactor

    mcfactor Member

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  10. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    kind of a question with many right answers, but mine is: rolleiflex. leaf shutter. no mirror. stable, anchored, waist-level position. yashicas and mamiyaflexes for the same reason, but i think lenses on rolleiflexes are marginally better.
    neal
     
  11. Jose A Martinez

    Jose A Martinez Member

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    agree, if you follow this instructions my suggestion is a Hassel, if not, a Mamiya 7.
     
  12. emanded

    emanded Member

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    Probably sort out the last two criteria but I'm gonna struggle with the first two...!
     
  13. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Since the OP mentioned final print size as a criteria I believe that Mamiya 7 6X7 format or Fuji 6X9 format will easily beat any other system for hand held exposures.

    Sandy King
     
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  15. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    Upfront my bias: I use three Rollei TLRs. Many times I've been amazed at the detail in my negatives. Recently, I photographed, handheld, a guy at rest with his bike. From 10 - 12 feet away, I was using ACROS film, EI 200, developed in DD-X. On the negative I could easily see thousands of his leg hairs. Those didn't make it through the printing process at my local shop. The scan [300 dpi, supposedly] is too low resolution. I don't complain; prints [proofs for me] are 60 cents each [6"x6"]. I'll see those details when printed with enlarger.

    My Rolleis are all 3.5 lenses; Tessar and two Xenars.
     
  16. patrick parker

    patrick parker Member

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    I recently purchased a plaubel 67. Didn't get a chance to test it yet. As far as sharpness goes has anyone got to compare one of these?
     
  17. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    For hand held I really like my Mamyia 6, the 50s version, fixed lens, leaf shutter, very light weight. I can also hand hold by Mamyia Univerasal, but the sharpest negatives I gotten is from the 6.
     
  18. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    I vote for the Fuji GW670 II & GSW690 III! :D

    gene
     
  19. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Mamiya 7. Damn fine camera, mind-blowingly good lenses.
     
  20. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    I would love to say Rolleiflex (which I own, shoot and love), but I would have to second all the Mamiya 6/7 votes. I love the look of Plaubel shots (I saw a Wim Wenders exhibit last year that was shot almost exclusively on the Makina 670 and it was awesome), but I still think the Mamiya 6 is sharper.
     
  21. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    The sharpest MF camera i've ever used hand held was the Mamiya 7. That was with the 'normal' lens. Very, very sharp. Visibly sharper than my Pentax 645 negatives (and I think that's pretty sharp)

    It's a great camera, if I had money to spend i'd probably buy one.
     
  22. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    A Linhof Press 70 with 53 Biogon, 80and 100mm Planars and 180mm Sonnar would work very nicely. It will not going to be easy to find this equipment. There are also Schneider lenses available for the camera.
     
  23. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    You don't wish to walk around with the RZ67?

    :sad:

    (I'm trying to convince myself that I can spend all day with 10 lbs. over my shoulder.)

    I went to B&H recently, trying to find the MF camera for me...and my top two were the RZ67 and 7II.
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The factors that will contribute most to sharpness are: 1. a fast lens, to allow faster shutter speeds, 2. lack of a flipping mirror, to make the camera less shaky, 3. eye level vs. waist level shooting, and 4. film selection. The faster the better, to allow faster shutter speeds.

    I would pretty much totally ignore the technical specs of the lenses, as they are all good, and focus more on final results. Just to make up an example, Hassy might make a "better" normal lens than the one for Mamiya 7, but the fact that the Hassy is an SLR might negate this advantage for hand-held use.

    With this in mind, I would say you should start looking at cameras that are not SLRs. TLRs, Mamiya 7s, Mamiya Press, Graflex and Linhof press cameras, etc.

    TLRs will have some of the fastest lenses of the lot, give you a mirror for *perfect focusing accuracy* and very good compositional accuracy, unlike a rangefinder, and give you the advantage of waist or chest level shooting, which is very stable compared to eye level shooting with the Mamiya 7, Press, etc.

    This has nothing to do with why I made my above comments, but my work has a user Rolleicord IId in (75mm f/3.5 Schneider Xenar lens) that we are going to E-Bay. I think it is early 1950s vintage. It fires at all speeds, and they sound close enough to use, although the shutter cocking lever seems a bit mushy and the shutter speed and aperture control levers are stiff. I would CLA it, but it works, is a user, and will likely go for peanuts when we auction it. (I am thinking $40 or so.) If you are interested, let me know via PM and I'll send you the link when we EBay it. Would love to sell directly on APUG, but I don't personally have the authority to do that.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2008
  25. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The sharpest one would be the one easiest to hold steady and hold the film the flattest. So, it would be heavy, it would have a leaf shutter and perhaps a wide angle lens and an electronic shutter release and use either a vacuum film back (for roll film) or have a sheet film holder.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2008
  26. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    Sharpest? There are several that are sharp enough!