Should I go for a 6x4.5 system?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by GarageBoy, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    So, I want to dip my feet into the world of MF (mainly because 120 slides are awesome)
    I don't go out with the intention of photography, but living in NYC, I always have a camera with me

    So I'd like something to throw in a bag and walk around with
    I'd like something quick to deploy, and I don't think I get along too well with WLFs (wearing glasses and WLFs is not fun) though I may get used to it
    So should I just get a 6x4.5 system camera? Or should I go with a folder (with ancient lenses and RFs)? Or a Fuji of some sort?

    Thanks
     
  2. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I would go the 6x4.5 like the Mamiya.

    Jeff
     
  3. spijker

    spijker Subscriber

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    The Fuji GA645 family would probably suit your needs perfectly. Several people on this forum have one, I don't. So search here for GA645 or look here.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I used a Mamiya C33 and C3 (TLRs) until they were stolen (early 1980's), I replaced them with a pair of Mamiya 645s (one a 1000S), great cameras, superb lenses.

    Obviously a folder is lighter but the flexibility of the Mamiya 645 is great for serious photography, mine were used professionally for well over 20 years, they still get used for certain projects.

    Ian
     
  5. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Absolutely agree here. For "throw it in the bag" simplicity, nothing beats a Fuji GA645.
     
  6. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    First ask yourself if you'd be comfortable tossing a Nikon F5 or Canon EOS-1 with booster into your bag just for walking around. A 645 SLR with prism finder is that heavy.

    On the other hand, the Fuji 645 rangefinder/viewfinder cameras, both manual focus GS series and autofocus GA series, are comparable in overall size and weight to a small 35mm SLR with a compact prime lens.
     
  7. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I would go with a Nettar or Ikonta folder. The lenses might well be ancient but they still perform well - at least, so long as you do not shoot into the sun - and you do not need the bag as they fit into a trouser pocket.
     
  8. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    Another thought is a 6x6 folder. No awkward turning the camera sideways.


    Kent in SD
     
  9. mweintraub

    mweintraub Member

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    The Bronica ETR series seems to be the smallest SLR 645 that I know of. It's not a bad kit too.
     
  10. pukalo

    pukalo Member

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    Fuji GA645 is the answer to what you seek. i, w, or Zi variants are avaialble. I have all 3. You can think of them as the Stylus Epic of the Medium Format world - light, fast to deploy and operate, and deadly sharp lenses. Built in metering, super accurate autofocus even in very dim light (use an advanced dual active IR/passive rangefinder system), and data imprinting on film edge are all benefits. Best of all is the price - around 500usd.
    The 645i has a fixed 35mm equiv. FOV lens, the w a 28mm equiv FOV, and the Zi a 35-55mm equiv. zoom lens.
    Biggest drawback for me is the max shutter speed is only 2 seconds, so no small aperture, long exposures in dim light on a tripod.
     
  11. pukalo

    pukalo Member

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    Oh, and built in Flash - yes, Flash. It does improve many shots when used for fill.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If you intend to shoot 6X4.5 slides 120 projectors are expensive.
     
  13. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Prices what they are, and having been there done that with Mamiya, Bronica's from the 1980's... I'd buy a Hasselblad. For walking around as you say, the Hasselblad can take the knocks etc and not care. The Bronica was a fragile thing, it didn't like walking around plastic bits chipping off, Mamiya, is fine especially if they are half the price of the already cheap Swed-square. Mamiya rangefinders fit the bill to... but still hold a decent price.
     
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  15. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    500 cm needs no bag... hangs nicely off the shoulder because of the anchor points and pivots of OEM type strap and rounded corners,
    spill mustard on it, wipe it off.
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    645? I dunno, it isn't that much larger than 24 x 36. 41 x 56. 645 is half frame 6x9, which is actually 56 x 82.

    In his book Field Photography A. A. Blaker makes the point that going up in format without at least doubling both of the frame's dimensions isn't worth the expense. As can be seen in this thread, not everyone agrees.

    Twice 24 x 36 is 48 x 72, approximately nominal 6x7, which is really 56 x , depending on the manufacturer, 68 - 72 or so. Following Blaker's rule, the next step up from 35 mm still is 6x7. When, however, I went up in format from 35 mm still I went to 2 1/4 x 3 1/4, also called 2x3. 2x3 is identical to 6x9.

    One my good friends went from 35 mm still to 645, was absolutely delighted with the results he got with his spiffy Pentax 645. Until, that is, I showed him some 2x3 Ektachromes. Next to 2x3, 645 looks pretty punk. This is not to say that 2x3 is as wonderful as possible, next to 4x5 Ektachromes my 2x3s look pretty punk. Same goes for 4x5s next to 5x7s and 5x7s next to 8x10s.
     
  17. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    OK, I found a good one for you. It's a

    Voigtlander-Bessa-66-German-folding-6x6-cm-camera-CLA-works-Heliar-Compur-Rapid (ebay)

    The Heliar is a VERY special lens. This folding camera is very small yet quite durable. Downside, no internal meter. The ebay seller is cupog, in Slovenia. I've bought some very expensive things from him in the past and everything was always great! He is a camera repairman so everything he sells has been gone over completely. Very small, should fit in a shirt pocket even, takes 120 film.


    Kent in SD
     
  18. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I suppose that's possible with the later ETRS and the ETRSi. Though I don't baby my cameras, and have not had problems except with the levers for MLU and double exposure. Those are plastic, and not made beefy enough. They're cheap to replace at 5 bucks each, but eventually replacements will run out. I will replace mine with the metal ones off junk ETR/ETRS cameras as they break. Any metal one will work on both the MLU and DE.
    The earlier model ETRS cameras (lens release on front, not side) and the ETR were all metal and quite tough.
     
  19. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Personally I much prefer 6x6 to 645, but not everyone loves the square, and SLRs grow like mad in proportion to the format. (I have a Rittreck 6x9 SLR, though unfortunately I can't find a 6x9 back for it; wonderful camera in its way, but it's like carrying a Volkswagen around.) I'm a TLR guy, but if you don't like the WLF that doesn't help you.

    Folders are fun, but realistically, they're not going to match a modern system camera for image quality, and you need to decide if that's an acceptable tradeoff. I've put in some time shooting slide film in 6x6 and 6x9 folders, and it's great when the stars align and you really get the shot you hoped for, but the hit rate is lower than with a modern camera (mainly because of scale focus, so a rangefinder folder would help---they get pricey though). And the *best* lens you're likely to find on a folder is a Tessar type.

    I find a 645 SLR to be a good functional replacement for 35mm. (I ended up with a Mamiya, but the various options seem like they're broadly similar in performance.) I resisted the format for a long time thinking that it wouldn't be a significant gain over 35mm, but I think I was just plain wrong; it's not a patch on 6x9, to be sure, but I don't think there's any 6x9 camera that handles remotely like a 35mm. (The big Fuji RFs might be the closest, but *man*, those are some big cameras. Plus, 8 shots per roll.)

    -NT
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Why limit yourself? Shoot 6x6 and when necessary you can crop to the most pleasing format for the composition.
     
  21. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    In regards to resolution, maybe. But the 645 frame is 2.7 times larger in area. The difference is visible. Photographers have long moved from 135 to 6X6 just for the increase in quality, often cropping to about 645 format dimensions.
    I consider the 4X greater area of 6X7 to be worth more than the (approximate) doubling of dimensions and resolution over 135. The difference can be seen even in small enlargements where resolution differences are not so evident.
     
  22. Two23

    Two23 Member

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  23. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I love the "uncoated" look sometimes too, particularly with slide film, although I think it needn't be soft for any intrinsic reason---a good Tessar should be as sharp as dammit in the center, coated or not, though it'll never have the edge and corner sharpness of some fancier designs. But typical old folders, especially in 6x9, have some trouble maintaining good film flatness, which makes critical focus a little dicier than it would be with a modern camera.

    But not everyone wants "softer, low contrast", and certainly sharp-and-contrasty can be had in medium format if that's the direction the OP wants to go...I just wouldn't suggest a folder for *that* direction. (Well, I might, but it'd be a plate camera with a Heliar, which isn't many people's choice for a walking-around camera!)

    -NT
     
  24. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    The Fuji GA645 would be my first choice for you. It will allow you to have fun with medium format without a weight or size penalty that you can't live with. If you have never worked with medium format you will be stunned with what 645 can do, regardless of what others try to tell you. This will probably run around $600 though I have not priced them lately. Will accept 120 or 220 film.

    A Fuji GF670 (or the Bessa equivalent) is by far your best choice for a modern folder. This Fuji really is in a class by itself. A beautiful lens, compact size, excellent rangefinder focusing, a great metering system. Even the best of the older folders just cannot compete, though some come close. But, it will run $1200 for a used one, $1700 for new, though again prices can vary on this. Size and weight is similar to the Fuji GA 645 but the film size increases to 6x6 or 6x7 on 120 or 220.

    A TLR is a great option as well. There are lots of options here, Rolleiflex is considered at the top of the heap, but the Minolta AutoCord or YashicaMat is also a good option. I personally like the YashicaMat, mine takes 6x6 pictures on 120 or 220 film and has an awesome lens. The film advance is allegedly not as robust as the one found in the Rolleiflex, but it has not failed me yet. The camera is light, compact, and very easy to handle. My YashicaMat cost me about $200, so it is one of the least expensive options here. However, if you have never used a TLR then there will certainly be a learning curve. I has taken me over a year to get comfortable using it.

    Good luck and have fun. Medium format is still a terrific way to capture magnificent images.
     
  25. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have a projector enlarger that makes 35mm into 120!:laugh::laugh:

    Jeff
     
  26. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Yes. If you want a 645 system. Do you like printing rectangles?

    If yes, 645 is a good compromise between speed and negative size. With today's films you can go pretty big from a nice 645 negative and have enough quality, unless you're a grain peeper.

    If you like to be more flexible, you should consider a 6x6. It offers the possibility of shooting square and cropping to rectangle, both horizontally and vertically. I like that.
    But the cameras end up bigger, and you get fewer negatives out of a roll. Fact of life.

    If you don't mind a significantly bigger camera, there's always 6x7. Less cropping, and usually these cameras are available with revolving backs, which is nice so you don't have to tilt the whole camera 90 degrees when you want to change from horizontal to vertical framing (which is a pain in the neck).

    Do you need speed when you shoot? In that case you should consider 35mm. Nothing is faster, and you still can make incredible prints from the tiny negatives. Unless you're a grain peeper. :wink:

    If you don't mind waiting, a 6x9 would really give you a nice negative. But you might as well go 4x5, maybe with a roll film back for more economy when shooting.

    Always figure out what you want to achieve first, and what you like. Then figure out how to get there.

    If it were me - Rolleiflex if I could have just one camera. But you don't like waist level finders. So the Fuji 645 or Bronica 645 would be good for you, for sure. Think about the FUJI 67 rangefinder too.