Suggested first medium format?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by david3558, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. david3558

    david3558 Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I think it's time that I accept the 'awesomeness' of Medium Format. I've been shooting 35mm for quite a while and a friend recently scanned his MF negatives at my house (or at school, I don't remember) - anyhow, the resolution was unbelievable!

    I do black and white developing/scanning on my own, and I generally shoot black and white 75% of the time. I'd like to find a camera that is versatile enough to be used in various situations. I recently acquired a Rolleiflex 2.8E but the high costs of maintenance made me not want to use the camera and I'd like to find something else. As a rangefinder user myself in the 35mm world, I was recommended the Mamiya 7II, but the kits are just way too out of my price range at this point. I think I'd like to stay with a budget of $800 (with a bit of flexibility, but not much...after all I'm a student!)

    So the bottom line is, I'm looking for a medium format camera that can remain relatively versatile, would complement my Leica M, stay under $800 and be easy to operate and have lower maintenance.

    Options I have in mind are:

    • Hasselblad 500c or 500cm [seems to be around high 600's to lower 800's for a kit]
    • Mamiya C330 [seems to be around high 300's to lower 500's for a kit]

    Thanks so much in advance, I'm still trying to learn more!

    David
     
  2. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    My first real experience with a medium format was with a Yashica TLR.
    Yeah, it's quite a bit different than the SLRs I'm used to, but I had a lot of fun with that borrowed camera.
    The 330, as I understand, is a boat anchor to carry around, but I do like the idea of interchangeable lenses, and I've gotten more
    positive comments on that 124 I used than on anything else (the canonet has gotten a bit of attention too, though).
     
  3. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    What maintenance issues dis you hit with the Rollie? That ought to be an awesome user..
     
  4. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Rolleiflex maintenance costs? After a good CLA and decent care it will be one of the best built and most maintenance free cameras you can own...
     
  5. OddE

    OddE Member

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    Hi,

    I haven't tried the C330, but both of the Hasselblads are excellent choices, IMHO. They are well built, has some terrific glass to go along with them, are abundant in the used market and are easily serviced.

    Another SLR worthy of consideration is the Pentax 67 - granted, it is big, bulky and heavy, with a mirror slap which can wake the dead - but it is also pretty much built like a tank and has an excellent range of optics available for decent prices.

    Have you considered any of the fixed-lens Fuji rangefinders? Their lenses are second to none, and you should easily be able to find a nice GW670 or 690 within your budget.
     
  6. david3558

    david3558 Member

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    Yes, the shutter release is sticking, shutter speeds are running slow, film transport could use some work, this camera needs an overhaul! There are some marks on the taking lens too, I just don't know if it's worth it to keep this guy vs buying another camera. I just want suggestions for a hassle free camera that I can actually use. I don't really have the patience or the resources to deal with older gear that's going to require significant work :sad:
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Another vote here for keeping the Rolleiflex and having it sorted out.


    Steve.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Agree with getting the Rolieflex sorted out I have an 3,5E and they are great to use, and better lenses and build quality than Yachicamats, I use a 124 as well.

    The M3 series Mamiya's are good but a lot heavier, there's issues with the film advance gears which often need replacing but they have the advantage of interchangeable lenses. I enjoyed using mine until they were stolen . . . . . . . . .

    Ian
     
  9. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Ditto on having the Rollei serviced. I have several TLR's including Rollei's and Yashica's. If you already have a MF camera, have it serviced and shoot it unless you are starting to develop GAS and just have to have something else.
     
  10. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Mostest for the Leastest

    645

    Mamiya Super/Pro/ProTL

    Bronica ETRs(i)

    6x6

    Bronica SQ/SQ-A, SQ-Ai, SQ-B

    6x7

    Mamiya RB67 Pro S, SD

    My advice? Get the newest version of any of these bodies in the best shape you can afford. Same goes for film backs--ratty condition=heavy use/age. Most of those listed above sold well over several model generations with largely interchangeable lenses, backs, finders, etc. Be picky and patient and unafraid to build kits from pieces over time. Example? I wanted an extra 120 back for my Bronica SQ-B. Looked for ages but auction candidates were always extortionately-priced and/or smoked. Found a boxed, mint one last month for $30. Happy!

    Many here will differ but older isn't necessarily better--it's still older. Getting service on any film camera is getting harder and pricier as time ticks by. Keep that in mind as the endorsements for old TLRs and folders roll in. I like reliable, working cameras with few, if any, age-related issues--present or potential.
     
  11. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Well a good condition camera that doesn't need or already has been "sorted out" is going to cost the same or more as having your Rollie prepped for the next 2-3 decades. :sad:

    Otherwise, there is a Yashica 124G in the classifieds right now. Looks tempting, but..........
     
  12. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I understand the concern about the cost of returning that Rolleiflex into a good state of repair. I find most shops that will work on them charge an arm and a leg. There seems to be an attitude that they are luxury cameras, and so repairs should come at luxury prices. I finally found a good local shop that would CLA my Rolleiflex 2.8F for a reasonable amount (about 150 dollars.) If you can find such a place, it would be worth sorting the Rolleiflex out. However I ended up selling my 2.8F Planar. I put a couple of rolls of film through it, and was not convinced by the images I got. On the good side, the images were among the highest-resolution I had captured on film. But there was an overall lack of contrast, and I found the Planar was susceptible to flare. As a result I didn't like the images nearly as much as those I get from my Bronica ETR kit, or from Pentax lenses in 35mm.

    In considering what your other options are, do you know what focal lengths you typically like to shoot at? If you know you mostly use a single focal length, the fixed-lens Fuji rangefinders are fantastic. They have all the appeal of a 35mm rangefinder, with the advantages of a gigantic viewfinder, huge and easy rangefinder focus spot, and they expose a massive piece of film. I have a GW690, and of any of my cameras, it is the simplest, most robust, and most likely to still be working in 50 years.
     
  13. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    You could always get a Kiev 88. But to paraphrase Forest Gump, a Kiev 88 is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get until you develop your first roll. Mine has a fine shutter, but has several light leaks. The 80mm lens that came with it is soft, but aimed at the right subject can be result in beautiful shots. For me, some carelessly applied dark tape solved the leaks, at least on the occasions I wanted them solved (without the tape it mine is a bulky Holga... :smile: ).

    Nothing at all wrong with the previous suggestions, just throwing the Hasselbladski into the mix...
     
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  15. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    What did you think of the waist level finder on the Rolleiflex? I think the big question is if you want a medium format Leica, continuing in the basic design and way of shooting. Or if you want something very different since it can open up new ways of shooting. For 'similar,' one of the fixed-lens Fujis would be your best bet. Or the Bronica RF645, which does have 2-3 lenses (one is hard to find, I think).

    And for different, go for the Hasselblad. The ground glass viewing, SLR, and screen blackout- completely different way of shooting all around than the Leica! Bronica, Mamiya, Pentax 645 are other options in this world.

    A Bronica ETR-type with a speed grip and prism finder handles very much like a 35mm SLR.
     
  16. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Get the Rollei repaired a Rollei with a recent CLA shouldn't need a repair any time soon and if you think that the rollei's maintenance costs are high you've never payed for a Hasselblad repair. On another note if you want a Medium Format Rangefinder take a look at the Fuji Fixed lens RF they're great cameras and can be had for less than $ 500 at least on KEH.com. The 690 series uses an even bigger Filmformat than the Mamiya and 6x9 has the same aspect ratio as 35mm but better tonality.

    Good Luck with your search.

    Dominik
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    get a quote from zack's camera repair ( apug advertiser ) and look into getting your rollei repaired.
    i got my rolleicord repaired and cla'd through zack's, and when i can handle doing the look down/stoop
    i use it. works like a charm, and the cla was very affordable.
     
  18. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    With patience you may be able to find a Mamiya 7 with lens for under $800. I found one with the 80mm lens I was looking for for $500 by watching ebay. I needed to adjust the range finder, but I now have a spare body. The big limitation to me was the close focusing distance with the 150mm lens. It's really not a great system for portraits. But as a walk around landscape camera I love it.

    However, I think as a general use camera the Hasselblad is the way to go. I have tried the RZ, Mamiya 7, Mamiya 645, various folders and TLRs. I am keeping the Hasselblad and the Mamiya 7 since I use them in very different ways. If asked to choose one, I think it would be the Hassy.

    Of course my Mamiya 645 kit is for sale, so really that's what you should buy :smile: Actually it is very nice, and I hate to sell it.
     
  19. david3558

    david3558 Member

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    Wow, love how many responses I'm getting!

    I mean, I love the Rollei no doubt, but I'm really concerned about the taking lens' surface markings. The seller agreed to take it back (since it's within 3 days) and I think I'll just hold out until I can find a copy that at least doesn't have lens issues. I'm still young and I can always save up right? GAS is already hitting hard... I sold off so much stuff just to invest in my M kit :sad:

    As far as the focal lengths go, I find myself drawn to using 50mm, both on my Leica as well as my Nikon FM2 - however, I think a 35mm would be a great addition to either kit (I want to save up for a CV 35mm for the M).

    I don't mind a "different" system, so the MF camera doesn't have to be a rangefinder or even an SLR, I just want something than can be used in many situations. No doubt, I'll expand my gear within the next few years if I find MF to be a nice addition but I'm simply asking for the "first" system I should be getting. I honestly really love the Rollei, but like I said, the lens markings bother me and I'd rather wait and see if I can ever find a better copy and then invest in the CLA.

    Keep those comments coming? What are your thoughts on the 500c vs 500cm!
     
  20. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    If you're concerned about the taking lens marks and still in the return window, I'd probably send it back too if it bothers you now. Unless you got the camera at enough of a discount initially to have it serviced and potentially the taking lens replaced while still being under what a clean, CLA'd Rollie would cost you. Long shot. :smile:

    I'm a huge TLR fan but if you want to shoot other focal lengths, I'd jump to a medium format SLR. The Mamiyas are nice but at least to me, they loose the size advantage which is part of what makes a TLR so nice. The MF SLR recommendations are pretty good. I've only used a Bronica SQ-A - and generally only use it when using a wider angle lens - and it is a loud camera, but it and the Mamiya 645 systems are pretty good deals.
     
  21. MDR

    MDR Member

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    If my memory serves me right the mirror in the 500C is smaller than in the 500cm leading to vignetting in the Viewfinder with longer lenses and the ground glass is not user changeable or at least not as easy to change with the 500c. Other than that they are pretty similiar but I would buy the 500cm younger body and less likely to need larger repairs in the near future.

    Dominik
     
  22. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    What about some Zeiss or Voigtländer folders...?
    Capable shooters, very compact, reliable, easy to repair, fit half of Your budget and are RF style, can go up to 6x9.
    Rolleis and Hassies are nice but very far away from Leica concept and hardly a pocketable cameras.
     
  23. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    Consider the Rb67 Mamiyas

    When I looked at what I wanted, the Mamiya RB67 Pro S was the ticket. The advantages are they are cheap, the negatives are the next thing to a 4X5 and you have a camera that can go digital if film ever becomes history. Also, you can put a Polaroid back on them. Things you can't do with a TLR. With some of the TLR's you are stuck with a very limited amount of lenses. If you are doing rapid changing of film, with the RB's you can have inserts that were previously loaded and just pop them in. This is true of the 645 AF's too. The reason that a lot of cameras get slower speeds over time I think is that they don't get used. Even if I don't use a camera for some time, I take it out and trip the shutter at least once a month. If you are using your Rollei enough, you shouldn't be having much problems with it getting slow shutter speeds and such.
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd say something from the Bronica SQ line. With that, you get the square format that you seem to like, but you also get all the benefits of an SLR with exchangeable magazines. Hassy would be a higher-quality option if you can afford it, though the Bronica is by no means a slouch.
     
  25. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I also recommed a Mamiya RB 67. Maybe a little big and heavy side, but still a great camera.

    Jeff
     
  26. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    A properly serviced Rolleiflex will give you a camera good for the next 40 years. Look for a T or an Automat from the '50s. Both seem like good bricks. I 2nd the ETRs line if looking to stay on a tight budget. It is a workhorse with 1st rate lenses and a good range of focal lengths. It has multiple backs and finders as well as grips so it can handle almost as you please. A one lens kit in excellent can be had in the $200 range.