The travel camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by fhovie, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    When I travel - I want a camera that will pack small - not weigh too much and give me negatives that I can really work with. Not being satisfied with cute little film, I have been toting around a Yashicamat. I am getting weary of the single coated lens that is not sharp below f5.6 and my Rollei is too big and too expensive to tote. So I am wondering about an upgrade. I wonder if the Bronica ETRSi would be a good choice. It looks smaller and lighter than the SL66 Rollei. It looks like half the cost of my Rollei for a used one. I don't travel with a compliment of lenses but I could manage a wide (40) lens that would really compliment the standard 75mm lens. I read some reviews that said to stay away from the 75 MC and get the EII lens? Anyway there is also the Mamiya C330 too. Am I heading in the right direction here? A Bronica would also make a good backup camera for the few weddings I do as well. I would consider a Hassy but that wouldn't be the travel camera - Better to loose or damage a Bronica than a Hassy.
     
  2. roy

    roy Member

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  3. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    You really don't want to be carrying around a Mamiya C330 if you are travelling. The C220 would be a better choice as it is smaller and lighter and gives you everything a 330 does, but even then it's not ideal.
     
  4. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Roy has a good idea, format wise. Check out the Fuji 645zi. Basically a point and shoot on steroids. Fuji no longer makes them, so you should be able to get one used. Medium format, zoom lens, small light and easy to carry around.
     
  5. AllanD

    AllanD Member

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    If you do go for an ETRSi, try to get PE series lenses. These are the latest and greatest and are very good.
     
  6. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I just picked up a Mamiya 7 for that purpose. The Mamiya 6 is also very good, and packs up smaller than the 7 as the lens can retract into the body. I only have the 65mm lens, with a 150 on order. The 65 is very sharp, the camera is easy to handhold, the meter is accurate - in short I think it is a great camera.
     
  7. jrong

    jrong Member

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    I second the suggestion of the Mamiya 7. I have the Mamiya 7II and its a great camera for travelling/walking/hiking. It's pretty lightweight indeed and you won't be giving up on quality at all.
     
  8. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I vote for the Mamiya 6 or 7. The Mamiya's are fabulous hand held cameras that have very sharp optics. I have the mamiya 6 and all 3 lenses (50, 75, 150)-- the limit of 3 lenses is the drawback-- and can whole heartedly recommend for travel.

    The retractable lens mount makes the Mamiya 6 one of, if not, the most portable med formate cameras. The camera is about the size of medium sized paperback book.

    Mamiya can no longer fix the achilles heel of this camera for lack of parts. That being the film advance gears can strip over time. This has also driven up the cost of the bodies on the used market. Expect to pay 600 -850 for the body (the MF's being at the higher end). A used Mamiya 7 body will go for 700-1000 (the 7II being at the high end). The lenses for the Mamiya 6 can be had for relatively cheap and if you can find someone who is selling all lenses and body together the price per component will be really cheap. http://www.Harryscamera.com had a great deal on the complete set (I believe it worked out to be about 1800.00 usd).

    I know this because my winder recently bit the dust and I was forced to look for a new body and or contemplate the switch to the 7.

    Hope that helps,

    jdc
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the rangefinder suggestions--Mamiya 6 or 7, Bronica 645 RF. I personally find the Fuji fixed lens rangefinders big and bulky, but you may like them.

    My last trip where photography wasn't my main reason for traveling, I carried two folding fixed-lens rangefinders--a Voigtlander Vitessa-L 35mm loaded with Ektachrome 320T for indoors and night photography (it has a fast Ultron 50/2.0 lens), a Voigtlander Bessa II 6x9 with 105/3.5 Color-Heliar loaded with Fuji RMS rated at 400, and my little Digisix meter. This worked out quite nicely, and the limitation of the fixed normal lens just forces one to find the compositions that work with it.
     
  10. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    sorry the url I posted for harrys was wrong. here is the correct url

    http://www.harrysproshop.com

    and here is the page for the mamiya 6
    http://www.harrysproshop.com/Used_Miscellaneous/used_miscellaneous.html

    price for the camera with all lenses is
    2399.00 CAD which works out to 1753.00 USD this is a great deal from a good retailer.

    FWIW I eventually found a Mamiya6 body in very good to excellent condition on ebay for 510.00 (you can find the deals if you are patient). This was the cheapest of all those I watched over a 2 month period.
     
  11. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Fuji 6x9 rangefinder. hand hold with fast film, flash sync up 1/500. With slow film rivals 4x5 with a VERY sharp lens. Very light for its size. This is my vacation camera.

    The only annoyance is that the shutter goes "Ping!"
     
  12. pierre

    pierre Member

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    I don't travel anymore due to medical reasons, but if I did, and I didn't want to bring a 35mm camera, my vote would be for a 6x6 rangefinder folder with a good lens on it (like any of Tessar equivalents, or an actual Tessar).
     
  13. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Lots of good info -thanks- I read up on the Mamiya gear stripping problems and the lack of parts - kind of wonder on that one. I should have listed my specs a little better. I really don't want the -kick-around-in-the-Jeep-lost-in-luggage- camera to be $1000 loss. The RF cameras look great because of their size and weight. I am not sure I am willing to to spend that kind of bucks. There are no cheap ones - in my economy- This is not a primary - it is in addition to the Rollei system - and all the LF and ULF etc. It looks like the difference between the ETRS and the ETRSI is mirror lockup and some extras in the viewfinder. (the travel camera doesn't need mirror lock up) I found an ETRS with AE II finder, 120 back and 75 2.8 PE lens for $365. (About the cost of a C220) That is a little more comfy for my budget and the risk. Otherwise - I could go pump iron and carry that Rollei. I just can get over how inexpensive these Bronicas are - - So are they any good? I guess the 6x4.5 cameras are lighter than the 6x6 versions - It looks a lot smaller. And is it reliable? I know that if I continue to do weddings, I'll need another MF Body and I can get this one and have a 40, 75 and 200mm lens out the door for $884. To know that I can replace the body for a little over a hundred bucks is pretty enticing. The lenses are all shutter lenses and they are easily half to a third the cost of any other glass I have acquired.
     
  14. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Just curious why you haven't considered the Mamiya 645...not the newer Super/Pro/ProTL etc but just a 645 or 1000s. These are in the same price range, there are a lot more of them out there, this is pretty much my main MF set up now, using WL finder, and a 55, 80 and 210 glass - which was very nice and cost was low.

    Just another option...though I also use a Bessa folder when I don't want to 'lug' equipment around.
     
  15. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    So, you must have a Mat with a Yashikor lens; one of the models with the Yashinon lens, like the 124 or 124G, might give you better results. You could also consider a Minolta Autocord. I have both, and prefer the 'Cord. It's a fine piece of gear, and ergonomically is IMHO the best of the TLRs.

    If you want cheap.......... I picked up an Iskra, a Russian camera which is a knockoff of one of the later Zeiss folders. It's a 6x6 with a coupled rangefinder. Build quality is not great, but so far I've had no troubles with it, and it actually is capable of very sharp pictures. I paid $45.00 for mine.
     
  16. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I sure understand the budget issue.

    A wedding photog freind uses the Mamiya 645e. With the grip it is very handholdable and cheap. You also have the option of a very nice line of lenses.

    IMHO. I like rangefinders over slr's for street photography everytime. They are lighter, smaller, easier to hold at slower speeds, and the design generaly allows for no compromise optics.
     
  17. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    I have a SQA which I bought used 8 or 9 years ago when I lived in SW Florida. I used it there is 100% humidity and salt air. I now live in New Mexico and have used it here in very dusty dry conditions. The camera has never failed me. Just finally sent it back to Bronica/Tamron for a CLA. I use the older P lenses, not the newer PS lenses which are the equivalent of the PE lenses. I love the look of the P lenses and have no qualms about them. The camera, even without the speed grip, is very hand holdable, even more so with the grip.

    The ETRS series is smaller than the SQA. You have the option of switching films with the separate film backs. (The film backs sold me on the SQA) You will not be disappointed with a Bronica, especially at the price they are going for now. And as far as a wedding camera, the photograph who did my wedding used an ETRSi.

    Good luck.

    Brian
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have travelled extensively with a ETRS with 75, 40 and 150mm lenses. Takes a lot less room than many 35mm outfits...

    Nowadays I'm more likely to bring along a 9x12cm Voigtländer Bergheil, with a MF folder (Zeiss or Voigtländer) as "backup". The backup is necessary because I only have four film holders for the Bergheil...
     
  19. 127

    127 Member

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    I'd also consider the Fuji 645Zi.

    Personally I'd take my yashica 44, or baby Rollei. They're small, cheap and great fun, but put out a neg thats almost medium format... (but then I'm biased).

    Ian
     
  20. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    The ETRS has a zoom lens available too, so it can make a more compact travel package. I have two SQAs and one SQAi and my only complaint about the system is most of the lenses won't focus close enough to do decent closeups. I'm waiting for enough money to spare for the 110mm Macro PS lens. I've already got extension tubes and a bellows attachment but they are a PIA to use.
     
  21. brimc76

    brimc76 Member

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    I've had my ETRs for a while now and have been very happy with it. My lenses are 40mm, 75mm, 150mm, and a 250mm. I have been very satisfied with the whole system and have only had to have the body serviced once a couple of years ago. The lenses are expensive as they are all leaf shutter (Mamiya lenses are cheaper). When I bought my ETRs I also looked at Mamiya's line but they didn't have interchangeable backs on their 645's until a year later and I wanted a body with a couple of backs because I do change from colour to B&W in the middle of a roll.