Want to try MF SLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,204
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hello,

    I've had a Rolleiflex TLR for four years now, and I really do like this camera, but I am a little tired of not having the benefit of interchangeable lenses, especially wide angle.
    I want to buy probably a Hasselblad 500 C/M, but am interested in what people think of the competition. The Rollei's are great cameras, as are the Mamiya's, Pentax, and so forth. I'd like to stick with 6x6 or 6x7 format. 6x4.5 is too small, I think.
    I realize this is like asking which film is best, or which developer. I have seen some of the Mamiya 6x7 cameras, both RB-67, RZ-67, and 67 at good prices, but get the impression from camera shop personnel that they don't repair as well as the Swedish or German cameras.

    Very thankful for input and help, as even a used camera will be a very large investment with my tiny budget.

    - Thom
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,888
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not an slr, but I've been very happy with my Mamiya 7, a 6x7 format rangefinder with interchangeable lenses. The only downside, is the lenses, even used, are quite expensive. There are a couple other brands out there, but this format may also be an option for you.
     
  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Location:
    Roswell, Ga.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Have you checked the price of a Bronica SQA? They are called a poor mans Hassy for good reason. I have two SQAs and an SQAi with a good pile of lenses and accesories and I think they take fine images. Only feature I'm not too keen on is the inability of most of the lenses to focus really close. A 110mm Macro solves that as well as extension tubes for the other lenses. I just wish I could get a 110 macro for a reasonable price, every one I bid on gets sniped out and the ones I don't go for a ridiculously low price. Argh!
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have shot both the RB and the RZ in my work and never had a problem with either of them, they, in my opinion are two of the better values in the MF field right now, for the most part, if you want a tank, the RB is the way to go, just a darn hard camera to break that keeps on going and going like the energizer bunny, the brick the car battery for weight, but very reliable camera.

    Dave
     
  5. cvik

    cvik Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tell us what type of pictures you shoot (and where you shoot them). Also, tell us if you're a large aperture kind of guy or if you're a f8 and leave it kind a guy.

    I have a Rolleiflex 6008 integral (without AF), it's a great camera with great lenses from Zeiss and Schneider but I wouldn't bring it on a three month jungletrip as it requires batteries and contains a lot of electronic features (such as a very good lightmeter that even works with the waist level finder!). The camera is perfect for both studio (which i don't do) and location work (which i do).

    If you like to use very large apertures or lenses from Zeiss or Schneider you would not want to go for a Mamiya. Needless to say, there is a difference between shotting 180 mm at f2.8 or f4.5. I haven't used Mamiya myself but have heard from others that it will give you less contrast and less saturated colors than Zeiss and Schneider. This may or may not be what you're looking for.

    Hasselblad only offers lenses from Zeiss and beware that not all Hasselblad MF lenses work on all Hasselblad cameras. Even within the X-system you have to be careful as the FE-lenses will only work on 200-series cameras and not the 500-series cameras. This is important as many of the large aperture lenses for Hasselblad is only made for the FE-system (50/2.8, 110/2 etc). The FE-lenses don't sync very far if you intend to use a flash since they don't have a central shutter but has to be used on 200-series cameras with curtain-shutter. AFAIK the 200-series camera can use all the X-series lenses and will open the shutter curtain completly and use the central shutter when it uses CFe/CFi-lenses.

    I chose Rolleiflex SLR since I don't go to long trips into the jungle or spend half the year on the north pole (allthough close enough :-|) and love to use large apertures and have the option of choosing lenses from both Zeiss and Schneider.
     
  6. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    Westport, MA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I've owned and used a Pentax 645 for about 4 years. I love this camera and it's great, as long as you can live with a few things..

    1) No changing film in mid-roll
    2) One fixed finder, though an eye-piece magnifier and a right-angle extension exist
    3) There is a 70mm back but it's _expensive_
    4) There is a polaroid back but it's EXPENSIVE
    5) The LED meter is difficult to read in extremely bright conditions
    6) One fixed grip
    7) Kind of loud with the motor drive (CHICK-CHICK-WHIIIIIIIRRRRRH)
    8) It's a pain to use with a cable release, atleast a non-pentax one.
    If you use the built-in meter, you have to unscrew the cable release and activate the meter, then turn the camera off, screw the release back in, turn the camera on and take the picture.. It's a pain.

    Otherwise, the camera needs virtually no maintenance. The lenses are outstanding!
    The bokeh, the contrast.. The 80mm focuses down to about 7", compared to 3ft with my Hasselblad 80mm planar. Bright viewfinder. Perfect frame-spacing.
    The meter is dead on.. lenses are reasonably priced. You can even use Pentax 67 lenses on the 645 with an adapter!

    I really like mine. Hundreds of rolls of film, used outdoors for hours in 15F weather with snow.. In the rain even. Never once a hitch.

    My hassy 503 is a different beast, equally nice if not nicer but not nearly as quick and easy to use..
     
  7. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    Westport, MA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Also, a mamiya rb-67 is a BIG camera. It's workable handheld but if you can compare a hasselblad next to a mamiya rb, the rb just looks huge.
     
  8. wildbill

    wildbill Member

    Messages:
    2,851
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use the Pentax 67II which i purchased used with the AE finder and 90mm lens for lens than $900.00. Used lenses start at around $250 and they are great optics. The camera is a beast but works just like a 35mm slr. You'd need a very sturdy tripod because it's got a huge focal plane shutter. If you do landscapes on a tripod i'd highly recommend it.
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,957
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Regarding 6x4.5 being too small, I would suggest that - if printing rectangular prints - the usable negative area of a 6x6 and a 6x4.5 are not much different. That said, I always find something visually appealling about a square print.
     
  10. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You might want to figure out what accessories and other lenses you may want to acquire in the future and see if the expenditure figures into your plan for the particular camera. Back when I got into MF it was a money pit for an enthusiast, but now deals are around, although a good 50mm lens in Rollei or Hasselblad can set you back a decade. Between them, they will all give you great preformance. Having shot Rollei, Hasselblad and Mamiya 6x7's, I prefer my 645 for portability and my RB for macro and defending myself.
     
  11. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A couple of things. I agree that a Hassy is a better camera, but I don't think that it is enough better to justify the additional cost of ownership. I have a Mamiya 645 and love it. The film is big enough to make very nice 16X20 prints, but I would certainly agree that the additional negative size of a 6X7 would be great. I also use a TLR to get my fix of 6X6 negatives. :smile:

    I think that you should look at the way you intend to use it, I think that the Mamiya 645 Super or Pro work great for hand holding with the winder grip. The RB and RZ are awesome for tripod based work thanks to their rotating backs. I don't know the Bronica models as well, but they have a good reputation and are also available for a very low price right now.

    Have fun!

    Paul.
     
  12. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an assortment of Zeiss (Jena and Oberkochen) and Schneider MF and LF optics. Nice lenses all.

    I also have an assortment of Fujinon MF and LF optics. I find myself choosing the Fujinon optics over the German ones most of the time.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,204
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks to all for your feedback.

    The work I mainly do is b&w but have recently gotten into E6 film a bit. I love old grain mills, historic buildings, people & animals in portraits, old vehicles, nature (tree roots, rocks), and some landscape.
    I use rather small apertures now, but am getting more and more into shooting with larger apertures. Less f/16, and more f/8 and f/5.6. With MF and LF I'm on a tripod all the time, I don't even leave home without it.
    I'm right now leaning towards Mamiya RB or RZ. I don't use the very largest apertures anyway.

    Thanks again, everybody.

    - Thom
     
  14. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I think that for what your shooting, and the fact that you use a tripod and have shot Lf, you would be a pretty good candidate for The RB or RZ. My RB (WL finder) weighs about as much as my 4x5 Graphic, just as bulky in a different way, and "my" lens & boards don't weigh as much as the Mamiya lenses; Your milage may vary. The thing that I love about the camera is the rotatable back. I still use a handheld meter since I don't have a metered finder, and any bellows extension without the metered finder has to be compensated. A good tripod head is in order. Filters are larger, and thus more expensive. I use my 645 for more sightseeing things, walkabouts and when I want to take a smaller tripod for longer hiles. I think that what you may want to consider is comparing using a rollfilm back on a LF camera to buying another system. For what you will save you could have a decent vacation to shoot. If your the type to shoot 2 backs, and say a couple of lenses plus filters, finder or handheld meter, your kit is right up there with a small LF camera and accessories. What makes me like to use the RB is the right side up image and ability to move the camera in hand to see different framing options. Then it's just a case of placing the tripod and setting the camera. IF you do think that you may want to try the 67 Mamiya, really consider the RZ which has some better features, although a RB is a really handy tent stake pounding tool.
     
  15. Peter Williams

    Peter Williams Member

    Messages:
    275
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'll throw in my preference for the Fuji GX680 series cameras. I have the mark II version and I prefer it to my 500cm. With the extension rails and extended wide angle bellows I can get REALLY close to the subject and of course it does have movements (insert diparaging comparison to LF here). With the AA battery holder I have all the security I need that I'll be able to shoot wherever I go. It's not hand holdable, but if you are already using a tripod that won't be an issue. Used models and lenses are also a steal right now and the quality of the lenses is superb. I would recommend finding a shop where you can rent a couple of cameras before you buy. Good luck with your decision.

    Peter
     
  16. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Providence,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'll give another vote for the RB-67. I used to have one and traded it for a Hasselblad 500cm. Not that the Hasselblad is a bad camera at all, it's just that I regret getting rid of the RB because lenses, backs, etc. are so much cheaper than Blad lenses and accessories. The revolving back is a great feature too. I handheld the camera quite often and never had camera shake problems at all. The bellows are really nice too because you can get pretty damn close without having to use a macro lens.
    Ara
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,204
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for your help Peter,

    a GX680 is way too expensive for me. Granted, I can deduct it from taxes, but it's just more money than I can put up just like that.

    I'm pretty sure I'm going for a Mamiya RB67 Pro S with a couple of lenses, a 127mm and maybe a 180mm. That's more reasonable for me.

    Thanks,

    - Thom

     
  18. cvik

    cvik Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just wanted to add some about Rolleiflex 600x:

    Rollei also makes a revolving 6x4,5 back and the standard screen has guide lines for it. Since you can change between horizontal and vertical images by turning the back (while mounted on the camera), you can use the waist level finder even with 6x4,5.

    Another thing that might be of interest is the M39/M40 shutter adapter that will let you mount enlarger lenses (only for close-up i think). You can also get a retro adapter so you can reverse mount the Rollei lenses. It will transfer the aperture from the lens to the camera or set the aperture if set to shutter priority.

    For portraiture, both Zeiss 150/4 and Schneider 180/2.8 are good choices.

    For architecture you have the 55mm PCS Schneider Super-Angulon lens with shift and tilt, but at $9000 (!) it will empty most peoples pockets.

    Handling:
    You may hold it like you do with the TLR, or use a separate grip and/or a neck strap.

    More information on
    http://www.sl66.com/slx/index.htm
    and of course http://www.rollei.de

    The only real problem with this camera is the price. No wonder I'm still stuck with the one lens included.
     
  19. cvik

    cvik Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  20. silverliner

    silverliner Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi!, I own several MF cameras, folders like Moskva 5, Seagull TLRs such as Seagull, 'cord Vb, 'flex T & 2.8D and SLRs such as Bronica ETR-C, SQA. IMO the small and light ones like 'cord Vb and 'flex T are the MF camera that I usually take photo with. Those SLRs are too heavy for handholding and forget about the camera shake and mirror slap. They are great in studio setting on a firm tripod but not agile in the field. And the normal lenses are the lens that I usually took photo with. Just my two cents.
     
  21. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can personally attest to the tank like build and dead-bolts reliability of an RB67. Doubles as blunt weapon - or more like battering ram, actually. You can step on it to get to a really high shelf. I think it gets Hassy owners so worked up because most people think its just a really big Hasselblad, which is not fair - and no one with a Mamiya should get that kind of attention! They don't deserve it! They simply did not spend enough! :smile:
    They "don't fix as well" as Hassys because they... well, don't break as well. They are pretty much immune to all the little quirks that can send your Hassy to the shop in a jiffy if you're not careful.
    As far as the inferiority of their lenses... I don't know off hand how many Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue covers were done on a RB67 - but I am willing to bet it was a vast majority in the last decade and a half or more - they seem nicely saturated to me. And I think people with those kinds of gigs can easily afford any equipment they want... so... some get Hassys, some get RB's and RZ's... obviously, it is not a matter of quality.
    You will have a camera that gives you a big 6x7 negative and has a rotating film back - so no flipping of equipment necessary. Yes, it is big, and yes, it is heavy - by camera standards. Its not a car or a boat. If you whine about how heavy it is and you do not have a physical disability or extremely advanced age as an excuse... well, you should hit the gym. Maybe not the camera you want to take on a very long hike in the mountains - but I know people who do all the time. And they have no hunch backs - just nice pictures - to show for their trouble :smile:
    And the bellows are great!
    Oh, and this just in - I just saw one close on eBay (with a 90mm lens and one back, waist level finder) for $350 Canadian. Thats... $7.25 US or something:smile:

    Peter.


    PS - You will always have your TLR if you feel inclined to travel really light.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,204
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Peter,

    you're a little too enthusiastic about the rate of the US dollar, I think... :smile: Wouldn't that translate into like $500 US...???

    I think I have made my mind up to get a clean RB67. It seems like it gives a lot of value for the money, and if the lenses are good enough for SI covers, then I'm sure I'll be happy. I really don't mind that the camera is heavy, in fact, I like it. Makes it sit really still on the tripod.
    I do intend to keep the Rolleiflex, by the way. It's too nice of a camera to give up. After I get the Mamiya, I'll probably have it sent in for a good service to keep it in shape. I really do like the quality it provides.

    Thanks again,

    - Thom
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,807
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    $350 CDN = approx. $290.00 US at current exchange rates (the Canadian $ is at an almost 15 year high vs the US $)
     
  24. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I know about the exchange rate, guys - it was just some Canadian dollar humour:smile:
    And for the record - I do love Hassy's and the German glass, but I have seen nothing to indicate that the Mamiya glass leaves anything to be desired. Good luck with your purchase, I think you will love the camera!

    Peter.
     
  25. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

    Messages:
    467
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Arlington, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mamiya lenses are stunningly good - I shoot the 645 Pro TL because it is so portable. You won't give up much, if anything, to Zeiss.

    Robert