What's your favourite MF camera or alternative?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Nicole, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Hi everyone, I'd love to know what your favourite MF cameras are and why?

    And is there a MF out that's not quite so big and bulky?

    Thank you for sharing.
    Kind regards,
    Nicole
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Bronica ETRS, Because I have one - and I'm familiar with it. I also haven't changed the battery yet, and I've had the camera for 14 years.

    Any old folder, any rangefinder, hundreds of choises!
     
  3. arigram

    arigram Member

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    What? You have doubts about your Hasselblad?
    I love my 501CM crazilly!
    I like the looks, how it feels on my hand, its weight, its sound.
    The square is perfect for my mind and I can't go back to rectangle now.
    And I won't say anything about the quallity of construction or of the lenses.

    The only problem is that is too darned expensive, but I was lucky to get one
    in the first place so I shouldn't complain.

    Maybe a TLR or a rangefinder is easier to carry, but I find the 501CM very
    versatile and as you know it sits on a tripod as well as it does on my hands,
    so I couldn't have picked a better camera.
     
  4. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    The Mamiya 7 is very great rangefinder in MF
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    For smaller MF cameras, I would recommend one of the fugi Rangefinders, or the Mamyia Rangefinders, the Mamyia 7 is a very easy to use and quite comfortable in the hands, operates very simular to a 35mm, but gives a great big negative for great enlargements and detail.

    Dave
     
  6. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I do love my Hasselblad but am also looking for something a little smaller and lighter for me. I suppose like a rangefinder.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions on which MF Rangefinders there are - I haven't a clue!
     
  7. argentic

    argentic Member

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    Rolleiflex SL66. The same quality Zeiss lenses Hasselblad uses but a lot cheaper. Scheimpflug, Macro and pinhole possibilities automatically built in. Very rugged and stable camera. Interchangeable backs. All-mechanical. Affordable. 6x6 format. See Barry Thorntons experiences with these one-eyed rolleiflexes.

    They are not smaller than the hassy's though. But I consider that an advantage. It allows me to shoot 1/8 second without a tripod.
     
  8. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    My favourite would be my Yashica TLR, simply because it's the only working MF I have. (No back or lens :sad:for the RB I will be picking up today :smile: ). The Yashica isn't really heavy but it is definitly a bit bulky when your used to a 35mm.
    I've seen the Mamiya 7 and it looks like a 35mm on steriods. Taller and slightly thicker, it is still looks less bulky than the component style of the Bonicas, Hassys and Mamiya RZ&RBs. Sory can't comment on the quality.
    Or like Ole says, the old folder style still get high raves for ease and lens quality.
     
  9. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    mamiya RZ 67

    Well this is not a good choice for those that do not like big and bulky for sure. There are a couple of reasons that I very much like the camera: the built in bellows. The revolving back. Far from an ideal camera if you want to hand hold it. Very nice lenses.

    Too my way of thinking if I was looking for a MF camera to photograph children and I was using the camera handheld and not being able to change lens was ok, I would choose a Rolleiflex TLR with either the 2.8 or 3.5 Zeiss Planar lens. It is at least as quite as a Leica rangefinder. It is a very durable, highly evolved camera. The center of the viewing hood snaps back and functions as a frame finder. Directly below the frame finder is a mirror attached to the part of the hood that is pushed back which allows checking focus on the ground glass. The camera has a very neat depth of field scale that show a white band that expands and contracts as the F stop is changed. The camera has the best film handling of any MF camera made.
    In all the above comments I am reffering to vintage Rolleis. I have been watching the price of these cameras for well over 30 years and they continually increase. I would not spend the money to get a mint example. I would get one that is very clean though. The camera is quite light in weight for MF camera. The nice thing about the frame finder on the hood is that you do not have to make adjustments for the left/right reversal that you see on the ground glass. I would think that for a person using both 35 and MF that this would be quite helpful as it takes a lot of experience to adjust to the left/right reversal on quick shooting. Prism finders are expensive, although available for the Rollei TLR and add substantially to the weight.

    Keep working with those children. You are getting very good at it.
     
  10. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    Fuji 690GSW III, makes 6x9cm negatives and is a rangefinder.
    ps. I am holding it in my avatar !
     
  11. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    All time favorite Rollefilex SL66.

    Right now saving to buy a Pentax 645, lighter, well built and has enough features.
     
  12. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I'd have to say my favorite is the Kodak Reflex II -- perhaps in part because it was the first adjustable MF camera I owned (after a succession of 127 and 620 simple cameras), but also because a well-working one is a joy to use (nice, bright Fresnel finder, automatic frame counter, and it fits my hands well) and the lens will stand up to anything you can mount on a 'Blad. No, I can't choose from half a dozen focal lengths or change backs in mid-roll, but I don't need multiple focal lengths at all frequently and can generally manage to shoot a dozen shots before changing emulsions.

    And it's not really that bulky; in its everready case it's not significantly larger than my Spotmatic with 50 mm mounted in its everready, plus the shape and waist level finder makes it easier to hold steady at slow speeds than any eye-level camera. And if I need to point it fast, I can always flip open the sports finder, scale focus, and burn through a dozen shots in about one minute with the counter, even on a knob wind. IMO, it'll do anything I could do with a modern Rolleiflex (though the lens is a half stop slower), and I can get another one on eBay a couple times a month for under $50.

    Oh, yeah, the 620 film thing -- if you trim the flanges of a 120 spool as close as possible to the diameter of the film roll itself (heavy nail clippers work very well for this), it fits nicely in the supply well and takes up onto one of the dozen or so 620 spools I keep around. If you process your own film, it's not a problem keeping the old metal spools; if not, you need a cooperative lab, or send the camera somewhere and spend too much to have it converted to 120.

    No, it's probably not suitable for a pro -- but then I haven't got a pro's budget.
     
  13. skander

    skander Member

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    For all my travels I use an Iskra. It's a 6x6 russian folder with coupled rangefinder, with all the advantages it induces. On the minus side : the lens is prone to flare but is otherwise really excellent, and it does not have any light meter. I'd like to have a Mamiya 6 or 7, but it's heavier and much more expensive. An Iskra can be had for less than 100$.
    All in all, I'm really satisfied by the Iskra.
    Cheers,
    Skander
     
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  15. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    You will have to pry my Mamiya 7II from cold dead hands. It's light (a slightly heavier, but not much pregnant 35mm feel). Great optics, and since you are not that far from Hong Kong, you can get it reasonably there. Tin Chueng is where I got mine at. I paid about 1/3 of the normal USA price for mine. It included full UK warrenty.

    It's not as fast as using a 35mm, and there is no motor drive capability. It has to have each roll individually loaded, which can take time, but I got fast at switching out film.
     
  16. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Although I've been tempted a couple of times to venture into the MF RF realm, for what I shoot on MF, I'd have a hard time giving up the flexibility provided by the Hassy. Being able to switch films mid roll with the Hassy's magazines, and the ability to sync flash at anything up to 1/500 in mixed lighting are key factors for me.

    But, if you don't need the things the Hassy provides for what and how you shoot, one of the Mamiya RFs, or the Fuji GA645ZI with autofocus might be a better solution for you.
     
  17. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Smaller and lighter rangefinder than a Hassey in MF. What your looking for is a Holga! And a LOT cheaper too.

    Art.
     
  18. Will S

    Will S Member

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    I have a Fuji GS645 folder which I think is an excellent portable camera for the money. A Plaubel-Makina is probably the best camera made of this type, but they are definitely some moolah. I would buy a Mamiya 7II in a heartbeat if I had the money for the lenses. Of course, a coupled rangefinder folder like a Zeiss Ikon SuperIkonta BX is a great camera.

    I would be interested in hearing recommendations for a MF camera that can be handheld (sometimes) that has removable backs. Is Hasselblad really the only choice available? I've considered the Koni Rapid Omega M for example. Would a Kiev or a Kowa be an acceptable cheaper substitute for a Hassy?

    Thanks,

    Will
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    More than 90% of my Bronica shots are handheld. It has removable backs, so I have one back with colour film, one with FP4, and a "backup" back that takes 35mm film for 24x56mm negatives in case I run out of film and have to resort to what I can find in a supermarket or similar (yuk).
     
  20. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Is a Zorki a good substitute for a Leica? :wink:
     
  21. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Apart from Rolleiflex TLRs, which I think are near-perfect for simple, straightforward photography, I like the Makina 67 and 67W because of their compactness when folded, 6x7 format and their rather nice Nikon lenses. I used a Ross Autorange 820 before I got the 67, and that, or almost any similar 6x9 folder, is also lovable.

    One drawback of all the cameras that I've mentioned is the non-interchangeable lenses. That doesn't bother me much because I tend to stick with one focal length (one perspective/viewpoint) for each of my series. I wouldn't recommend a Makina 67, 670 or 67W to anybody - you either love them enough not to worry about their faults, or you don't.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  22. captainwookie

    captainwookie Member

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    I love my Kiev 88, but it is still hard to advise anyone that they should buy one.

    However, If you are interested in Kiev I suggest you visit: http://www.kievaholic.com/ I think it explains the camera best.
     
  23. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    On my budget, yes! :wink:
     
  24. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I get a ton of mileage out of my Kiev 60 ($80 with nice f2.8 lens and metering prism on eBay). It's a huge beast of an SLR and you'll hear the mirror a block off so its not stealth. Weighs about 5# with the prism and a flash bracket/flash, too. But the Arsat f2.8 80mm lens is really nice and sharp.

    I also like the Seagull TLR (I forget which model I have). Bright fresnel, easy to use, frame spacing is good.

    The Lubitel 166U is about a half step up from the Holga, which I'm also fond of.

    Could be that I just like 6x6 negs and cheap cameras. :D
     
  25. etriplett

    etriplett Member

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    Even though I'm jealous of you SL66 guys I'm voting for my Hassy 501 C/M.

    Since I got it my work has really improved. I've never had a problem the thing just works. It can fall 4ft. off the tripod onto concrete and still function! It's hefty but not too heavy that I can't take it on long mountainous hikes. The ability to build a system that matches your needs is great.

    The limiter is that the 501 C/M can't be used with a winder, you have to go to the 503 CW body for that.
     
  26. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Four favorites (I'm mostly using all manual "classics" these days):

    -- Rolleiflex SL66 for the reasons already mentioned.

    -- Super Ikonta B (532/16). This camera feels really good in my hands. Excellent coated Tessar lens, very portable and very easy to use.

    -- Rolleiflex Automat. A very nonthreatening unobtrusive camera. Quiet shutter. Great Tessar or Xenar lens and never lets me down.

    -- Ikonta 6x9 (520/2). A very old camera, but once you get a look at a 6x9 negative, you get spoiled very quickly. Uncoated Tessar lens performs excellently. I took this up to the Great Wall. Cost me $50.