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  1. #1

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    Need help deciding which medium format to aim for!

    Hi everyone,

    I want a medium format camera that has swappable backs for 6x6, 6x9, etc., and I was wondering which would be the best for me (decent price, versatility).

    Any ideas for a camera body (and the average price for a decent one)?

    Thanks!
    Typical digital zombies say: "Adapt or die!" "The world is changing, change with it!" "Analog is old and nasty! EEEEEEEWWWWWW!" "Why should I pay money for getting my pictures when I can have everything NOW?" "Why shoot manual when you can have the camera do everything automatically?"

    Primary 35mm camera - Pentax K1000
    Secondary 35mm camera - Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL - M42 Mount
    Medium Format: Mamiya RB67

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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    mamiya press?

  3. #3

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    Jul 2009
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    Swappable backs are tough... the Mamiya Press is one option, you could also go for a full 2x3 (=6x9cm) or 4x5 press camera and try to find rollfilm holders to fit. If you can tolerate cropping later, the Fuji rangefinders are a bargain and among the best options available.

  4. #4
    keithwms's Avatar
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    The medium format SLR closest to doing all the ratios you mention is probably the mamiya RB67, for which you can get 6x8, 6x7, 6x6 (rare), 70mm and 645 as well as sheet film and fujiroid. I even do some square ~76mm shots on 4x5 film with an RB, now and then. The RB lenses are very affordable and if you find yourself wanting an RZ, you can use the RB lenses on it. I wouldn't be surprised if you could rig a 6x9 back onto an RB with a little ingenuity- most of the lenses will probably cover it. Typical price for a basic kit, $500. (but 6x8 and 6x6 backs have now become expensive)

    The compact and enjoyable Horseman VH / VH-R / 985 viewcameras might be something to look at, I believe that they can take all the RB backs as well as 6x9 and sheet film. And you'd have some decent tilt & shift capabilities as well. For travel, these Horsemans are really nice and compact- the lenses are *way* smaller and lighter than the RB ones. Typical price for a basic kit, $700.
    Last edited by keithwms; 03-06-2012 at 07:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Richmond VA.
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    I also recommend the Mamiya RB67.

    Jeff

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2011
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    RZ67, its a bit newer than the RB (so fresher seals etc) and they all take superb lenses! including the 110 2.8! and a heap of backs: 6x7, 6x6, 6x8, even a 6x7 polaroid back! VERY versatile system, also it shouldnt drop in value much.. if anything

  7. #7

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    Feb 2012
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    Either an RB or RZ67, I've owned both and gave my RB away to a friend because I liked the RZ much better. Both the RB and RZ are still made, so don't worry too much about seals, wear and tear, even then, they are built like tanks, and will last forever.

    Another option is the Mamiya 645 Pro, its 6x6 much smaller and much lighter.

  8. #8
    CGW
    CGW is offline

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    Apr 2010
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    Another option is the Mamiya 645 Pro, its 6x6 much smaller and much lighter.

    Hmmm. I wonder why it's the called the "645" Pro? Just asking...

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Yukon, OK
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    CGW, I was wondering the same thing. I just checked my 645 Pro and sure enough my only choice is 120 or 220....wait, I do have the Poloroid back, darned if it doesn't take a 6 x 4.5 instant photo....

    Enough fun. Don't do the Press. Have one, got one....lovely camera. If you love turn of the century photography methods then you will love the press. The problem is finding a good one and even then getting it worked on by a reliable repairman with experience could be a big, big problem.

    That brings us to where I have been for at least 3, maybe 4 years.....RB or RZ. Certainly a RB will be less expensive and a solid, usable option. I have had twice the opportunity to purchase superb RZ kits for fair prices. However, $1,500+ doesn't just fall off the tree in the back yard very often so I have elected to blow smaller amounts on 35mm stuff here and there totalling up way over the $1,500 mark. Should have gotten the RZ Pro setup a long time ago......

    I have also blown close to that $1,500 mark on the Mamiya Press I got a couple of years ago. It cost me more to have the camera repaired and CLA'ed than the original purchase price (but I knew I got a very clean body with mechanical problems in the first place). I have multiple backs and only about 4 lenses for it. Once CLA'ed.....wow, what a wonderful camera....very manual....very methodical and very unforgiving. Now with the RB or RZ being close (depending on setup) to what I have with my 645.....and I really enjoy that setup.....I would seriously recommend an RZ Pro.

    Bob E.
    Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D

  10. #10
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    The Mamiya 645 Pro is a superb camera, but it is definitely 6x4.5, not 6x6. I have one. :-D

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