Many of the old folding cameras, especially those from the 1960's, take surprisingly good photos. However, the TOL ones are also surprisingly heavy. I have three folding 6x6 cameras myself: an Ansco B2 Speedex, a Hapo 66e (rebranded Balda Baldix RF), and an Iskra. That Iskra takes incredible photos, but weights in at 2.25 pounds. The Speedex is small and light, but has no focusing aid. The Hapo has an uncoupled combined VF/RF, but is easily pocketable (my only complaint is that it has a simple shutter that limits my range of exposure, I can get by with the 3 element lens).
Of those my choice for a travel camera would depend on whether I photography or convenience was the most important to me. If photography the Iskra (the Zeiss Super Ikonta, Agfa Super Isoette, etc are equivalent), If convenience the Hapo (or equivalent from other makers).
You know, vacationers were who folding cameras were designed for in the first place.
I used a Rolleicord IV in my spring trip to NYC along with an Olympus OM-1 and three lenses all packed in a Domke bag.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
Another vote for the Makina 67. I like in particular its spot like light meter, which gives me a quick but also controlled way of getting the exposure for nice 6x7 slides.
If I'm going to throw a second camera in the travel bag, it's usually my Rollei. If it's too dim for your liking, you might have a brighter screen installed.
I recently sold my Fuji GW690III. I found it light, easy to hand-hold, and it produced superbly sharp negatives. Its lens was a bit slow, it was big, and the rangefinder was not easy to focus in bright daylight. My only complaint about the rangefinder was that I felt like I was just kind of pointing my camera in the general direction of the scene instead of carefully composing each shot. Fine for street photography, but not so good for tripod work. I never "bonded" with it, but it was a good, dependable rugged camera.
you can get a small one and use it with a roll back
easy to load, easy to focus
easy to tote, easy to shoot
takes barrel lenses ...
i've had a 4x5 series d since the 1990s
probably the best travel .. and all around camera i own
Last edited by jnanian; 07-27-2012 at 05:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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Well - there are not 'pocketable' medium format cameras, so to say. If you want it really small - get the GA645 or the GS645 (depends on your preferences) - both weight around 800g. The new Bessa III is large, but rather flat when folded - about 1000g (similar as the lighter Rolleiflexes and Autocords). Plaubel Makina 67/670 - seems to have really nice lens with smooth bokeh. Similar in size to Bessa III (not same shorter and taller) and heavier - at around 1250g. The RF645 and Mamiya 6 are very similar in size - I would choose the RF645 between these two (I have the Mamiya 6) - the Mamiya have not particularly useful meter - meters VERY large area and so gets easily fooled by the stuff that is outside the frames.
So - it all depends how fast the camera needs to be. But one way or another you will need to do some compromises. It may make sense to get a camera that gets closest for that part of photography you want to do most and then learn to use it the most effective way. You will always loose shots for one or other reason. Just concentrate on the shots you will be able to get.
Mamiya 7, it has the best lenses for the format, and is quite light and reasonably fast to shoot with. The other camera I travel with a lot is a chamonix saber 4x5 rangefinder, with grafmatic and 6x12 backs.
If you just want highest quality/convenience of carry, a folder is the best bet. On my last trip to Europe my only camera was the Moscow-5 (Super-Ikonta clone) 6x9. Slips in a pocket so you can enjoy the surroundings without making the family feel like they brought too many people, and 6x9 is a big enough negative. Of course, being a folder it's not fast, and I have a tendency to make double exposures; it is nice to have a serious enough camera in the pocket on a family trip or mountain hike when I also carry the rescue gear (school trips).
On my own, however, I'd carry at least the Kiev 88, and if not too far from the car the Technika gets to come too, and they have to bring lenses and holders and tripods and filters and . . . .
Paris by moonlight, Moscow-5 6x9
The Fuji GW690 (version 1) was nearly the perfect travel camera for me. The huge negative is astonishing, it made playing with 4x5 seem unneccesary. Though the camera was a bit big for my taste, it really attracted a lot of attention because of the size. More problematically, none of the Fuji GW/GSW 690 I, II or III have a meter!
I solved both problems by switching up for a GS645S. It has a handy meter, and is half the size of the GW. Unfortunately, I need to get it CLA'd and have the sticky rangefinder repaired before it becomes my travel camera.
My other camera is a Pentax
Those giant Fuji viewfinders are great! Did they ever build them with a self-timer? I had to use the lens cap to end long exposures, as 'T' requires the shutter time to be changed or the film advanced in order for the shutter to close.
But my biased opinion lies with the Rolleiflex. Simple brick that works wonders. Eye-catchers these days, too. A bit more discreet than the Fuji 6x7 viewfinder. The Fuji just about blocks the view of all of one's head when used vertically -- one looks like a walking camera! LOL! Tiniest of a click with the Rolleiflex...and not many assesories to fill a pack.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.