Help with choosing a camera, probably MF.
I'm starting to narrow down what I want to shoot, which is found abstracts and closeup scenes. Sometimes I'd need to be on my belly shooting, and sometimes the camera would be on a tripod. I'd be shooting in both urban and rural areas. Currently I'm shooting with a 50mm macro in 35mm. Occasionally I throw on a 28mm for a wider view. I usually like to get as much in focus area into the picture as I'm able.
A few days ago I posted in the WTB section for a Rollei SL66. It's still on the list, but given the price, I thought I should do some more research. I'm also taking a look at the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. I'm also entertaining the thought of a smaller LF field camera but haven't looked too deeply into that.
These are my thoughts so far.
Rollei SL66: I'm not sure I'd like the square format, it seems kind of limiting. I like the fact you can reverse lenses and go macro, which I do occasionally. Like the close focus with the bellows. The tilt function interests me a lot, but I've never used a tilt, so I don't know how important it is. It's suppose to help add depth of focus, which would be a plus for me. Price is high, but if I have to go there, I will.
Mamiya RZ67 Pro II: Has a rectangular format, which is a positive. Negatives are, no tilt and top shutter speed is 1/400. From what I understand it has a bellows and is good for close focus. The rotating back would be nice.
From what I can gather LF would be the ideal close up camera in terms of image quality and flexibility of focus. But they also look like the most trouble shlepping around, as I wander looking for shots. I don't consider myself old, but I'm not a young guy either, and I've got a bad knee. In LF I've looked a bit at the Miniature Speed Graphic. This might work, except I don't think with a 120 back, the rangefinder would work for close focus shots. A SLR Graflex 3x4 was mentioned in another thread, but that chimney looks like it could be a pain. I also don't know if there's a viewfinder that would work with a 120 back.
Any thoughts appreciated.
Another possibility might be a Mamiya TLR (C330 or any of the newer ones...).
If the price is an issue, this is certainly a possibility: the only downside is that for close-up work, the "paramender" is a must: it's a device that goes on the tripod, and the camera gos on the paramender.
More about the camera, and some helpful images:
It will certaily cost less than an RB/RZ or the like, not to mention Rollei SL66. It has bellows, so close-ups are OK.
The only downside is the fact that you need a paramender, and this might be an issue with shots on the ground level.
It's not a perfect close-up camera, but is usable (and economical). It's square format, though, which you seem to dislike.
As for the Miniature Speed Graphic, it's certainly a (cheap) option, and quite usable. The rangefinder can't be used for close-ups, though: it's strictly ground glas focussing for those situations. If you can get over that issue, it's probably the cheapest and most practical solution: you get the choice of 6x6, 6x7 (or 6x8) and 6x9 formats, depending on the back used. No parallax issues, and if you want to reduce the size/weight, you could probably use another model: either Century Graphic or a 2x3 Crown Graphic (those two don't have the focal plane shutter, which makes them much lighter and somewhat smaller/shallower) - but, on the other hand, you'll be using only shuttered lenses if you use either of those.
The original idea of the 6x6 format was that you cropped the negative to 6x4.5. It was square so you could do both 6x4.5 landscape and 6x4.5 portrait without having to turn the camera on its side. It was never intended that you should keep the picture square and there is no reason why you should.
Originally Posted by kbrede
If price is a consideration, why not look at a Kowa Super 66. Waist level and prism finders available. Extension tubes for close up work and prices that won't have you waiting for your next stimulus check. There are a couple of good kits on eBay currently. If price is not a concern, there are many good choices and with patience a deal can be found with mosst of them.
Frankly, I'd go with the Mamiya RB/RZ, given your stated preferences. The tilt feature on the Rollei SL66 is helpful when controlling depth-of-field at close focusing distances because it allows you to alter the plane of focus so you don't have to stop down as much to get the same subjects in focus. It's helpful with architecture and macro still-life, but if your subject isn't slow-moving enough to get away with using a tripod, then the tilt/swing won't be very helpful as it is hard to control hand-held.
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I can only speak for RB67, but lets assume this goes for RZ67 as well, theyre really good close up cameras. You can even get _almost_ 2:1 magnification. Waist level finder is good, and it even has a metered prism finder. Lenses are superb. Revolving back is perfect. I do both belly and tripod shooting. The 50mm (which is wide angled here!) can do pretty good close up work on its own, with no rings. And wide-angle close-ups spells FUN.
The 140mm macro lens for either the RB67 or RZ67 is very nice to work with. It offers a good working distance, flat field performance down to 1/2 life size and greater magnification with the available extension tubes.
This was shot using my RB67 and that lens, at about 1/2 life size:
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
According to the manual of RB67, you can get 1.92/1 magnification with both extension tubes and the 90mm, at 7cm distance. Thats almost double life-size, allthough i suspect the macro lens to be able to get more with the tubes, and perhaps better resolution.
As much as I like Rollei TLR, anything but a SLR probably will not work for your close-ups. Good luck!
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can be a good day of exercise.
The Macro wouldn't get you closer than the 90 would because it's a longer lens. Where it would excel though would be in overall image quality, flatness of field, and resolution at smaller apertures.