I own the Pentax 645Nii and the Yashica Mat 124G (poor man's Rollei.) I enjoy working with both cameras but of all my cameras the Pentax gets far and away the most use. Most of the Pentax lenses are truly magnificent and the price is definitely good. I don't own one, but I have had the fortune to use a couple different Hasselblads, and they are very, very nice cameras. The difference is the format, and the cost. If the money is no object I am sure you will enjoy the Hasselblad, but I have never been remotely tempted to give up my Pentax.
You can also shot 645 on a hassy, btw
Check out Oleg Videnin's trailer for his movie. Doesn't seem to have a problem with the Rollei prism.
Your best choice for a MF shooter with an eye level prism would be either a Mamiya Super or TL with motor drive grip & prism or the Bronica ETR series. I use the Mamiya with motor grip & prism and find it quite satisfactory for eye level shooting. I have a 500c but fitting it out with a prism would make it even more clumsy than it already is. With the Mamiya you can handle the shutter speed dial and aperture without moving your eye from the prism (the same can probably be said for the Bronica but I have no experience with that camera). For eye level shooting you might want to play around with one of the Fuji or Bronica rangefinders. The Bronica would have interchangeable lenses, although they are a bit harder to come by.
I have a prism for my Mamiya C330. It, and the left hand grip were essential for my wedding work - the higher viewpoint is preferable for a lot of on-the-fly portrait work.
It is heavy and a bit large though, and definitely less bright than the waist level finder.
Nowadays I use the prism more as an accessory. I would guess it is on the camera about a 1/3 of the time.
Do not go for the porro-finder - it is a very poor substitute.
“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
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Mamiya makes great 645 cameras and lenses. Their 80mm is the size of most 50mm's for 135 format.
#2: The Pentax 645 is very easy to use, and the lenses are sharp. You can put it on a tripod for either landscape or portrait.
Originally Posted by puketronic
#3: I've never had a problem with Pentax bokeh. Bokeh is rather subjective, anyways. I have a few pictures in the gallery that I shot wide open with a 75mm f/2.8.
#4: I have a Pentax 6x7. Yes, it's a heavy camera, but a good ball head works just fine with it. I have done a few portraits with mine, but my personal preference for portraits is a view camera. If you don't have a totally solid tripod and head, then be sure to lock the mirror up.
I worked with a pentax 67, pentax645 and a hasselblad.
The 67 was to big, and the depth of field to narrow for shooting out of the hand when the light was less.
The 645 was a nice camera, but since i planned to stick to analog, i wanted to buy a manual camera without electronics because these fail eventually and nobody can repair it in x years time.
Eventually i came to hassy, and must say the zeiss lenses are superior towards pentax (sorry). everything is manually and easily to repair. nice optional tools and afordable these days...
Thanks, I knew that. I don't care for 645 format, I just felt that the cameras are more geared towards eye-level handheld use.
Originally Posted by EASmithV
I have a 2.8F with prism, a Pentax 67, and a Bronica ETRS with prism.
I don't find the Rollei with the prism difficult to use at all, and I've been using it this way for the better part of a year. Yes, it's a little awkward to hold, but you get used it it. Or at least, I did. I've used it for portraits (the prism is indispensable for that) and for street photography.
The Pentax 67 is definitely handhold-able, but heavier and larger. I love that camera. Handles exactly like a large 35mm SLR.
Of the three, I find the Bronica the most awkward to hold while using it with the prism (without a grip).
Not sure if this helps...