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  1. #1

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    medium format prism camera shooter (Pentax 645 vs Rolleiflex)

    OK so I have a few medium format cameras and a Rolleiflex T is one of them. Actually, I only have Rolleiflex TLRs in this format!

    I love shooting through the waist but sometimes I want to shoot at eye-level, for portraits.

    I don't care for autofocus, autoexposure, etc. What I primarily care for is a normal lens...somewhere around 80mm or slightly longer perhaps. I don't want to spend a terrible amount of money so I'm eliminating MF RF's. I would like a 67 camera but I feel that those are too unwieldy for this appication so I'm eliminating those too. For the 645 SLR's I think Pentax is the best on the field. Contax is too expensive so no consideration there. I didn't like the 120 german folders I once owned so that is not a consideration either.

    I'm primarily thinking about going with a Rollei prism + Pistol Grip or adding a Pentax 645 (well maybe the Mamiya or Bronica...).

    1. How is the Rollei with a prism in terms of focusing and handling?
    2. How is the Pentax 645 in this regard?
    3. A bit controversial, maybe, but how is the bokeh for the Pentax? I love my Rolleiflex 2.8E but that I can only shoot through the waist. My Tessar is OK and a bit busy sometimes. I have no experience with Pentax cameras.
    4. Anyone use a Pentax 67 for this? This seems like a disaster for portrait orientation but maybe OK for landscape. Overall, I think the 645 is a better choice but man that 105mm f2.4 is tempting.

  2. #2
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    In a word? Hasselblad
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  3. #3
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    If you want to shoot handheld, a Pentax 645 is excellent, it handles much like a 35mm SLR. I used Mamiya 645 Super for many years and it is great to handhold too, but only with the power drive. TLRs are very hard to hold and focus at eye level with a prism.
    Chris Crawford
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    In a word? Hasselblad
    I'm curious, is there a reason for this? I think about Hasselblad from time to time but I wonder how much more value it would give me over a Rollei. Ofcourse multiple lenses, backs, prisms, etc. but when I really think about it. I don't need that stuff... I figured that a Hasselblad is more of a tripod camera, or a waist-level camera if handheld. Does it handle better than a Rollei if one wanted to shoot at eye-level? I figured the screen/prism would make focusing easier but there is still that ergonomic problem. I don't like adding too many systems but compared to the german/swiss cameras, those Japanese cameras are almost free. Again, I have no idea. I handled a Hasselblad once. It looks pretty but at the waist, I prefer Rollei.

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    A Hasselblad with a 45 degree prism handles like a slightly large 35mm camera but a heck of a lot easier than a Rollei TLR or any 6x7. Lenses, parts and service are readily available. One can change film backs midroll without losing a frame; do not try that with a Rollei TLR at home.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  6. #6

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    While I love my Hassie 203FE and 903SWC, I wouldn't say either of them "handles" better than my Pentax 67II.

  7. #7
    wiltw's Avatar
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    IMHO, a medium format SLR is a medium format SLR. Minor differences in features may distinguish one model from another, so one needs to be very specific in comparing any two. For example, it would be fair to compare Bronica ETRSi with Mamiya 645 Pro, but unfair to compare a Mamiya 1000 to Pentax 645, just because of years of feature additions and improvements in the newer cameras.

    There is one thing that I greatly dislike specifically about the Pentax 645...the integrated grip is attached at the BACK EDGE of the body, putting all of the weight of the front of the body and lens putting torgue on the hand and no couterbalance! The Mamiya and the Bronica at least have the benefit of using the rear of the body as a counterweight because the (optional) grip is more forward on the body. I have handled all three (as well as Hassy) and ultimately the grip position on the Pentax was considered by me to be a signficant shortcoming of the design. I've never handled a Rollei, but it was always unaffordable, which is why I did not consider it 25 years ago.

  8. #8

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    Have you considered using your Rollei's sports finder? Especially if yours has the mirror and magnifier for focusing, it works good and you already own it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    A Hasselblad with a 45 degree prism handles like a slightly large 35mm camera but a heck of a lot easier than a Rollei TLR or any 6x7. Lenses, parts and service are readily available. One can change film backs midroll without losing a frame; do not try that with a Rollei TLR at home.
    I think I have to get a hold of a Hasselblad user with the 45 and 90 prism. Thinking about it, I think that it might be easier. I often shoot with my WLF at my chest but sometimes I want to shoot with a slightly higher perspective, like my 35mm cameras. I guess I can stand on some books or some sort of support at the moment but that is only a temporary solution.

    Lenses, parts, and servicing is a big plus too, I think. i wouldn't appreciate it immediately but it is more of a long term investment.

    Midroll backs I care less about but it is a good feature to have.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdial View Post
    Have you considered using your Rollei's sports finder? Especially if yours has the mirror and magnifier for focusing, it works good and you already own it.
    I've never really considered using the sports finder. I would like more precise framing and focusing. I would perhaps give it a try.

    Well whether I go hasselblad, 645, or 67, is the prism finder worthwhile? It seems that it doesn't have many fans.

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