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  1. #1

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    Inexpensive intro to medium format, aka the failure of the Pocket Kodak.

    I just got my first roll developed from my Pocket Kodak, and unfortunately, none of the shots came out. The camera was a pain the butt to use anyway, so I'm looking to get something new to shoot with. I'd like to spend less than $250, have anything but 645 negs, would like a usable viewfinder and a tripod mount. I've been on certo6's site, but the amount of choices there are overwhelming. Perhaps you guys could give me a few options to explore. I would prefer something compact, which is why I'm considering a folding bellows camera.

  2. #2
    PDH
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    Yashica TLR, either a Mat or a D with a 4 element taking lens. Minolta autocord or if you are lucky a Rollicord. You may be able to pick up a working Mamyia C 22 or Press for under $250.

  3. #3

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    I'd go with a folder, a Zeiss Super Ikonta III, Agfa Super Isolette, or maybe Iskra.

    I put off getting an old folder, suspecting it would be "rickety", but my Super Ikonta III is a killer camera, with fantastic build quality. Only thing is that frame spacing is very tight, but it's easily fixed by applying some thick sticky tape to the start of the backing paper.

    Otherwise, can't go wrong with a Rolleiflex.

  4. #4

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    There's a C33 Professional for sale locally for $200...should I jump on it?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by thegman View Post
    I'd go with a folder, a Zeiss Super Ikonta III, Agfa Super Isolette, or maybe Iskra.

    I put off getting an old folder, suspecting it would be "rickety", but my Super Ikonta III is a killer camera, with fantastic build quality. Only thing is that frame spacing is very tight, but it's easily fixed by applying some thick sticky tape to the start of the backing paper.

    Otherwise, can't go wrong with a Rolleiflex.
    The nicer folders that you mentioned are out of my price range. I'm always guilty of trying to extend my budget a little further than I comfortably can, so I'm really trying to stick to $250 or less this time. After all, I'm gonna need some money for film

  6. #6

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    I have a Zeiss Ikonta 521/16 6x6. Paid $100, used it for a year and then paid another $100 for a CLA. It may be more basic than you want, and more fiddly to use, but it is a lovely piece of precision engineering, and highly capable.

    Another 6x6, the 534 is probably easier to use with a coupled range finder and built in meter. I currently lust over that and the 524/2, an uncoupled range finder with the HUGE 6x9 negatives.

    All of them fold up and fit easily in a jacket pocket and are pretty quick to have out and ready. Easier to carry around than a 35mm slr.

    I also have, and love, a C33. The lenses are absolutely top quality and produce a fine image that the older Zeiss can't match. But it really is a heavy, bulky bitch to carry around compared to the folders. It's a completely different kind of photography.
    Last edited by pbromaghin; 01-07-2013 at 04:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    “You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

  7. #7
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    Yes! Mamiya Tlrs are great cameras (I'm biased since the Mamiya c33/c330 are my prefered medium format camera of choice along with the rolleiflex, and I've shot and owned a Hasselblad 500c/m, a pentax 67, a Bronica SQA, a Bronica Etrs and a mamiya 645 1000s!!! at one time or another).
    If it works 200 dollars for a c33 is a good price.

  8. #8

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    With a folder camera, the critical point you might want to consider is the presence of a rangefinder. It might be hard to find a Zeis ikonta with coupled rangefinder for under 250$.

    Alternatives to Zeis ikonta are the Voigtländer Bessa II: a very nice folder, with excellent lens, and coupled rangefinder.
    If you are a little bit adventurous, you can take look at the Moskva line of cameras: they are soviet-era clones of zeiss ikonta. A Moskva 5 should fit in your budget, and can be an excellent camera, if in good condition and well-adjusted.

    Cheers

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by powasky View Post
    The nicer folders that you mentioned are out of my price range. I'm always guilty of trying to extend my budget a little further than I comfortably can, so I'm really trying to stick to $250 or less this time. After all, I'm gonna need some money for film
    You're right, Super Ikonta III is out of budget, but Super Ikomat B appears in budget, looks like Iskra is too.

    The portability of the folders is hard to beat, my Super Ikonta takes up significantly less space in my bag my my Leica M3 did, but provides 6x6 quality, not 35mm. If you don't mind a bigger camera, then Yashica Mat or Rollei is perfect.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by powasky View Post
    There's a C33 Professional for sale locally for $200...should I jump on it?
    The C33 is an older model (1965), but a great camera nonetheless. $200 is a reasonable price if it has been recently CLA'd and is in very good condition. Does it have more than one lens with it? The shutter comes with the lens assembly, so they tend to be expensive.

    Pro: Well built camera with changeable lenses (I have the 65, 80 and 135 mm versions- there are more...55 to 250, I believe) Very sharp optics and pretty straightforward in use.
    Con: Heavy as hell– not exactly a pocket model.

    Important considerations that you can put in pro or con category as you think fit: Square format, TLR. I happen to think these are both pluses, but opinions differ. If you haven't shot with a TLR, try to borrow one for a roll or two to see if it's something you'll be able to get into. It's a very different experience from putting a small box up to your eye to take a picture. Tripod use is different as well– not hard, but you have to have an eye-level viewer or use a short tripod.

    Medium format cameras with linked rangefinders also tend to be expensive, though as is the case with much of this older stuff, patience in shopping may pay off. "Jump[ing] on it" can prove to be short sighted. If, however, you like the camera, and can afford it, go for it. I have too many cameras to be the person who says "don't buy it" with a straight face.

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