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  1. #1

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    645 suggestions please

    Hi friends,

    I am pretty much new here and this is my first post.Have recently got a bronica SQ AI with the 80mm , 50mm and the 200 mm lens set. After having picked up the medium format, I have hardly touched my Leica M2 as I am now so more interested in landscapes and the great viewfinder just makes the entire process so very magical.
    But its heavy and I want something that I can shoot handheld and hence looking at the 6x45 as they are lighter than my 6x6.

    Thinking of selling my Leica M2 and the voigtlander 40mm for a 645 medium format. But the questions is which one :-

    1. Mamiya Pro TL or AFD.
    2. Bronica ETRSI
    3. Pentax 645 Nii.

    Of all the ones mentioned, perhaps bronica will be the cheapest one but I am a little afraid with the light leaks on the backs as it has happened quite a few times for my camera.
    I am all leaning towards the Pentax 645Nii but want to know your suggestion. Oh BTW, I dont do my developing and generally get it done by the awesome thedarkroom.com guys...

    Please let me know your views on the same.

  2. #2
    winger's Avatar
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    I don't know the other two, but I have a Pentax 645N (not the ii). I consider it basically a 35mm on steroids and love it. I can handhold it with the 75mm if necessary, but it has a big enough frame to be nice to work with in the darkroom. I only have two lenses - the 75mm and the 120mm macro - and they're great. The one thing that would occasionally be handy would be to be able to switch film mid-roll without a black bag or darkroom. But I've had it for about 10 years (maybe more?) and I've only wished for that a few times. It really might be my favorite to use of my pile of cameras.

    Welcome to APUG! It's a great forum!

  3. #3

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    Welcome to APUG.

    I can only help you with mamiya 645. Mamiya Pro-TL is exactly the same as Pro except it won't do TTL flash. So, if you don't do TTL flash photography, you can get a Pro and save few dollars. Plus Pro models are more available. It's a fine camera. I liked them when I had those. I had a Super and a Pro.

    It's not a light camera though.... I don't think rest of your 645 models are significantly lighter (if any) either. With a motor winder and a prism finder, it operates pretty much like a big 35mm camera. I just put up with the extra weight as payment for quality negatives. I hand held mine as well.

    If weight is an issue, might you want to consider Fuji range finders like 645zi?

    I went the other way around. For even bigger negative, I went to Mamiya RB-SD. I hand hold that too with a bracket!
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4
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    I will first state my own bias...I have two ETRSi bodies, both purchased new 20 years ago. I prefer leaf shutter lenses over focal plane shutter, as I did wedding work and portraiture, in addition to my own free time photography. I also prefer both Mamiya and Bronica over the Pentax simply because I dislike the balance of the body and lens...the integrated handle is at the very back of the camera, putting ALL of the weight forward, rather than some of the rear of the camera serving to counterbalance somewhat.

    The ETRSi is 220 grams lighter than the SQ-Ai...about 8 oz. lighter

  5. #5
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    I used a Bronica ETRSi for about ten years, with three different 120 backs. Never had any problems. It's a good system.


    Kent in SD

  6. #6

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    I had the Mamiya Pro 645 with the 55mm, 80mm, 135mm and 210mm. You are not going to find anything better than that. The Mamiya lenses are really something. The Pentax or Bronica or Mamiya are all equal. You just to pick one that is the most comfortable.

  7. #7

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    I have the Bronica ETRs, the Mamiya 645 Pro TL, and the Pentax 645n and I'm hard pressed to say which one is best.

    The Bronica has wonderful lenses plus the advantage of leaf shutters. I've never had light leakage with any of my Bronica backs (for the GS1, SQ-A or the ETRs).

    The Mamiya is cheap (at least in my market) and there is a huge array of available lenses that are very cheap. My favorites are the 80/1.9 and the 35/3.5

    Both of these models have the advantage of flexibility. You can attach a grip and AE finder and it works like a modern 35mm SLR. Or you can go old school with the advance crank and WLF.

    The Pentax is probably my favorite. Although you lose the modularity and flexibility of exchangeable finders, grips and backs, it is clearly the most modern of the three. The lenses are wonderful (I use only the A series rather than the more expensive FA series), the viewfinder is much brighter than the others, and the imprinting of exposure data on the negatives is a fantastic feature. Personally I wouldn't spend the extra several hundred dollars to get the Nii model because the differences are so minor. But the N is a huge step up from the original 645.

    If you want portability and are willing to forego exchangeable lenses the Fuji rangefinders are great too. And very compact! The GS is an "oh so cool" folder! Super compact when not in use. The GA series are more modern in design. All of them have fantastic lenses.

    Then there is the Bronica rangefinder that offers exchangeable lenses as well. But I hear that it is prone to mechanical problems.

    I guess I haven't answered your question at all, but hope the info is helpful.
    Pentax 67ii, Fuji GF670, Mamiya 6, Pentax 645N
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by abhishek@1985 View Post
    Hi friends,

    I am pretty much new here and this is my first post.Have recently got a bronica SQ AI with the 80mm , 50mm and the 200 mm lens set. After having picked up the medium format, I have hardly touched my Leica M2 as I am now so more interested in landscapes and the great viewfinder just makes the entire process so very magical.
    But its heavy and I want something that I can shoot handheld and hence looking at the 6x45 as they are lighter than my 6x6.

    Thinking of selling my Leica M2 and the voigtlander 40mm for a 645 medium format. But the questions is which one :-

    1. Mamiya Pro TL or AFD.
    2. Bronica ETRSI
    3. Pentax 645 Nii.

    Of all the ones mentioned, perhaps bronica will be the cheapest one but I am a little afraid with the light leaks on the backs as it has happened quite a few times for my camera.
    I am all leaning towards the Pentax 645Nii but want to know your suggestion. Oh BTW, I dont do my developing and generally get it done by the awesome thedarkroom.com guys...

    Please let me know your views on the same.
    If handheld is your only concern, then I would suggest you take a serious look at the Pentax 67 II as well. The Pentax is great for handholding, even if it is heavy. The handling is like an SLR, and the prism finder is easier to focus with than most MF cameras. I have a Mamiya AFD II system as well. It is excellent for most purposes, but I have two gripes about it. The first is that the light meter is not reliable at low light levels, i.e. for dusk seascapes and such. This may be only my copy, though. The other is that it is not in the same league of ruggedness as the Pentax. I do handprints up to 6x4.5, sometimes 6x6, but that is where my enlarger maxes out. To be very honest, the scans from 6x7 have a lot more detail because of the increased frame size. So my tendency is now to use the 6x7 for photos I want to scan (i.e. colour) and the 645 for black and white film to be printed. Occasionally I shoot slide film in the 645, though, and black and white in the Pentax. The lenses on both systems are really good, on the Pentax perhaps even slightly more so. They are certainly good enough for what mere mortals may want to do with them.

  9. #9

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    I have owned the Pentax 645nll, the Bronica Etrsi and a Mamiya RZ 6x7.

    The Pentax had a huge viewfinder and with the matrix metering, autofocus and electronic film advance it was extremely easy to use. I also owned the Pentax 645n without mirror lock-up. The mirror is so well dampened that the mirror lock-up is unnecessary.

    The Bronica is stripped down compared to the Pentax but it uses leaf shutter lenses which is a advantage for portraiture with strobes because you can flash sync at any speed.

    I have not used the Mamiya 645 but I did own the 6x7 RZ67 which was definitely a quality camera.

    Quality wise, you really can't go wrong with any of these cameras. You just need to find the one that fits your needs.

  10. #10

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    Thank you so much guys for the excellant info.. You all have got me more confused.. I guess I am gonna have 1K + budgte after selling my M2 in excellant condition and the 40mm lens..

    So it looks like between the mamiya and the pentax.
    The pentax system looks great inspite of no interchangeable backs. But does the 645N has mirror lock up function?Th elenses, as I hear , are some of the best in the industry and also we can use 67 lenses which essentially means we are using the sweetest spot on the smaller negatives.

    The mamiya will have the advantage of inderchangeable backs (I am not concerned) and the superb lenses with 80 f1.9 being the dream and pretty cheap..

    Its confusing!!!!

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