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Thread: Options for 6X9

  1. #21

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    Well, one thing is clear: there are many people out there who like what they are using for 6X9 format photography, and they are using quite a variety of cameras. For purposes of full disclosure, this won't be my first medium format camera, and I own a Perkeo II, so I know how good Color Skopar lenses on folders can be (I also have several Vito line 35mm cameras with the Skopar lenses, and I like their contrast characteristics, but I'm not sure I can afford a Bessa). I've now done some research on 2X3 Graphics, and getting one of those would probably be a step forward for me because I do not have any cameras with perspective controls. But I also like to shoot in vertical format, too, and a field or press camera would not fit that habit. Medalist owners seem to love them or hate them, and the vertical format shooting might not work out so well with those heavy cameras, either. I looked at Mamiya 23 cameras on ebay and they seem to go for a fair amount, but the ability to change lenses is attractive, and I have a lot of respect for Mamiya optics.

    Yikes, this is difficult. I think I am still leaning toward a folder with a four element lens, but I would like one that either has a rangefinder or can take an auxiliary rangefinder. I have a Voigtlander auxiliary rangefinder, but apparently they can get in the way of the left side shutter buttons on Ikontas and clones. BTW, I also have one of the Audacity iPhone shutter speed testing rigs. I appreciate all the advice here, apug is great.

  2. #22
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    I am not a professional nor an expert photographer, but I have worked with triplets and tessar lenses on my folders and I can rarely see much difference between the two in my images. Based on my experience the Super Ikonta with the Tessar, the Bessa with the Color Skopar, the Billy Record III with the Solinar all produce great images within the f/5.6 through f/11 aperture range. Though not 6x9, even my old Agfa folders with Agnar and Apotar lenses can produce great images within that same range. If you enlarge to far they are all a little soft wide open. If you are not worried about that all of them will do a great job taking pictures as long as the lens is clean and they are focused properly. Although I do scale focus with some of these inexpensive folders I am very conservative, usually using the f/5.6 scale when shooting at f/11. I also usually don't enlarge the results much past 8x8.

    Though far from an expert, what I can tell you is that it is pretty easy to tell the difference in quality between my large format folder pictures and my 35mm pictures. Even an inexpensive 6x6 folding camera, used carefully, will easily show far more detail and quality than a comparative 35mm camera. I love my M-mount rangefinders but my Agfa Super Isolette will always shoot better pictures. Using the camera is certainly not as convenient, and you can't swap lenses, but if you have the time the pictures are always better.

  3. #23

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    a couple points i haven't seen mentioned yet.

    The Medalist II has a viewfinder that compensates for parallax -- it also is pretty good sized, considering how it looks on the outside. It's a good view, with the rangefinder window very close and directly below the view.

    One thing to consider with folders is how sturdy the front standard is. Zeiss cameras are very good for this ... the Super Ikonta C is rock solid. A sloppy front standard will make things look fuzzy quick.

  4. #24

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    Macrorie, I went through the process ages ago when I decided to move up from 35 mm still. After a lot of thinking and making a pest of myself I settled on 6x9 (in the U.S., 2.25" x 3.25", 2x3 for short), looked into all options. I ended up with a 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic, later got a Century Graphic (bargain version of 2x3 Pacemaker Crown Graphic). I also got an one of the Ensign 820s as recommended in this thread by Ian Grant; he and I disagree about 820s and the 105/3.8 Xpres, I wouldn't recommend either. And more recently, in geologic time, I was given a 2x3 Cambo View Camera.

    My present 2x3 kit contains my original 2x3 Graphics (Pacemaker Speed, Century), the gift Cambo, and assorted bits to make a Cambo view camera that will accept my lenses on 2x3 Pacemaker Graphic boards and a 6x12 roll holder, and many lenses (35 mm to 900 mm). You can read about my adventures with lenses for the Graphics at http://www.galerie-photo.com/telecha...2011-03-29.pdf . I don't like fixed lens cameras, find them limiting.

    Along the way I tried to build a "Baby Bertha" long lens SLR around my little 2x3 Cambo, assorted bits, and a 2x3 Graflex RB Ser. B SLR. That project was a catastrophic failure. Read about it, if you're interested, at http://www.galerie-photo.com/baby-bertha-6x9-en.html

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    I use the Mamiya Universal or the Mamiya Super 23 with an assortment of lenses from 50mm to 250mm. The 6x9 backs I have hold the film flat and produce sharp negatives and transparencies. Some people consider them heavy but I don't find an issue especially if you have been used to using a Linhof 4x5. Cameras and lenses are reasonably priced and available, seals on the film backs are easily replaced and there are no bellows to worry about.

  6. #26

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    Multiple Lens kit or "Standard" focal length?

    From these comments, I would guess that lens interchangeability is not important, if it is important that drives the entire conversation. I don't believe you have mentioned what type of work you intend to do in 6X9, landscapes, general photography or areas where control or precise focus is required.

    About 6 months ago I was fortunate to win the bid on a Fuji GW670II, which is not the GW690 you had a chance to use except the difference in format. I have been very impressed with this camera, the format and the results. There are still people out there that can service these, and I would agree it is a bit big (Texas Leica is a great name) it may weigh in at about the same as my Nikon F3 with Motor Drive attached. And I would have no problem using it as I would a 35MM like the Nikon. If you are patient on Ebay or resourceful with Goodwill.com sites, etc. I think you can avoid overpaying for a Fuji.

    Also, if memory serves me correctly, Fuji also manufactured a folder during the same time span, but in 6X9 format I don't know. Hope this helps.

    FL Guy


    Quote Originally Posted by macrorie View Post
    Thank you for all of your advice. I expected it would be diverse, and it is. Since my earlier post I have done some more research, and it has allowed me to rule out some of the lower spec folders because I want a shutter that has at least a nominal speed above 1/200 (and I do know that leaf shutters on those cameras often are slower than promised). And I did look at Mamiya Universal Press cameras because I remembered they shot 6X9. I will investigate Baby Graphics, as I am intrigued by the possibilities of trying different lenses and having some perspective controls. But size-wise, these are my finalists right now: Mess Ikonta C, early Fuji 6X9 rangefinder or a Medalist II if I can find one that is fully functional at a comparable price. You've convinced me to stop worrying about film flatness. I had figured that if any roll-film format would be problematic in that area, it would be 6X9.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL Guy View Post
    From these comments, I would guess that lens interchangeability is not important, if it is important that drives the entire conversation. I don't believe you have mentioned what type of work you intend to do in 6X9, landscapes, general photography or areas where control or precise focus is required.

    About 6 months ago I was fortunate to win the bid on a Fuji GW670II, which is not the GW690 you had a chance to use except the difference in format. I have been very impressed with this camera, the format and the results. There are still people out there that can service these, and I would agree it is a bit big (Texas Leica is a great name) it may weigh in at about the same as my Nikon F3 with Motor Drive attached. And I would have no problem using it as I would a 35MM like the Nikon. If you are patient on Ebay or resourceful with Goodwill.com sites, etc. I think you can avoid overpaying for a Fuji.

    Also, if memory serves me correctly, Fuji also manufactured a folder during the same time span, but in 6X9 format I don't know. Hope this helps.

    FL Guy
    Fujifilm never made a 6 x 9 folder. They did make an interchangeable lens 6 X 9 camera however. Currently Fujifilm is selling a 6 x 7 folder (GF670).

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL Guy View Post
    Also, if memory serves me correctly, Fuji also manufactured a folder during the same time span, but in 6X9 format I don't know. Hope this helps.

    FL Guy
    The Fuji GF670 is a modern folder and takes terrific pictures. However, it takes 6x6 or 6x7 pictures, not 6x9. I love it but it is bulkier, and certainly quite a bit more expensive, then the 6x9 folders made back in the 30s, 40s and 50s.

    The little Graflex 2x3 SLR cameras are also a great option. Since they have a focal plane shutter you can use barrel lenses. Film for it can be a bit tricky to find but if you buy in bulk from Ilford every year when they do their special film sale you can use them with no problem.

    Dan

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    The Fuji GF670 is a modern folder and takes terrific pictures. However, it takes 6x6 or 6x7 pictures, not 6x9. I love it but it is bulkier, and certainly quite a bit more expensive, then the 6x9 folders made back in the 30s, 40s and 50s.

    The little Graflex 2x3 SLR cameras are also a great option. Since they have a focal plane shutter you can use barrel lenses. Film for it can be a bit tricky to find but if you buy in bulk from Ilford every year when they do their special film sale you can use them with no problem.

    Dan
    A roll film back for the Graflex would be the way to go. For me anyway.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    The little Graflex 2x3 SLR cameras are also a great option. Since they have a focal plane shutter you can use barrel lenses. Film for it can be a bit tricky to find but if you buy in bulk from Ilford every year when they do their special film sale you can use them with no problem.

    Dan
    I'm all for solidarity among Dans but must disagree with you on several points.

    2x3 Graflexes are very limited. One lens, ~ 25% longer than normal for the format, and that's the shortest lens that will work on them. I spent too much money and put much too much effort into building a long lens camera around one. The camera operates but is a failure.

    Film for 2x3 Graflexes isn't a problem at all. Graflex Inc made 2x3 roll holders that attach to 2x3 Graflex backs. I have two, both marked "23" Graflex on the back. Both have the slot needed to engage a Graflex back's light trap, one also has a ridge to engage a Graflok back's slot and attaches to 2x3 Graflok and 2x3 Graflex backs. You can read a little about them here: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_1.html

    2x3 Graphics (Miniature Speed Graphic, Pacemaker Speed Graphic, Pacemaker Crown Graphic, and Century Graphic) are very usable but can be slow working.

    Come to think of it, I disagree with erikg too. As wee beasties go, 2x3 Graflexes aren't particularly wee. If it had a door, my little 2x3 RB Ser B would hold between three and four Ensign Selfix 820s. Graflexes aren't that heavy -- I mean, they're hollow -- but my little 2x3 RB Ser. B with "23" Graflex roll holder, no film and no lens (it has a plate to attach it to a 2x3 Cambo function carrier) weighs 1,869 grams. Heavier than the Medalist that the OP finds heavy. Not cheap either, if in good working order. And not as fast working as a rangefinder camera because of the need to stop down manually before taking the exposure.

    Cheers,

    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Fromm; 09-26-2013 at 06:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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