Definitely used. Typical camera buying transactions for me: Nikon FE $20 couldn't focus properly, someone had attached the film plate in reverse, so the door couldn't close right, camera had been dropped, slightly dented prism, but works perfect after my "repairs". My Yashiacamat 124 ($60) worked for a week, then locked up. I took it apart cleaned the shutter and it works fine now. I have several decent old 35mm cameras I have paid around $6 for that needed shutter work (konica auto s2, canonet ql17.) I dont consider new anything; I only consider KEH's BGN and UG when I look there.
If I could buy a Hassy c series, two lenses (even just one for now), WLF and a couple of film holders for $300 I would, but nobody will sell that kit for $300. I might be able to scrounge up a kit made with one of these systems even if it requires some repair that I can do. My normal camera budget is $30, I stretch it from time to time (ie, my TLR), but going to 300 is nutty for me.
I am not in a hurry, but knowing what I am looking for will give me what I need to know when I find that killer deal out there.
"If its not broken, I can't afford it."
A used RB has lots and lots of options available and it is dirt cheap to, but is much more "old school" than the Mamiya 645 Pro or Pro TL. That key point of can you live with 645 or would you rather have......well, everything, then go with an RB. 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 are all yours with an RB. You can find those BGN at KEH all day long. Glass is wonderful too.
While I love my old Press camera, but you can count on a good overhaul at some point with them. Think about it, 1950's and 60's era at best......that was a long time ago.
The point of "what do you want" in medium format is absolutely correct. 645 or what? May I suggest that if you want to get your feet wet, go with 645 first. You can always sell the stuff and it gives you a good idea of what medium format is all about. It won't matter if you print directly from film or get it digitized first, either way, 645 will impress you with the "upgrade" from 35mm film. If that's good enough, great. If not, 6x6 6x7 and/or 6x9 will be next and even more wonderful.
That's why a few have emphasized the RB.....with the proper backs, you can have every medium format size covered. It has been a few years ago, but I saw a wonderful landscape photo of a field of flowers, a tree and a farm pond in color from a 6x9 negative. Granted the photographer had nailed the picture with perfect composition that image was truly brought to life with medium format. The power and emotion that was brought to table was undeniable.....if that's what your looking for, then get the RB. Don't know exactly for sure what I am trying to explain about the "power" and "emotion" coming to life.......then get a 645 and prepare for a nice trip on the medium format adventure, because soon you will be wondering if you REALLY need that 4x5 camera.........
Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D
I've currently got a Pentacon 6, a Kiev 60, a Kiev 88CM, and a Mamiya 645AF. To counter almost everyone else, I've never had reliability issues with any of them, only once had overlapping frames (and I'm certain that I borked it when loading, and I can't even remember what camera it was)*.
I've got (almost) the full complement of lenses in P6 mount, Zeiss 50/80/120/180/300 and Soviet 30/65/80/90/250 (mostly multiple copies of each, I'll sell you some if you need).
The Zeisses are all fantastically sharp, but the soviet ones have their uses too (like my Volna has that petzval-esque swirly character in the right conditions), plus they're dirt cheap.
Best part is, they all also fit on my Mamiya 645AF via adapter, so I didn't need to buy into more lenses. But the P6 only goes as wide as 50mm (ok, there's the Mir45mm, but it's apparently not very good so I didn't get it).
So I've also got the Mamiya Manual-Focus 45mm and 35mm for the wide end. I'm not too impressed with the edge-sharpness of the 35mm (still yet to decide if it's typical or a de-centered element or something) but the 45mm is great.
Also consider that you can fit P67 lenses on M645 with an adapter (but not P67 on P6), the P67 45mm is very good from what I've seen, and costs not much more than the M645 45mm.
ps, I couldn't tell if you meant you wanted wider than 50mm MF, or 50mm in 135-equiv. If you want >50mm in MF, there's not much choice (only 1-2 lenses per system), but be aware of conversion-factors, ie a 45mm on 645 frames like a 55mm on 6x7 or 70mm on 6x9.
(*actually, for those concerned about P6-reliability, I've had more problems with my M645AF. On more than 2 occasions, halfway through a roll, it's "forgotten" that it had a film in and wound on as if it was starting a new one. So I've gotten a strip of blanks mid-roll, and I lose the ones at the end)
An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
I haven't shot with many different Medium Formats, but when looking for a good 'budget' Medium format, and great availability of lenses, i went for the RB. While it is a boat to tug along, i have to say that the optics are wonderful. It doesn't need batteries, and has always been reliable. As an aside, perhaps the RZ (just a bit more expensive) can take the newer lesnes, as well as the older RB lenses. The RB cannot take RZ lenses though. PC Sync works up to 1/500 which is awesome.
While the Pentax 67 is smaller, i believe the availability is slightly less, although it's optics are awesome as well.
Before you buy, you NEED to handle, as the size/weight of both the RB/RZ is considerable, and might change your mind. While the smaller 6/4.5 systems can be up to half the size of the RB/RZ.
Personally, I don't buy that but it is a very good point. There have been a number of people who have moved up to 645 from 35mm and been underwhelmed.
Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
Another point is that if you are going to carry around a big, heavy 6x7 outfit why not just buy a 4x5. Of course some people don't like fooling with sheet film.
Lot's of choices!
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Sinar has long suggested the vertical direction comparison, to avoid the aspect ratio differences...
Originally Posted by mgb74
- 15mm on APS-C 14.9x22.5mm frame sees vertically the same as
- 24mm on 35mm 24x36mm frame sees vertically the same as
- 43mm on 645 43x55mm frame sees vertically the same as
- 55mm on 6x6 55x55mm frame sees vertically the same as
- 90mm on 4"x5" 90x120mm (actually 94x118mm if you measure a film holder!) frame sees vertically
Back in the mid-90's when they were new, the ETRSi with speed grip, unmetered prism, 120 film magazine, 75mm lens and pro lens shade (the bellows unit) would have commanded $3100 new or $23-2500 used, yet today you can get all of that (but with a TTL metered prism instead) for $300 for the whole kit!
I am really only an amateur, and far from an expert who is ready to write his own book, but the biggest jumps in visual quality in my experience come between 35mm and 645, then 6x9 to 4x5. You have to enlarge a bunch to spot a difference between a print from a 645 negative and a 6x7 negative. Unless you intend to print really, really big you are kind of wasting money by going to the bigger negative sizes. 8x10, and perhaps 5x7, may be the exception to this since you really don't need to enlarge those negatives. An 8x10 contact print can turn out quite beautiful yet only requires paper, a sheet of glass and a light bulb.
Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
But then very, very few of us logically think through what we will use our negatives for and instead we tend to go as big as we can afford. Perhaps that is a male thing.
This is why I am enthusiastic about shooting film in larger than 35mm format. Compared to anything SLR in digital, 120 film (220 too) is cheap with expired lots on developing is cheap.
Originally Posted by wiltw
To answer a previous question:
I am not looking for anything more zoomy than 50mm (35mm equivalent ) I rarely use the 80mm - 150mm lens I have for my Canon FD set. If I could afford an L series f2.8 400mm I would shoot with it, but I cant, so I dont.
"If its not broken, I can't afford it."
One of my good friends went from 35 mm to 645 and was really pleased with the improvements he saw in what he could do. Better image quality for more or less the same composition, more in the frame at the same level of image quality.
Originally Posted by Pioneer
Then he came for a visit and I showed him some 2x3 (6x9 in metric) trannies and he was deflated. Half-frame looks pretty punk next to full frame.
To be fair, a 2x3 tranny looks pretty punk next to a 4x5 one.