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  1. #1
    thomas_m's Avatar
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    Rangefinder vs SLR?

    First post here...

    I purchased a Mamiya 6 and 75/3.5 kit a bit more than a year ago for a long-term project I did last year. The thought was that I would sell it after the project and go back to my Nikon digitals. However, after shooting and processing more than 100 rolls of Neopan, the strangest thing has happened... I find my Nikon digital and other assorted bits for sale on eBay while I still have the Mamiya and an Imacon scanner on the way.

    I'm headed to visit family in Japan this summer and have been thinking of picking up the 50mm for the Mamiya as well as a spare body since I heard they weren't making parts for the winder any longer. However, I've recently been wondering about the tradeoffs between the rangefinders and the SLR's.

    Removable backs vs portability seems to be the main two items. Anything I'm missing? Is there any image quality tradeoff? The Mamiya 75mm seems to be a very fine lens but I have no real MF experiance with anything else(except a Super Ikonta III that I love/hate). I admit to being very ignorant about Hasselblad, Rollei, etc.

    My normal usage is urban landscape type stuff. I often/usually do not have the luxury of being able to use a tripod and have to work fast.

    TIA,

    Thomas

  2. #2

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    Thomas,

    One difference between a rangefinder and a SLR is that with the latter, WYSIWYG. Rangefinders are also easier to handhold for it does not have any mirror slap, so if you do not use a tripod, you will likely get sharper photos using a rangefinder as opposed to a SLR assuming the same shutter speed. I'm sure others who have more experience than I do will jump in and list more differences. Personally, for landscapes, I would find it easier to use a SLR due to the WYSIWYG factor and also, with a Mamiya, the DOF can be tricky.
    Macy
    Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.

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  3. #3
    thomas_m's Avatar
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    What I'm thinking about are things like relative lens and overall image quality - Mamiya RF vs Hassy/Rollei. The true utility of changable film backs compared to the hand-holdability of the Mamiya 6. Like when I have to burn a half roll of film so that I can change to something that will work better when the light shifts, etc. vs the PITA of carrying around an extra film back. Also, durability, future parts & service availability. The Mamiya6 parts unavailability issue is a BIG bummer.

    I see this as probably my last film camera rig.

    T.
    Last edited by thomas_m; 02-02-2005 at 11:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Rangefinder lenses are often better than SLR lenses, because it's not necessary to design around the mirror. On the other hand, you don't have as many lenses to choose from, and very wide lenses may require separate finders and scale focusing, and close focus is much harder to do with a rangefinder than with an SLR. For what you're doing, a rangefinder is probably the right choice.

    Interchangeable backs give you quick film changes and the ability to switch between film types or to use Zone System controls. You could do the same with multiple bodies, if you can afford them and if they're not too bulky or heavy to carry. Sometimes I'll carry my Bronica with one lens and three backs (-1, N, +1), if I'm just taking travel photos, and I know I'll be out all day in varying lighting conditions.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  5. #5
    rbarker's Avatar
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    As a Hasselblad user for MF stuff, I should be giving you the traditional line about superior lenses and such. But, that's hard to do with a straight face these days. The lenses from other MF manufacturers may still be a bit behind Zeiss lenses, but not very far. When I bought my Hassy gear 15 years ago, nothing else came even close. That's certainly no longer the case. And, while being able to change magazines mid roll is nice, multiple RF bodies accomplish the same thing, as you're aware.

    I think it really boils down to your style of work, and whether the Mamiya 6 provides the range of lenses you need for that work. Farther down the list is availability of repair and parts for the 6. I'm not familiar enough with the line to give any advice in that regard.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
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  6. #6
    thomas_m's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.

    The repair issue with the Mamiya 6 is that they are no longer manufacturing the winder mechanism. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of the weak spots of the camera. So when the winder breaks, the camera is dead, unrepairable unless it's possible to rob a 'parts camera'.

    There's always the Mamiya 7 but that one does not collapse like the 6(and it's not square...) which negates it's value in my mind.

    I'll probably just hope for the best and keep shooting with the M6. After buying the scanner, I'm skirting the dangerzone with the S/O anyway. LOL.

    T.

  7. #7
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomas_m
    . . . After buying the scanner, I'm skirting the dangerzone with the S/O anyway. LOL.

    T.
    Flowers and diamonds are always a good option.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
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  8. #8
    127
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    We've got a couple of Fuji rangefinders... The lack of removable backs (and lenses) isn't an issue, as they're so cheap you just buy another camera for little more than the cost of a back for some other systems, and get a new lens thrown in for free...

    Ian

  9. #9

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    I do a lot of copy stand work, so I'm rather stuck with SLRs, otherwise I'd quite like a rangefinder.

    David.

  10. #10

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    I use a TLR and an SLR. I've never used a medium format rangefinder. For me, the appeal of the medium format rangefinder is the smaller size (I use Leicas in 35mm). Other than that, SLR's are more versatile. I don't need interchangeable backs or finders or very long lenses but I do occasionally do close-ups. That's easier to do with an SLR than a rangefinder.

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