Want to try MF SLR
I've had a Rolleiflex TLR for four years now, and I really do like this camera, but I am a little tired of not having the benefit of interchangeable lenses, especially wide angle.
I want to buy probably a Hasselblad 500 C/M, but am interested in what people think of the competition. The Rollei's are great cameras, as are the Mamiya's, Pentax, and so forth. I'd like to stick with 6x6 or 6x7 format. 6x4.5 is too small, I think.
I realize this is like asking which film is best, or which developer. I have seen some of the Mamiya 6x7 cameras, both RB-67, RZ-67, and 67 at good prices, but get the impression from camera shop personnel that they don't repair as well as the Swedish or German cameras.
Very thankful for input and help, as even a used camera will be a very large investment with my tiny budget.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Not an slr, but I've been very happy with my Mamiya 7, a 6x7 format rangefinder with interchangeable lenses. The only downside, is the lenses, even used, are quite expensive. There are a couple other brands out there, but this format may also be an option for you.
Have you checked the price of a Bronica SQA? They are called a poor mans Hassy for good reason. I have two SQAs and an SQAi with a good pile of lenses and accesories and I think they take fine images. Only feature I'm not too keen on is the inability of most of the lenses to focus really close. A 110mm Macro solves that as well as extension tubes for the other lenses. I just wish I could get a 110 macro for a reasonable price, every one I bid on gets sniped out and the ones I don't go for a ridiculously low price. Argh!
I have shot both the RB and the RZ in my work and never had a problem with either of them, they, in my opinion are two of the better values in the MF field right now, for the most part, if you want a tank, the RB is the way to go, just a darn hard camera to break that keeps on going and going like the energizer bunny, the brick the car battery for weight, but very reliable camera.
Tell us what type of pictures you shoot (and where you shoot them). Also, tell us if you're a large aperture kind of guy or if you're a f8 and leave it kind a guy.
I have a Rolleiflex 6008 integral (without AF), it's a great camera with great lenses from Zeiss and Schneider but I wouldn't bring it on a three month jungletrip as it requires batteries and contains a lot of electronic features (such as a very good lightmeter that even works with the waist level finder!). The camera is perfect for both studio (which i don't do) and location work (which i do).
If you like to use very large apertures or lenses from Zeiss or Schneider you would not want to go for a Mamiya. Needless to say, there is a difference between shotting 180 mm at f2.8 or f4.5. I haven't used Mamiya myself but have heard from others that it will give you less contrast and less saturated colors than Zeiss and Schneider. This may or may not be what you're looking for.
Hasselblad only offers lenses from Zeiss and beware that not all Hasselblad MF lenses work on all Hasselblad cameras. Even within the X-system you have to be careful as the FE-lenses will only work on 200-series cameras and not the 500-series cameras. This is important as many of the large aperture lenses for Hasselblad is only made for the FE-system (50/2.8, 110/2 etc). The FE-lenses don't sync very far if you intend to use a flash since they don't have a central shutter but has to be used on 200-series cameras with curtain-shutter. AFAIK the 200-series camera can use all the X-series lenses and will open the shutter curtain completly and use the central shutter when it uses CFe/CFi-lenses.
I chose Rolleiflex SLR since I don't go to long trips into the jungle or spend half the year on the north pole (allthough close enough :-|) and love to use large apertures and have the option of choosing lenses from both Zeiss and Schneider.
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I've owned and used a Pentax 645 for about 4 years. I love this camera and it's great, as long as you can live with a few things..
1) No changing film in mid-roll
2) One fixed finder, though an eye-piece magnifier and a right-angle extension exist
3) There is a 70mm back but it's _expensive_
4) There is a polaroid back but it's EXPENSIVE
5) The LED meter is difficult to read in extremely bright conditions
6) One fixed grip
7) Kind of loud with the motor drive (CHICK-CHICK-WHIIIIIIIRRRRRH)
8) It's a pain to use with a cable release, atleast a non-pentax one.
If you use the built-in meter, you have to unscrew the cable release and activate the meter, then turn the camera off, screw the release back in, turn the camera on and take the picture.. It's a pain.
Otherwise, the camera needs virtually no maintenance. The lenses are outstanding!
The bokeh, the contrast.. The 80mm focuses down to about 7", compared to 3ft with my Hasselblad 80mm planar. Bright viewfinder. Perfect frame-spacing.
The meter is dead on.. lenses are reasonably priced. You can even use Pentax 67 lenses on the 645 with an adapter!
I really like mine. Hundreds of rolls of film, used outdoors for hours in 15F weather with snow.. In the rain even. Never once a hitch.
My hassy 503 is a different beast, equally nice if not nicer but not nearly as quick and easy to use..
Also, a mamiya rb-67 is a BIG camera. It's workable handheld but if you can compare a hasselblad next to a mamiya rb, the rb just looks huge.
I use the Pentax 67II which i purchased used with the AE finder and 90mm lens for lens than $900.00. Used lenses start at around $250 and they are great optics. The camera is a beast but works just like a 35mm slr. You'd need a very sturdy tripod because it's got a huge focal plane shutter. If you do landscapes on a tripod i'd highly recommend it.
Regarding 6x4.5 being too small, I would suggest that - if printing rectangular prints - the usable negative area of a 6x6 and a 6x4.5 are not much different. That said, I always find something visually appealling about a square print.
You might want to figure out what accessories and other lenses you may want to acquire in the future and see if the expenditure figures into your plan for the particular camera. Back when I got into MF it was a money pit for an enthusiast, but now deals are around, although a good 50mm lens in Rollei or Hasselblad can set you back a decade. Between them, they will all give you great preformance. Having shot Rollei, Hasselblad and Mamiya 6x7's, I prefer my 645 for portability and my RB for macro and defending myself.