Interesting website on MF:http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/index.html
A drawback of the Pentax 645 that always crops up in discussions: no changeable filmbacks. If that is not a problem to you..I can certainly recommend the Pentax 645.
Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.
Just a comment about the ratios. 6x4.5 and 6x7 are not the precise dimensions of the negatives. Trusting my memory (sounds dangerous ):
Originally Posted by game
Mamiya 645: negative size 56 x 41.5, which gives a ratio = 1.35
Mamiya RB67: negative size 56 x 69.5, which gives a ratio = 1.24
Don't know about Pentax 67, but it's probably a bit less square than suggested by the term "6x7".
You're right. The Pentax 67II negs are actually 55 x 70mm
Originally Posted by knutb
Every one of the cameras mentioned have great reputations. You really can't lose with any of them.
I have a couple of older, first edition Pentax 645's. These cameras do have some limitations, particularly in the area of interchangeable backs and finders and for flash shooters. None of them mean much to me so I don't feel limited. The upside of the P645 is that the older, non-AF bodies are available cheap and the lenses are pretty much all outstanding and, due to their lack of shutter mechanisms, they are relatively cheap as well.
The 6x7 will have better negative quality due to size but 645 cameras are smaller and lighter in weight than the 6x7's. I consider my P645's to be oversized 35mm SLR's in handling. The negative quality is every bit as good as a cropped 6x6 and considerably better than a full-frame 35mm.
Both the Pentax 67 and Pentax 645 (and probably the Mamiya 645 as well--I'm not familiar with the system) have a selection of long lenses available but they're expensive, big and, of course, they don't have the magnification of 35mm telephotos. Medium format, at least in my opinion, works better with shorter focal lengths.
Between the 6x7 and 6x9 formats is a 6x8cm format. See the Fuji GX 680 medium format SLR camera.
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The primary difference when I bought mine was cost, I was able to get started in the Mamiya 645 system for less money. Once there, I stayed there and upgraded components. The Pentax body is all in one piece, so you have your prism, winder, body and back together. Since I am buying used stuff and one concern is breakdown/repair cost, I find that the modular system used by Mamiya is more flexible. I have had a body go out on me and a replacement body alone was about $150, it would probably be less now.
Originally Posted by game
Another difference is that if you like to have film ready to go, the inserts for the Pentax are much more expensive than the Mamiya inserts. With the Mamiya, a couple of spare inserts for additional film might cost you $20 to $30 each and the Pentax inserts will probably be over $100. The same issue comes up if you want to use 220 film. With Mamiya you can get a 220 insert for $20 to $30, with Pentax it will probably run closer to $100.
Also, if you are interested in using a waist level finder, you can get one for Mamiya and not for Pentax. In my quick survey or KEH, Pentax lenses seem to be a tad more expensive as well.
On the other hand, at least at KEH, a Mamiya 645 Super body, back, AE prism, and winder, will probably cost more than the Pentax body, which has all of the other pieces built in.
I firmly believe that both camera systems will give you great images and are of very high quality, but those are some more difference that I know of. Again, I have not used the Pentax, but these are the things that I considered that led me to buy the Mamiya given my situation.
Reading this thread prompted me to open a book I had obtained secondhand several years ago in Hay-on Wye in the UK called "Great Action Photography" published in the early 80s. It is a series of photos and interviews with action photographers.Most were using Nikon with one Nikon to Canon convert. Interestingly two of the German photographers were using Pentax 67s.
Originally Posted by Paul Sorensen
I have only seen a Pentax 67 on a photographic shop shelf and never handled it but it did look a monster in comparison with 35mm but clearly it must be manageable for handheld action shots. These were photographers who actually chose to use a 67 as opposed to 35mm. Of course wandering around all day with one slung round your neck may be something else again but it just struck me that a tripod may not be essential.
Incidentally for those based in the UK and interested in photography books both new and secondhand it makes a good day trip. Scenery near by in the Wye valley isn't bad either.
I use a 67II for air photography, which is pretty much "action". It works a treat, although like most medium format it takes a bit longer to change film than 35mm (which is why I keep nagging about the growing shortage of 220 options).
Sorry to be a scratched record as every time these 645 vs. 6x7 questions come up I suggest the same thing ...
get yerself a RZ67 with one or more 6x7 backs and one or more 645 backs then you have both formats easily interchangable whenever you want - if you have two lenses you really end up having four as the smaller neg effectively lengthens your focal length -
Instead of fussing with the 645 finder masking I have lightly glued in some fishing line along the 645 frames on the viewfinder to get a general idea - It doesn't really affect my framing ability with 6x7 - in fact it helps me get my horizon and verts ...
I use this system and find I use the 6x7 a little more - but I think its due to the fact I have two 6x7 backs and the lenses i use.
I think there is a 645 back for the RB also although it is harder to find
The P67 is very hand holdable, has sharp glass available and is very versatile. One of my favorite tricks with people photography is to slap the mirror up, wait for the subject (who thinks the sound was the shutter) to relax, and then nail the shot.
All that said, having owned three of them, I'd never buy one again because the film transport mechanism is a total piece of garbage. I bought the first one used and that froze up me. Then, reading that the P67II had solved the problem, I bought that one new and it, too, froze on me after a couple hundred rolls of film -- sadly after warranty expiration. While debating whether to spend $350 having it fixed, I bought another used one for $175 and that lasted maybe a year before suffering the same fate. Now I have the P67II back from the shop and cringe every time I advance the film ...I have absolutely NO faith in the camera.
I'm sure others have had better luck with their's but my luck has been truly miserable and you should be aware of the transport problem.