MF camera choice.
Hi , my enlarger arrived today (old meopta 5a but two good Nikon lensesfor 35mm and 66/645 work) and I am now looking at getting a decent, inexpensive 'real' MF to supplement my Lubitel (Fun but not the world's greatest lens). My shortlist is as follows;
-Mamiya 645J at about £150
-Bronica ETRSi NEW from Robert White at about £390
-As new SQA/SQB at about £400
-well used S2a at £160 (dealer has cut price without any prompting as body has a 'number of scratches')
Mamiya C330/C220 at around £200-250
All are dealer prices, with 80mm/75mm lens WLF and backs/inserts (I want to avoid e-bay for reasons I won't go into) and with warranties of 4 to 6 months.
I do like the 6 x 6 format but the price of the 645J and ETRSi are tempting.
Any comments, views, howls of derisive laughter etc. etc. much appreciated.
You would do well with any one of those, and the prices seem pretty good - no "steals," but no rip offs either. They all have very good lenses available. The C330/C220 has the usual limitations of a TLR, but all of the advantages as well as interchangeable lenses. I guess the real deciding factor - or the first one you must come to terms with anyway - is how much do you like the 6X6 format over 6X4.5. I like and use both for different reasons and in different situations, but don't prefer one over the other and wouldn't miss one if it were taken away from me. So once you decide how important the square or the rectangle are, any one of the cameras listed will bring you MF joy you would not have thought possible.
Latent Images Plastic Toy Cameras
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman
Let me know what you end up with. My Kiev 60 is...well, a Kiev. And the shutter on my Seagull TLR has died badly. A C330 is my first choice, but an older Rolleiflex isn't out of the question, nor is a Fuji 645.
I have an ETRS which has given me plent of nice pictures over many years. The only irritating point was the format - when I shot lots of portraits I quickly gave in and bought a prism finder. Vertical format with a WLF is not easy!
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Dave Parker had a very nice Bronica S-series kit up for a while in the classifieds--2 or three bodies, 3 or 4 lenses, backs and accessories at a good price. Did he sell it? You might want to PM "Satinsnow".
There was also a C220 kit up recently that looked pretty attractive--3 lenses, Pelican case, and accessories, excellent price.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Originally Posted by digiconvert
Might be new old stock [sticking on a store shelf] but it can't be NEW. They haven't been made for over a year I think. That's about $700 US I guess? If it's really in like new condition it's an okay price.
The ETRSI is going to be the newest of the choices you have. It'll have the best feature set if that matters. If you don't need 6x6 I'd go for the ETRSI. If you do I'd ask about a SQAI.
Read the manual.
I'd suggest seeing if you can try them out. Alot depends on how things feel to you.
If I had those choices, my preference would be the Bronica SQa/b. But that's me. Tho I use a couple of Fuji MF rangefinders for my MF work.
As others have said, you cannot go wrong with any of your choices.
My personal preference is for the 6x6 format so that I donít have to consider landscape or portrait (horizontal or vertical) orientation while I am shooting. If you prefer the rectangular format, and if your enlarger can handle larger image sizes, you should also consider the 6x7, 6x8, and 6x9cm cameras.
My personal preference is also for the Mamiya TLR because I prefer to shoot with less noise that that produced by the SLR. I also prefer the C220 to the C330 is because I tend to place more trust in cameras with fewer moving parts and less automation (no automatic shutter cocking). My only reservation is that Mamiya has abandoned the sale and service of this great TLR camera system.
If you have not considered the Pentax 645, maybe you should add it to your list.
I would recommend a Bronica GS-1. There's a number of backs and lenses you can use. With an AE finder, it's as easy to use as a 35mm. Zenza Bronica glass is outstanding.
"A certain amount of contempt for the material employed to express an idea is indispensable to the purest realization of this idea." Man Ray
Thanks, you echo a lot of my views. The only reason I am considering the ETRSi is that it's less likely to have worn film seals etc. I really like the look of 6 x 6 on the Lubitel and I don't fancy using a WLF in portrait mode. As for the Mamiya TLRs I like TLRs but I am thinking of using the Lubitel as my 'quiet' camera and for carrying on my bike. The S2A is tempting but I have read about the design flaw which puts the finder out of focus. Since I am looking for better quality than my SLR this seems to defeat the purpose of the purchase !
Originally Posted by narsuitus