I also have one of these and absolutly love using it. At that size it's almost a novelty but then I see the results and wow. Mine has front shift and rise but all I've ever used is the rise. Now if only I could find more film holders...
Originally Posted by Ole
I use a Mamiya Press with a 6x9 back and like the 65mm wide angle lens the best. Wouldn't change it for anything. I have three 6x9 backs that allow me to change film types in a matter of minutes. Also a Speed Graphic that I am using to burn up some Tri X Film Packs from the 70s. Good quality enlargements from negatives that size.
Mamiya Press Rocks. Their late style S shaped lever wind backs solved film flatness once and for all. They're easy to use and cheap. But they're heavy and perhaps sort of ugly in a Leica on steroids sort of way.
The regular Ikontas are very nice cameras. You can get a very decent photo with a Novar or Nettar lens. The preferred lens on the Ikontas came with Tessars.
As stated, Agfa and Voigtlander also had 6x9 cameras, as did several others, including the Soviets and East Germans.
My favorite cameras by far have been the Zeiss Ikon Ikonta and Super Ikonta with uncoated lenses.
Keep in mind that these cameras are at least 50 years old and sometimes 70 years old. Certain Agfas used plastic-coated bellows, which develop holes faster than you can patch them. The Zeiss Ikon bellows are fairly durable. Of the ones that I've encountered (roughly 25), only one had bad bellows.
Nearly all of these camera will need to be serviced. In fact, the only one that won't are those that have been serviced.
But you can have a lot fun with the folders.
If you want to try something really offbeat, you can try some of the 6x9 box cameras.
Thanks for all the options. I have fixed some 6x6 cameras before so I may give a 6x9 one a shot.
It looks like I can get a 6x9 fairly cheaply for a Anastigmat. I'll try and keep my eyes out for a Zeiss Ikon as I love my 515 that takes 645. I tend to shoot around f8 or so by default as it gives a decent depth of field for average shooting and thus that can be "sharp enough."
One other question and that is ... color. There I will not be doing my own processing and printing. It would make more sense there to just skip the 6x9 folder and stick with my 515, right? Still a 6 x 9 chrome might look quite handsome on a lightbox. But one of the best things about folders is, they are so cheap and portable you can keep one for color and one for black and white and carry both with you at no bother at all.
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If you've got a professional lab nearby or don't mind sending it off, there's no reason not to shoot color neg and ask for contact sheets that you can cut up yourself, just like your B&W prints (or you can ask for projection prints, of course). Request that they print the negs with the emulsion directly in contact with the paper. Some labs contact print through file pages, and they'll never be sharp that way.
Here's a scan of a color transparency from my Bessa II (Fuji RMS pushed one stop)--
That is about all I shoot with my folder cameras, though I use my Sekonic L-358 for metering. What I did at first was to use some C-41 film, thinking that if my shutter repairs or the aperture settings were a little off, then I would be safe. What I found was the shutter and aperture settings were accurate enough for transparency films. So you might want to play it safe with C-41, but in the end a 6x9 transparency on a light table is pretty cool.
Originally Posted by battra92
I confess to being a hard-core 6x9 convert. I started with German 6x6 folders many years ago, and now have a number of custom-designed 6x9s that I had built and that I regularly use. Being over half a century old, lugging around my 8x10 or even my lightest 4x5 field kit is no longer fun, and just as any other older person will tell you, once the fun begins to go, you begrudgingly surrender the urge to go out and take pictures. I wish I had the same level of energy of Jim, who still heroically hauls his gigantic Circuit cameras up and down the Nevada hills! (And also the energy to tend to his inexhaustible mother lode of esoteric lenses.)
I have a number of customized 6x9s with different lenses affixed up front, ranging from Agfas in standard configuration (original bellows, 105 lenses), to bodies that have 65 Angulons, a 65 Super Angulon, a 65 Mamiya, and 75 Mamiyas (from Polaroid 600SEs), and a 90/6.8 Angulon. I particularly like the combination of a wide film format combined with a wide lens. The portability of a lightweight but highly-functional 6x9 rig works great for walkabout shoots in either B&W or transparencies. I feel that they're a good compromise between the slower, more deliberate way of shooting large format, and the convenience and speed of medium format equipment - but without the bulk. At the very least, it keeps me shooting, and keeps my visual sensibilities working. Although I consider LF work most rewarding, I'd rather shoot with something than not at all.
David has pointed out that film flatness may be an issue with old 6x9 folders. This may be true in some cases, but my own experience suggests that it may be due to a combination of factors, some more influential than others. The stamped-metal construction of older 6x9 bodies certainly leaves a lot of room for mechanical variances of every kind, and sometimes these things come together and announce themselves. Sometimes they don't. Annoyingly, there's an unpredictability to them. In a single roll you might end up with very sharp images, and some that have soft portions.
I won't go into much detail here, but as a rule, careful use of good and serviceable bodies generally don't produce as much film flatness problems as generally thought. A bit of trivia: check the straightness of the nickel plated film rollers on either side of the film gate, and the extent of centricity (off-axis wobble) of the rollers in their seats. This simple check can tell you a lot about what to expect, and why. Other things come into play too, like the degree of tension/friction of the spring retainers at both film chambers exert on the film roll. Too loose or too tight, and you get film waviness. Imbalanced tension, same.
As pointed out by another poster, allowing the bed of a folder to snap out, rather than being guided by hand to extend, is a definite no-no due to the vacuuming effect it has on the flexible film. To which I would add: wind film slowly and in measured turns of the film takeup knob. Zipping through the first turns then slowing down until you get to the frame number causes differential tension across the film. Sometimes the pressure plate can compensate for this, sometimes not.
Jim is so right in praising the virtues of the S-shaped Mamiya film holder. I have yet to see a roll film holder that performs so superbly in keeping 120 film flat.
And Jim, before my failing memory fails me any further: Any chance of you finally letting go of your 50 Mamiya yet? I've already got my most sophisticated 6x9 conversion already waiting for it! (I'd also like the same chance that you had to have my own 30x40 color prints from a 50 Mamiya hanging on the office hallway.)
Originally Posted by dmax
Do you have any images of these in the camera builders threads or your own website?
Take a look at the Kodak Medalist. It's got one of the best lenses I've ever used on it, an f/3.5 100mm Ektar. It's a 620 camera, but there are a lot floating around that have been converted to 120. Film flatness is not an issue with this camera. It's big and heavy though, but the negs are amazing and worth carrying the weight.