I have heard that the Medalist II is an amazing camera. If one is going to look at that camera, it might also be worthwhile to look at the Fujica G690 rangefinder. All the modern conveniences, including interchangeable lenses, plus 120 film, no need to convert from 620. It is a real beast to carry around, though. I have one with the 100mm and 180mm lenses, and love it.
Originally Posted by matt miller
Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote
DMAX- thanks for the detailed explanation of the bellows-vacuum effect! That might explain a lot of my less than sharp negatives on the same roll with oh-so-sharp ones.
Most of the discussion has revolved around triplets thus far. There are several 4 element lenses besides Tessars- I've had particularly good experiences with Solinar and Ross Xpress lenses. At one time the English optics were marvelous.
Some of the cameras/lenses in this discussion are uncoated- those in particular will perform noticably better with a hood.
I do not belong to any particular camera builders group, although I occasionally look at some sites to see what's going on. Despite my dozens of cameras (turn-of-the-century and earlier mahogany and brass plate cameras, ULF monsters, Agfa folders of every conceivable kind in 6x6 and 6x9 flavors, TLRs, 4x5s, 35s, and odd bits and pieces) I have yet to own a digital camera. My wife says that I may very well be the last surviving holdout. I am also barely computer literate. And so I have no website. This may change soon. Someone is working with me to rectify that situation. I will post images as soon as I can manage it.
You're welcome. It takes quite a bit of working with folders to gain the necessary familiarity to get them to work with you. Sometimes it has to do with the inherent design of the camera, and sometimes it has to do with the peculiar techniques of shooting with folders. Oftentimes a combination of both. As to four element lenses: One of my earliest 6x6 Agfa folders came with an uncoated Solinar. Even after full teardown, CLA, bellows replacement, and other refinements, the camera still could not overcome the flare inherent to 6 air-to-glass surfaces. Hood or no hood, the images were some of the flattest that I have ever produced in any camera.
I suspect that this particular camera/lens combination was responsible for sidetracking me into learning how to overdevelop 120 film in an effort to prove to myself that Solinars were worth the designation as Agfa's top of the line lenses. As I said, sometimes all the undesirable factors come together all at one time. In direct contrast (pun intended), my humble 3-element 105mm coated Agnar - which is considered the "economy" version of Agfa lenses - beats my very late 100mm Schneider (6 elements, 4 groups) by a mile in terms of definition and contrast, in both B&W and in transparencies. Why? I have no idea. In this case, the variables come together in a good way with my 105 Agnar in its original Agfa Record body.
Um, WW, ages ago when I first contemplated moving up to 2x3 the Medalist was high on my list of cameras to think hard about. Along with Mamiya Press, in its several models, and Graflex XL. I had a long chat with Ken Ruth about Medalists, was given much good advice. Ended up getting a 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic and haven't looked back.
Anyway, the Medalist's 100/3.5 Ektar is much like the 105/3.7 offered for 2x3 Graphics. I've had a 105/3.7, shot it a bit against the 101/4.5 Ektar that had come with my Speed, and sold the 105. My results were consistent with Chris Perez': 101/4.5 Ektar sharper across the field than 105/3.7 at f/8 and smaller.
As long as we're pushing the original poster to spend more money than he intended, let's push him in the direction of greater flexibility etc. That is, away from the fixed lens folder he thinks he wants and towards 2x3 press and view cameras.
And I'd like to second DMAX' comments about lenses. The only way to find out which old lens is ok is to try some.
I'll "third" the lenses: Some old triplets are - just great! Others just stink...
Even in the same line there are both, as the placement of the inner lens in a triplet is critical beyond the capabilities of mass production.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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I'm also a Medalist fan. Found one locally in nice shape, fully functional, for $100. I've run about a dozen rolls through it in 6 months, and really love the performance. It *is* heavy, though. And shutter release is stiff. But the rangefnder is accurate and easy to use, rolling 120 film onto 620 spools isn't any big deal if you've spent time using a changing bag, and results are excellent.
Mine does have one flaw: the focussing gets stiff / unusable in cold weather (below about 40F), so at some point I'll have Ken Ruth / Bald Mtn. do a nice CLA on it.
One other funny thing - it looks like a BIG 35mm SLR. So if you like the attention you get with a Rolleiflex in public, you'll be surprised that nobody pays any attention at all to your 1941 Medalist.
Ive had good luck with my Novar 3 element on my Nettar 515 so we'll see what I end up with. Maybe I should just get back into respooling 620 and dig out some of my Kodak folders.
Originally Posted by Ole
Right! Cheap and cheerful!
Originally Posted by battra92
Take a look at Chris Perez' tests of medium format lenses. You'll see that the 101/4.5 Kodak Anastigmat used on the better grade of Kodak folder is quite a good lens. Respooling film beats spending money on gear that won't improve the images you capture.
I will fourth the triplet recommendation. After using Apotars and Agnars on several of my folder cameras, it is amazing how good these perform. Even wide open they are quite good, though the chance of focus error is greater when used that way up close. Best results seem to be f8.0 to f11.0.
Finding one of the old lens hoods is recommended. These are not very common, and can sometimes cost more than the camera. However, they do help avoid flare in many situations. Now if I could only find a filter holder that allowed attaching modern filters . . . my work-around so far is to use my left hand to hold a filter in front of the lens.
I had a zeiss ikon nettar 515/2 for a while. Here's a couple of shots I took with it.
I was quite pleased, and I believe we bought it for about ten dollars on eBay.
We've since sold it (for something like 150% profit), and I'm split about whether my next folder will be a zone focuser like that or a coupled rangefinder. I was quite pleased with the image quality.