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  1. #1

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    MF options for new user

    I'm a 35mm user looking to get into medium format, and hoping to get some feedback on possible options. I shoot mostly b&W, mostly people (portraits & other), and some city/rural scapes.

    I'd like a camera that can be handheld, in addition to tripod, but don't have a seller nearby where I can get a sense of size, weight, etc. My budget is up to $300 or so, and have been looking on eBay at Pentax 645, Bronica etrs, and a few others.

    Are these viable options, or any other suggestions?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Think about a TLR

    I think you might want to take a look at a twin lens reflex. The Yashica-Mat line (except for the 124G that is over priced and has film transport problems) or a Minolta Autocord would work nicely and fit within your budget except you are limited to a 'normal' lens. You could probably get a Rollie that fit within your budget as well. If you need to change focal lengths the Mamiya C220 or C330 and the 'f' models would allow you to do that. Some people have a hard time with the backward image in the waist level finder, but I was shooting 4x5 before I got a tlr and the backward image wasn't a bit deal for me. I've used the Mat 124G but had film transport problems twice so I returned it. I got a C220 with a normal lens and a wide angle lens but sold it because it was too heavy, bulky and ugly (regretting it now). I should have an Autocord from 1963 by Wednesday.

  3. #3
    Amund's Avatar
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    You`ll probably will have dozens of cameras to consider when everybody replies

    I`ll say buy a Bronica Etrs/Etrsi, very nice camera for what you want. Very smooth focusing(extremely important for people shots) and sharp lenses, I have a 75mm PE and 150mm MC. I used to have a Hasselblad 500C/M, much happier now.
    The Blad` is great, but the older lenses are a pain to focus..
    Amund
    __________________________________________
    -Digital is nice but film is like having sex with light-

  4. #4
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    I would agree with the Bronica ETRS suggestion. I have had mine for a year and a half now and I am very pleased with it. I have the standard 75mm lens and a 50mm and I have recently bought the hand grip and the plain (non metered) prism, both of which make handholding much simpler.



    Steve.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jran01

    I'd like a camera that can be handheld, in addition to tripod, but don't have a seller nearby where I can get a sense of size, weight, etc. My budget is up to $300 or so, and have been looking on eBay at Pentax 645, Bronica etrs, and a few others.
    Both can be handheld. It's more a question of what features you need want.

    The Pentax will come with built in metering and winder. Both can be added to the Bronica but will cost and add weight.

    OTOH the Bronica has leaf shutters,waist level finder, swapable backs not inserts like the Pentax.

    Both the Pentax and the latest Bronica offer TTL flash if that matters. The Pentax will let you use P6 [Kiev etc] lens with an adapter. With prices the way they are today this only really matters for the fisheye.

    IMHO. Forget Ebay. Click on the KEH sponser link and pickup a ETRSI kit. Just checking they've got a bargain ETRSI with 75mm PE lens,120 back. Non metering Prism all for $265. Even if you better that on Ebay you won't get the warranty and service that KEH provides.

  6. #6

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    I have a Mamiya C330S; I love it, but it's a tank. I use the 180mm lens set for portrarure, brings the total weight of camera and lens to about 6 pounds, and the S model has a lot more plastic than the previous issues. The C220's are lighter, I've heard. Of course, the smaller lensets are much lighter, too. Had to get a serious tripod to support the beast. I also find hand-holding this camera difficult at best. A prism finder will solve the right-to-left viewfinder reversal problem.

    I like to use this camera for studio-type work and set-up landscapes. I take a half-pound folder with me for hand-held fun (six-by-six zone focused folders with sharp, contrasty lenses can be had for the price of a Holga if you're patient on ebay; a really good 6x9 coupled viewfinder folder can be had well within your budget. Of course, these cameras are a bit problematic for closeup work).

    If I needed a camera that was easy to hold, took interchangable lenses, and offered the advantages of a big negative, I'd look for a 6x4.5 slr, probably a Mamiya (because I like optics and the price for a 645 system).

    K.

  7. #7
    DBP
    DBP is online now

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    For portraiture I prefer a TLR because for the waist level finder and quiet shutter. And a good Autocord or Yashica won't even come close to your budget, while you may even be able to afford a Rollei. If you really want to go the SLR route, go to KEH, you can be sure of the quality and often beat eBay prices.

  8. #8

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    Good Morning, Jran01,

    The comments above are all good ones to consider. Why not also consider first the size of negative you want. Almost anything in MF will tend to outdo 35mm by an obvious margin, but 6 x 7 or 6 x 9 negatives require significantly less enlargement for a given print size than 4.5 x 6 does. Another basic consideration is RF or TLR vs. SLR. RF's and TLR's tend to be much simpler, quieter, lighter, and somewhat cheaper, but SLR's can offer a lot of versatility if you're thinking ahead to different lenses and/or accessories.

    Konical

  9. #9
    raucousimages's Avatar
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    Mamiya C330 Pro-S. Good camera, 6X6 format, interchangeable lenses, easy to learn. About $350.00 with an 80mm lens. I would buy the newer black lenses and stay away from the older silver lenses unless they have just been serviced.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  10. #10
    Gatsby1923's Avatar
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    I have a Bronica S2A with a 75, and 50mm lense and two backs I got for $225 on ebay. I love it though i need to send it in for a CLR soon.

    Dave M.
    I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
    Carl Sandburg

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