MF Folders, any particular ones to look out for?
I was browsing some pages online and had found; http://www.davidrichert.com/classic_camera_contest.htm
There are a lot of beautiful images, many taken w/ MF folders. I'm thinking of picking one up from the *bay as there aren't any good old camera stores around here. Any particular models that aren't too expensive? I'm looking for something that is 6x4.5/6x6/6x7 and _maybe_ 6x9. I don't think I need a coupled rangefinder, but I don't think I could accurately 'guess distance'.
I would like something that is durable, but would consider a Russian one.
Also do not mind a 3-element lens. A nice fast lens would be great but I can get by w/ a 3.5 or 4.5.
Any popular ones?
I use a Voigtlander Bessea with the compur shutter and a Skopar lens. This camera will shoot 6x9 and 6x4.5 with a mask. They are on ebay all the time.
I also use a Zeiss Ikonata 520 This camera is fitted with a 7cm 3.5 Tessar and shoots 6X4.5
This little camera is a jem it is very compact and the Tessar produces very sharp photos.
I have quite allot of old cameras and have found the compur shutters the most reliable and the easiest ones to fix when suffering from sluggish slow shutter speeds.
One of the best on the "value-for-money-scale" must be the Japanese Daiichi Zenobia.
Zeiss Ikon Ikontas tend to be more expensive, at least with a coated Tessar lens.
If your distance guesses are too far out, there are cheap accessory rangefinders too.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I've owned a few and decided the keeper for me was the Voigtlander Perkeo II with the Color-Skopar, which I use with a non-coupled shoe mount rangefinder. If you try the search engine, you can find some links to photos I've made with this camera.
I had the very desirable Bessa II 6x9 with the Color-Heliar for a while, but the ergonomics didn't work for me--too left handed, and film flatness was a little wonky.
Given the design of most folders, I think 6x6 is about as large as they can be with film flatness that I can tolerate. The 6x6 folders are also quite pocketable. The Perkeo II is smaller than many 35mm rangefinder cameras, though the shoe mount rangefinder adds some bulk. I see these as cameras for handheld use, so a folder that works well on a tripod but isn't comfortably handholdable doesn't work for me.
Silly question but how do the accessory rangefinders work? Do you actually align two images like a rangefinder and then read off the distance on a scale, then transfer to the lens?
I've seen a few Ikontas, they look really nice but probably out of my price range. I guess I was going for under $50, is that doable? Oh, and i'm definitely looking for something that is able to be used handheld. Kind of a kick-around camera that I can grab when I'm running out the door to a new place. Even any websites that are dedicated to folders or have some information would be really helpful as this is all new to me.
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Exactly. They are usually easy to calibrate as well. I have one made by "Widor" and get perfectly accurate focus as close as 3.5 feet, which is the near focus limit of my lens. Usually if I want to get that close, I set the rangefinder and move my head back and forth until it is in focus, switch to the viewfinder to frame, and shoot.
Originally Posted by Phillip P. Dimor
Phillip -- I was in your shoes eight or so months ago. I was looking for a reasonably-priced MF folder and picked up a Balda 6x6 with built in (uncoupled) range finder, Compur shutter & f2.8 lens for around $100 including shipping from Germany which I thought was a pretty good deal. You may struggle to find somehthing in good shape for $50.
For the rangefinder function, you look through the viewfinder and turn a dial until two faint images become one. The number indicated on the dial is the distance you set the lens to. you set the aperture & shutter speeds, cock the shutter and shoot.
Not bad to use -- I carried a light meter. For my purposes, I was using a tripod a good bit, so I actually preferred to use a TLR. The Balda saw two or three rolls of film and will probably be sold off soon as part of a recent gear reduction effort. (c:
Feel free to PM me with any questions.
There are so many folders out there, why not try em all? After all you can get a decent folder these days for about $30-$60 depending on condition n lens.
Once you get started with these gems, just be aware you will get hooked, I mean junkie hooked on em. I started out buying a cheap Ikonta for $5 to fix up and haven't stopped buying yet.
OH BTW you just may learn a new aspect to photography... repairing these oldies. It's so much fun, it will eat you up!
Anyone can make a Digital print, but only a photographer can make a photograph.
Another to consider: A Franka Solida III comes with a uncoupled rangefinder and a Schnieider Radionar (triplet) lens.
Almost always these older shutters will be slow or sticky on the slower speeds, but at the higher speeds they are often fine.
"There are two ways to avoid most trouble in life: live below your means... and within your seams."
Um, er, ah, if you can't take beautiful images with the gear you're now using, you'll do no better with an MF folder. They aren't magic bullets, won't make up for the user's shortcomings.
Originally Posted by Phillip P. Dimor