Some of the MF rangefinder cameras are as easy to use off the tripod as 35mm rangfinder, and the size and weight differential is not all that great. In particular I would recommend the Fuji GA645Zi because of its size, fit in the hand, and smooth release. The Mamiya 7II also has a very smooth and quiet release, comparable or superior to Leica IMO, and the large 6X7 cm negative delivers a lot of quality. I have also used the Fuji GW690III hand held a lot, and with high speed film it gives outstanding results, but the release is not as smooth as with the GA645Zi and Mamiya 7.
Just get a Pentax 645N or NII; it handles like a 35mm with all the AF and automated programs but - for the purists - manual override. Sharp lenses to boot. What else do you want? Are there ifs and buts (o my goodness no filmback! just and insert and what if in midroll you happen to want to switch to another film??? never happened to me), yes, but no camera without those. Go for what you want, not for what people tell you to buy. Full stop.
Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.
Alpa. Silly money -- but worth it if you can afford it. Limited, of course, to wide-angle lenses. Zeiss found 50% higher resolution with the 38/4.5 on the Alpa than on the SWC, simply because the Alpa is easier to hold still and release smoothly. On a tripod, it shouldn't matter.
The advice about 1/focal length is (sorry, Ulrich) flat wrong, even with reflexes. That's a not-very-reliable rule of thumb for 35mm, too lax for long focal lengths (go for 1/500 or 1/1000 with a 300mm lens), unnecessarily stringent with ultra-wides: 1/15 will be OK as often as not with a 21mm, and you can often get away with 1/8. Over 30 years' experience on that one.
This is because a bigger neg is enlarged less. This is how press photographers with 4x5 inch/9x12cm lenses (135mm and 127mm lenses) got away with 1/10 and even 1/5 second or longer. I certainly don't worry about 1/30 or 1/60 with an MF SLR and 80mm standard lens. Again, some decades' actual practice and careful observation speaking here.
First let me say I didn't read every post on this issue.
I to don't like using my Hassy handheld, but love it on a tripod. My answer was to get a Koni Omega 100 for carry around handheld. It takes great pictures, easier for me to hand hold, and was dirt cheap.
My two cents.
I have the same issue with my Hassie, but I kept it and use it on a monopod or tripod. I have a Pentax 645N that is just like a 35mm (though heavy and loud). My hands aren't terribly big, either.
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I tried the Hasselblad (500CM) and just didn't care for it. I do use a Mamiya 6 handheld with no issues and I used to use a Rolleiflex handheld as well. I think both of these cameras are great for walk around/candid shots. I would also suggest renting/trying before buying.
If you can't answer a man's argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.
- Elbert Hubbard
>>>Go for what you want, not for what people tell you<<<
Yes, of course, in the end. But since I don't have the opportunity to see and try everything, I'd like to know what's available and which direction to look.
Someone asked what I didn't like as well about shooting the Hassy. I move slowly with it on a tripod. I can't be a spontaneous as with my Nikons, obviously. I know there's an inherent difference between the two types. I just get more of what I like, subject wise, with a smaller on-the-run body and I'd like the best of both worlds in one. haha?
I probably should have said, I do like using it with the waist level finder better than with the (sorry) prism I have and I don't know how the grip might work with that. I'll have to check it out. I see one for sale for a good price. I'll try that and go from there.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer, all, and I'll look back in on all this info if I don't work it out satisfactorily.
I do own a Rollei 6003 with the grip, and I can affirm that it is one of the most ergonomic medium format cameras available. It's only drawback is its weight, which you will notice if you carry it by the neckstrap, but not when you are holding it by the grip for shooting. It is MUCH more ergonomic than a Hasselblad (which I also own).
Originally Posted by k_jupiter
On the other hand, to go back to answer the original question, I would first ask about your style of shooting. If you learned to shoot with a 35mm SLR or rangefinder, then something like a Pentax or Mamiya 645, or the Mamiya 7 or 6 would be a good choice for you, because they are designed for eye level shooting.
However, I find the most hand-holdable medium format camera to be a Rollei TLR with waist level finder. It is relatively light and easy to carry on a neck strap, and can be shot hand-held at much slower shutter speeds than any camera with a moving mirror. By tensioning the neckstrap and practicing breath control, a TLR can be shot handheld at speeds of 1/15 or less. It makes a wonderful "walking-around" camera, and if you scale focus you don't even need to look into the finder; it becomes a silent, inconspicuous point-and-shoot camera that gives great results.
The greatest, handholdablest medium format ever made was the Linhof 220. It was like a medium format Leica M turned vertical, with a pistol grip attached below, with a trigger shutter release. Super sharp 95mm f3.5 lens, very fast shooting and film advance. 6x7 negs. Incredible camera. I've owned 2, and I've made some of my best shots with them.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
Only problem: they were delicate.
Absolutely right -- IF you can stand them. I find them incredibly unergonomic. I fully accept that I'm in a small minority on this and that most who use them, love them. I'd just enter the caveat that there are those who can fully understand what you say and why you say it, but still don't agree.
Originally Posted by eddym