I understand your feelings about using tripods. I have a rollei 6003
with 80mm lens only. In my experience, while handholding a camera
of that size is feasible, but using a tripod certainly prduces better results.
Try taking images both ways, with and without a tripod and I bet you will
see the difference in quality. of course, if you take mostly spontaneous
pictures, the is no option but handheld. I take many landscapes and
find the more deliberate approach using a tripod works for me.
I hope you have good luck whichever way you shoot.
Just a me too on the practicality of handheld MF. A 6x6 SLR is my standard walkabout serious-snapshot camera. For me, the tonality of the larger negative is worth having, even if handholding negates some of the sharpness advantages.
I don't find having larger cameras up to my face to be a good way of working though. Pulling the camera into my chest or waist with both hands gives me a more steady view than trying to hold it up to my eye, so I prefer a waist-level viewer. I'm not trying to do rapid-fire stuff though.
Last edited by Struan Gray; 05-27-2008 at 05:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Struan, I love that image of the beautiful baby. That was a tricky shot to get with a waist level finder.
Hmmmm...I certainly discovered this thread a bit late in the game. That said, I'll contribute my experience.
I have had the fortune (ie fickle nature) to have shot with a very wide range of medium format equipment, all of it handheld at some point or another. This includes a Mamiya twin-lens, several generations of Mamiya 645, Mamiya RB67, Fuji rangefinder, Hassy, etc.
The two most hand-holdable medium format cameras for me have been the RB67 and the Mamiya 645 Pro. I shoot the 645 Pro handheld with an 80mm f/1.9 and a motor drive/grip, often doing available light work down to 1/8 sec. I should point out that I'm a BIG believer in lens speed, and the 80mm f/1.9 is about as beautiful and fast a lens as you're likely to find in the MF world.
At 1/4 or 1/8 of a second handheld with any camera, you're not going to wind up with results as sharp as you'd get with a tripod, but you'd be surprised what you can get sometimes. Here's one I handheld at 1/8s with the 645 on my recent trip to Mongolia:
I know you can't necessarily tell how sharp it really is from a jpg that size, but bottom line is that it is more than usably sharp.
The real surprise to me was just how stable at slow speed the RB67 is. It's a big honkin' camera, about the same size and weight as a car battery, but the action of the shutter is easily the smoothest of any medium format SLR I've ever used. What's more, I feel like the mass of the camera actually helps stabilize it in your hands in practical usage.
What works for a give person is going to change with every person, but essentially what I'm getting at is that handheld medium format can be far more practical than some might suggest.
Thanks Janet. I had the advantage of using my own daughter as model, so I could pick and choose my timing to suit her mood and the light. I take quite a few outdoor shots with the camera pointing straight down, so I have got used to the view. I had one elbow perched on a nearby playpen rail for stability.
Originally Posted by jgcull
Getting a similar result on a commercial basis would of course be harder. Even for me in my own home, the hit rate dropped dramatically once she started walking :-)
That shot was taken with a Kowa 66, but I now use a V-series Hasselblad. With both cameras when I am taking 'normal' orientation photos I trip the shuttter with my right thumb: this lets me have the camera body nestling in the palm of my right hand, and I can use my left hand to focus and pull in and down on the camera when I actually shoot. It's a little more awkward when time comes to wind on, but I have a winder for the very rare times I need to burn film. I *hate* the method recommended by VH himself.
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Those 66's are underrated outfits and where else are you going to find a 19mm lens for this format? I've never seen one in person, but have a couple photos of one a fellow has/had in Europe.
I agree. I was very happy with my Kowa 66, right up to the point where I accidentally dropped it on a rock. Then I found the proverbial Dentist's Hasselblad outfit for about the price of a good condition serviced Kowa body plus the value of my lenses. Of course, I haven't actually sold my Kowa lenses yet, but the theory is sound :-)
The Hasselblad is a little more compact and slightly lighter (although the F 50 f2.8 is a beast compared to the Kowa 55). The Kowa has better bokeh stopped down and for my sorts of use doesn't give anything significant away in image quality. Both are handholdable enough that I used them a lot that way, even in dim Swedish light. My favourite combination for hunting kids is Portra 400 NC and a 150 mm lens.
I used a 'Blad back in the seventies and never was able to hand hold for slow exposures; it replaced a Bronica S2a with a stovepipe which I could hand hold to 1/15 every time and 1/8 usually.
The 'Blad was replaced with a Pentax 6x7 which I could hold well with some lenses and not others. It has been 'supplemented' in recent years with a Mamiya 7 which, even though I'm getting old & shaky, can be held consistently at 1/15 using the normal lens. using both hands AND placing against the face gives three points of solid contact.
With any camera, practice your breathing when making long exposures. If a TLR, you must shoot between heartbeats like a shooter.
More than you wanted to know,
I love my Rollei TLR. It was given to me as a gift by a neighbor. It had been sitting in her closet for 25+ years when she gave it to me. I had never used used a medium format camera before I got it (and not much of any other kind really). The Rollei TLR is what got me interested in photography. I also have a Sinar F 4x5 and a pentax K-1000 but I really love the rollei. I need to bring it in for a CLA but otherwise its an amazing camera to learn on.
Originally Posted by Rolleiflexible