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  1. #1

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    Starting Medium Format

    Hey guys! I currently shoot 35mm and I'm REALLY interested in starting with MF..

    I've picked out a Camera I like in my price range (Mamiya RB67)

    I'm going to start developing my own B&W film (already know how to do that)

    And I was wondering besides a camera outfit what else do I need? A light meter? What would be a good one for <100? My budget is about $600 (depends how much I get for my 18th!)

    And whats a good scanner for MF film? I was looking at the Epson 4490 since it's in pricerange (parents are offering for development/scanning supplies) but it only says 35mm at B&H..

    And any tips for a n00b to Medium Format?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    gr82bart's Avatar
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    Wow! You have great parents. Make sure you keep them. LOL

    I don't know the Mamiya system so one question I have is, does it have a built in meter? If so then not hand held light meter required. If not an inexpensive sekonic would be a good start. You might get a used one for under $100.

    As for the 4490, go to the Epson website instead and get the technical details straight from the horses mouth. IIRC it can handle film sizes up to 4x5 so it should be able to scan MF film.

    Anyway good luck, you will really love using your new Mamiya.

    When I first got into MF I was in my late 20's and had only been shooting 35mm before. The square frame frustrated, challenged and enticed me. It takes some getting used to but in the end I love the format.

    Regards, Art

  3. #3

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    I just want a MF because I figure if I'm going to stick with 35mm (might happen if I can't afford a MF) might as well go digital, but since Photography is more of a Art/Hobby for me Medium seemed like a better choice.

    I'm pretty sure the RB67 doesn't have a meter. but that Mamiya system seemed to be best bang for the buck, and it's big and heavy which appeals to me aha.

  4. #4
    GeoffHill's Avatar
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    I've only very recently started with MF as well, and haven't yet bought a light meter (waiting for the next pay day), but so far, I'vebeen using the light meter in my 35mm camera with no problems, other than its a lot of stuff to carry about.

    The MF negatives are fantastic compared to 35mm. I've fallen in love with themm

  5. #5
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    The only way to get a meter on an RB67 is with the metered prism.

    The RB67 usually comes with a waist level finder which, for me, works better than a prism finder.

    And yes, it is big and heavy. I find that an advantage as I like to use it handheld with the left hand grip and the weight adds inertia to it which helps prevent shake.



    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  6. #6

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    The 4490 doesn't do 4x5 but does do MF up to 6x12.
    As stated, you will need a meter unless you happen to get a metered prism.
    Gossen Pilot meters go for 15 - 40 USD, are generally reliable, and don't require batteries. At 50 - 100 there are a multitude of good choices from Sekonic, Gossen, and others.
    RB's are huge, heavy and versatile, they are great cameras, and there are a lot of folks here who swear by them, a few who swear at them.

  7. #7
    matti's Avatar
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    You can use your current 35 mm camera as light meter, if you don't find it too difficult to carry around two cameras.
    /matti

  8. #8
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    mm, I just started shooting MF myself about a month ago and haven't shot a frame of 35mm since. I purchased the 4490 for scanning. Works great, minus having to constantly clean off cat hair. I HIGHLY recommend heading over to Epson's site. I got mine from their clearance center, refurbished, for under $100 shipped. They still have that deal listed, here's the link: http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/c...s&oid=63060806

    As for a meter, I picked up a Gossen Luna Pro S on Ebay for $29. Needed to be calibrated but, after a couple rolls for calibrating, is spot on. The regular Luna Pro can be had on there all day for about $50 - $60. Have fun and I hope to see some of your shots

    Aaron
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isn’t the decisive moment or anything like that – it’s getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  9. #9

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    What do you want to photograph? The RB67 is big and heavy and needs a lot of stamina if you want to haul it about as a landscape camera. It is also (big time) not waterproof. On the other hand it is great for macro, still life and general studio work, but the film advance and shutter cocking are separate, so don't expect rapid shooting.

    No it doesn't have a meter as standard, although there is a metered prism head available for it. I too tend to use a 35mm camera as a meter. It is also not square format: as the name suggests, it is 6 x 7. The lenses are pretty good and there is a good range, but it's hard to recomend a kit without knowing what you want to do.

  10. #10

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    It's great to see another young'un (I'm 22) interested in analogue! My progression has gone like this: 35mm-digi-4x5. Since only using 4x5 I've now added an RB to my collection (as of Monday) and to quote another member, I think it's the cat's ass! My perspective might be skewed coming from a 4x5 studio monorail, but the RB seems small and light to me! Most of the good film from 35mm is available in 120, and the bigger negative with the quality of the RB lenses should make a big difference.

    One thing I noticed when I shot 35mm and digi is that I tended to suffer from the Vacuum Cleaner Effect; this means that I took a photo of anything that looked like it could possibly make a good photo. I got some good ones, but was lucky if I got truly satisfactory shot from a roll of 36 frames. Learning 4x5 slowed me down a lot. In fact, I've taken 7 frames of my first 120 roll, and that includes bracketing! The slower pace of shooting had made 4x5, and now MF, much more affordable than I thought it would be. With the RB try to plan and think through your images more. This will be easier if you're tethered to a tripod. If you take your time with your shots and don't burn film too fast then I think you'll find yourself getting more good shots with the RB compared to the number taken, and keep your film costs reasonable. Another advantage is that with 10 frames per 120 roll you can experiment with different films more cheaply and easily than with larger formats. Seriously look at the tripod; it slows you down and helps your images stay sharper, especially when shooting in with the mirror locked up. Keep us posted on your progress!

    - Justin

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