New to medium format
I like to think that I thoroughly understand digital photography. I am looking to enter into a new field of photography and for some reason, medium format seems to be calling.
I do not know much about any medium format camera system, except that many of them cost a lot more than my Canon digital kit that I have. I have come across the Mamiya 6, and seem interested in that. However, never having used a range finder I am concerned about getting frustrated quickly by not capturing what I see in the viewfinder.
Any info on this camera, or any other camera that would be a good one to introduce myself to medium format with would be greatly concerned!!!
Thanks in advance.
Do you know what a Hasselblad is? You can get one now for about $700 and have it be in great shape. It's an SLR so you will get what you see.
The mamiya 6 is a fine camera with great class but it has some issues, one being the winder.
Or for WAY less money than a Hasselblad, you could start out with a Mamiya or Yashica TLR. Optics are terrific and the cameras last forever. I shoot regularly on my Mamiya -- it's built for life and a pleasure to use.
I have three different Mamiyas and they each have a unique purpose.
The Mamiya 6 is a very powerful weapon for landscape and documentary-style shooting. It's the only camera I like so much that I have several bodies. But... it is not the right choice for shallow DOF portraiture or closeups in general. If landscape/scenic with an easily totable camera that can fit in your jacket pocket sounds like what you want, then definitely check out the Mamiya 6, 6mf, 7, or 7ii. Alternatives would be the fixed lens 645, 6x7, and 6x9 Fujis.
The rb67 system is extremely versatile and modular; it is superb for macro and closeup as well as everything else except handheld shooting, for that it is rather hefty. This is an all-mechanical, totally robust system that will outlive you, a great tool to learn on, and very affordable. I am teaching b&w off and on now and will pick up another rb body for that. I use the rb in particular for situations in which its stability is a plus, namely macro and when there is strong wind outdoors.
The Mamiya 645 systems are superb- there are several different lines including manual and AF and with varying features. The one I use is use is the afd, which I suppose I may one day equip with a digital back. For 35mm-style quick shooting, this system is a wee bit bulky (not a stealth camera!) but a super performer nonetheless. I picked up a good haul of manual-focus lenses, including 2 long apos and a ridiculous 500, for a song. This system is severely underrated: the 645 body market used to be much more competitive, and the online reviews, which are now a bit antiquated, reflect that. In my opinion 645 is definitely a big enough jump from 35mm to justify it. The m645 80mm f/1.9 is a hoot... the fastest MF lens on the market.
So there you have it, three totally different Mamiya systems, with superb lenses.
"While you're out there smashing the state, don't forget to keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart!"
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I wonder if a person who develops a love of photography by*starting with it digitally and understanding it digitally and appreciating the digital aesthetic will develop the love of analog photography like someone who was raised on and learned on analog. Whenever I read one of the many threads of a person who has known only digital but wants to turn to film, I wonder if the inconvenience of film developing and scanning will be too much a deterent for someone who likes the digital look anyway.
My advice would be to get into film at a minimal expense and level.. get your toe wet.. before jumping in with both feet.
You get what you see with an RF.
Unlike cheap compacts, good RFs have calibrated viewfinders, with marks for each lens
to help you out with your framing. But they are not great for telephotos.
But, if you especially like the square frame, the Mamiya 6 is a very good camera.
And so is the 7 II for a 6x7 frame.
You have all kinds of choices with Medium Format.
- You want a camera with interchangable lenses?
- Removable film backs?
- Waist Level Finder, Rangefinder or SLR Prism.
- SLRs, RFs, TLRs, Folders and View Cameras.
- Cheap, expensive, old and new.
- Film and Digital.
- With some bellow movements or without.
- Manual focus or automatic.
- Fully manual, built-in metering, electronic shutter or fully automatic.
- 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8, 6x9, 6x12, 6x17, rectangle, square or panoramic.
- Heavy, light, for handholding or tripod.
- Support for TLR flash coupling or just manual/automatic flash control.
- Winders or cranks.
- and more choices.
I suggest you educate yourself a bit as there are a lot more things to
learn about them, even before getting one.
In the world of digital and 35mm they all behave more or less the
same way, usually the difference being their finder design (RFs or SLRs)
and electronics (autofocus, metering, etc).
But with Medium Format, the design of the camera varies a lot and it
will have a great influence in your shooting style, subject matter and aesthetics.
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
I think there are only a few valid reasons (no, GAS is not a valid reason ) to start with MF if you like digital: The incredible detail, the smooth highlights, and the unbelieveably bright and big image in the viewfinder. That's what made me get a Hasselblad. So, now I shoot everything that has a lot of detail like forests, detailed landscapes, meadows full of flowers with the Hasselblad, and use the Canon 20D for everything else. I don't see myself taking photos of birds or insects with the Hassy... It sure is possible, but so much more hassle. Forests and such always seemed mushy to me on the 20D, as though my contact lenses weren't quite clean. But of course you cannot expect to get a clear, detailed image if you only have ten pixels per tree... I fell in love immediately with the Hassy...
See my home page for many medium format price and info guides:
Stay clear of anything hasselblad. They tend to lock up, need regular service, deliver a strange, square negative that forces to crop, and are still more expensive than the alternatives especially when any kind of build in metering is involved. And not to forget the most important reason: I want to see prices go even further down to complete my own system and build a second one!