I've always liked my Hassy simply because the 6X6 back allows cropping as I choose. I guess going to a 6X4.5 back is OK if one just has to turn a camera sideways (perhaps APPEARING professional?) to get a verticle format and enjoys the 35mm proportions (not that they are a bad thing). I got rid of one of the A16 backs a year ago simply because that's why I bought a Hassy to begin with - to avoid the 90 degree turn and to give myself some cropping choices that most definitely aren't standard.
"Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy."
Although I don't use my Pentax 645N as much as I should......it works great and the glass won't disappoint you.
Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.
I am using the Pentax 645 kit. If AF is not an essential in your book (and if you're using a Hasselblad, I would say probably not), I have found the system very affordable and solid. When using a prime lens, I find that it's no less portable or heavy than a Nikon F-801 with the same. The Pentax 645 is my introduction into medium, and I've been very pleased with it.
I've used, but don't own, both the Mamiya and Pentax 645 machines, so take this for what it's worth. I like them both, with a slight bias towards the Mamiya system simply because it was more comfortable in MY hand. Your experience bay be quite different. Images from either are excellent and both have very good lenses available.
I own two Contax 645 bodies, battery grips, several film backs, a d*****l back (Kodak ProBack), and most of the lens range.
It is an astounding camera system. The lenses are superb, the camera is ergonomic and easy to handle. It is an outstanding rig for anything you want to shoot, especially portraiture with the 140mm lens. I could recommend it without reservation.
That said, if you already have a significant Hassy investment, going with the A16 backs sounds like good advice to me. Contax stuff is sometimes hard to find, and it's among the priciest MF cameras around. Service is not an issue, as long as parts are being made. Eventually I think it will be cheaper simply to obtain another body than to get an existing one serviced.
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Thank you so much for your input.
I did not even know that the Hassey has a back for 645 (doh). I will check that out. But knowing myself, even with a mask, it would be less comfortable to shoot a non-square format with my Hassey, since I am so used to shooting squares with it. When I use my Hassey, I visualize squares. I also crop in camera as much as possible, so it would be difficult for me (a learning curve for sure) to have to crop to a non-square using my Hassey (does that make sense??).
Sounds like Mamiya is the most popular choice. I'll have to take a closer look. I priced out both a Pentax and a Contax on Keh and the Contax is a few hundred dollars more than the Pentax (with a normal lens), but wow, their 120 macro lens is pricey! Though I love Contax I think I will probably stick with Pentax or Mamiya.
I don't need interchangeable backs and I do love the fact that Pentaxes are all in one more or less. If I do decide to go with the Pentaxes, would I be looking to buy the LS lenses or the SMC ones? The 75mm, for instance, comes in both LS or SMC.
Thanks again for all your feedback - I really appreciate it.
Last edited by luvmydogs; 06-22-2008 at 12:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.
Amund, your portraits are lovely! Thanks for sharing.
Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.
LS lenses are lenses with leaf shutters, if you need to do a lot of fill flash.
I have always lusted after the Contax- some of the sharpest photos I have ever seen, in any format, were shot with one. I could never swallow the cost.
LS stands for leaf shutter. The Pentax 645 has a focal plane shutter, and won't flash sync at high shutter speeds. With the LS lenses, you can flash sync at all shutter speeds. The focal plane shutter can also cause vibration induced softness at slow shutter speeds.
Originally Posted by luvmydogs
The advantage of leaf shutter lenses is that they include a shutter which synchs for flash at all shutter speeds (like most Hassleblads). The disadvantages of leaf shutter lenses include:
1) cost can be higher;
2) size and weight can be larger;
3) if you have multiple lenses, you have multiple shutters, and as no two shutters are ever exactly the same, you may need to calibrate your process for each lens;
4) there is more to go wrong with a leaf shutter lens, and repairs and maintenance may end up being more expensive;
5) leaf shutter lenses sometimes have a smaller maximum aperture;
6) in some cases, in order to use a leaf shutter lens, you need to use particular settings on your camera (e.g. on my Mamiyas, I have to set the focal plane shutter to 1/8 of a second).
If you have been using Hassleblads, you may already have experience with some of these factors.
I have one leaf shutter lens for my Mamiya 645s, but I've come to the conclusion that if I need the leaf shutter for flash, I'm better off using my Mamiya TLRs instead.
Hope this helps.