enlighten me on 645 format please!
Ok, so after attending Nicole's workshop in Toronto, and feeling very inspired, I have decided to take the big leap and use film exclusively - not only for personal work, but also for my business (believe me, this is no small decision). I've been wanting to do this for a while but after attending Nicole's workshop I finally feel ready to really "shoot from the heart."
So...I currently use my Hassey for most of my personal portrait work. Now that I will be shooting film with my clients as well, I would like a non-square medium format camera as well. I do not want a 6x7 format as those cameras are simply too much for me to carry. I do have a Mamiya 7II but that is not, for me at least, an ideal portraiture camera.
After seeing Nicole, I am leaning towards perhaps a Pentax 645NII. However, before I make the leap, I also would love to hear of others' experiences with the 645 format - I also am considering the Contax 645 and the Mamiya 645 (the AFII or III).
I'd love to hear some feedback from those who have any one (or all!) of these cameras.
Thanks in advance!
Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.
Well, I have the mamiya 645 afd system and like it very much. The m645 manual lenses are a steal. Also Mamiya is bringing out an adapter that allows you to use certain hassie lenses, if that appeals to you.
The contax is arguably the finest 645 body, but at what price.... and I think if you look at lenses you will see that there simply isn't much out there on the market. It gave me some satisfaction to invest in mamiya because they are at least still bringing out new products and thinking ahead.
The pentax is also a very fine piece, no doubt about it.
This may well come down to lenses... you just have to look at the lenses and get the bodies in your hands and decide for yourself. Will you want zooms, how fast, do you need AF, will you eventually want a digital back, etc.
I've never handled the mamiya 645 afd but have handled a 645NII. I've also printed many color negatives from one at work and they are great. The outfit was used by several local wedding photographers, it held up extremely well. The autofocus was fast and accurate, the metering is superb. The zoom lens (can't remember the length) was pretty hefty but it balanced well with the camera. The negatives were always outstanding. I couldn't find much to fault with except for price used. I thought the image information imprinting on the rebate was really neat, with my p645 did that!
You left out the Bronica ETRSI which tended to be the best value used. Not sure what they are selling for now.
I have both the first Pentax and the ETRSI. The Pentax is complete all in one. The ETRSI is a system camera. So you can use a crank or add a winder. A WLF or a metering prism. Plus all the other options.
You've got one of the finest medium-format cameras made, the Hasselblad. Why not just purchase a 645 format film back for it? Hassy made them. No need to invest in yet another system. What you want is an A16 back. Don't get the A16s (note the "S") back as that is for square superslides. KEH has many A16 backs for under $200. (as an example of price). With a hassy handgrip and a hassy (or Russian made) prism, the standard Hassleblad camera is just as convenient and easy to use at eye level as any of the other examples you mention. The backs come with a mask you lay on the ground glass to show you the image captured on the film. Be sure to get one with the mask (at least one), then if you need more A16 backs, you can get those without the mask (cheaper, possibly).
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I have a Mamiya 645, bought new when they first came out. I have several lenses and most of the accessories. I replaced the seals otherwise it has been a joy to use. I like the format. I have an RB67 now, it's a lot heavier but a pleasure to use.
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
Another hands up for the Mamiya's great cameras, very reliable and superb lenses. Also plenty about.
I have the Bronica Etrs and it replaced a Hassy... The Bronica is a better camera for handheld people photography IMO.
And the standard 75mm Bronica lens is really good
-Digital is nice but film is like having sex with light-
6x6 is a format that was intended to give the photographer the choice to either shoot square, 6x4.5 horizontal, or vertical by cropping, or you can buy an A16 back for you're Hassy and still use those great Zeiss lenses.
For me, format choice is not as simple as saying you can crop a square into a rectangle, or a rectangle into a square. For me, I see differently when using either a 6X6 or a square. I end up with different images with different tools.
I have just recently started shooting a 645, and I have to say I really enjoy it. I had real apprehensions about the smaller negative and losing image quality, but am worrying less about that after doing some comparisons.
I recently shot an old run down farm building, with both a pentax 67, and a pentax 645. I used Acros, and a tripod for all the shots. With 11x14 black and white prints, any differences are imaginary I think.
I have found the pentax 645 to be a great travel camera. It, with a 55 and 150 lens can cover most of my requirements, fits in a small bag, and works much like a 35. One plus is that as my eyes have aged, I find it very difficult to focus some cameras; but not the pentax 645. The meter is accurate, lenses are first rate, and the system is cheap. What more could you want?
Downside- motor wind is not quiet, no interchangeable backs or finders, the controls take some getting used to.
I have never used a Mamiya or a Bronica, but I am sure they are just as good.
All that said, if I had to choose one camera for life it would be my rollei.....