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Thread: 645 choice

  1. #1

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    645 choice

    I have recently started a project photographing life on hill farms in the North York Moors. I began with 35mm but want to change to medium format (for bigger, sharper prints,) before I get too far in.
    645 seems ideal. I will be photographing people at work, machinery, animals, buildings , etc, tripod and hand held, with interchangeable lenses.
    Can anyone help with camera choice?

    I already have a Bronica SQ with 80mm lens, so extra lenses for this, along with a 645 back, prism and speed grip would be one option. But I'm not sure if this set-up would work well hand-held.

    Alan Clark

  2. #2

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    If you don't need a metering prism why not get the Bronica ETRSI? A body,WLF,lenses and back won't be much money. Even if prices seem to have bounced up a little. The metering prism is relatively expensive. You can buy a complete setup for less then the price of the latest metering prism. Add the grip and it's a real nice package handheld. Or on a tripod.

    If you need a metering prism then the older Pentax 645.

    I've both and the bronica is a nicer camera IMHO. But I could be happier with either most of the time.

  3. #3

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    Nick,

    No, I don't need a metering prism. I will give your suggestion some thought. I 've already looked at etrsi prices.

    Alan Clark

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Alan, I've been using Mamiya 645's for over 25 years they are great for hand held work, but in real terms only marginally more practical than your SQ. I've also used the older Bronica S2's and they weren't that different to the Mamiya's.

    Ian

  5. #5

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    Thanks Ian.
    So you think I would manage ok with my SQ with prism and grip?

    Alan

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Give it a try Alan, it's actually easier to get sharp hand-held images with a heavier camera. It'll only be slightly heavier than a ETRS but that difference helps.

    Ian

  7. #7

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    I like what you are saying Ian. It's the cheapest option!
    It will also allow me to use the SQ in its square format, which I have been doing to make "still life" pictures of some of the wonderful junk these hill farmers like to keep lying around.

    Alan

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I think you might find the square format more amenable to your project. Look at the wonderful images fay Godwin shot in the "Secret Forest of Dean" book of the farmers etc.

    Ian

  9. #9

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    Ian,

    I've not seen that book. Perhaps I've been thinking too much about the work of James Ravilious. Will reconsider!

    Alan

  10. #10

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    You could always get a mask for the viewfinder to help compose 6x45 images on the square film. Going with the camera that you know is (almost) always the better choice when you are in the middle of a project. Think of all the mistakes that you could make with a new system, and the opportunities that may be lost because of those mistakes.

    I say sacrifice a focus screen and draw the vertical and horizontal lines for 645 on the focus screen with a Sharpie and keep using the square back. Use the money to buy some new lenses and if need be a decent light meter (though it sounds like you already have a decent meter). This way you have the choice of the full square image, or the in camera "cropped" 645 image when you edit the photos later.

    That said I have many Mamiya 645 systems. From the tank of a 1000s with prism and motor drive to the Super and Pro bodies with the same. I also really like using the waist level finders on each of those, harder for verticle, but not impossible. I've used all of them hand held and the tank of a 1000s gives the best slow shutter speed results because of the mass of the system (it's very heavy). Though if I was going to have to walk very far (or all day) I would probably opt for the Super or Pro with the slow 2cr powered winder and a prism and waist level finder. The waist level goes everywhere since it is only a couple more ounces.

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