Best Camera for my needs under £1500
ok i'm new to medium format and i'm planning on travelling around the world next and want better quality prints. So i'm looking for a camera that is well made and is unlikely to break down on me and can handle all the knock etc was from travelling. It will be for portrait and landscape photography, so was wondering what lenses you recommend, really looking at a max of 2 to help keep weight down, also really needs to be comfortable to handheld.
i'm currently looking into the mamiya 645 range, but wondering what other options are available
Thanks alot for any suggestions.
Mamiya 7ii & 80mm lens for starters, the quality of image is great and it is the best MF
travel camera I've used.
I love my Mamiya 7II with a 65 mm lens for travel. Add a 43 mm and you're in business. Unfortunately the 43 mm will bust your budget.
My suggestion would be to consider something bigger than a 645 film camera... which isn't all that radically larger than 35mm film. At least make the jump to 6x6 or 6x7. In the mamiya lines, perhaps an RZ67. Holding down to two lenses, especially if shooting landscapes and portraits might be a tougher thing to do, since landscapes oft-times needs wide angles, while portraits needs normal to short telephotos.
I would take a 35mm camera as film availability will be much easier and processing too.
Because I have one I can recommend a Contax Aria (£200 approx) and a Contax Zeiss Vario 35-70 3.4 zoom lens (£150 - £300 depending on whether you get lucky). Easliy within your budget and is small and light enough to carry and will give very high quality results at f5.6 or thereabouts. The aria is much smaller and lighter than earlier Contax bodies but has really good matrix metering for snaps but also has ttl average and spot metering if you want to take control. Also has shutter priority if you get the MM lens rather than the AE lens. All in all a very good walk about camera and lens combination.
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If you're traveling with just one body, you may also want to consider the availability of repair. I suspect that, of all MF cameras, Hasselblad might have the most universal service (but just a guess).
The Mamiya 7 has a tendency to get out of whack in the focus department when hard traveling is involved. Just a warning that you should learn how to adjust the rangefinder focus in the field if you go with one of these. There is plenty of info on the web about how to do the adjustment.
That said you should be able to pick up a good used RZ with a couple of film backs and lenses for that much. That's a lot of money for some of this older gear. You could definitely get a pretty nice mamiya 645 kit for that much, maybe even a current AFD body and lenses.
Maybe if he's going by ship. But have you guys checked the European airline carry on limits? A RZ and two lenses will bust those limits.
If you can live with one lens then one of the Fuji RF. The 690 would be my choice. Get a strap and wear it on the plane.
If you want more then one lens get a Bronica ETRSI. Bring a backup body. No point worrying about repairs if you're on the road. Plus etc bodies and backs cost less then repairs.
On a world trip everything can happen. For that reason, I would pick a camera that does not cry when it gets a beating, is independent of batteries and does not look like an invitation to thieves. I would prefer leaf shutters for a simple reason: if the shutter in one lens breaks you still have the other lenses and the camera body. As there are not so many MF rangefinders with exchangeable lenses available and as the costly 7II is not a survival artist, why not consider a Mamiya TLR with three lenses (55, 80, 180S). That equipment is less heavy than you would expect. A handheld meter and you are set.
Independent of the camera you decide for, carry an Olympus mju II with you, it is tiny and weather resistant and good in situations where even a 6x4.5 is drawing too much attention.
Another recommendation: get some plastic containers for your roll films to protect them, they are much more vulnerable than 35mm canisters.
1500 pound is a *lot* of money these days when it comes to film equipment. You could get a good kit from pretty much any system of your choice.
There is no right answer. We're all going to give you an answer that is different. So, I'm just going to go over what my personal thought process would be in your situation:
I would want something as simply built as possible. No electronics, and nothing that cannot be fixed without simply swapping on a replacement part. I would personally not care about weight, serviceability, or modernity. I would not get my camera serviced on the road anyhow. Too expensive, too much turnaround time, and too much chance at unknown repair shops. I would want a camera that is relatively inexpensive. I would also want an incredibly versatile camera.
Personally, I would put together a Mamiya Press kit. A Super 23 is one of the most versatile and interestingly-featured cameras ever made, yet they are also nearly impossible to render unfixable in the field, if you have spare backs and spare lenses. The body itself is just a box. They are cheap. They can shoot multiple formats. They have the option of a ground glass and rear movements. They are hand holdable. They can focus close.
You could almost get the entire system for 1500 pound.
I would probably purchase a Super 23, a 65 lens, two 100mm lenses, and 150 lens. The 50 and the 250 are great, but the 50 is too expensive and the 250 is too large. I would get as many backs as possible.
The biggest drawback would be close and accurate focusing for hand-held informal portraits.
My two cents.
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