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  1. #1

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    How to evaluate "new" gear.

    I was wondering if others are experiencing what I have been and how they might be dealing with it.

    In the old days, when I was interested in a piece of equipment, I would go to the stores and try it out to see if it fit my needs. This would give me a good idea about the perspective of the lens or if the viewfinder would work for me, how the item fit in my hands, how the mechanics functioned - I got a feel for the lens/body/prism etc. Problem was, my budget back then was strictly in the 35mm amateur range, so medium format was something I would only admire from afar.

    Nowadays, with the manufacture of medium format gear in a severe decline generally, trips to the store are not possible, especially if you live in an area where medium format gear inside camera stores was not prevalent even in the old days.

    What I have been doing is trying to research as much as possible on the internet and then making the plunge and buying something used and evaluating it this way. If it works, it finds a place in one of my camera bags, if not, I just sell it and use the proceeds to find some other piece of equipment to evaluate.

    I guess camera clubs/groups are another way of doing this, but I am unfamiliar with a medium format shooters group in my area. The ideal for me would be a rental company with loads of medium format gear. Does such an entity exist in the USA?

    I shoot with Pentax 645n and Pentax 6x7.

  2. #2
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Calumet Photographic has a number of retail stores around the country, which include rental shops. You'll run into a problem finding Pentax medium format gear for rent though- most rental shops are limited to Hasselblad gear these days. There are some New York rental houses that will ship to you and have just about anything - do a google search to find them, or pick up a copy of Shutterbug and see if they still have listings. Years ago, I rented a zoom lens for my Contax 35mm kit to take on a trip. If the rental houses had Contax 35mm gear, they should have Pentax 645 and 67 stuff.

  3. #3
    winger's Avatar
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    If you mention where you are, you might find that there's an APUGer near you. If so, they might have a better of what's in your area.

  4. #4

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    Yes, I have noticed that most rental places rent Hasselblad and Mamiya gear.

    I am located in Silver Spring, MD - just outside of Washington, DC.

  5. #5
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Yuri-

    Around here (DC area) Penn Camera has a rental department, but I don't think they have any Pentax medium format stuff. Your best bet for finding it will be one of those New York rental houses. Most of the MF film shooters I know are using either Hassy or Mamiya also.

  6. #6

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    Penn does not rent Pentax medium format gear. I will look into some of the NY rental houses - thanks.

  7. #7
    TheDreadPirateRobins's Avatar
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    I think I am spoiled. I have a camera shop specializing in film gear within a mile of my house. I better go buy some more rolls of film and help them stay in business. They have 35mm, MF, LF, pinhole, toy cameras, folders, TLRs, stereo cameras, loads... I know they ship, but that doesn't solve your original problem, though if you ever come through Portland, Oregon, we don't have a sales tax.

  8. #8

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    I'm a bit confused as to what you are seeking.

    Do you want to "rent" to "buy"? In other words, try out a piece of gear before committing to purchasing it?

    If that is the case, you might check with KEH, Adorama or B&H about whether they will let you try the gear first and then return it (less a re-stocking charge) if it doesn't suit your needs or meet your quality standards.

  9. #9
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    What's the nearest airport ?
    Ben

  10. #10
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    There is a company called keh.com that has lots of used equipment. I think they have a 14 day return polilcy.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

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