I second this thought, I have owned one for about 2 years now and love it. Recently purchased a later version of the camera, the SD. With the SD you can shoot up to 6x8. Weight is not that bad, especially with the WL finder. With the prism it makes it a little heavier but with a grip/bracket I think hand holding it would not be an issue.
Originally Posted by Jeff Kubach
First of all, kudos to your husband for carrying your tripod. That is what I call spousal support!
Like many, I have gone through the process you are now going through. I ended up with a Mamiya 7 and a Bronica GS-1 system. They are both excellent for different things. If the Mamiya 7 were not an option for financial reasons, I would choose the GS-1. I owned a Pentax 67 system for a little while and returned it...to me it required a tripod to use and did not have interchangeable film magazines which I find beneficial.
The most important advice I can give you is that, unfortunately, no one can tell you what works until you try it for yourself. The tradeoffs with all of these systems and their impact on your work are subtle. It this day and age, the value of MF film equipment is very low ---good for you. Try an outfit from KEH or discuss a 2 week rental with a credit towards a purchase if you like it. They are good folks to deal with as are many others.
Some specific answers to your questions about the GS-1:
- The lenses are very sharp. In my opinion, you should treat the lenses for all of these systems as functionally the same in terms of image quality.
- I use the 65mm, 100mm, and 200mm focal lengths and the teleconverter. There are longer and shorter lenses available as well.
- If you are doing portraits and landscapes (or small scale landscapes) intercheangeable lenses will be a plus
- You can get a waist-level finder, or prism/prism metered finders with the system
- I travelled around the world several times with a GS-1, a couple of lenses, and a couple of backs that fit in my carry-on. The sytem is light and travels well.
I wish you luck in your search. They are all great systems.
If the goal lis lightweight 6x7 for landscape/documentary (i.e. not portraiture or macro) then I would recommend looking into these:
Mamiya 7/7ii (it's well worth the wait even if you need to save up)
and there is also the Fuji GW/GSW680. But note: none of these cameras is well suited for portraiture or macro: they don't close focus (without a lot of fuss) and the lenses aren't rather slow.
The rb is a great, inexpensive, all 'round performer, really fabulous for macro and portraiture etc., but as you know, it is not nearly as handholdable as the above. But you can get way more bang for your buck with the rb system than just about anything else, and I think it is a great way to get started in medium format. N.b. the rz is slightly lighter and much more automated and can also take most of the less expensive rb lenses. I shoot 6x8 pretty routinely on the rb67 pro sd, it is my go-to camera for closeups of any sort.
I think I've used all the roll film formats (with the exception of 6x8) and the only one I wouldn't care to work with again is 6x7. I just didn't like the shape of the pictures - almost square but not quite. One can always crop, of course, but I like to print full frame most all the time.
I like square pictures very much, as well as the 35mm 2:3 aspect ratio. At this point, I've got three 6x6 cameras plus the Fuji GW 690. The Fuji is a wonderful camera, fairly affordable, and handles very much like 35mm. For me, it's a great companion to a Rollei.
Anyway, good luck with your decision!
East Snook, TX
If you want an all around hand held medium format (6x9) buy a second hand old style folding camera.
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I have always liked my Pentax 6x7. You would be surprised how easy it is to get accustomed to shooting hand held by flipping up the mirror then releasing the shutter right afterward. Believe it or not, that is actually helpful for portraiture when you tell your subject "hold until the second click." Of course, the clicks are quite audible. My two cents. BTW, I use the 135mm Macro much of the time.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
My vote (for me, perhaps not for you) would be for the RB67. They're cheap, rather plentiful, glass is really good and not too expensive, large negative that fits a standard format (8X10, 4X5, 16X20, et al) without cropping and really isn't too heavy until one starts piling on the accessories - the prisms are not light.
Price-wise, the RB and Hasselblad are close competitors in the used market.
Years ago, I used mine to shoot weddings (handheld with grip) and it didn't make me look like AAHNOLD. They are, however, better suited to a tripod.
One plus over some other cameras is the RB's leaf shutter - flash sync at any shutter speed (as is the Hassy).
I still have two RBs and one Hassyblad - and use them.
"Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy."
The Pentax 6x7 with the waist level finder (the cheapie one not the magnified one) and the 90mm 2.8 should come out to be about 4 pounds. Not really that heavy considering the quality. It's not hard to get hand-held shots with it either as long as you don't push your shutter speeds. You will have to pack your tripod on serious outings however. There is no way you will get the landscape shots you want (i.e. high aperture) without one. Personally I don't find the Pentax heavy but bulky- it's hard to pack in a bag, especially with a prism but otherwise it's very workable in the outdoors.
I agree with the Plaubel recommendation, but if your budget will not allow a Mamiya 7, then the Plaubel is out of reach. That leaves the various Fuji cameras as the only rangefinder choices.
In SLR 6x7, the RZ67 has really come down in price, and cane be outfitted to be slightly less weight than an RB67. I highly recommend getting a grip for either of those, if you want to shoot hand held. The prism finder is also a good idea, though with the rotating back the waist level finder is easy enough to use.
The Bronica GS1 is slightly lighter than the Mamiya RB/RZ67. Lenses arguably not as good, though I think the results could be very good with Bronica lenses.
The Pentax looks like a larger 35mm, but you will notice the weight difference. Lots of lenses available. Overall a fairly strong camera. Handling and ergonomics are very different than the Mamiya and Bronica SLRs . . . it really depends upon how well you comfortably operate the camera.
Ideally you could try out a few of these, or handle them. If nothing else, KEH does have a return policy, which few EBAY sellers will match.
Gordon Moat Photography
I am a big fan of the 35mm (2:3) aspect ratio (and the 6 x 6 square... go figure!) 645, 6 x 7, 4 x 5 and similar aspect ratios seem too "blocky" to me. I'd recommend you have a look at 6x9... classic proportion and the nice big (and convenient) roll film negative.
LOL...just read Resoman's reply above... we must have the same "aesthetic proportion" gene...!! I ended up with Hasselblads for the square and the later version of the Brooks Veriwide for 6 x 9... nice cause it takes Graflex XL backs and the XL polaroid back...
Last edited by tomkatf; 08-25-2008 at 02:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.