Please help me sort out my 6x7 thoughts
For the last year or so I've been thinking about getting a 6x7 camera. This week I had an extra gig so I've got a little bit of fun money and I've decided to go ahead and go for the 6x7. I've always assumed that I would just get Pentax 67, but over the past few days I've started re-thinking it. Suddenly I'm intimidated by the weight, and I'm afraid that I would spend the money and never use it. This is just my hobby, and I spend a lot on paper and other stuff, so the camera itself can't be too pricey, otherwise I won't be able to print! So in other words, I can't afford the Mamiya 7, and I'm sure it's a fantastic system, but it's not an option for me right now.
I currently use an F100 and a Rolleiflex. I guess I generally shoot landscapes, but would also shoot portraits, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I almost exclusively shoot black and white. I like to throw my cameras in my camelback and shoot while we're out snowshoeing or hiking, or just have my nikon around my shoulder while I'm XC skiing...and while I have a couple of zooms for my nikon, my most used lenses are my 50mm and my 18-35mm. I make my husband carry the tripod.
I like the convenience of 35mm, and I like the beauty negs from my Rolleiflex, and I'm thinking about 6x7 for a specific project where I'd love a big negative, but don't see it in square. I'm not interested in 6x4.5, and I already have the 6x6 format, so here are my thoughts about the different 67 systems I've thought about, and I would love to hear from anyone who owns them, has tried them, or if there's anything I haven't considered.
Pentax 67- everyone I've talked to that has one says that it's a great camera, but it's a beast. I think all of them have in fact used the word beast. I'm not a small girl, but I tend toward wimpy hands/wrists sometimes, and while I know that all 6x7 cameras are going to be heavy, I'm a little intimidated. If I get one I'm intending to get the 67 version rather than a 6x7 version just because it will be newer and hopefully not need immediate cla or repairs. Is that silly? I also would want a 90mm and 45mm lens. Since I mostly just shoot b&w, the lack of interchangeable backs doesn't bother me. I would also get the wood hand grip, and while I have a spot meter, I'd probably still try to get a metered prism, just because. Also, while I think I want the 90mm lens, all of the kits on KEH right now come with the 105, is that a decent lens?
Fuji Gw670 any version-I don't know anyone who has one. I've read that they're light, which interests me, and while my Rolleiflex doesn't have interchangeable lenses and I don't really feel limited by that, I think I'd like that option, particularly on the wider end. I've also never used a rangefinder. But I am very curious about this camera...and curious about the 690 as well, so please feel free to offer opinions.
Mamiya RB-I think this is probably too heavy for what I have in mind. I think I could find one locally to look at in person, at least, but I don't know much about this camera. It just doesn't strike me as a "throw it in my camelback and go out on skis" kind of camera. (I realize that probably no 6x7 really is.) But I'm very interested in anyone's opinions, and the rotating back thing does intrique me.
Bronica gs-1-I'm *very* curious about this camera, but it seems like there aren't as many people using them out there. It's lighter, so I'm interested, but don't know anyone who has one, and so can't see one in person. Are the lenses good? As good as the Pentax? I know there aren't as many focal lengths to choose from, but again I don't really use the longer lenses that much. I'd probably go with the 50mm and 100mm. Do people prefer the grip on the bronica or not?
I think at this point my preference is probably Pentax first, then Bronica, but I'm just working through all my thoughts and trying to balance it all out, probably over-thinking it, too. And a lot of my indecision has to do that with the Bronica I would just be ordering one sight unseen without knowing anyone personally who has owned one and can give recommendations or not.
As far as buying, I'm looking at KEH mostly, ebay secondarily.
Anyway, I know posts like this are annoying, thank you very much for bearing with me. It's probably going to be helpful just having written it all down, maybe ow it won't echo around inside my empty ole head all day now.
Thanks again for your time,
I have a Pentax 67, both the non-metered mirror lock-up model and the newer Pentax 67II. If you go with the pentax, get the 67II which has an excellent metering system including spot metering. While it is a beast, it is very well built. If you are trying to go light, the 67II with a 90 mm lens is not bad. I carry a 67II, 165 mm and 90 mm lens in an rounded top, rectangular (barn shaped) insulated lunch box with several rolls of film and a filter or two in the top. It is very manageable. From what I have seen, the 67II goes for about $1200 used which is quite a bit more than the regular 67MLU.
The Bronica GS-1 is lighter than the Pentax and the lenses are supposed to be top rate but good luck finding them. They do have interchangeable backs also, and the Pentax does not, but that added extra weight and bulk.
The 6x7 Fuji rangefinders might be a good bet for you in terms of lightness and convenience. But they are limited to a single focal length and are also a little harder to find.
I've have and use a P67 that I bought new about ten years ago. I have the 55, 105, and 200mm lenses. I've run countless rolls of film through it with great success, but I've never used it handheld, nor would I ever choose to! One of the best features of this system is the mirror lock-up, which, when the body is used on a tripod, helps keep the negs as sharp as possible. But, to actually use it like a 35mm camera without the pod would put sharp negs at serious risk because of some pretty significant mirror slap.
Having several systems is a really good idea when your shooting styles vary a good deal. For your "around my shoulder" X-country skiing moments, stick with the 35mm.
I have an RB67, Rolleiflex 2.8C and a Fuji GW690. The Fuji wins hands down! It is my camera of choice
I second the motion for getting a 67II if you decide on a Pentax 6x7 system. The 67II has a built in grip which is very nice. The 67 would require an accessory hand grip.
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Lots to think about. 6x7 cameras tend to be big and heavy. I have a Pentax 67 and Nikon F100. If you can handle the F100, which is fairly heavy, you can probably handle the Pentax 67 as well. The 67 is bigger than the F100 and a little heavier, some people might call it a beast when compared to the weight of a Nikon N80 which I also have, but I never thought of it as a beast. The Pentax 67 could become a little tiresome if you were handholding it for lots of shots during a long day, the lenses are also bigger and heavier than 35mm lenses. You may need a more substantial tripod for the Pentax 67, I don't know what you are using now, that could also add to the weight. I have the 45mm which is a great lens, but have never used the 105 or 90. The 45 may be wider than you imagine. There are forumlas for converting these to 35mm equivalents but the shape of a 35mm negative is different, a 67 negative is much more square, and to me, the 45mm Pentax 67 lens looks a lot like a 20mm lens in 35mm. There is also a 55mm lens that is probably as good as the 45mm. I also have a 75mm, which is about like a 35mm lens in 35mm and I use this lens more than any other for landscapes. I also have the 165 2.8 which is about like an 85mm in 35mm that I use a lot for portraits and sometimes for landscapes. The 90 and 105 are more or less "normal" lenses for the 67 and I can usually get away with using the 75 or 165. I replaced the screen with a Maxwell screen and liked it a lot better than the standard focusing screen. Places like KEH often have Pentax 67 bodies with brightscreens, they will also let you return the camera.
my favorite camera of many that i have, plaubel makina folder. fits in an oversize pocket, very sharp lens.
i haven't checked KEH lately but that is were i got mine several years ago
I have a Mamiya RB 67 and when I got a few years ago, I thought it was too heavy to carry around. After a while I got used to it and now like it.
I love the big negative and the rotating back. Don't let the size and weight scare you.
You've seen my bronica sq-a. From what I've seen the Bronica Gs-1 cameras are slightly bigger. The downside of the gs1 system is the lack of a revolving back, so you would have to tilt the camera, which means you would want a prism finder and a grip. Both add weight and bulk. The only advantage I see going the bronica over the pentax is the ability to change backs.
Here's a vote for the Koni-Omega/Rapid Omega cameras. Not small, but not too heavy. Absolutely superb lenses, though there are only four of them. With the Omega Rapid 200 and the Koni-Omega Rapid M (I think that's the correct name), you can swap backs mid-roll, if that's an important consideration.
The cameras take a little bit of getting used to, just because their controls are a little different (like pull-push film advance), but they are very rugged and extremely affordable.