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  1. #1

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    Is the Extra 50% Worth It?

    The additional weight and bulk of a Mamiya RZ 67 over
    that of a Bronica ETRSi 6x4.5, or SQ for that matter:
    Does that additional weight and bulk justify when
    print quality is the standard?

    ALL things being equal a same scene printed 16x20 from
    the ET should appeare the same as a 20x24 from the RZ.
    The ET is though more capable. With it's one stop faster
    lens I can use a one stop slower film with it's finer grain
    and higher resolution.

    The choice is difficult. MY Mamiya lenses may be less sharp
    than my Bronica lenses at Near wide open aperatures. That
    be the case and working at near wide open the RZ's 50%
    additional negative means nothing, or worse.

    I'm sure others have wrestled with this problem.
    Which has won? Dan

  2. #2
    David Brown's Avatar
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    I have owned and used a tlr for decades, and I had Kowa Sixes (also 6x6) for about 10 years. I also have a 645. When I added the RB67, it was more of a jump in format than you might think. If you are cropping 6x6 negs to the 16x20 or 20x24 aspect ratios you mentioned, you are really closer to using only the "645" portion of the negative. In this case the 6x7 gives you twice as much, not just 50% more.

    However, the proof is in your own satisfaction. If a 645 neg, or a 6x6 (even if cropped) is giving you the results you like, than a larger negative from a bigger and heavier camera will not be "better". And, other factors, such as different lenses, make direct comparisons tricky.
    David
    Taking pictures is easy. Making photographs is hard.

    http://www.behance.net/silverdarkroom
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  3. #3
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    It's the same old thing. I think a bigger negative is always better if it's possible. In the end, the only two things that will affect your decision are age and budget. If you are young enough to bench press an RB, then do you have enough money to buy it? If so, then try it.

    I am able to lug around 4x5 or a Pentax 67. However, I keep scheming for some way to get around it. I just bought a baby stroller at the advice of some here but have not received it yet. I recall those pictures of India showing a family of 5 and a refrigerator on a moped. That is the direction I am heading with camera gear.
    Jerold Harter MD

  4. #4

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    On 16x20s the 6x7 neg will have more detail and tonality. If you are shooting off a tripod you can use the same film in both.

    at 11x14 there is not much in it, although by 12x16 the larger neg starts being noticeable if fine grain and creamy tones are your goals.

    The argument (normally touted by 35mm users that do not shoot larger formats) that smaller formats have higher resolution, wider apertures mean finer grain etc offsetting the larger neg...this is not true at all. In my experience from 35mm to 10x8, the bigger neg wins every single time if fine grain, tonality and image detail are your goals. The only issue is getting there (handling compromises which can be critical), which may entail tripods, bigger tripods, etc.

    At near wide apertures, I suspect the extra neg real estate will bring the resolution to parity if the Mamiya lenses are less sharp, but still elave you with better tonality. also remember that the RZ has a 110 2.8 available and that, for example, a 110mm lens at f4 probably produces about the same aparrent DOF as a 75mm at 2.8, roughly. I found the RZ lenses plenty sharp enough when I owned one. If this is for studio use, then great, but for carrying about there are other factors to consider such as size, weight and handling!

    My Mamiya 7 produces 20x16s that are noticeably superior to my 645 negs from the RF645 according to the stated criteria.

  5. #5

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    Over the years I have shot every format from 8x10 on down. I recently picked up a 645 pentax, my first 645 camera.
    I have always been of the mind that bigger is better, but I am now rethinking things. I have been very surprised by the quality of images I am able to get from this thing.
    I did a test, where using a tripod, I shot the same scene with my p645, and with my p67, using fuji acros. At 11x14 size prints, no one could tell which was which. I cranked my d2 as high as it would go with a 100mm lens, and [I]maybe[I] I could see a difference.
    I have come to the conclusion that there are so many variables involved that one cannot make blanket statements about format size and image quality.
    In my experience, the jump from 35 to 645 in image quality is enough that I have for the most part replaced the 35 with the 645.
    The bump in image quality to 6x7 from 645 is not as clear cut.
    You have to factor in the film, how it is processed, technique, lens quality of the camera, condition of the camera and lens, tripods, lens quality and condition of the enlarger, enlarger alignment, subject movement, etc., etc....
    Way too many variables to give a simple answer.

  6. #6
    jp80874's Avatar
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    The RZ was the wedding standard for a long time and is very plentiful and inexpensive relative to a few years back. Check the large camera stores in your area to see if there are any rentals you could try. If you find one the store would probably make you a great deal just to replace it with something that they are currently selling.

    I have one still and liked it until I shot 4x5, then 8x10, then 7x17. Now I don't need to enlarge, but I am also one of those people Jerold referred to who has a baby jogger for camera and gear. Ultimately it is all about what feels and looks right to you. The blessing of choices is also the curse.

    John Powers

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Have to agree with the above to some extent. The big jump is 35mm to 646 or 6x6. I don't shoot 6x7 but I do shoot 6x9 and there is a noticeable difference between 645 & 6x9.

    Comparing print quality between a 645 or 6x7 with decent lenses is less than the difference between a 10x8/10x12 print, or as you suggest a 16x20 / 20x24, the 6x7 negative size is not that significantly larger. Of course there is a slight difference but you're trading less weight & greater flexibility/portability and faster lenses against a much heavier system. I prefer to stick to my 645's and use a 6x9 back on my 5x4 only when I need to conserve 5x4 film when out backpacking.

    Ian

  8. #8
    keithwms's Avatar
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    It may be unintelligible to anyone but myself, but I have an apug blog on this topic of ISO/format/grain etc. It was a first attempt to see how much tradeoff between format size and "detail per grain" there really is, based on some basic ideas about signal amplification. I would assert that you shoot ISO 200 because there is half the light that would allow you to shoot ISO 100, and thus shooting at ISO 200 represents a two-fold amplification of signal (and noise), etc.....

    As I recall, my basic conclusion was that quadrupling the film area achieves roughly the same increase in detail/grain as shooting one stop lower ISO in the smaller format. And so I consider that kind of format jump to be significant for this kind of lens-speed-versus-ISO argument.

    Do please do note that the blog was just a quick think-out-loud exercise....

    But the bottom line, without a doubt, will be that the gear which makes you feel more productive will be the one that you reach for, time and time again. So just be honest with yourself about which gear choice that is.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  9. #9
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp80874 View Post
    The RZ was the wedding standard for a long time and is very plentiful and inexpensive relative to a few years back. Check the large camera stores in your area to see if there are any rentals you could try. If you find one the store would probably make you a great deal just to replace it with something that they are currently selling.

    I have one still and liked it until I shot 4x5, then 8x10, then 7x17. Now I don't need to enlarge, but I am also one of those people Jerold referred to who has a baby jogger for camera and gear. Ultimately it is all about what feels and looks right to you. The blessing of choices is also the curse.

    John Powers
    So it was you. I remember reading about oddballs with large cameras and baby strollers. I am almost in the group, but just with a 4x5. I could not believe that a good baby stroller can cost $500. I managed to find a double baby stroller that is longer and it is wide, and comes with a lower basket near the wheels but otherwise is just an aluminum frame and ways 20 pounds. It is intended for snapping in car seats to the frame. It will hold up to 100 pounds. I will have to mod the frame a but, probably with webbing, velcro, and bungees. The wheels are not the large bicycle tires but the front wheels swivel. The best thing is that it cost ~$95 shipping included. Can't wait to get it.
    Jerold Harter MD

  10. #10
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    So it was you. I remember reading about oddballs with large cameras and baby strollers. I am almost in the group, but just with a 4x5. I could not believe that a good baby stroller can cost $500. I managed to find a double baby stroller that is longer and it is wide, and comes with a lower basket near the wheels but otherwise is just an aluminum frame and ways 20 pounds. It is intended for snapping in car seats to the frame. It will hold up to 100 pounds. I will have to mod the frame a but, probably with webbing, velcro, and bungees. The wheels are not the large bicycle tires but the front wheels swivel. The best thing is that it cost ~$95 shipping included. Can't wait to get it.
    Jerold,

    I am just one of the guilty parties. There are quite a few owners here and on the LF Forum. This is the one I got on eBay about three years ago when I was using a Technikardan 45. The eBay seller seller said his son had outgrown it. He politely asked about my child and was amused when I told him about baby Linhof.

    http://babyjogger.com/performancesingle.htm

    John

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