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  1. #1

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    getting started with medium format

    I needed some direction in getting started with medium format, or advice if I should even get a medium format camera.

    My main reason for wanting a medium format camera is to get better resolution photos. I have used a 35 mm camera for over 2 decades. I am an amateur who likes to take pictures of people, mostly my family and friends.

    I also have a very limited budget. I could spend 300 dollars to get started, though I would still have to save up to spend even this. I would be satisfied with starting with an outfit that had just a normal (the equivalent of a 50 mm (80 mm?) lens). I assume I could use the flash equipment I already own, manual flashes such as the Sunpak 383, with a medium format camera.

    Ideally, the medium format camera would have a high sync speed. Right now, my Minolta only has a sync speed of 1/60 of a second, which limits my ability to use a flash outdoors. I have thought of getting a Nikon FM2, but then I wondered if instead I should save my money for a medium format camera. Ever since I owned my first camera way back even before there was such a thing as a digital camera, I have wanted a medium format camera, but never considered buying one because of the price. But now that one can get them fairly cheap on ebay, I have reconsidered.

  2. #2

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    Hi phthenry,

    One of the main reasons I like medium format is because you can make larger prints without having a grainy image.
    maezabeth

  3. #3
    michael9793's Avatar
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    check out a mamyia, pentax, at e-bay under medium foremat. I have a hassy and a pentax both medium the hassy is 6x6 and the pentax is a 6x7. more of a standard foremat. The pentax also has a 35mm look to it. the mamyia is another style but good. once you get an Idea of which one you are interested in, check out google and and there should be areas like Photo-eye which has commits on the different cameras by different people.

    mike a
    "Capturing an image is only one step of the long chain of events to create a beautiful Photograph” See my updated website: mandersenphotography.com

  4. #4
    michael9793's Avatar
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    maezabeth,
    welcome to APUG hope you have years of great times like I have.
    michael andersen
    "Capturing an image is only one step of the long chain of events to create a beautiful Photograph” See my updated website: mandersenphotography.com

  5. #5
    Chris Nielsen's Avatar
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    Hi, have you checked KEH.com ?? They have MF outfits of various flavors starting at like $200

  6. #6
    Polybun
    Quote Originally Posted by phthenry View Post
    Ideally, the medium format camera would have a high sync speed. Right now, my Minolta only has a sync speed of 1/60 of a second, which limits my ability to use a flash outdoors. I have thought of getting a Nikon FM2, but then I wondered if instead I should save my money for a medium format camera. Ever since I owned my first camera way back even before there was such a thing as a digital camera, I have wanted a medium format camera, but never considered buying one because of the price. But now that one can get them fairly cheap on ebay, I have reconsidered.
    Well, the little folding range finders will suprise you, and many of them have full sync shutters!

    Latelly for photographing bmx racing I've been using a Mamiya Press. full sync shutter, so I can have strobe sync at 1/500th for doing fill flash on those anoying clear sky days. (if i wanted clear sunny skys, i wouldn't live in portland!)

    Even better, you can get a Mamiya press rig for right around $300 with a couple of backs. I will admit, mine was problematic at first. I had endless light leak problems, couldn't find it! Finally, it turned out to be a foam seal around the lens release button! 5 minute fix!


  7. #7
    papagene's Avatar
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    For use with flash sync at all speeds I would recommend these systems (in no particular order):
    Bronica Etrs (6x4.5 SLR)
    Bronica SQA (6x6 SLR)
    Mamiya RB67 (6x7 SLR)
    Mamiya RZ67 (6x7 SLR)
    Mamiya C330 (6x6 TLR)
    Mamiya C220 (6x6 TLR)

    Other suggestions include (these two do not have interchangeable lenses):
    Yashica Mat 124g (6x6 TLR)
    Rollieflex (6x6 TLR - if you can find an older model in your price range)

    The following MF cameras can be used with leaf shutter lenses, but normally sync at slower shutter speeds with their standard lenses:
    Mamiya 645 Super or Pro (6x4.5 SLR)
    Pentax 67 (6x7 SLR)

    If you do some research (the Search feature here on APUG is very helpful) and ask a lot questions, I am sure you will find something that you will enjoy using.

    gene
    gene LaFord


    Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
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    "I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc

  8. #8
    winger's Avatar
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    I love my Pentax 645N. With the normal lens (75mm), I can handhold it in most situations. The 120mm lens is great for portraits, but is a little heavy for me unless I'm shooting at pretty fast speeds. I don't remember the flash sync speed off the top of my head (I don't use flash much), but it might be 1/125 or 1/60. Basically, it's a 35mm on steroids.

  9. #9
    Chazzy's Avatar
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    A Rapid Omega 200 just went for under $150 on eBay. The Koni-Omega and Rapid Omega cameras, lenses and accessories are probably the best bargain in medium format. As for synch speed, the lenses have leaf shutters, so there is x synch all the way to 1/500. The cameras are also very rugged. An occasional CLA on the backs is all you will need.
    Charles Hohenstein

  10. #10
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    There are many options for getting into medium format ranging from free to second mortgage in terms of cost. Papagene's list is comprehensive but if you are happy with a fixed, normal focal length lens, the Rolleiflex and the cheaper (but not inferior) Rolleicord are also good options.
    The Yashicaflex and Minolta Autocord are similar to these and can also produce good results.

    EDIT: Oh! He did mention those. I must have skipped two lines whilst reading the post!



    Steve.
    Last edited by Steve Smith; 11-10-2008 at 08:25 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Read the whole post!
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

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