If you love 6x6, you really should get a Hassie - a complete 500c should be well within your budget of $500, you will enjoy it more than a Bronica.
If you want the larger negative, the RB67 is a great choice also, and accessories are cheap.
The Bronica isn't that simple. With the right bits you can have a full automated system. It's a fairly powerful range.
If you're mostly on the tripod then the RZ is a good choice. The bodies tend to be newer then the RB and so are the lenses.
I had several medium format cameras and eventually ended with a hasselblad 500.
Some years ago i was not able to own one, but when the prices dropped i took my change.
-lens quality is very good
-no electronics (they will eventually fail)
-a mountain full of lenses and other stuff available
-prices are now reasonable
Last edited by Willie Jan; 01-19-2009 at 05:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Twenty five years ago I'd have gone for a Bronica SQ for square format, but I choose Mamiya 645's instead.
Now though with second hand prices tumbling I'd buy a Hasselblad system for 6x6, far more reliable as others have already said.
Thanks for all the responses. After posting my message, I browsed eBay wondering about the Hassy 500C or possibly the C/M. Checking the "completed listings" I was surprised to find that the older C model's typical selling price, with a finder, back, and lens, was right at my budgeted max price. So, that's definitely something I need to consider. Great thing about the Hassy system is the available lenses and accessories for it would fill a fair-sized book. But I also tell myself that I could probably pick up an RB or SQ-A with a couple or three lenses for this same amount. Decisions, decisions.
At any rate -- unfortunately, it looks like I will have to postpone this purchase for a while. This past week, both my wife's and my cars developed "issues." Her car's water pump sprang a leak, and mine has started dying unexpectedly (I think it's the flywheel sensor going out). Having these repairs done will exhaust my funds for a while.
Another question, since it's been so long since I've shot medium format: is there any point in picking up 220 backs? I've read that the available film in 220 is not very good, while there's still a decent selection for 120. In the past, I shot some B&W, but mostly slides. Nowadays, though, I'll be scanning the slides and negatives, so when it comes to shooting in color, I probably will go with whatever has the best latitude, which probably means print film.
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I'm with PhotoJim and papagene. The Bronica Sqb is a great system and fits your needs per your post. There is lots of gear out there as well.
220 film is more difficult to get, not available in most emulsions, and costs more than 120 film (per frame).
So no, don't bother. (The price of used 220 film backs indicates that most people who once did don't anymore too.)
That said, the best print film (Portra) is still available in 220 rolls.
Still more expensive than 120 rolls though.
Most of the places I have seen 220 film for sale charge exactly twice the price for 120 film, so in that case the cost of running the film is the same.
For some types of photography the freedom of shooting twice as many frames before reloading can be extremely convenient. 220 backs are indeed very cheap and even if you don't use 220 much, this convenience doesn't come at that much of a cost.
To be sure the films available are limited, but common colour negative films are still readily available, along with Kodak TXP 320 (a black-and-white emulsion).
If you only get one back, absolutely ensure it's a 120 back, but I think a 220 back is worth owning if you plan to do portraiture or anything else where longer rolls would be very convenient.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
Are you sure?
Originally Posted by PhotoJim
I have retired my 220 backs among other things because (though you are right about convenience - great for travelling, 220 film) 220 film is more expensive anywhere i look.
Not by much, i know. But still.
(Other part of the reason is that 12 frames per roll often is quite a lot already, and i find myself often 'filling' a roll with unneeded duplicates of what i have managed to capture using the first quarter of the roll. I guess i should switch to sheet film. )
For some cameras, you use the same back, and just change inserts. The Mamiya 645 manual focus cameras work that way.
I have found that if someone is selling a 220 "back" for a Mamiya 645 (i.e. a back with a 220 insert), it often is for less than the cost of a back with a 120 insert - sometimes the difference is more than enough to pick up a 120 insert alone.