Which System Would YOU Buy?
I'm thinking seriously about getting back into medium format, what with the great prices on many items that used to be totally out of my reach. I've owned in the past a Yashica Mat 124G (my first MF camera), several Rolleiflexes, a couple of Zeiss Super Ikontas (wish I still had them, dang it!), and a nice Bronica EC-TL outfit. Right now, all I have to shoot with is 35mm and a DSLR, but I'm getting that itch again.
I shoot mostly outdoor photography, anything from landscapes to motorsports. Some portraits, but not a lot. I don't do weddings. I often use a tripod or monopod, especially with longer focal length lenses or close-up photography.
Here's the deal though:
I don't have much money to spend -- say $500 tops for a camera with finder, back, and lens.
I like the 6x6 format because I can crop in the viewfinder and I don't have to worry about rotating a camera or a back. The other option is 6x7. I'm not interested in 645, and yes, I realize that, once cropped a 6x6 is gonna be around 6x4.5 anyway, but I'd like to have the option of a square photo from a decent-size square neg or slide, if I want.
I want lenses with shutters so I can have flash sync at all speeds.
I want interchangeable backs and finders.
I want mirror lock-up.
I don't care about in-camera light meters, although a TTL prism would be nice for macro photography.
I don't care about TTL flash. I have a Luna Pro F, and a Metz 60-CT1 and I've found both to be a very reliable.
So, the way I see it, I have basically two system choices: Bronica or Mamiya. The Bronica SQa or SQai (the SQ doesn't have mirror lock up, from what I understand) or maybe the GS-1 (does it have a mirror up feature? I don't know). Or the Mamiya RB or RZ series. It appears that I would have to pick up the rather expensive double-cable release to access the mirror-up feature on the Mamiyas, though. I like the revolving back feature of the Mamiyas, and I like the bellows extensions. I guess it's a plus, as well, that they're still being made.
Anyway, these models fit my budget. Sadly, Hassy, Rollei, and the Fuji GX680 do not. Have I overlooked any obvious choice? The Kowa Super 66 maybe?
I have never used a lens-shutter Bronica, nor a Mamiya (other than an old C220), nor a Kowa, for that matter. I'll admit, though, that I'm leaning toward the Bronica SQa, mostly for its relative simplicity. So, given these choices, what would you be most likely to go for? I am also quite interested why you would choose one system over another.
Consider also a mamiya 645 pro. Very simple MLU, superb, fast and inexpensive lenses, even out to 500mm tele. And it's such a cute little bundle. That you say you do some portraits and also do motorsports suggests to me that the rb or rz may not be appropriate. I realize that you are not enthused about 645, but... if you are open to 6x7 then why not give it a chance....
P.S. The pro can take leaf shutter lenses that will give you synch at quite high speeds.
Go for Pentacon six ;-) -really!!
I love it....( having nikons (d90, f90x- n90s))
lot of great Zeiss lenses, - and dont't believe in "frame spacing" problem rumored around
..and don't worry about MLU-mirror is so soft...
cheers from former communist country ;-)
You don't leave us much for an advice: the only one left after the Bronica is the Mamiya RB 67....
It has everything you want for your price.
I was faced with the same challenge a few years ago, did the research, agonised over the commitment and finally chose...the Mamiya RB67 system. All the gear I bought was well used and cheap. It got a professional CLA and has worked without fault ever since.
By the way the mirror lock-up feature does NOT need a double cable release; just a finger on the body shutter release to click the mirror up and an ordinary release on the lens to fire the shutter.
Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.
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I recon a Hassy 500C (or even a C/M) with a good ol' silver 80mm Planar should be within reach. You will get everything on your wish-list and there is plenty to choose from if/when you decide to add lenses and film magazines.
After using an RZ67 II I pretty much fell in love with it...but it is heavy.
I bought a Bronica SQ-A, 50/3.5 PS, 80/2.8 S and 150/3.5 S along with a non-meter prism and a few 120 and 220 backs, in a situation very much like yours.
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?
I second Jim's advice... get a Bronica SQ-A.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc
hunt for a used hassy 500!