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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiltw View Post
    OMG, the Bronica with speed grip and prism viewfinder are much like using 35mm SLRs (merely a bit bigger and heavier).

    Body + AEIII prism + 120 back (no film) + Speed Grip = 3 lb 3 oz.
    40mm lens = 1 lb 2 0z.
    that's what they say. the weight makes it harder to pull off, though.

    i want to see how modular 6x4.5 cameras handle when they have a prism but no grip. the mamiya m645/1000s have two shutter buttons, which seems like a nice feature for grip-less operation.

  2. #32
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    The Bronica handles nicely. The 645, 6X6 and 6X7 are very similar in design, features, handling and accessories.

    The accessory Speed Grip mounts easily and makes it handle similarly to a big 35, along the lines of the Pentax. It has a hot flash shoe on it. It winds manually in two strokes, but is still pretty fast. The camera's very well balanced with it.

    There are three motors from different times, with the newest the lightest and most compact. All advance at about one frame per second. I only use mine when I really need it, like shooting macro close to the ground, or to simplify use on a tripod.
    The rest of the time I use the Speed Grip or the crank, as they are both nearly as fast. With the larger lenses, like the 250 or 105 1:1 macro, both work well but I sort of prefer the crank, because I can handhold it easily with one hand under the lens and one under the body and get great balance. The waist level finder is really light and makes it easy to shoot fast in horizontal orientation. Together with the crank it makes a surprisingly light, well balanced setup.

    Changing shutter speeds is quick and easy. DOF preview is on the lens and also quite handy. The viewfinder is bright enough for me, even with the 250mm f/5.6. I prefer a plain screen, and even though I'm no youngster I can see well enough to focus in decent light. I use the split image or microprism spot screen if I'm in really dim light. I only have Bronica screens and don't know how well other brands would work.

    With smaller, lighter lenses, handling either with or without the Speed Grip is good, and I pick one or the other method depending on whether I'm looking for a little more speed and ease of handling or less weight and bulk. The leaf shutters mean shutter vibration is very low so any vibration comes from the mirror, and is not bad. The mass and low vibration make it easy for me to handhold at slower shutter speeds. With the mirror locked up there is very little vibration. Of the ETR series, only the ETR-Si has mirror lockup.

    The lenses all have leaf shutters, so are somewhat bulkier and heavier compared to lenses for the Pentax. They are well made, solid and smooth. They all have Seiko shutters regulated by the electronics in the camera, and are quite reliable. Snap-on lens hoods are easily found, as is a bellows hood. All single focal length lenses from 40mm to 250mm take 62mm filters, except the 105mm f/4.5 1:1 Macro, which takes 67mm filters.

    I use mine for everything I use a 35 for, which means landscape to macro, though often macro is still done with the 35. I sometimes walk around with it and two or three lenses like the 40, 75, and 150, a preloaded insert or two, and a back with B+W in it, enabling me to change between B+W and color anytime I want. I'm planning on getting a 50mm, as they're not expensive and the 40 is sometimes a little too wide for me.

    Where the Bronica really shines, for me, is when I'm shooting on a tripod, mainly landscape and some closeup/macro. If I'm going to set up a tripod I would rather use a medium format camera and gain its advantages. I have an AEIII prism, which meters well, with center-weighted and spot metering. I use that when I need it, but often determine exposure by different means. I have the Action Finder, which looks similar to the action finder on a Nikon F2 or F3, though much bigger. It allows me to see the whole finder image from almost six inches away. Excellent for tripod mounted work, as I can view the image in a more relaxed fashion. It's also good for following little kids around the yard, as I can see what's happening without having the camera stuck to my face. I also have the rotary finder, which I find most useful for shooting near the ground in vertical orientation. It's big though, and has pincushion distortion, so I only use it when I really need it.

    The Bronica has a lot of versatility.
    I like being able to set it up the way I want. I like being able to manually wind when I don't want the sound of the motor. The interchangeable finders are very useful to me; if I had a Pentax I'd have to have the refconverter (angle finder). I find the interchangeable backs are very useful. I'm using the 35mm pano back with Kodachrome for some great shots. The pano back lets me use films not available in 120/220, and also not have to crop a regular image to panoramic format.

    BTW, it also has TTL auto flash with an in body sensor, so it works with any finder, or none at all. Shutter speeds are 1/500th to 8 seconds, plus B. For long exposures the lenses have a T (Time) position which uses no battery power. The viewfinder shows 94% of the image, better than many 35's.

    It does not have multi-segment metering or a 1/1000th second shutter speed, or exposure data imprinted on the film, like the later Pentax 645's. It does not have autofocus. It does not have an instant return mirror, which is no big deal to me. MF is just different that way.

    The Pentax is most like a 35mm camera, in my opinion. It gives up some versatility to get that. When the Pentax 645 first came out it sounded great. I tried it and didn't like it much at all. So you never know till you try it.The newer Pentaxes look to be much improved. I might like one if I tried it. One thing about the Bronicas is the bodies and lenses are both inexpensive. Older Hasselblads are cheap, but the lenses are not.

    Spare parts and factory service will be available from Tamron until late next year. Service and parts will be around for many years after that, just as with old cameras today. Koh's camera in NY specializes in Bronica and does factory repairs for Bronica.

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by slnce-z-gsi View Post
    You are indeed not the first that tends to prefer older Mamiyas to Later Pro or Pro TL models. Is it just the finis of the body or is there more to the difference? How do the newer and older Mamiyas compare? What is your main usage of the Mamiya M645 (weddings ..?)

    Mamiya In general - I would love to hear more comments on differences between Older "metal" Mamiyas , Pro/Pro TL and AFD models. It is quite confusing (apart from the AF and backs)
    I shoot landscapes, people, little animals, flowers, bicycles, rust etc. I'm strictly amateur, and have never shot a wedding or similar. I'm fairly slow and methodical when shooting, and find the original M645 suits my shooting style quite well.

    The older metal clad Mamiyas and the newer plastic clad ones are quite different. They share film inserts and lenses, but that's about it that's common.

    The spec of the two Mamiyas I've used is:

    Mamiya Super: Super body, 120 back, AE metered prism and unmetered waist level finder, hand winder.

    Mamiya M645: Original M645 body (1/500 sec max shutter), 120 insert, PD metered prism and unmetered waist level finder, hand winder (from a 1000s).

    Lenses (common to both): 45mm f/2.8 C N, 55mm f/2.8 C, 80mm f/2.8 C, 80mm f/1.9 C, 150mm f/2.8 A.

    The super is a great camera, don't get me wrong. It takes fantastic, clear photos, is reliable, and is wonderfully easy to use (easier than the M645, which is a bit more manual).

    What I liked about the super mostly was the level of automation. It has an AE prism that you can set to spot, average, or auto (it decides), and the exposure is always right. Setting it to manual exposure is simply a matter of spinning the exposure dial off AE to a number. The ergonomics were quite well thought out. You cradle it with your left hand with your left index finger on the shutter release, and the exposure, aperture and focus rings are all easily accessible with your right hand without having to look at what you're doing.

    What I disliked about the super was that it felt kinda cheesy. The body is clad in plastic, the winder is all plastic, the prism is plastic (and overhangs the back) and the back is plastic. Mine showed significant signs of use (probably by a wedding photographer), and there were a few bits where the plastic was starting to crack. The lens mount is recessed a little, which makes operating the M/A slider on the lens to do DoF preview quite fiddly. When you wind it, it doesn't feel that rugged. Don't get me wrong, it never let me down.

    My M645 was a bit of a basket case when I got it. All the foam had rotted, and the lining in the mirror box had turned to mush. Added to that, the frame counter didn't reset properly. That said, it had had a lot less use than my super. After a thorough CLA, it came up beautifully, looking like new.

    So what I like about the M645 is that it feels like a well made watch. The winder is smooth and positive, everything fits together really perfectly, and it's all built to last. Operation with the PD prism is quite well thought out - set the exposure dial on the body to the circle, press the button on the prism to wake the meter, then adjust either the shutter speed dial on the prism or the aperture ring so the green led lights. It's easy to get to the M/A switch on the lenses, and the second shutter release button on the top is really cool.

    Using the M645 with the waist level finder is a tad more awkward, as the body shutter speed dial is on the wrong (left) side, so you have to reach across the body to set the shutter speed. The other gripe with the M645 is that there's no way to change backs mid-roll. You have to use the whole roll before you can open the back up and replace the film. On the super, you can have several backs pre-loaded.

    So for my shooting style (slow, deliberate) the M645 is perfect. Sure, there's no AE mode, and the film that's in it has to stay in it until it's all exposed, but that's no biggy. After all, they're only 15 shots - not the 36 shots that you have to do with 35mm.

    Here's the weights of various M645 bits (I sold my super, so can't weigh it):

    M645 body with 120 insert and focus screen but no film: 940g
    PD prism: 511g
    waist level finder: 186g
    45/2.8: 474g
    55/2.8: 394g
    80/1.9: 430g
    150/2.8: 754g

    A typical setup (body, PD prism, 80/1.9) weighs 1900g.
    Last edited by suzyj; 03-13-2010 at 01:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #34
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    It's intriguing to me how personal some perceptions are .

    I've always preferred the construction of the Mamiya M645 Super and Pro to the earlier models. I've always felt that the construction of the older models seemed somewhat clunky and unrefined, while the newer models seemed smoother.

    There is a fair amount of plastic on the outside of the newer models, but in my experience it is durable plastic, and the structural parts are metal or glass, wherever appropriate.

    I think at least part of my perception is related to the leatherette covering on the older models - I've seen quite a few that look really worn.

    I tend to use my cameras (Super and Pro) with the left-hand grip with built in electronic release and hot shoe. With bracket in hand, the A-M switch is easily adjusted with my left index finger. The winding lever is easily operated with my (not fully dexterous) right hand.

    All of which is to say that it is difficult for us to tell what will work best for you.

    Matt

  5. #35
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    contax and a 2/80mm........enough said

  6. #36

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    you guys are just great. I really appreciate all your replies.

    Indeed - the left hand grip would be an option - I do not really need a motor winding. I just want to camera to be as comfortable to hand hold as possible - at least with lenses up to 110 - 150mm.

    - MattKing -
    Uh, that the Mamiya AFD is really heavy. But - do I get it right that actually the lightest of the Mamiyas are the Pro / Pro TL ones?
    At which shutter speeds (combined with a give lens) do you find the mirror lock up necessary?

    - peri24 -
    The Contax is indeed high on my list - if not the price I would not think twice. I have checked Flickr for some samples taken with the 80/2.0 and I can only confirm that in renders beautifully (I even found some 4000x4000 pixel samples with the Kodak back). I have also heard that the 120mm macro is great but that would mean longer starving (err ... saving). Looking at the weight with a standard lens I seem to come to a number of about 1800 - 1900 g. Is that correct? Also - is there anything that you find less than optimal on the Contax?

    - lxdude -
    Yes - the leaf shutters do have an appeal - I actually to here and than some shots with studio flash where faster sync is an advantage (one does not need to be so picky about the background lights). So you say that the mirror is not itself a limitation for handhold shooting? Built in Flash TTL is nice too - I did not know about that.

    - suzyj -
    I do agree that the weight during shooting is not the main concern, but as I plan during the trips to carry the camera in some sort of shoulder bag it would be nice to save 500g. As I am after AE I would probably choose some of the Pro / Pro TL models in case of Mamiya.

    Now - I would love to hear more about the Pentax. I have read that the mirror on the 645NII is very well damped - how is it with the 645 and 645N? What are the real life differences between these 3 modes? What are the ready-to-shoot weights?

    In general - how do you find your lenses (of your particular setups) to perform wide open? Which are your favorites (for the picture quality)?

  7. #37
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    Matus:

    I think that the Super and Pro models are probably the lightest when you are considering the full kit (body, back, finder, winder).

    Obviously, I don't use mirror lock up when hand holding. As far as tripod use is considered, I don't usually even think of using mirror lock up, because I've never really encountered a slide or negative where lack of mirror lock up has clearly affected my results.

    As far as my lenses are concerned (45N, 55, 70, 110, 150 f/3.5, and 210), I have no problems with any of them, and never hesitate to use them wide open, when circumstances dictate. They are very consistent when it comes to sharpness and contrast and colour rendition. Under high flare conditions they vary slightly, but not in any way that is particularly objectionable.

    I did have an older C version of the 45 that was a lot bigger than the 45 in N version, but it was of good quality (although a bit more prone to flare.

    The 70mm is an old model leaf shutter version. I don't use it often, but it functions well. Unless you have the Pro Tl and the latest versions of the leaf shutter lenses and the appropriate extra cables, leaf shutter use with the Mamiya 645 cameras can be quite fiddly.

    Matt

  8. #38

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    I have a Mamiya 1000S that I use handheld (using prism)with a left side handle and other times with the WLF. The lenses are excellent. I think it's a great camera for what I want, but have to admit that I didn't make many comparisions.

    Something else to consider regarding the Pentax 645 is that Pentax just/finally released their 645D (digital) camera and I've read on another forum that the older 645 lenses have virtually disappeared from places like KEH. Like the Pentax DSLR's, this camera will accept all of the older lenses, including the 67 lenses, with an adapter.

  9. #39

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    I use a Contax 645 and the 120 mm macros is probably my most used lens. Stunning for macro work, but I recommend getting a separate focussing rail rather than using the lens itself to focus if you want to shoot macro.
    The only problem I´ve had with it was when I was out in driving rain. I think water got onto the lens-body electrical contacts. It stopped working completely. After I dried it out there haven´t been any more problems, but I haven´t taken it out in such horrible conditions. No problem with it working at -18C in dry conditions.
    If you use the autofocus a lot the battery doesn´t last long. I generally use MF anyway, so it isn´t a problem, and the 120 mm Macro lens doesn´t have AF.

    Pete
    Last edited by Pete H; 03-13-2010 at 05:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #40
    ath
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    Quote Originally Posted by slnce-z-gsi View Post
    Now - I would love to hear more about the Pentax. I have read that the mirror on the 645NII is very well damped - how is it with the 645 and 645N? What are the real life differences between these 3 modes? What are the ready-to-shoot weights?
    Matus,

    when I decided to buy a 645 I checked the possible candidates and ended up with the Pentax 645N. Avoid the plain 645, the controls are limited and akward. The NII added a little more features but my understanding is that the hardware is the same as the N.
    I shot Makros with the 645N on a tripod (comparable to Manfrotto / Bogen 190) and the pictures are sharp (Acros).

    You can get manuals for in depth comparisom at http://www.butkus.org/chinon/pentax.htm
    Regards,
    Andreas

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