I started off with a Mamiya C330f and recently gave my outfit to a budding photographer who couldn't afford to buy an MF camera. I can recommend them, The lenses are excellent and a good introduction to leaf-shutter lenses. Hassleblads are cameras to aspire to, but not perhaps the best introductory camera. I intend to buy my first V series Hassleblad later this year (drools in anticipation).
Film Cameras currently used:
Large/Stort-format: Ebony 45SU (field camera), Medium/Medlem-format: Mamiya 7, Hasselblad 503CW
35mm/Små format: Nikon: F4, D800 (yes digital, I know)
You will happy with most medium format cameras, personally I'll go with RB67, it won't break you bank account.
Go with a Mamiya RB67, the best choice for quallity & price.
If you are rich; go for the Hassie. If not; go Mamiya: M645 or RB6X7 . Great quality, lenses as sharp as any.
People around here can get a usable Mamiya, Hasselblad, or other such series cameras for the OP's price range of 100 pounds? Usable meaning every part needed to actually shoot film.
Yashica-Mat or Yashica-D TLR. It will show you what medium format film is capable of. You'll learn if a waist level viewfinder is even usable for you, which will affect the basic setup of your next medium format camera. Probably the safest entrance to MF without investing a lot while still getting decent quality shots.
Yes, there will probably be a next MF setup, along the lines of what others have recommended here. But something like the Yashicas with the Yashinon lens will get you good quality images, far far beyond a Holga or such, at a reasonable price. They are pleasant to use and don't weigh a ton. Once you get a taste with the Yashica, you'll be in a good position to determine where and how far to go next.
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Haha, great photo Kal.
Originally Posted by Shangheye
I toured so many MF cameras, I don't know if I can remember them all. Pretty much all of the fujis, the hassies, the pentaxes, the mamiyas, and some mini view cameras as well. It took me more than a year to begin to settle in my preferences. Looking back, I adored the fuji 645 fix lens RFs but wished for interchangeable lenses, so my favourite landscape/documentary camera became the mamiya 6, which is probably still my favourite camera overall, in all formats. But it has a serious limitation for closeup and limited DOF work, so I also settled on the rb and rz systems for macro, closeup, people and such. I also have several mamiya 645 systems and I like them a lot, especially for travel. The 645 pro is superb and very modular, and a complete kit might fit inside a ~$300 budget.
As a first-timer's med. format camera around your price range, I think I would recommend one of the fixed lens fujis. It's one of those things that you will eventually want to replace with a system camera... but you will still enjoy it very much and want to have it with you for travel. The fujis are very well made and unlikely to fail... and you will know within minutes of unpacking it whether it is in good working order.
I have concerns about going too far back in time on your first med format camera... I think you really don't want to be up against all kinds of equipment problems without even knowing how to identify them. Get something fairly current and reliable. You will probably want to try some inexpensive old folders and such, and they can be very nice, so go for it... but I just don't think that's such a wise option at first.
I've heard good things about the Fuji fixed lens cameras. The Bronica SQs seems to be a lot of value for your money too.
I always love these threads. Here's my contribution to the maelstrom in order of preference:
1. Rolleicord / Rolleiflex (but only if you can deal with not having exchangeable lenses) (Rolleiflex 2.8F if you're well-funded, Rolleicord if you're not) (simple, light and fun);
2. Mamiya RB67 or Hasselblad C/M 500 (Mamiya if you're in the studio more and if you prefer 6x7 format, Hasselblad if you're well-funded) (I love these for the flexibility that exchangeable lenses and backs provide);
3. Mamiya 6 (if you need something you can fit in your carry-on when you're on the run to Paris) (the Schwarzenegger of rangefinders);
4. Voigtlander Perkeo (if you need something you can fit in your jacket when you're on the run to Paris, you're nostalgic and you don't mind taking time to find one in great condition and have it CLA'd)
Whatever you choose, know that MF is just awesome. Also know that I look forward to seeing your similar post regarding 4x5 equipment in a couple years time.
"There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri
to throw another thing at you: Graplex XL which is a press camera with Zeiss (same as Hasselblad) at fraction of cost... yes Planars and Sonnars... wide angles are super angulons ... does 6x9 120 rollfilm and pretty much can be had for almost nothing. they also had a superwide version. short of that, an old baby crown graphic (or century graphic). use it hand held with the rangefinder. or you can mount on a tripod and use the ground glass, just like a view camera. no movements on the XL but the crown/century has all the right moves
if you end up liking the camera there is a cult following of modifications
Last edited by williamtheis; 04-22-2010 at 10:50 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I was recently in your shoes. I found that a TLR was the best quality for the price.
I got a Rolleiflex Automat from 1955 for under $200 USD, but there are other good TLR that can be gotten cheap: Rolleicords, Yashica Mat, Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex, or Minolta Autocord to name a few. I'd stick with post-war models for anything you get.
Folding cameras can be another option, but in general, they may have more maintenance problems. I recently got my 2nd MF camera, a Ikonta folding camera for $75. It has "only" a 3-element lens and there is no rangefinder. There are a LOT of models out there. Mine is a postwar 523/2 (a 6x9). The 6x6 version is the 523/16. The 524/2 and 524/16 are similar models with a built-in uncoupled rangefinder.
I would get the TLR first, but beware, MF is addicting.