Check the minimum focus for the lenses on this camera. How close are you planning to get. This system is $$$$
Mamiya 7 - 6x7 negative is probably a good thing, the range finder system I am used to, and they are pretty portable, only downside is the price of the body and a wide angle lens. And the range finder, much as I like them, does not allow precise framing.
My advise is to get an RB67, which will be a small amount these days, use it and see. Who wants to eventually build a system, why not have it sooner rather than later. Besides in this economy why over spend, a 6X7 negative is nothing to sneeze at. All this being said I think someone mentioned a 4X5 and I would say that a 4X5 with an international back so you can used roll film holders would be a very good choice. Graflex etc.. Then you would have a system that is really flexible.
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
Hmm, so many choices...
Last night night I was thinking I *want* the GF670, but it's expensive and not really what I need in terms of focal length, also, maybe the lens is unproven. The Mamiya 7 is close to precisely what I want, but with a wide angle lens, very expensive. The Mamiya AFD can be had for less than £500 with the 80mm, and I've seen 35mm manual focus lenses going for <£300, that would make the whole package less than half the price of the Mamiya 7 I think.
I probably don't need 40" across prints, just would be nice to have the option, 25 - 30" would likely be 99% of what I print, maybe smaller.
Still lots to think about, maybe I at least need to narrow now if I want an SLR (would make a change, never had one before), or stick with range finders.
What about the Balda's or Agfa isollete both use 120 shooting 6x6 or 645 with a mask (high yo silver). If the OP wants to test the waters for MF then spending a lot of money ($100+) just doesn't make any sense to me. Any of the inexpensive folders can be had on FleaPay for a mere pitance of what he/she would pay for any of those suggested thus far. Do not snub your nose at them just because they aren't as fancy as the hussy's or the mammie's y'all are hot for. True they don't have the option of interchangeable lenses or through the lens viewing but these cameras are the fore runners of what we have today and besides you really have to know what you are doing to take good pics. Most of the older folders were produced with the casual photographer of that time and so are easy enough to use handheld. I have several that can fit in the palm of my hand, are light and easy to manage and with top quality lenses and shutters to match. I would put any of my Voigtlander's or my Rodenstock up against anything out ther today.
I dunno, if you're used to rangefinders and they've worked for you it seems good to me to stick with what you already like and know - unless you're really motivated to make base-level changes. I've *never* had/used any of the cameras you've mentioned or even used those big formats. However, i do know that a change in your general operating methods will require you to gain and maintain an attitude of a learner - otherwise you'll become frustrated.
A learner-mentality will allow you to relax your expectations until your skill/familiarity/actual performance levels increases to what you're used to with your "old" operating method. This seem so obvious, but i've seen this phenomena work successfully enough times (it's part of my profession) that it's impossible to understate it's value - whether in photography, IS, business development/management, team-dynamics, etc.
From my amateur perspective, i'd choose the Mamiya 7ii because it's a current system (i think?), is expandable (maybe you don't have to splash out for everything all at once), provides a large-enough neg (i think?), and is a range-finder so you'll already have a good working ability right outta the gate. All good ingredients for success!!!
I'm certainly happy to be a learner again (I'm still a learner now, only been shooting for about a year), I enjoy learning, and like to try to master new things, so getting an SLR as opposed to a rangefinder is a welcome and new experience for me. What puts me off is the size/portability. I think if the cameras were all around the same £500, I'd likely go for the GF670. But as it stands, it's the most expensive. The 7II is so highly regarded, with 6x7 negative, it ticks all the boxes except price (assuming I get a 50mm lens), with the 80mm lens, it's not too bad.
So, while I know range finders better, the SLR approach appeals not just on practical grounds (see the actual image, not an estimation), but also from a learning something new point of view.
Have to give it some time, sleep on it a bit, and see what I come up with.
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You can get a RB67 with a grip. At least it'll be inexpensive.
I'm with you on that suggestion. I love shooting my Tourist II 6x9, its tack sharp and easily hand held. I've shot Adox CHS 25 ART hand held and the results are stunning. Even shooting without the aid of a light meter garnered incredible photos (using the sunny 11 rule). I think that if the OP is looking for super-sized prints, he needs a LF and tripod, or at least a 6x9 and tripod. IMHO, anything smaller than 6x7 is stretching it thin, and a sturdy high quality tripod and remote release is a must. If choosing an SLR system, they should make sure it has a mirror lock-up option, to reduce vibration.
Originally Posted by guitstik
The Pentax 6x7 weighs almost exactly the same as a 645AF body, both are just over 1.7kg without batteries or lens. If the 6x7 is too much camera for you, the 645 AF is as well. (the normal lenses for the 6x7 do weigh more but aren't that heavy, 5-600g instead of 300g and the build is far better than the cheap build of the Mamiya 80 AF).
If you are uninterested in digital, the ONLY reason to get a 645AF is the 28mm f4.5 lens and that requires a 645AFDII or later body which bumps the cost up a lot before you consider the ~$5000 lens. Otherwise a Pro or ProTL body is a much better choice and significantly less money and gets you full support for the M645 lenses and you can ditch the winder when shooting on a tripod for a noticeable weight savings.
I personally shoot with a Pentax 6x7 and a Mamiya 645 Super (older version of the 645 Pro). The 6x7's actually easier to haul around for shooting, but the 645 handles rapid shooting/reloading better. I actually end up with a lighter kit with the 6x7 as I'm not hauling multiple backs and inserts, which add up fairly quickly.
I really think that iso 100 on MF blown up to 40" wide is pushing the constraints of the films and format. Perhaps try a speed or crown graphics? I've heard great things about them being used handheld or on a tripod. If they are handheld then I suppose it wouldn't be too much different then an RF, but you would also have the option of learning very precise photography with the ground glass on a tripod. Plus, some of the graphics come with a graflex back, revert to rollfilm at your slightest whim.
No, the limit is usually the optics of the enlarger. There are always better enlargers and enlarger lenses.
Originally Posted by Joe O'Brien
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.