I have used a bronica SQ-A for shooting kids quite a bit and would say that it probably depends on how you're shooting them. If you're going for candids or active shots, then it can be a nightmare. If what you're doing is more formal and the children are heavily coached, then the manual focus is less of a problem.
Originally Posted by michelleg
Running around after toddlers with your head bent to a waist level finder is a fine lesson in humility/frustration... not that I've ever done that
Welcome to APUG, Michelle.
For smaller, active kids, you will always wish you had autofocus. The Contax 645 is a great camera, with awesome lenses, and a decent autofocus. Not F6 and new lenses quick but it will do the job in most situations. I have three backs, always loaded with different film, and it's just a pleasure. For a decent price, you can also get yourself an old manual focus Rollei and keep it for "not so small and active" children shoots, studio-type work....then there is the F6. Not much to be said there. A great camera all around, infallible matrix metering, built like a tank, fast autofocus, and plenty of lens choices from old to new Nikons, new Zeiss, Voigtlander, etc.
Heck, even a Fuji 645i is a great medium format camera. Fixed (but great) lens and ok autofocus but it could serve its purpose as a backup camera as well.
I want to confirm that SuzanneR would be a great resource on this question. I just heard her interview on Inside Analog Photo Radio. You might check it out. I believe she uses a big old lumber RZ67 and maybe a Mamiya 7, but not sure. And her website: http://suzannerevy.com/index.cfm
I've got to say, a lot of my photography is of children (7 & 11 now) and I was inspired by Suzanne's interview to shoot the kids more with my MF SLR (Bronica). But 35 is certainly a bit easier, esp. with auto focus.
Michelle... look at SuzanneR's and Nicole's images here on APUG. They both use medium format quite often in their photos of children.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
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I'd recommend a camera that allows you to switch back and forth between a prism finder and a waist level finder. Square format makes that a bit easier, because using a waist level finder to shoot something in portrait orientation is an exercise in altered realities .
I shot a lot of weddings (which included a fair amount of candid photos of kids) using a Mamiya C330 with prism and waist level finders.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
That's why you use an RB/RZ!
Originally Posted by MattKing
No problem at all, but I recommend using a camera with bellows focusing for children likely to move around, so you can focus quickly. With my Bronica S2a, I found that my best setup for photographing my son when he was around two years old was with the bellows instead of a helical and a chimney finder--in other words, I'd turned it into a kind of 6x6 Graflex SLR, so I switched to using my 5x7" Press Graflex SLR and never turned back, at least with available light. It doesn't do flash sync easily, so with strobes, I prefer the Bronica.
I use Mamiya
My kids are 5 and 2 and they are most of what I shoot these days. I use the Mamiya 7 and also the RZ67. Both work well, but chasing them down and nailing focus while they are moving can be a challenge. The RZ is better since it's an slr and focuses closer but the Mamiya 7 is lighter and better for hikes and wide-angle type portraits.
I have a full EOS system but haven't used it much in the last year or two, just loving the results from MF too much.
With the RZ I use it with the L-grip, the winder, and the AE prism. It makes shooting faster, though the rig is a lot heavier that way. The 110/2.8 is a superb portrait lens, and in fact just a great lens in general.