Medium format system advice
Looking at medium format systems and wish for some advice...
I currently have a Bronica RF645 which is a brilliant travel camera, small, light and can use 120/220. Also have the Mamiya 7II. Wonderful images, smaller and lighter than most any other 67 kit out there. But neither of these is very good for the tight portraiture that I desire due to their limited minimum focusing distance.
What I'd like:
Something portable enough to carry/handheld as 75% of shots would be out on the street.
6x6 would be ideal, 6x7 or 645 OK
Upgradable to digital back; not a priority, but ya never know. Might be cheaper to buy a 50MP back a few years down the road compared to a new Nikon SC 9000 scanner!
Comment with your ideal system and ideal system if budget wasn't an option. So practical advice followed by your dream system. Never hurts to dream!
Mamiya 7 or RZ67
Those are the closest 2 I can think of.
which medium format camera?
How about a Mamiya 645 Pro? They have removable film backs, AE prisms.and can focus to 2.25 to 5 feet depending on the lens
I actually own the older 1000s, but they use the same lenses which aren't expensive at all, and are very ,very nice.
Hope it helps
Easy call... RB67 or RZ67. These bellows-focusing cameras are made for closeup, and most of the lenses have very pleasing out-of-focus rendition. They are on the edge of what most people consider handholdable, but... with an L-grip or on a monopod or tripod they handle very comfortably.
Consider an all-mechanical RB with a 127 or 150 SF or 180 or similar; or you might try the more automated RZ with a 110/2.8. Hard to say what you'll want. Try 'em all, they're inexpensive and marvelous. Add a tube and go macro. I love 'em all. I have two rb pro sd bodies and an rz pro 2.
From having used a Hasselblad only very briefly, I would say a Hasselblad as a dream rig. Sooo cool. But most of the Hasselblad lenses are pretty big and cancel out the advantage of the small camera body. It's really fun to use with the 80mm planar, but the small size seems pointless when you put a huge lens on it. Not sure about metering with one, though. The Rollei looks just as good but I've never tried it.
I have an rz67 and hesitate to recommend it for primarily handheld work (it's useable handheld, but better on a tripod). It's much bigger than a Hasselblad. The 110mm f2.8 is a killer lens, though. Not ultra-sharp, but still very good and unexpectedly impressive wide open. And cheap! Nice bokeh. The close focus ability is awesome. Love this lens.
If you can deal with a heavy camera go for it, but try one first. It's pretty obviously meant to be a studio camera. However....it's not metered with the waist level (also love the waist level) and the mirrored prism looks enormous and even less ergonomic. And the lenses other than the 110mm are huge.
My intuition is that 150mm-200mm is a little long for handheld, especially if you're not using a waist level. Just not ergonomic and you'll need a ton of light for shutter speed/depth of field. And the rig would be huge.
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You already own a Mamiya 7II - that's going to make it hard to swap to anything else for street shooting. I have a Pentax 6x7 which is a couple of pounds lighter than the RB/RZs and (arguably) has better ergonomics for street shooting but I still wouldn't want to be walking around for any length of time with it in my hands and it sure won't be unobtrusive. If you would like something that is upgradeable to digital then your best bet is a Mamiya 645 or a Pentax 645. With the Pentax you would be better off getting a 645N or 645NII since they have AF and will be newer. The digital upgrade path then is a complete body (645D) which currently works out less than the add on backs for other systems. All of the Manual focus (A645) or Auto Focus (FA645) will work with the 645N/NII/D models. I don't know all that much about the Mamiya 645, but again it is the AF body you want.
Hasselblad. Especially for the handheld option...
Have you consider a rollei SL66? Or maybe the later 6006/8 models if you want AE?
Thanks for the recommendations. I'll see if I can't hold a Mamiya 645AF, RZ67 (like it's features over the RB, but not the battery situation!), and a hassy 500 series. Need to get a feel for them to see what will work.
The rollie's are interesting, the Hy6 is a stunner, both in looks, features and price tag! Right now I'd have to say I'm leaning towards the Mamiya 6645 AF. It seems most like the 35mm SLR, isn't a beast and has a really fast shutter with the focal plane shutter.
I suggest not worrying too much about a digital back option at this point. If you want to go digital later, there will be several options then, and in the meantime, why limit yourself, as cheap as things are these days. Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai says she uses a Bronica ETRS with 75mm lens. Even with meter finder, I doubt that's 200 bucks. And she gets some great shots with that setup.
If you want AF, the Pentax 645N or NII are also good options. If you don't care about AF, the Bronica ETR series and SQ series give some great results. On either, the 135mm and 180mm lenses focus to one meter. Incidentally, one of the digital back makers has an adapter for the SQ cameras.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.