645 RF or SLR (go wider?)
I own a Rolleiflex E2 f3.5 and like it a lot but want to add a camera that will have the conveniences of faster/easier operation without a major sacrifice in quality. Originally I thought of getting a 6X7 (nice proportion and most are superb) or 6X9 (wider) but they are expensive and some are heavy so I am checking now into 6X4.5s. A merchant here lent me a Fuji ga645 which I like to a point. When compared with my Rollei I am missing the intimacy of a longer (yet normal) lens and its rollinars to get even closer. Also, not sure yet but it seems like framing is more accurate on the rollei + I never miss a shot due to forgetting the lens cover on it. (needless to say I am biased to the way the xenotar on the Rollei renders images).
Considering i like to shoot portraits, kids, landscape, architectural and travel shots, I wonder if anyone here has or had both cameras and which one is more frequently used for better and faster shooting?
Framing is generally more accurate on an SLR, and if you want to shoot closeups, an SLR is usually better for that as well. That said, I used to have a fuji ga645W and really enjoyed it. But I usually describe those cameras and the mamiya RFs as travel / documentary / landscape cameras. For those purposes they are true weapons. But for several of the things you mention (portraits, kids).... not so much.
How about a mamiya 645 pro, or pentax 645 NII or comparable bronnie? I like the modularity of the pro- you can go with or without a winder, prism etc. Stripped down, it's a cute little manual-everything box. I am not wild about the landscape orientation though, that's my main (and perhaps only) gripe.
Another Fuji you might look at is the ga645zi, that has a zoom and is a lot of fun. Noisy but fun.
I just sold a mamiya 645AF, that was a fun camera that I miss already. You can work very fast with it, a shot per second or so. It handles a lot like a 35mm camera, but the AF is medieval compared with any of the current 35mm cameras. And again it is a bit noisy. The newer 645 AF may be worth a look but they are pricey. There is a Rollei 6x6 af camera that I assume pretty much all of us covet. I can refer you to a friend who has one if you wish- Jason Keefer.
Last edited by keithwms; 12-18-2010 at 10:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.
It is funny, as I have been a long time Bronica ETRS user and it is a great camera, I recommend it very highly but, I have just pulled out my Rolleiflex T and am in the process of finding a service for it. I've finally figured out that sometimes less is more. The T with a few filters is as easy and fast to work with as my Bronica and I do not have the "need" to get more lenses, hoods, prisms, blah, blah. In other words I find I think more about photography than the equipment. If you want to try a 645 system, the ETR series is a very good starting place as the going prices provided you stay away from the shift lens is almost dirt cheap. In today's market a basic setup can be less than a mid-level 35mm slr film system. The prices seem to have stabilized so even if you do not care for it, provided you did not pay more then the going average price, you should recoup most or all of your costs.
645 SLR still handy and reasonable weight.
portraits, kids, landscape, architectural and travel shots
67 SLR heavy but better quality.
67 R.F. can be light too, especially when having a folder: Plaubel Makina 67, Cosina Voigtländer Bessa III 667 (even 6x6 AND 6x7cm) only 1000g but fix lens (3,5/80mm, Plaubel 2,8/80mm). Then the Mamiya 6 or 7II, great R.F. with exchangable lenses but already more heavy.
SLR better for portrait, RF landscape and travel. So you have to find out what seems to be more important.
I have the Bessa III 667 and for landscape it's perfect, light and compact in travelling but not cheap either.
Here an example on an Orthopan Rollei Retro 100 TONAL film, E.I. 80, tripod around 200 ln/mm in 6x7cm format.
I have a rolleiflex 3.5E and a mamiya 645 pro tl. I really like both camera's but I've found that the rolleiflex to be difficult to focus quickly. When I want to take pictures of my kids I usually grab the mamiya or my nikon fe2. All my camera's are manual focus but using and SLR is just easier for me. The mamiya is large but not too heavy and I really like that it is a modular camera.
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I have already the Mamiya 645 pro for over 16 years but in "quick mode" with AE prismn and winder it's over twice the weight of a C.V. Bessa III folder. And at the end 6x4,5cm against 6x7cm. But you're right the M645 is a modular system. With crank winder and with finder together with a standard 2,8/80mm it's also a light system but then not quicker in handling then the R.F. camera. Apart from the fact the Bessa III is so silent you can not hear it. Even more quiet then my Leica M7 R.F. so it's just what you're searching for. Apples and Peers, what is your taste
All good advices. My concern about the mamiya 645 and Brnica (I had the 6X6 and it was fine) is weight and they feel heavy and strange in portrait mode.
The ga645w will be a good choice for landscape but I am looking for a do it all (ok just as much as possible). a zoon like the zi may come close and 645n with interchangeable lenses will probably have a wider range of suitabilities. Have you tried either one of these well enough to compare them to the ga645?
Originally Posted by keithwms
Thanks you BrianL
I am starting to feel the same way - love the simplicity of the Rolleiflex though sometime need slightly wider and slightly longer.... I have been using it for years - probably keep on doing it too.
Originally Posted by BrianL
Thanks your RobertV.
The Bessa III and Leica M7 are great but too expensive for me... . I am admit, you make wonders with them (in your gallery I love your models shot and landscape too)
I find the Mamiya 645 to be the right tool for many landscape applications but I ma looking for something lighter that feels more like a 35mm dslr it terms of portrait taking. I feel that the GA645 even the "normal" is too wide with potential to distort perspective.
Originally Posted by RobertV
Thanks you brbeck.
I bet its the Nikon that you grab to shoot your kida and not the Mamiya (or at least more often. I have used the Mamiya for a while. Loved it but now it feel too heavy and I feel less comfortable with its portrait mode... Mamiya advantage is lenses but for IQ and format the I like the Rollei very much
Originally Posted by brbeck