Iím a few months ahead of you on this one Frank, having also considered the Pentax 6x7 among others and rejected them all on cost grounds. I elected to buy a Mamiya 330s outfit on eBay, consisting of a body, 80mm and 135mm lens, various view finders and accessories including a hammerhead flash for 300 pounds. I have since added a 55mm lens to the collection for another 100.
Originally Posted by FrankB
I find the camera extremely easy to use, itís put the pleasure back into picture making. I enjoy the mechanical aspect of it after the electronics of my Canon 50e, which incidentally I havenít used for nearly a year. My only gripe is film loading, but then like you, Iíve been spoilt by years of using 35mm drop in cassettes. The square format does take a little getting used to. If you look at my latest web images you will see that Iím sticking rigidly to the square format, for the time being, to force myself away from the 35mm rectangle, but cropping is a future option.
The choice of either waist or eye level viewfinders means that it is easy to get the camera to the most suitable level for the subject. The greater detail and tonality available from the larger negative is very noticeable, and translates through to the finished print.
So you see where my hard earned money went, and I donít regret it.
I heartily recommend the P67. Its principal strength, for me at least, is the glass...superb! I have three lenses (55, 105, and 200) and that group covers my needs completely. The other big advantage of the Pentax is depth of field preview, and ND grad or polarizing filter adjustment. The Mamiya just won't allow that. I still have my C220 with three lenses that I bought years before the Pentax and I have great respect for that camera, but it just doesn't really rival the Pentax. Though having an interchangable back is indeed a great strength with an RB, RZ or a Hassie, the price of a used second P67 body is comparable to the cost of the film backs for the others, so you can accompish the same thing a different way. And the lenses for the Pentax are far less expensive since they don't include a shutter.
Regarding going right to 4x5....well, again it's the glass. I can't use my 4x5 enough...just love it!!, but the lone Geronar 210 lens I have just isn't the equal of the 6x7 lenses. And that's the rub for now....though the cameras can be purchased without ransoming your children, really decent lenses will separate you from...well...at least any purebred pets you might have.
so....stop eating for a while...walk everywhere...stop gambling and give up alcohol....the Pentax will be yours by the time your liver heals ;-)!!
Pentax 67! Superb. I bought a complete late system last year with 45, 90, 165, and 300 for US $1500. All near mint. I bought it to replace a Mamiya Universal 6X9......but it didn't. I kept both. The Mamiya is also superb and has some strengths over the Pentax. Just for the sake of pissing all the square format guys off; Bigger is better. If you buy a 6X6 you really bought a 6X4.5 if you want to put them on a normal piece of paper. That turns out to be half frame of what the Mamiya Universal can do normally. I have more than a few 20X30" pieces on permanent display that were originated with the Mamiya 6X9.
Gotta agree with John V et al, Frank. I lusted seriously after the P67 when I decided to move up in size from 35mm for landscape wk - still think they are fantastic cameras. Certainly are well renowned for quality of glass and robust. If celebrity endorsement is needed , you're probably aware that fellow countryman Lee Frost says he has always used one.
However, could be said, you pay a premium for the convenience of med format. And if quality is what you're after, why not go all the way to the big gun?
(just a thought).
Last edited by John McCallum; 09-15-2004 at 05:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
just to through a monkey in the mix, how about an RB67? a buddy of mine uses one and his stuff is stunning. mind you he is very fit, and backpacks it all over the mountains.
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How about reconsidering the 'no rangefinder' decision if you want good value? In particular the Mamiya Press - the Super 23 or the Universal. These sturdy rangefinders have some good features for the money.
The 50 mm, 75 mm and 100/2.8 lenses are very good.
The well-designed film holders are available in 6x9, 6x7 and vari-format.
Many thanks for all the opinions and options being proposed. I'm reading all of this with very great interest. Please keep it coming!
Great comments! I have used a 330F since 1973. Bought it new and still have it. ( Have contemplated selling several times, but just haven't!) It is a great system.
I am bothered by the comments of square versus rectangle and visualization concerns. You are currently using 35mm, you are already having to crop the short edge to fit the 4x5/8x10 printing aspect ratio. Do you think about this when composing? If, so, is it bothersome?
I found that the quare format really freed my compostional concerns. If my visualization was a square composition, great. If my visualization was rectangular, portrait or landscape, great! Compose within the square to the rectangular apsect desired.
I also have a 6X6 SLR and I had a 6X4.5 back for it. I hated the fact that I had to rotate to compose the rectangular composition P vs. H. I simply stopped using the 6X4.5 back, and finally sold it. I use the same composition strategy that I use with the Mamiya.
The C330 is a TLR, so you have the parallax issues for close ups! But you actually may have to face the problem because the bellows eliminates the need for macro lenses.
There is much to be said for an SLR. It was stated early in thread that the ergonomics of the TLR lend to a contemplative approach, whether you want to or not. The TLR is definitely closer to the large format composing interface than a SLR. Although I am back to that rotating bit on my 4X5!
Both comtemplated cameras are very good. Think about what you want to shoot, the resulting anticipated compositional time pressures, your budget and get the best that you can afford! Don't get caught up in the equipment envy syndrome, " Well I'll go shoot that when I get a XXXX!" Just go shoot!
Last edited by galyons; 09-15-2004 at 10:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
no one has mentioned enlargers... do you do your prints yourself? Have you budgeted for one (and lens) that will work with whatever you choose?
I've got a Mamiya 645 and the lack of interchangable backs on my model is annoying. When I looked at other options I liked the Bronica GS1 (neg size, weight and size). I just bought a 4x5 capable enlarger so might stick with the Mamiya and get a 4x5 instead... decisions.. decisions!!! I was hanging onto a 6x9 capable enlarger just to be able to print some old family negs but that will be able to be off loaded now
As far as enlarging goes... forgetting about grain which may not be a problem, I find the larger negs hit the paper nicer... tonality seems better and I'd say I do less dodging/burning than with 35mm ones. I put it down to the lower levels of magnification.
I do print my own using an LPL 7700 which will take anything from 35mm to 6x7 (one of the reasons why someone'll have to talk awfully fast to get me on to LF!). I would need an appropriate lens and carrier insert for whatever format. Good enlarger lenses aren't that expensive or hard to find on ebay or in dealers.
Originally Posted by Nige
The insert (paradoxically, given it's just a piece of metal!) could be more of an issue; they don't appear that often secondhand and the only place I can find doing them is Jessops... ...and they want £50! It's do-able but my cheap nature seriously begrudges it when I could get an entire darkroom for that much now! :rolleyes: