There are plenty of 4x5" setups that are lighter and more portable than MF SLR's. They are much simpler cameras, really, so even though they might be a larger format, there is not as much complicated machinery in there. My Gowland 4x5" is under 3 lbs. without lens. Look up Kerry Thalmann's website for info on lightweight LF setups.
I agree that for landscapes and architecture, I pretty much always prefer LF to MF, and if I want rollfilm, I can always use a rollfilm back on my 4x5". If I'm going to set up the tripod for a static subject, there usually is no good reason not to use a bigger camera.
I can vouch for that. My Anba and all three lenses and the film weighs quite a bit less than the equivalent setup with the Bronica SQAi. Only advantage with the Bronica is the ability to carry much more frames of film in the same space.
Re: MF vs LF. I'll be the contrarian here. There may well be good reasons to go MF instead of LF. Perhaps the LF way of doing things simply doesn't work for someone. Perhaps (as the original poster intimated) the photographer has no access to a LF enlarger but does have a MF enlarger. Perhaps someone wants a single camera to serve many purposes, including some for which LF is not well suited. Perhaps if someone is going to use rollfilm anyway, there is little point in carrying a larger camera with the requisite RFH, bag bellows (which not all cameras can take), and short lenses.
There is no question that LF can deliver much more than MF, but ultimately the only things that count are vision and expression, and the only purpose of equipment is to deliver those two things. I was the one who suggested a CG, but I'm not necessarily recommending one. It's simply an option that's worth exploring and that shouldn't be overlooked (so too is LF, for that matter ...)
I have a Pentax 67II, a Super Speed Graphic, and a Rolleiflex, and I've used them all for landscape photography.
I love the portability and ability to hand hold with the Rollei. I also like square images, but if you shoot more rectangles I'd go with a 6x7 rather than crop.
The P67II is a breeze to use in the field. The body, 2 lenses, and accessories do fit in a slightly smaller backpack than my Speed Graphic set-up, but it's not much smaller. I'll use the P67II hand held for some portraiture, but overall I get much better results on a tripod when it comes to landscapes. Roll film is easy to pack in the backback.
With the Speed Graphic I have to carry an extra film bag. I can cram a dozen film holders in an insulated lunch bag; I have yet to actually go through 24 shots before returning to camp/home/darkroom. I regularly hike up to 4 or 5 miles from my car, and overall the P67II rig doesn't seem much more portable to me. Both set-ups are heavy!
I'm pretty sure I can see the difference between prints from my 6x7cm and 4x5" at 8x10, and I know it's there at 11x14. Also I like the options that even the limited movements of the Super Speed Graphic give me. I'm pretty slow and deliberate with landscape photography, so I don't find the operation of the P67II to be any faster than the SSG, although I do tend to take twice as many shots when using roll film.
I shoot BW most of the time, and do my own processing. I would have to mail out 4x5 E6 or C41 for processing, while I could get 120 or 220 processed in town. So if I need color I go with the P67II, but for BW I'll choose the SSG. Someday I'll pick up a roll film back for the SSG, and the P67II may never see the woods again.
I've used C330s since 2001 for both landscape and portraiture and I'm delighted with them-if there's anything wrong with my pictures it's down to me and not my gear. Price is very competitive too-I got a 330f from Carmarthen Camera Centre for £199 with an 80mm lens. A 180 mm Super Sekor (latest model ) cost £155 from Jessops-a very handy lens for portraiture. Make sure you get the black finish lenses if you go this route and remember-chaucun a son gout as the French also say.
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
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1. The ergonomics & visual function is REALLY different between eye-level & waist level viewing. I had a Yashica TLR in the 60's that I learned a lot with, and took many fine pictures, but I really have trouble focusing it & holding it steady now. Eye level viewing works much better for me, too.
2. Rectangle versus square: not an issue. Most TLR screens offer a grid, making it easy to compose a rectangular image in the square frame.
3. For rectangular images, though, you're wasting a lot of negative area with a square format camera.
4. Performance between the two optical systems: unlikely to be an issue at all.
5. The 67 is really a tripod camera. With the mirror movement, and shutter size, you can't count on hand-holding it for best performance. The weight of the Mamiya probably puts it on a tripod, too.
But, if you really want improved sharpness & tonality, just go directly to a 4 x 5 view camera. It'll knock your socks off.
The Mamiya is a very good choice if you know which lenses to buy. The 55 wide angle is widely recognized to be superb. I'd pair that with the 105 or the 135, depending on how far you like your spread in focal lengths. (The 105DS will give you a depth of field preview as well.) Avoid the 80mm if you can. It's OK, but doesn't compare to the quality of the 55, 65, 105, 0r 135 IMHO.
The only other issue with Mamiya C-330's is the same one I face (or will) with my Rollei SL66. Since they haven't been made for some years, repairs and parts may some day be a problem. It's beginning to happen with the Rollei which has been out of production longer and never had as huge an inventory to start with. The Mamiya should have plenty of supplies and repair persons for some years to come.
I have a Pentax 67...love it as a landscape camera and still lifes, etc. Definitely not something you want to handhold for any length of time, but it can be done. It sits well on a tripod, and its ergonomics are like most 35mm slrs, juts bigger and heavier. Pentax makes great lenses for it, and with MF prices falling on used gear, you ought to buy one fairly inexpensively, as such cameras go. Enlargements from the negs are phenomenal. One advantage over 4x5 -- I can make enlargements on my Beseler 23CII. So far with 4x5 I am limited to contact prints...
I have used a C220 for landscape and they work quite well. However I would go for the rectangular format because 'landscape' implies rectangular. Square can look quite cool but the compositional process is very different and IMO pure landscape needs the rectangle.
Is there anything donuts can't do.
I find the pentax to be quite a beast of a camera, I have it's russian brother the kiev, and I use the waist view finder so much more, I bought it during the summer month on ebay, I think it is the best time because for what ever the reason the price's are lower.my2cents....
you might pick up a cheap mf TLR, and see how you like the larger formate, I have a few TLR that where made in 1940's and they are a fun way to take picture, now those camera really slow you down, when you have to set the shutter and make sure you advance the film by looking thru that little red viewer in the back of the camera.