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  1. #1
    ChrisC's Avatar
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    First time Medium format buyer.

    Hey guys. I was just wondering if you could help me out with getting into MF for the first time.

    A bit of history about me. I'm currently 20 and shooting exclusivly in digital. I've always liked photography, ever since I was 7 and my parents gave me my first basic point and shoot for Christmas. I've really gotten into it in the past couple of years though, and I'm looking to push myself further. I've taken some good photos in the past couple of years, but there are way more 'misses' than there are 'hits'.

    Because of this, I want something thats going to slow me right down, and make me put alot more thought into each shot. No matter how much I try with digital, I always have the mindset of "Who cares if it's a bad shot?! I Can just delete it later!", and that's not the best way to go about getting more great shots. I see film, and more specifically MF to be a good solution for this.

    I've done a reasonably amount of research on the web, and so far the camera I'm giving the most thought towards is a Mamiya 645E. It's right about how much I'm happily willing to spend at the moment, and has the advantage of being 100% new. The second hand market is tiny here, and I would like to avoid buying second hand off ebay and the like, just to avoid the whole having to deal with something that's not in the condition I thought it was, and trying to contact someone overseas. KEH does make a good case for buying second hand though, and would probably be an exception. Any other ideas on a good system to start with would be well appreciated, as there's so much out there! I don't really mind if it's a 6x4.5, 6x6 or 6x7 format either.

    Thanks alot for just reading this long winded post, and a special thanks for any replies. Medium format equipment is still quite a daunting price for someone my age, earning New Zealand 'pesos'.

  2. #2
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Last spring I bought my first medium format camera through KEH. I didn't like bidding on e-bay. If you "win", it really means you are paying more than anyone else. I had decided on a Mamiya 7, and they were selling for about $200.00 more on e-bay than at KEH, and KEH has a good return policy. My system, even used, is pretty expensive, but I felt it would be the best for the way I shoot. Just do your homework.

    Having said that, I've been shooting all summer with this camera, and just started printing in the last few weeks. I had been shooting with a Nikon F100, which is such a souped up camera, and very fast to shoot with. The Mamiya slowed me down big time! Loading the film, focussing, advancing the film manually (something I keep forgetting to do! It was so natural when I first started shooting way back when in high school!) Although, I don't like to "edit" while I'm shooting, I do find that I am a more deliberate shooter, and I always have several extra rolls of film in my pocket. I do find that I have to sit down to change the roll, and with only ten frames per roll, I start to really observe what I'm shooting more carefully. My husband thinks it takes me too long, especially when we are out for a walk, but he'll learn to deal with it! Besides, with practice, I should be able to work a little faster. My subjects are frequently my kids, so being quick with the shutter release can be key! So far, I'm very happy with the results.

    Keep in mind that having medium format film commercially processed can add up, so if you can stick with b/w, and develop it yourself you'll be saving untold millions of New Zealand "pesos".

    You will be amazed at your photographs, and your shooting will get better, and the end results will be gorgeous! Good luck

  3. #3
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    What do you typically shoot? Do you want an SLR or a range finder? Do you always plan on using a tripod? Have you considered large format? Is autofocus or builtin metering important? Will you develop and print your own images? Will you local lab be able to print the images? My local lab only prints 6x7 as square images since that is all they know how do do (I only used them once).

  4. #4
    FrankB's Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    I'm in a similar boat to yourself, looking to move to medium format although for slightly different reasons. You may find this thread of use: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/8866-opinions-pentax-67-mamiya-c330-landscape-bang-buck.html it started as a comparison of two cameras but has since evolved into a look through a lot of people's experiences of a wide range of MF and LF gear. I also stumbled on this rather wry article, which I am personally taking very much to heart at the moment! http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ic-bullet.html

    As far as slowing down, I currently shoot with an F80 which is nearly as easy to shoot quickly with as Suzanne's F100. However, I find a tripod with a good three-way head and a cable release slow me down quite well and make it far easier to peer around the edges of the 'finder prior to making the shot.

    Whatever you decide, all the best with your choice.

    Frank

  5. #5
    papagene's Avatar
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    Hey Chris,
    Welcome to APUG. You'll find a lot of fellow photographers here willing to help you out with just about any question you may have on photography. And there are a lot of threads covering just what you are asking about.
    My MF choice is a couple of FUJI rangefinders (6x7 & 6x9), they suit me just fine. And the other members will have other choices for you to consider.
    I would advise the used route, and KEH is a good place to start.
    Good luck on your quest.

    gene
    gene LaFord


    Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC
    A bit of history about me. I'm currently 20 and shooting exclusivly in digital.

    Admitting you have a problem is the first sign of recovery.

    The Mamiyas are good and solid. I would go to a photoshop and handle one first. I found them to be a bit awkward for my hands. Good luck with your research.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  7. #7

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    Good Morning, Chris,

    I very much like my Fuji 6 x 7 rangefinder and the Koni-Omega system. The Fuji, however, is expensive, and the Koni may be hard to find in a limited secondary market.
    A TLR (Autocord, Yashicamat, Mamiya, Rollei) would probably be easier to find; condition is more important than particular brand. A decent TLR can produce excellent results.

    Konical

  8. #8
    noblebeast's Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    I too bought the Mamiya 645E because of a shortage of American pesos, and have not regretted it. For a brand new camera package you get a lot for your money, and the Mamiya lenses are sharp and contrasty and always give excellent images to work with. The only downside for me is that I now find myself doing more portrature than I was doing when I made my purchase, and find that because of the rectangle format I am always turning the camera on its side which makes it a little ergonomically clumsy. So you have to consider that if you are a people photographer. If I knew then what I know now I might have saved up a bit more money and gotten a square format MF SLR.

    I also have a small collection of TLRs and would recommend you at least entertain the idea of a used Rolleiflex, Mamiya C220-330, Minolta Autocord (our own Les McLean says he spent the first portion of his photographic career using the Minolta, and he has some wonderful pictures to show for it). The twin lens cameras can be had for even less than the new Mamiya kit, produce terrific results, have totally mechanical operation so you won't be left with a suddenly dead battery and an unworking shutter. With a little homework and patient hunting you can find used TLRs in practically brand new condition, and still have some money left to get the things you need to start your home darkroom. There's no going back now...

    Joe
    Latent Images Plastic Toy Cameras

    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman

  9. #9

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    It all comes down to what you want it to do and budget.

    The 645E does not have interchangeable backs I think, which you may find limiting. I have an RZ67II whiich is great, but also great BIG and at 2.5kg certainly slow and ponderous.

    Have you thought of going in cheap to start with, such as a second hand Rolleicord V. I have one and it is very sharp stopped down, wonderfully soft wide open! Fixed lens and no interchangeable back, but if you are into simple stuff (and prepared to be disciplined) it does enough. I would not be too wary of ebay. Feedback is everything. If they have loads of 100% feedback and the item is described clearly, unambigously and in detail, then your chances are very good. Poor feedback with vague descriptions...be wary!

    My rolleicord cost £100 and is mint.

    Good thing about the 645 Mamiya is that used lenses are cheap and plenty. Bronica prices have completely crashed, so are worth a look as this must have hit used prices. A new SQAI was about £1100 about 1 year ago...now £699. I've had one and there is nothing wrong with them!

    Oh, just bite the bullet and get big beautiful view camera and dont prolong the agony any longer.

    Tom

  10. #10
    Black Dog's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm looking to move to 8x10.....it's a slippery slope-mais je ne regrette rien etc
    "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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