I have collected a lot of MF gear over the past 40 years and find that I still use them all.
Yashica 124, and 2 D,s I have made a lot of money shooting book covers and author photos with my Ds, still carry a D with me when I am shooting 4X5.
Mamyia Universal with 6X7 and 6X9 backs and three lens. I like the 6X9 for landscapes.
Mamyia 6, the 50s version, a great folder, carry with me when I shoot 35mm.
Kowa 66 and super 6 with 4 lens, good general purpose camera.
For a first MF I recommend a 6X7 system then fill in as you discover what works and what doesnt work.
I learned the basics on a Yashicha 124G that was essentially brand new when I was 17 and in High School. Fortunately I had a great gentleman who was in his 60's who tried to teach me everything he knew. Finally got one a couple of years ago with every accessory made for it. I need to use it more. I highly recommend you find that mentor whenever you can. He/she would be able to help you get the most out of your camera and help with general composition and if you want to go the artistic route, they should be able to offer you advice and valuable critiques. This mentor will be as important as any camera you buy. Once you see you can "get it" you will then start expanding your quest for the perfect photograph whether it be the plain old portrait or magnificient sunset on the california coast.
I love my Mamiya 645 Pro mainly because I settled on it due to cost since RB and RZ stuff was still somewhat more expensive. I outfitted my 645 like and SLR, but I regret not getting an RZ setup a couple of years ago when I had the opportunity to get a very complete setup for a fair price.
Instead, I got an old Mamiya Press Super 23 that is being CLAed as we speak. I will have alot of money in that camera now but I can't wait to play with it in a couple of weeks.
The bottom line is I haven't figured out exactly were I am going with medium format either. However the recommendation for the RB/RZ thing with all the different backs would ultimately give you every possible setup with only one camera to adjust to AND master. About once a month I start looking at RB and RZ stuff and wondering why I don't have one. I would recommend going with and RZ so you will be able to find a digital back for it cheap in maybe 10 years. You will still be able to play with film and have digital capabilities too.
The heart wrenching Tom Waits ballad, "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" has a section that expresses my reason for having lots of MF cameras perfectly.
and I wish I had all the money
that we used to spend on dope
I'd buy me a used car lot
and I wouldn't sell any of em
I'd just drive a different car
every day dependin on how I feel.
I have very little interest in camera ownership, or collecting. I don't lie in bed at night wishing I had this or that. For me cameras are a tool to get the photographs i want, period. I can easily go a year without buying any equipment, and months without goung into a photographic store, though I live close to London so I'm not geographically challenged in that respect. I can visit NYC without going into B&H or Adorama.
But I still have two MF systems. I have two because neither one is capable of comfortably covering the ground I want to cover on its own. I have a 6x6 slr with several lenses, and a Mamiya 7 with three lenses. For many years they both travelled with me on every trip, though I rarely carried both at the same time unless I was car-based. Why?
Well first off I always felt a need to carry two cameras in case of malfunction, so the real decision is why I chose a 67 rangefinder to sit alongside the SQA-i, rather than a second Bronica. I voted for a different system because it would help me get photographs that I couldn't expect to get with the first. Maybe thats because it is much easier to get a compact rangefinder past a security guard than a 20lb slr system. Maybe its because sometimes of necessity I need to work handhald rather than on a tripod. Maybe some of my subjects just look better as a rectangle rather than a square and I don't really want to lose the film area to a substantial crop. Maybe I'll be walking all day and don't feel comfortable with a big bag for 16 or so hours. So most of the photograps I've made with the mamiya these last ten years have been shots that I might not have got, or may not have got so well, with an slr. Of course the reverse is true also.
You don't have to be an equipment freak, or have an out-of-control buying habit, to need more than one camera.
I have 5x7, 6x9, 6x6 and 35mm cameras. I find the 35mm the most interesting - the more basic the camera the better.
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I have the Bronica ETRSi and I like the 645 format and the more frames per roll. The ETRSi with prism finder and speed grip is easy to use vertical or horizontal and my tripod allows it to be used either way fairly easy. If I were to get another medium format camera it might be a 6x7. I think for the price that the RB67 would be the best bet for 6x7.
It's O.K. to have G.A.S. and be a photographer too. Its O.K. to have a 4X5 Sinar and all the rest too. I've never had trouble choosing the camera that I want to use that given day.
" A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~
I look at it this way: how many golfers do you know who only use one club?
Sometimes I use the Mamiya 645, other times I use the rb-67 ( I lean towards that one a bit more) It's nice to have choices