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Thread: "cheap" SLR

  1. #1

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    "cheap" SLR

    Hello.
    I got interested in photography a bit ago and caught the Holga fever. I love 120 film, but I want to get out of the Holga's dreaminess and into crisp sharpness, which is why I think an SLR is what I should get (?).

    The pictures I take will probably never be made much bigger than a piece of A4 paper (I don't know if 135 film would be as good in that case), but I would like to have the big negatives, knowing that I can blow them up to pretty much any size I could ever want. The film I use is Kodak TMAX.

    The problem is: I don't have infinite means. Acutally, I don't have many at all. I am not looking for a Hasselblad, just something that is good value for the money. I don't mind used stuff either.

    My QUESTION is: What can I get that will serve my needs, for the least amount of money?


    Thanks in advance!!!

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    Looking at keh.com for pricing and availability is a good place to start.
    Bob

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    Good value for money? Mamiya M645 series and Bronica ETRS and SQ series.... Very plentiful and prices are reasonable. I have a Mamiya M645Pro kit. A really nice thing about these modular cameras are if something breaks, you can just buy that part and swap it out. If you look around, you can get a good starter kit for about $250.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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    CGW
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    What format appeals: 645, 6x6, 6x7?

    Probably more, cheaper SLR options in 645 and 6x7 than 6x6. Basic Mamiya 645 Super/Pro kits and Bronica ETRS kits are affordable; Mamiya RB67 kits can be true bargains, too. If you're patient, you can assemble a camera outfit from disparate bits for very little $. Sometimes kits can actually cost more and stick you with individual pieces of vastly different quality you'll want to replace anyway. Take your time research the options available--it pays, literally.

    With 6x6 SLRs, it's Hasselblad or Bronica SQ series cameras. Good quality Bronica gear seems to be getting pricier, especially things like WLFs, 120 backs, and lenses outside standard 80mm/150mm.

  5. #5
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    If you are working within limited means I'd recommend adding TLR to your possibles list. How far up the scale do you want to go from dreamy to sharp? If you just want to get out of the murk and mire, there are many modest cameras that have reasonably nice lenses. Sharpness might fall-off towards the edges, but this might be a reasonable compromise.

    If you can tolerate that, a Ricohflex might do. There's many available in the $40 range.

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    Browsing keh.com, It seems that Bronica ETRS is the most affordable from what you suggested (SQ is too, but I would like a rectangular picture). I don't think I have enough expertise to assemble a camera myself.
    Though, this model does now have waist-level viewing, which I understand is what allows for "live viewing", like I enjoy on my DLSR. How big of a disvantage is that?

    (EDIT: I meant disadvantage (-: )
    Last edited by pbryld; 05-29-2011 at 11:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    If you are working within limited means I'd recommend adding TLR to your possibles list. How far up the scale do you want to go from dreamy to sharp? If you just want to get out of the murk and mire, there are many modest cameras that have reasonably nice lenses. Sharpness might fall-off towards the edges, but this might be a reasonable compromise.

    If you can tolerate that, a Ricohflex might do. There's many available in the $40 range.
    Is a TLR a good/cheap way the get "live viewing"? I would like the pictures to come out pretty sharp, but I'd actually prefer the edges a bit blurred. If that is the only disadvantage, I'd go with that. How much am i sacrificing on the overall sharpness though?

  8. #8
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Depending on model and brand, TLR's are very sharp. If you want soft edges, shoot wide open and let the DOF take charge of softness. The more you stop down, the sharper the edges become.
    Rick A
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    There are so many options, it depends what you want and can afford. They are all good, but function a bit differently. I echo the suggestion to check KEH.com to get an idea of prices. Note that their "BGN" (bargain) rating is actually usually quite usable, although YMMV. For example (and this is by no means a complete list):

    6x6 (same as your Holga) and fixed lens:
    - many TLRs such as the many versions of Rolleicord, Rolleiflex, Yashica 124 (G), Flexaret, etc. These have a waist-level finder (WLF).
    - various folders such as the Agfa Isolette series, Zeiss Ikonta, and Voigtlander Bessa. You can get them with various rangefinder options for focussing - coupled, uncoupled, or none ("guess" or "zone" focussing - similar to what you're doing now with your Holga)

    6x6 with removable lenses (you can get several view finders for this - WLF, prisms of various angles):
    - SLR systems such as: Hasselblad, Bronica SQ, Kiev 60, Kiev 88
    - Mamiya C2, C220, C3, C330 TLRs

    6x4.5 (645) with removable lenses:
    - SLR systems such as the Mamiya M645 and Bronica ETRS

    6x7
    - SLR systems like Pentax 67
    - Rangefinders like the Mamiya 7


    Good hunting
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbryld View Post
    Is a TLR a good/cheap way the get "live viewing"? I would like the pictures to come out pretty sharp, but I'd actually prefer the edges a bit blurred. If that is the only disadvantage, I'd go with that. How much am i sacrificing on the overall sharpness though?
    Not sure what is meant by "live viewing" - the WLF on a TLR is a different way of seeing, and most show the image reversed right-to-left. It does mean that your eye isn't stuck against a viewfinder when composing, although you are looking down.

    As Rick said, if you want "blurred" (out-of-focus), you use a wider aperature and compensate for light levels with a faster shutter speed.
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

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