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  1. #1

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    Starting in medium format

    Hello all,

    I'm thinking of starting with analogue medium format photography, currently a digital user and wanting to experience the quality of medium format and the whole process of doing it all manually. Of course both systens have their pro's and con's but to me that doesn't really matter.

    Seeing as medium format systems can be picked up quite cheap, sometimes cheaper than 35mm I thought it would be a good start. However I'm still not sure which brand and camera to choose. I have looked at bronicas, mamiyas and hasselblads. I like the format of the system camera and I would like to buy one of those, however the hasselblad is quite pricey and a bit of an overkill for me at the moment I think plus I don't like the bias of people going 'Ohhh a Hasselblad, you must be a great photographer' etc. Which camera would you recommend, the Bronica SQ-A or the Mamiya RB/RZ67 (I know the SQ-A is 6x6 and the 67 is 6x7 camera, but the Bronica GS-1 is hard to find). What I like to photograph is landscape and portraiture, so I am thinking of a standard lens, a 50/65mm and something between 150mm and 250mm.
    I have currently spotted a Bronica SQ-A with 80mm lens and WLF, the basic kit for €200, which is quite a good deal I think.

    Some further questions I have are:
    How easy is it do long bulb exposures with these camera's, I know that you would have to put the lens into T mode.
    What filters are needed for film photography, mostly black and white. I'm thinking of a polarisation filter for sure, but I'm not sure whether UV/IR filters are needed.
    What is a good light meter that does both spot metering and incident metering, and can be had for a not too large sum of money. I could of course tug along my dSLR and use its meter but that is not really an optimal situation.
    Last edited by MaxFrank; 07-19-2011 at 05:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    The RB67 is a good deal. It is a little on the heavy side, so you might want to use a tripod. Some MFs could use a tripod. BTW welcome to APUG!

    Jeff

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    If you are dead set on having a SLR type medium format, Pentax 645, or Bronicas ETRS or SQ series are inexpensive and lighter than Mamiya RB's and RZ's. I am no fan of 6x4.5 size negatives, but love 6x6. You don't have to rotate a 6x6 to get a shot. Twin lens reflex cameras are a kick to use, especially the Yashicas. They are Rollei knock-offs, and light weight, simple to use with quality optics. Mamiya TLR's offer interchangable lenses, but weigh a good bit, they are workhorses. Thats my tuppence worth of info.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  4. #4
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick A View Post
    You don't have to rotate a 6x6 to get a shot.
    You don't have to but you would be surprised at the number of times I have turned one of my 6x6 folding cameras to 'vertical' whilst looking through the viewfinder!


    Steve.

  5. #5

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    I don't think I would like the 6x4.5 format, if you're going big you might as well do it really big. I have an old heavy gitzo tripod with a three way head which I think will do the job fine.
    I haven't really looked at TLR's as I was under the impression that you couldn't switch lenses so I will have to take a look at them. I find the retro-looks okay, but I prefer the system camera SLR look.

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    You don't have to but you would be surprised at the number of times I have turned one of my 6x6 folding cameras to 'vertical' whilst looking through the viewfinder!


    Steve.
    I've done that with my TLR to shoot around corners, and gone upside-down to shoot over the heads of other photogs. They are guessing whilst I'm looking.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  7. #7

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    You're right, except for the Mamiya C3xx and C2xx TLRs the lenses on TLR's don't interchange. It's not necessarly a major issue, in some respects working with just one lens is very liberating. If that single focal length is on a Rolleiflex, they are such a joy to work with you'll scarcely notice you can't change the lens.
    The Rollei's are pricey though.
    The Mamiya TLRs are big and heavy, but the optics are second to none, and they are available for reasonable cost, they also offer closer focusing than any of the SLR's save the RB's because they have a bellows.
    A lot of people like the Pentax 6x7's because they handle like 35's. Otherwise most of the SLR's have waist level finders as standard equipment, but you can add eye level prism finders.

    Rangefinder MFs haven't been mentioned yet. They are a bit lighter than RB's, and quieter since there isn't a mirror moving around. The lenses are also more compact. Cost may be more than you want, if you're looking for sharpness though, Mamiya 7's rival 4x5 for sharpness and detail.

  8. #8
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I enjoy shooting MF folders, especially the ones from the 40's and 50's. I love the bare bones, no nonsense basic cameras that make me do the work, and all they do is hold the image for me to liberate in the darkroom.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  9. #9

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    I wouldn't worry about filters for a while. I use yellow, orange, and red. (standard B&W contrast filters to differentiate the sky) You can add them when you feel the need.

    While larger negatives are nice, do you really NEED one that big? If you are looking at SLR, those that do 6x7 are quite large and heavy to carry around. Those were really made as a studio camera.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  10. #10
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    I started with a Yashica D, TLR. Had problems with double exposures and/or blank frames (I'm forgetful and get lost in the moment of shooting...) Bought a Yashica-Mat. It turned out to suffer from the evidently notorious 'winding problem' (it doesn't stop automatically after one frame.) Next, I went on a tear through the post-WWII folders, buying various Agfa/Ansco's and Zeiss-Ikons. Finally got to one of each that have double exposure prevention. (I used the Ansco for b/w; the Ikonta for color.) Got tired of lugging two cameras around and took advantage of the falling prices on Hasselblads and got a 500C/M, with an 80 and a 50 and two magazines and I've not looked back. (Though I do still occasionally drag one of the folders out for a little 'fun.')

    Try something and see how it feels. :-)
    "I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography." -- Lee Friedlander

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