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  1. #1
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    C220+grip+prism vs 645 camera

    I have a c220 and although I enjoy waist-level viewing, but sometimes I want eye-level viewing for handheld candids. I was thinking of getting a grip and prism or just getting a 645 SLR. Medium format RF's are ideal but too expensive.

    I know that these are two completely different cameras/systems, so i was wondering if anyone can share their experiences and offer some advice. I shoot in available light and with a handheld meter so I don't need auto-focus, auto-exposure, or TTL Flash capabilities and I can live with the limitations of a TLR (parralax, no backs, etc), but I'm mainly concerned with the quality of the viewfinder and ergonomics.

    More specifically,
    1) Is a C220/C330+Grip+Prism awkward to use handheld?
    2) Are the 645 screens/prisms noticeably superior? Are they inverted? I'm undecided between Pentax and Mamiya.
    3) Is shooting horizontal orientation with a 645 camera a pain? I prefer square, then horizontal. I've never handled a 645 so I'm not sure how they feel.

  2. #2
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    I have a c220 and although I enjoy waist-level viewing, but sometimes I want eye-level viewing for handheld candids. I was thinking of getting a grip and prism or just getting a 645 SLR. Medium format RF's are ideal but too expensive.

    I know that these are two completely different cameras/systems, so i was wondering if anyone can share their experiences and offer some advice. I shoot in available light and with a handheld meter so I don't need auto-focus, auto-exposure, or TTL Flash capabilities and I can live with the limitations of a TLR (parralax, no backs, etc), but I'm mainly concerned with the quality of the viewfinder and ergonomics.

    More specifically,
    1) Is a C220/C330+Grip+Prism awkward to use handheld?
    2) Are the 645 screens/prisms noticeably superior? Are they inverted? I'm undecided between Pentax and Mamiya.
    3) Is shooting horizontal orientation with a 645 camera a pain? I prefer square, then horizontal. I've never handled a 645 so I'm not sure how they feel.
    I never found Mamiya TLRs especially light or fast-handling--grip or no grip.

    Mamiya 645 prisms for the Super/Pro/ProTL are reasonably bright, more so than the fixed prism Pentax. They're not reversed L/R. With a split image screen, they're fast focusing.

    For me, the ergonomics of the Mamiya 645 suck without a winder grip. Despite the added weight and noise, the winder transforms an awkward box into a camera that handles like a late model Nikon/Canon film SLR with a battery grip. No need to break eye contact with a power winder. The shift from landscape to portrait with the Mamiya 645 is no sweat and very 35mm-like. With Mamiya, I'd avoid the old, heavy metal 645 cameras--too many age-related issues.

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I nhave a C-220 and C-330 plus a porrofinder(metered) and hand grip, makes a great combo for street shooting, or any other type of shooting. It's an aftermarket side handle not the pistol grip, I find it balances better for me. The porrofinder is lighter than the prism, the trade off is darker image, but not too dark.
    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
    Blighty's Avatar
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    I have a C330f with a prism finder and a trigger grip. When I do use it, it works very well although it's a little on the heavy side. It's pretty quick to use but not anywhere near as bright as my cds chimney finder.
    Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blighty View Post
    I have a C330f with a prism finder and a trigger grip. When I do use it, it works very well although it's a little on the heavy side. It's pretty quick to use but not anywhere near as bright as my cds chimney finder.
    Same experience with my C330f. I recently dumped the pistol grip because it was too much weight and found that I do not miss it.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I have a C330 that I used to shoot weddings with - almost exclusively with the prism finder and the left hand trigger grip.

    I used to mount a Metz 60 CT flash-head to the grip as well - all together quite a large piece of kit .

    I also own and use a Mamiya 645 Pro with prism finder.

    Here are a few observations:

    1) The C330 (or C220) with prism is a fair bit dimmer than the 645 Pro with prism, but I still found the C330 with prism worked well for weddings;

    2) Both the C330 (or C220) with prism and the 645 Pro with prism give you an image that is right side up and right side around;

    3) Don't confuse the C series porro finder with the C series prism finder - the porro finder is large, quite dim, and images are laterally reversed. It is, however, quite a bit lighter than the prism finder;

    4) The "native" orientation for the Mamiya 645 cameras I have used (the Super and the Pro) is horizontal. You have to turn them sideways for a vertical orientation;

    5) I prefer the left hand grip for my 645 Pro to the right hand power winder, but I am left-handed.

    Hope this helps.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    I guess I got the porro and prism finders mixed up; I had the impression that the prism was laterally reversed. I also thought that all 645 cameras were vertical ...

    Still not sure what the right solution is, but thank you for your replies.

  8. #8
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    When I worked for a newspaper, I would occasionally use a Mamiya C220 and attach a prism finder, a pistol grip, and a powerful flash so I could shoot night football with a 180mm lens at a 1/500-second flash sync speed.

    Even though I have used rectangular and square medium format cameras, I prefer the square format in this shooting scenario.

  9. #9

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    To the OP,
    With your C220, you already know you have a camera that works. That's money in the bank!

    Basically the only major weight you will be adding to the camera is the prism.
    C220's don't have a chin mounted shutter button, so the L-brackets are simple and light weight for the 220's.

    I would acquire a prism and simple bracket; see if this combination will work for you.

    Marc

  10. #10
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    Yeah you're probably right. I felt that 645 cameras were geared toward eye-level shooter shooters while TLR's for waist-level shooters.

    My concern is that this combo would be a waste of money if proven too cumbersome. It works for some, but not for others. I'll see if it works for me.

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