Handheld 6x7 MF Camera Advice
Hey guys. I have been shooting 4x5 for the past couple of years and want to make the move to MF for more portability and versatility without sacrificing negative size by shooting 35 mm. Ideally, I would like to shoot 6x7, but I've got the feeling that tripods are often used with cumbersome 6x7 SLR systems like the Pentax 6x7 and Mamiya RB or RZ systems, which I would like to get away from after shooting 4x5. At first, I wanted an SLR because I did not love the focusing system of a rangefinder or twin lens reflex. However, I got the feeling that if I want to shoot 6x7, I'm going to have to get used to a rangefinder or a twin lens reflex if I don't want a very large camera. In general, I am looking for a good handheld MF camera, that I can find for a moderate price, for a range of subjects, that will take a good negative. I don't tend to focus on one subject matter. I was wondering if any of you had any other suggestions for good handheld 6x7 MF cameras. Thanks!
Good Afternoon, b.cipolla,
About the moderate price, I'm not sure, but I find the Fuji 6 x 7 rangefinder to be an exceptionally competent camera. The 90mm lens is terrific. There are also 6 x 9 and WA versions available, about which others may wish to comment. The Koni-Omega rangefinders also have very good lenses, perhaps just a little less sharp than the somewhat newer Fuji offerings, but a variety of lenses plus interchangeable magazines and various other accessories make them more versatile than the Fujis. The other obvious choice would be the Mamiya Universal or 23, also part of a system with good lenses and interchangeability. The bad news is that the used market for all these cameras is not as buyer-friendly as it was a few years ago, and condition is a major factor for individual cameras, especially the older Konis and Mamiyas.
I handhold my Bronica GS-1 all the time. It's the smallest of the big 3 6x7 SLRs.
I like my Makina 67 very much. It is fine for handheld images - and a real beauty...
Mamiya 7 is about it for a modern 6x7 that's lighter than usual SLR subjects like the Mamiya RB and Pentax. They're not giveaway priced, though. I love the Bronica GS-1 but gave up trying to build a kit with a few lenses and backs, thanks to their relative scarcity and high prices. Can't bully a friend to sell me the kit I borrow occasionally...
Last edited by CGW; 10-30-2011 at 05:11 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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If you cannot use a Mamiya RB67 handheld, you aren't trying very hard.
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She's always out the window, When it comes to making Dreams.
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Personally, the Linhof Tech V 23 works for me for this purpose. I got it when we had a child, and traveling with a 4x5" or larger camera just got more difficult, and I realized that a 2x3" Technika gives me most of the functionality of the 4x5" in about half the space for the full kit, and that includes shooting handheld press camera style with the rangefinder or view camera style on a tripod with the groundglass and camera movements.
If you want an SLR, though, the Bronica GS-1 is probably the most suited to handheld work.
The Fuji rangefinders are all very good cameras with excellent glass. I have the GW670 II (w/ 90 mm f3.5 lens) and the GSW690 III (w/ 65 mm f5.6 lens) and am quite happy with the results I get from both. I also shoot 4x5 and 5x7, and the Fuji cameras give me plenty of sharpness & tonality to satisfy my image needs.
These cameras are moderately priced, quite affordable.
The Mamiya 67 is a really nice system with excellent lenses, but at a higher premium. It is a lighter kit to carry around than lugging two Fujis (I am used to the heft of the Fujis).
As far as results go, I think you would be very happy with either system.
My $0.02... YMMV.
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Another vote for the GS-1. No rotating back, but a very solid piece of kit. I prefer it with the WLF as opposed to a prism; makes it a lot lighter, and gives the compositional advantage of a ground glass. Whatever you choose, 6x7 is a great format.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
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