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  1. #1

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    Cheap 6x6 or 6x7 Rangefinder Recommendation

    I'm looking to get a nice little(ish) medium format rangefinder to carry around with me, I've been looking around and seems like the Mamiya 6 may be the end all be all of this niche of cameras, but I figured I'd ask what everyone is using in here. Let me know what you guys are using, and what you love hate about them all! Thanks!

    -Brian

  2. #2

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    6x6 or 6x7 Rangefinder Recommendation

    I'm looking to get a nice little(ish) medium format rangefinder to carry around with me, I've been looking around and seems like the Mamiya 6 may be the end all be all of this niche of cameras. Also, I am not trying to break the bank with this necessarily. I figured I'd ask what everyone is using in here. Let me know what you guys are using, and what you love hate about them all! Thanks!

    -Brian

  3. #3
    keithwms's Avatar
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    The original mamiya 6 folder may be something to look for, though it is quite rare now. The newer mamiya 6 (which I have and adore) and its cousin the 6MF are perhaps the best if size is the issue and if you also need a range of lenses. The mamiya 6/6MF collapses into a jacket pocket.

    If you don't mind older cameras, there are a number of compact folders that may be up to the task and these can be quite inexpensive.

    Then there is the new Voigtlaender folder....
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  4. #4

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    Keith,
    That Bessa III looks beautiful, however I don't think it falls under the cheap category, at least not for me

  5. #5

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    I use a Fuji GW670III. Some of my photos can be seen on the Fuji Rangefinderpages. Great camera, excellent lens. I also have a Fuji GS645S which is also great and has an excellent lens as well but of course it is a 6 x 4.5 camera. I will be off to India (Ladakh) with them shortly. These cameras are well suited for travelling since the lenses are non removable so you don't lug around to much stuff. The camera limits you.

  6. #6
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    You might want to look at an old folder. If you are willing to have no rangefinder, then good deals can be found on Zeiss, Voigtlander and Agfa folders. If you really want the rangefinder, they get a bit pricy, but still often or usually cheaper than most of the Fuji rangefinders. I have a Zeiss Ikonta 521/16, which is a 6X6 folder with a Tessar lens and Compur Rapid shutter. I got it from Jurgen Krekel on eBay. He also sells via his web site at http://certo6.com/. My camera is in fabulous condition, and he services the shutters and anything else that needs it before selling anything. I got it for $135 including shipping. It has no rangefinder. For one with a coupled rangefinder, expect to be looking at $400 and up. There are some with noncoupled rangefinders for more like $200 to $300.

    You can also just buy these on eBay from other sellers, but it can get a little sketchy since they are all at least 50 and usually more in the range of 60 to 70 years old. There are also a million different variations, most with pretty cheap lenses. Jurgen's web site is very helpful in sorting out the good lenses.

  7. #7
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Iskra - Soviet 6x6.

    Very good unit focussing lens.

    Generally quite tough, apart from the frame counter mechanism, which is usually removed and a hole has been drilled through the back to show the frame numbers on the film roll backs.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  8. #8
    Daniel Larsen's Avatar
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    I have the Mamiya 6 RF and love it. However, it is not inexpensive (~$2200 for body and all three lenses from KEH, bargain condition (definitely conservative on their part) for the body and excellent for the lenses) and is not necessarily "little(ish)" (you will know you have a MF rangefinder in your hand). I also have two older Zeiss folders and completely agree with Paul Sorensen - they are lovely cameras, take great pictures, and I recommend Jurgen Krekel as a source. Mine are both 6x6 - Mess Ikonta 524 and a Super Ikonta III (uncoupled and coupled rangefinders, respectively). I originally brought only the Mamiya 6 with me to Iraq, leaving the one folder I owned at the time (Mess Ikonta) in storage in Hawaii. When I got here, I found that the Mamiya 6, even though compact, was still a little too big for the pouches on my body armor. It was also somewhat inconvenient for quick shooting - extend collapsible lens to shoot or change lenses (if I took the other lenses), bottom interlock, turn on meter, etc. I got to missing my folder, so I sent a note to Jurgen to see what he had available. These days, I usually take the beautiful Super Ikonta III that I got from him. I don't have to worry with the coupled rangefinder and I guesstimate exposure. I have been very satisfied with the results and have been able to take more pictures than I would have with the Mamiya 6. One thing I've noticed on the Super Iknota is really tight frame spacing (no overlapping, but not a lot of space between frames, especially at the beginning of a roll). For me, both have their place and indicated use. Outside Iraq, I'd probably reach for the Mamiya 6 more, given its lens line up and meter. Good luck.
    _________
    Dan Larsen

  9. #9

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    The Bronica RF645 is much smaller than a Mamiya 7 with lens mounted but there are issues, such as the availability of longer lenses (100/135) and it is 645 of course.

    Personally, I would take a newer Mamiya 7 II over a used, older, 6 folder any day. In fact I did and have great big negs to work with. When the 6x6 negs are cropped they end up 645 sized (assuming you do) and you still only get 12 shots on a frame. IMHO 645 or 6x7 make more sense assuming you dont print square.

    The 7 is a little bigger but it is a superb camera and on fine grained film those negs are simply astounding. I made the decision to make my RF645 redundant with a 35mm RF and the Mamiya for when I want bigger negs. Works for me. The RF645 however handles better than the Mamiya 7 in my view, with better exposure comp and general feel.

  10. #10

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    If you don't mind something totally manual, and a bit older, a 6x6 folder with a coupled rangefinder could be a good start.

    For starters, take a look at the following (amongst others): Iskra, Agfa Super Isolette, Mamiya 6, Certo Six, Super Ikonta III/IV, Super Fujica Six. All of these have got decent lenses. You should understand that all of them have their own unique quirks, so it's best to read up a bit on the ones you're most interested in before diving in.

    Other than that, your only other 6x6 choice that comes to mind is the (new) Mamiya 6. This would set you back a lot more that any of the above folders plus CLA.

    (I've got folder pictures in my gallery, and on flickr)

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