Tough decision Dave, not sure what I would do.
Don't do something you'll truly regret but... if selling unused gear is the only way to fund what you really want and will actually use then it's the best decision. Whatever you decide... don't look back and cry about it. That's sissy behavor. :D
Yes, it deserves to be used. While having your own darkroom to process prints in is probably the best solution, it's not necessary - you can put slide film through it and have a pro lab develop and mount them. Get an MF slide projector and you're set! Or you can run C-41 (Ektar is available in 120 now!) and have the lab scan+print them for you.
Well the deed has been done. I have sold my Mamiya along with the 80mm and 45mm lens, I didn't get a huge amount for it but that doesn't overly worry me. It's gone to a good home, where it will get used frequently and so it gets to live another day.
I also parted with my much loved Minolta 800si, together with the VC700 vertical grip and a 35-70mm minolta lens. That was one beauty of a camera, again though it was not getting used. So I now really back to basics, I have a Minolta XD11 with a lovely 50mm prime and a 135mm prime. I also have a SR1 with 35mm & 50mm Rokkor primes - and you know I'm kinda pleased to be back to basics - the SR1 is fully manual and while the XD11 (once Minolta's flag ship) has Automatic Exposure, I reckon I'm either going to shoot manual or with either aperture/shutter priority. It has a real sense of going back to my photographic roots. I know the SR1 (and possibly XD11) need a good CLA done, hopefully they'll get the attention they need in the new year - the money from the 800si/Mamiya will come in handy.
The last remaining AF lens that I have and will be parting with is a really great Sigma 18-35 Aspherical (Minolta Mount) lens. Not sure what to ask for the lens, it's in excellent condition, complete with hood, manual, original hard case and a UV filter. All I need now is to find a buyer who will offer both a fair price and a good home.
Hopefully next year will see me more involved in film photography using the cameras I started my photography with and who knows maybe I'll even get to join an APUG Ireland outing. I know it's early for new year resolutions, but mine is to make time to use my film kit and to follow Les McLean's guidance and "Shoot the light" - he signed that on a book for me and then helped me understand it, it's something that will always be with me and that I'll always be thankful to him for.
Well better get back to the grind of work, if anyone out there knows of a fair asking price for the sigma or even wants to buy it let me know.
Good to see you are getting organised David, hopefully we'll see you out and about soon.
Out of interest did you get much for the 800si? I too am suffering from camera overload (both my father's and grandfather's Prakticas, two 500si a 700si and an 800si, and a Canon 650 body acquired from a family friend, oh yeah and the lubitel and a holga on walkabout somewhere) but now that I have my beautiful dynax9 nothing else gets a look in. Some of them have sentimental value but I'd quite like to trade in the 800si, 700si and one of the 500si's and probably the Canon and perhaps get some cash for film or other accessories.
Why is the darkroom a pipe dream?
What about scanning your medium format negs until you can get one set up?
It will certainly be cheaper for the amount of print quality than digital will be.
I got €160 for the 800si + VC70 + 35-70mm lens, it was all in excellent condition, with original manuals, lens/body caps and packaging.
I'm thinking of asking €150 for the sigma lens, it really is a great lens but I don't need it as much as I need to money. I also just remembered that I have a 500si super with an 28-80 kit lens, my Father borrowed it a couple of years ago and has never used it.
The mamiya is history now. But I still have three 35mm minolta cameras (XD11, SR1 & 500si), so I will still have the ability to shoot, process and print. I have an enlarger, which I have loaned to a friend who is making sure it gets used (and has offered me use of her darkroom), so I can and will get printing at some point.