I love my RZ. Can't get used to the waist level finder though. Never got used to the flopped image. I bought a prism on eBay and it changed how a shoot with it. The thing weighs as much as a 35mm camera. RZ and RB lenses are sharp. It's more of a studio camera but I hike with it too. You'll get grainless 16x20 prints shooting Ilford Fp4.
I also recommend you start out with a TLR type camera. I made wonderful, sharp photos with a Yashica 124G years ago, and still can. You can use it easily close to the floor, waist level or hold it eye level. In the "old" days, all I did was candid photos with it. There was not one thing I could not do with that little camera.
Unless you get a real deal on an RB or RZ, get one of the TLRs (months ago I would have recommended a certain brand or model, not anymore.....just get something and get started. Once you get one of these type cameras, you will get another, so just find something). Great, great cameras. Try to get one from an actual user so you won't buy junk.......unless you get junk for next to nothing and put good money into a CLA and end up with a beautiful, used, perfect camera.
I used to shoot 35mm, 100% of the time. I had a F3, two F4's and F5, the fastest f/1.4 and f/2.8 glass I could afford. Then one day I bought an RZ67 on impulse with a 80mm/2.8 and 120 back. After my first roll of Kodachrome came back I was amazed at the detail and tonality that I could never dream of achieving with my Nikon system. All my films felt like they were alive, Velvia 50 was incredible, even TMax 3200 didn't seem grainy anymore, it took on a totally different look.
Needless to say I recently bought a Mamiya 645 Pro to replace my 35mm cameras I take on trips and vacations, and now my Nikon equipment is gathering dust in my closet, among them are some expensive Nikon pro zooms, now I carry a basic 55mm, 80mm and 150mm 3-lens kit.
Also with only 10 or 15 shots per roll, you slow down and take your time, which is always nice.
The 6x7 format is one of the best compromises you can make between the convenience of 35mm and the huge negatives you get with large format. Because you use more of the 6x7 frame than you do either with 35mm or 6x6, the usable size of your negative makes truly impressive prints, with almost the kind of detail and fine shading that you can get from 4x5", while preserving your ability to handhold the camera (at least for short periods). While I notice that most of the posts here have referred to MF SLRs, you might also think of the Mamiya 67, which is truly portable and yet gives you the enormous 6x7 negatives that are the main reason for getting into MF.
So do I (mine, not yours!).
Originally Posted by teleugeot
One of my regrets is I didn't shoot MF in the years 120 Kodachrome and processing were available.
Originally Posted by Shootar401
Can I put in a good word for the good old-fashioned folding rangefinder - 6x9 or 6x6 - lots of them around, the quality marques all had quality lenses and shutters, a nice example cla'd and a good second-hand working exposure meter and off you go to get some candids, landscapes, sports stuff or whatever. Lenses are in most cases not interchangeable, some have screw on wides/teles. Light, easy to carry, unobtrusive and a joy to work with - although you may have to wind on the film, cock the shutter and set the aperture manually.... but it ain't that tiring and takes only seconds with some practice.
You could always pick one up and try it - and if you don't like, sell it again... I use cameras from a 5x4 monorail to a Sony A77 with slr 645s and tlr 6x6s in between, but I always have my old Ensign 12-20 (F3.5 Ross Xpress lens) in the car along with a small Nikon digital just in case... But I'm biased, I like photography the way it used to be when I started out at the age of 8 with a Kodak brownie 127 and an overlly optimistic opinion of my talents and a "darkroom" in te cupboard under the stairs... that was 60 years ago... I'm still learning... Whatever you decide, let your imagination and creativity rule... THAT's the important thing. Good luck, Mike E W