Very valuable! Thank you!
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher
Beautiful photo Mark! Is that a scan of a print?
To the OP: Rolleiflex SL66SE, especially for macro. Some say the metering in the later models is one more thing to fail, but I say so what? Even if it stops working, you still have a lovely, fully-functioning mechanical camera. In the meantime, enjoy the excellent average and spot metering right there in your waist-level finder (or prism, should you choose to invest in one). Zeiss glass. Nice, easy loading with the improved backs. Great accessories that are reasonably available on eBay thanks to low demand (tripod adapter is a must-have). Heavy, so plenty of mass to absorb slight movements when hand-held. And when that shutter goes off, and everything inside swings into action, you're left in no doubt something good has just happened!
Can't go wrong with a Hassy, either, of course. I have even had great success doing close-ups with my Yash 124G and close-up lenses.
My man ! hesitate if I would add 'sound' as an asset when using this camera. But when TS talks about 'aesthetics', who am I not talking about this little aberration :) If you ever need attention from a crowd use this camera, it's only exceeded by a RZ67 with motordrive !
Originally Posted by artobest
The SL66SE is hard to find, which means expensive (even more so the appropriate lenses) and prone to issues with electronics. SL66 are cheap, you will have to look out for one which is not worn out though, but this also applies to other formerly professional gear too. There is a chimney-finder with (spot-) meter which works with ambient light. If you need flash metering through the lens you will have indeed to go for a SE.
Originally Posted by k.hendrik
That said, due to the limited DOF -though it can be done- MF is not the best option for macro work IMHO.
I'd consider a TLR for landscape. It' amazing how seldom you need another lens as 80mm, if you shoot 6x6. Since I realized that I took most of my landscape pictures with the normal lens, the SL66 stays at home most of the time and I take a Rolleiflex TLR with me. The SL66 is quite large and heavy (as a System the SL66 is not heavier than the Hasselblad but the camera is).
If you intend to use the camera without a tripod, the SL66 in any incarnation is not the best choice. It is difficult to hold steady and to focus at the same time.
You say you like the square format, but most portrait and landscape photos are printed as rectangles, usually in standard dimensions (8x10, 11x14, 16x20, etc.). The reason for toting around a heavy MF camera with comparatively slow lenses to a 35mm camera is the negative size. Cropping a square negative to a rectangle necessarily throws away some of that glorious negative size. It's up to you do decide if you would feel limited printing square most of the time or if it bothers you to crop so much negative out of the picture.
On the up side of square negative cameras, you never need to worry about rotating the camera or the back to alternate between "portrait" framing and "landscape" framing in the viewfinder. That also makes waist-level finders practical, which some people really like.
Macro work calls for an SLR. There's no reasonable way to do it otherwise. You'll want a camera system that offers macro lenses (flat field, close focusing) and a set of extension tubes or an extension rail.
Durability and spare parts and be approached in a couple of ways. The simplest is to buy a very common camera system. That assures the best supply of spare or replacement parts for the longest time. Hasselblad and Mamiya RB systems will have parts of a long, long time. Exotic cameras, not so much. In general, mechanical cameras are more repairable than electronic, so keep that in mind also.
I'd say the MF system that comes closest to all of your requirements is the Mamiya RB67. It has gobs of negative area (crop square if you wish), rotating back, mechanical operation, huge assortment of lenses/accessories, and are very common. I've never owned one. I own Bronica equipment, which I like very much but doesn't meet some of your requirements as well as the Mamiya. RB prices are reasonable and the only downside for you might be they are heavy. Of course, that contributes to some of their durability too.
Service and parts is an important consideration. I just had my 500C/M fully serviced and overhauled by the factory service center in NJ.
Originally Posted by jernejk
Interesting point. I really like composing on ground glass, plus sometimes macro work with 35mm viewfinder really does feel like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5ORh...EyhqcMZ4F14Fa1
Originally Posted by Ulrich Drolshagen
That's why I thought MF would be a good idea.
The SL66 is perfect for macro work, but as Ulrich said, you should make sure that it is in good working order before buying. Mind that these cameras are 30-40 years old now. A metered camera is not essential since the bellows has a exposure compensation scale for macro which works perfectly as long as one does not forget to compensate the exposure. The 120/5,6 lens has been designed particularly for close ups and its picture quality is amazing. It is the best lens in the whole line up IMO. A solid tripod and solid head are recommended for this camera! I have made good experience with the Gitzo G1570 head. It fits the camera perfectly and does also allow to use the tilt, which not all tripod heads will do. The price of these cameras is about the same as for a Hasselblad of similar age but the lenses are cheaper, plus they do not need any maintenance. It is not necessary to buy the newer HFT-lenses. From my personal experience the old single coated lenses are as good as it gets.
Here are my observations on which MF camera to buy and enjoy: I've owned (and still use) many of the cameras mentioned--Hasselblad, C330, Mamiya 645, and Mamiya RB. If you enjoy precision focus, especially for macro work, the rack and pinion focus of the RB and C330 make close focusing or even portrait shooting very easy and very accurate. I first became aware of this when using my new Hasselblad versus focusing with my RB and twin lens C330. The 'Blad and even my Mamiya 645's didn't seem to focus with the same level of accuracy as the two bellow focusing Mamiya's. Admittedly, except for the 645's, I'm using the wast level finder on these cameras. For me, my main reason for using MF (aside from picture quality) is the waist level ground glass viewing and focusing. This change in perspective vs eye-level prism makes (for me) all the difference in the world in terms of composition and subject placement. The OP might have a different take on this, but I'm just passing on my observations.
Asked many times, answered many times... "That one".
Anyhow, I had a C220 for many years, loved it. 65 and 105mm lens. Got a rb67. Took awhile to get use to it. wide angle lens and a centerpost grip. Wow. New way of seeing! Eventually stopped using the C220. Gave it to a friend. Hope it serves her well. Flushed out the lens set on the rb. Nothing you can't take with it. Have a couple extension tubes, both pop up finder as well as prism. It's essentially a LF camera with a little technology behind it.
Got the daughter a M645. Cool camera. Easy to shoot. Spent 6 months playing with it. Just couldn't give up the real estate of the rb67.
What do I shoot now? Deardorff 8x10.
Moral of the story... you will find your own place in the photo world. Just don't go jumping into the most expensive gear you find. You can't tell the diff between a 6x6 Hassey and a 6x7 Mamiya cropped the same. And one costs a hellava lot less.
tim in san jose