- Weight of Mamiya C330 with standard lens: 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs)
- Weight of Mamiya RB67 with back and standard lens: 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs)
- Weight of Rolleiflex Automat: 0.85 kg (1.9 lbs)
- Weight of Rolleiflex 3.5F/2.8F: 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs)
- Weight of Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 521/16 (6x6 folding camera): 0.45kg (1 lb) / this is approximate, because there were numerous models with different lenses and shutters. But this probably is reasonably accurate. The Super Ikonta models -- particularly the 531/16, 532/16 and 533/16 -- weigh significantly more (and cost more, too).
Oh yes, if it's weight then an old molding folder is the way to go for sure. That's kind of why I suggest a Nettar or Ikonta too, so he can shoot with his Canon F1 and carry along the little folder for a medium format shot. That's why I like my little folders 'cause they are easy to carry everywhere. JohnW
Originally Posted by elekm
Yep the RB is heavy, comparatively, but so is my F5 with my 80-200 f/2.8, put either on a mono or tri-pod and they are really a joy and the RB system is so flexible.
Given the op's preference for 6x6 and interchangeable lenses the Mamiya TLR would be a great choice.
Mamiya TLR sounds like it might work, or a Rolleicord
Weight of Pentacon Six with 80mm f/2.8 Biometar and TL Prism: 1.7kg and $200 Fully Working (surely cheaper elsewhere but less guaranteed)
Originally Posted by elekm
Rolleiflex SL66: 1.92 kg (4.25 lbs.)
This is an awesome camera with interchangeable backs, finders and lenses. The lenses are still rather expensive, and most cameras should be serviced.
You can reverse the standard f/2.8 80mm Planar for close-up work.
There is a special bracket that makes the camera very easy to handle, but like many heavy cameras, a tripod is a good accessory.
This camera probably is way out of your budget unless you chance upon a great deal, which happens from time to time.
Trust me, do 6x6. It is a different way to look at the world. Mamiya C220 is a bit lighter than the C330, but takes the same lenses. People talk about the Mamiyas being heavy, but I defy anyone to find a lighter 3 lens kit....especially since you can get away with a really light tripod (never tilt to the side, short, leaf shutter and no mirror). I don't think you could do better for the price.
I agree with you 100% and I don't even own one anymore. KEH has a couple of nice C220's for a good price and the big auction site does too. I have a friend who has many more cameras than I do and I have tooooo many, but he still hangs onto his lovely C220 and prefers it to the C330. Me, I like the cocking on advance of the C33/C330 over manually cocking of the C220. But like my friend says, "Less to go wrong and lighter"! A lot of "bang for the buck" in a TLR Mamiya that's for sure. OMG I sound like a Mamiya sales rep! JohnW
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher
This is a good point that calls for clarification of the OP's subject and composition preference. I saw mention of family travels, but the question is, will he be doing wide landscapes on those travels, portraits, or (for example) bird-watching? The C330 body is large(-ish) and heavy, but its short lenses are small. Once your camera bag has made the up-front investment of space to carry the body, you can chuck in the normal 80mm lens and the wide 55mm (for broad landscapes) in spare corners. (Do not attempt with, say, the original 55mm for a Pentax 6x7!) But if you were going to be chucking in the Mamiya's 180mm and 250mm, it would be a very different question. That's where the fact that each of its lenses is a twin-lens starts to hurt.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Allow me to add my 2 cents (or 2 nickels, as I see you're in Canada). I think you might need to adjust your specifications or buy two cameras to get everything you're looking for.
I'm on my third MF camera (though I'd probably still be on my second had my cat not pulled the second one off of the coffee table).
My first MF camera was a Yashica Mat 124G. This was many years ago when MF prices were higher and it was one of the few options that fit my budget. I didn't do my own developing at the time, so I would drop my colour film off at a lab and get back the negatives and some little 4x4 inch prints. Needless to say, being used to 4x6 inch prints from 35mm, I wasn't too impressed with the little square proofs. When I did get enlargements, I found it difficult to find square frames. On the plus side, the pictures were nice and sharp and the camera was light and portable, and people seemed less intimidated by a TLR than an MF SLR. I found it difficult to adjust to the laterally-reversed image in the viewfinder, particularly when moving the camera. Being used to taking photos at eye-level, I often found myself standing on my toes trying to look into the waist-level finder while raising the camera as high as I could. I guess that's why they call it a waist-level finder. Ultimately, I found the Yashica too limiting and sold it.
My second MF camera is a Mamiya M645 1000S. It was more expensive, but since it was modular, I was able to buy it in parts. Buying it turned out to be a bit of a shopping nightmare. The film insert I bought didn't work, so I exchanged it the next day. Within less than a week, the focus ring on the lens seized-up. I returned it and got a refund and bought another. The meter in the prism never worked, and after two lengthy repair attempts, I got a refund and bought a non-metered prism. After all that I discovered that the camera had an intermittent light leak. Despite all that, I still liked it better and got better photos than with the Yashica. A set of extension tubes allowed me to take close up photos and an auto winding grip gave a more 35mm-like handling to the camera. On the minus side, it was heavy. I bought a special strap to make it more comfortable, but I don't think around the neck is necessarily the ideal way to carry an MF SLR. Being a 645 camera, it gave me 15 shots per roll instead of 12, and more acceptable 4x5 inch proofs from the lab. (Though I understand some other 645 cameras give you 16 shots per roll.) Unfortunately, I left it with the strap hanging off the coffee table one day, and our new cat, who liked to play with any string-like object, was seen scurrying away after a loud crash to the floor and I found the camera and prism separated on the floor and they would not snap back together.
Rather than getting the 1000S repaired, I decided to replace it with a newer M645 Pro TL, which had come down in price dramatically since I had bought the 1000S. I decided to go with another Mamiya since I would be able to use my existing lenses and extension tubes. The most exciting features for me were the interchangeable film backs and the (working) metered prism. One downside is that the flash shoe is on the side of the camera, unlike the 1000S, which had a flash shoe on top of the prism, 35mm-style, so you'll need either a bracket with a flash shoe, or a handle mount flash. You also need either a special adaptor or a certain auto-winding grip to be able to use a screw-in cable release. Other than those issues, I'm very happy with the M645 Pro TL.
When I bought my first 35mm camera, the advice I read recommended getting a 50mm lens because it would give sharper pictures than a 'kit zoom'. I took that advice and have never regretted buying that wonderfully sharp 50mm lens, but after 6 months, I found myself wanting a zoom lens really really badly. Quality speaks for itself, of course, but I think there is definitely something to be said for versatility. What good is it to have the sharpest lens if you can't get the picture you want with it? If you can only afford one camera right now, I would suggest starting with one that is versatile enough to take all of the kinds of photos you want to capture.
The most important piece of advice I can give from my experiences is to thoroughly check all the equipment you buy right away, so that you can return anything that isn't working. All three of the MF cameras I have bought have had issues. The Yashica had a badly corroded battery in it, which the store cleaned out for me. The first M645 Pro TL body I ordered would not couple with the aperture ring on my lenses. I exchanged it. One of the film backs I ordered with the M645 Pro TL does not reset the film counter. Unfortunately, I did not discover this until after the warranty period expired.
Thanks for reading my story and I hope there are some useful bits of information in there for you.
If I was in your position, I think I would go with two cameras. An MF SLR for general picture taking and an automated rangefinder with a built-in flash or hotshoe, if you insist on using MF for family travel photos.
If you try a waist-level finder and decide you want to go that way, it might be best to choose a square format camera as viewing a vertical shot through a waist level finder when the camera is turned on it's side will be awkward.