If you're interested in slowing down... I would suggest something like the RB or RZ67... While they can be used handheld, they really belong on a tripod.
The benefit of the 645 is that you get more frames and can easily hand hold it... Not exactly forcing you to slow down.
Plus you get more square inches of film, which you'll GREATLY appreciate!
Thanks alot for all the advice so far everyone. I guess I should have been a little bit clearer in what I mainly shoot. Broken down, I would probably be shooting 65% landscapes, 30% architectire and 5% percent people. I'm not immensly worried about having to throw whatever I get on a tripod, because that's alother slwing down step, which it what I'm after. Heck, whatever I go with will most likely live on a tripod.
I have given some thought to TLR's as a good way to wet my feet. I saw one in an antiques store here a couple of weeks ago, in what looked like perfect order for around $100 USD. Sadly, this was before I put any real thought into going into MF so I neglected to see what camera it actually was. I might go and have a more serious look tomorrow, because I just want to fix this itch and get shooting with film again. Any tips on what to look out for as far as TLR's go in general? Or are they mostly pretty bullet proof?
I would quite like to get something in a bigger format than 6x4.5 aswell. Although I'll have to save for a little bit longer to do this.
I will also get into developing B&W myself, as I've done it before working for a pro photographer for a couple of days through 'work expirence' at school. I'll also have to have a chat with him about this aswell. But in the meantime I shouldn't have any problem getting my initial photos processed. There are a couple of top notch camera stores close by.
Thanks alot for all the replies so far. Anything else anyone has to add will definatly be appreciated.
Good Evening, Chris,
Most TLR's are very basic, and any flaws are usually obvious. Check the usual (shutter, aperature control, focus mechanism, etc.) for smooth operation. If the camera is a Minolta Autocord--an excellent camera--be aware that the focusing lever is prone to becoming very stiff in operation and can be frozen. Double check that.
When you start your darkroom fun, you'll have a real bonus with 120 film. With only minimal practice, you will soon be able to load it onto a stainless steel reel in about fifteen to twenty seconds; no other film/reel combination is as quick and easy.
I also made through it just a few months ago.
Initially bought a Rolleicord Vb off Ebay - shot one roll and was amazed teh quality and the apperance. For the first time, seeing big slide wasa revelation for me, just like somebody opened a big window in the tight room where I cuold only lurk into a tiny key slit...
Well, soon after that I discovered a fungus in teh taking lens and thanks to honesty and integrity of my seller we worked out the return for full refund.
However I was hit already by MF and decided to dive more seriously into it with SLR. It took almost two moths of extensive online research, reviews, personal experiences, forums, etc.. to figure my choice - Bronica GS-1 which is 6x7.
I built a kind of list of Pros and Cons of three systems I considered (all 6x7: Mamiya RB/RZ, Bronica GS-1 and Pentax 67) and for my needs, Broncia won.
In fact, I wrote an article about my way through MF choosing and put it on my site. You're welcome to check, perhaps you find it useful to shape your mind for particular system.
Great thanks to our digital era that made our wishes true to afford a a fine MF gear and open up our horizons to a quality. Bronica GS-1 setup (a body, 120 back, AE rotary prism, standard 100mm/3.5 PG lens and Speed grip) has deepened my pocket by just a mere of 750 $ which is a joke if we would recall MF prices for such kind of setup (ro a comparable Mamiya for instance) just a few years ago....
The danger of starting with a TLR is that you could be addicted for life. The same might happen if you get a good old folder. When I started in MF I bought a cheap example of each to see which I preferred. I ended up being hooked on both types of camera.
Jurgen Kreckel restores folders to near-new condition. His modest website is at http://www.foldingcamerasrestoration.com/. He's in the USA, and sells cameras directly and via eBay. As far as I know his prices are in the USD 250 to 350 range. If you buy a folder, you might end up carrying it everywhere you go.
The 6x9 neg from a folder has over 50% of the area of a 4x5 cropped to the same height/width ratio - that's closer than the area of 35 mm compared to 6x4.5 cropped (about 37%). Of course I've chosen the 1:1.5 aspect ratio comparisons to make the figures support my message. Naughty.
A quick note about Jurgen Kreckel and his folders: if you can forgoe a coupled rangefinder, or even live with an accessory rangefinder, you can get a folder for less than $200 from him. I picked up a Bessa I (a 6x9) with a separate rangefinder for around $160 or thereabouts. It's a great camera with a very sharp lens. Folders can definately be addictive!
Thanks for all the input guys, it's been alot of help.
I went out today around town looking for anywhere that would sell an old TLR. The one place that I stumbled across that actually had any was an antiques store (you know the kind, with the seedy looking guy behind the counter, reading a paper and grunting his welcome as you walk in the store). The only one he had was a 'Photina'. I had never heard of it before, and the guy behind the counter looked like he would know less about it than me.
So I paid a visit to an old family friend who works in a photolab (he used to be a pro photographer a few years back) and we talked for a few minutes about it. He then put me onto an old friend of his who has a little hidden shop, with stacks of old, great contition equipment in it.
So after saying goodbuy, I headed in the direction of the shop. It was very hidden, and I wouldn't have been able to find it without the help. So in I go, and inside was the nicest guy I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with. We talked for a few minutes again, and eventually he went into a cabinet and pulled out a fantastic looking Yashica 635. After going over it and asking the price ($200 NZD) I was sold. On top of that, he threw in a light meter and a formed leather case for it too! Nothing beats dealing with guys who love what they do.
So I've got a couple of cheap B&W rolls of film I'm eagerly looking to throw through it this weekend and even more eagerly looking forward to the results!
Thanks once again everyone. If I can get my scanner to do a semi-decent job of scanning the film/prints I'll be sure to post them up.
Congrats on choosing the TLR route!
I'm sure you'll love it (I've got 3 Yashica Baby TLR's and they're sweet!).
It's a different experience, and I totaly agree with Helens assesment of looking AT an image formed on glass rather than looking THROUGH a pentaprism viewfinder. It's so much more about the photograph. Don't panic about the reversed image - it becomes second nature really quickly. I can't use a digicam viewscreen, cause I always pan the wrong way (If only they'd add an option to reverse the image!).
Most people who've never used a TLR think they're big clunky monsters - you'll quickly find they're a simple elegant and unobtrusive design. You can wander around all day shooting stuff, and no one will even notice. No horrid mirror slamming around, no lifting it up to your eyeline(and scaring the natives), no sync speed problems, no batteries...
I'm sure you'll be hooked. Keep an eye out for one the the Yashica 44 tlr's - same design but for 127, so they're about half the size and 1/4 the weight. Now if I could just afford one of the NEW rollei's...