An observation: The range of suggestions in this thread is extreme, and although every suggestion has merit for some users, chances are that many of these suggestions would not suit Josh, the OP. I think that he needs to specify what he wants to help narrow things down. Some specific questions that can help:

  • Do you want/need interchangeable lenses?
  • What format do you want? (645, 6x6, 6x7, etc.)
  • Do you want/need other specific features, such as a self-timer, WLF, prism finder, built-in meter, etc.?
  • Will you be carrying the camera around (hikes in the woods, say) or using it closer to home (studio shoots, for instance)?
  • Do you have a preference for basic type (folder, rangefinder, SLR, TLR, etc.)?
  • Are there specific types of photography you plan to do? (Landscapes, portraits, street shooting, macros, animals, etc.) The answer to this question alone might narrow the field quite a bit.


Even if you don't know the answer to all these questions, try answering those that you can. The result will probably be that many of the suggestions offered will drop away as unsuitable for your specific needs. For instance, if you need interchangeable lenses, that eliminates everything but SLRs and Mamiya C-series TLRs, AFAIK. OTOH, if you need something light and compact, a folder might be the best choice.