Thanks for the input, as always!

I shoot mainly weddings and portraits. I'm not real big into "classic" wedding style where most of the shots are posed and strobes are used, I find it to be really static and boring most of the time. I only use strobes when it's absolutely necessary or during receptions. I'm more into the documentary style, which is great for 35mm. But the thing about the Mamiya is that even when doing posed formal shots and it takes 10 seconds just to get the focus, than it becomes very very difficult to anticipate and capture the best moments, where it's cake on 35mm.

Quote Originally Posted by polyglot View Post
But yes, you can do portraits with the Mamiya (see all the good wedding shots taken 1960-2000) but it takes practise, forethought, preparation, and more practise. Flashes and good light are a huge help because they mean you can stop down a bit - a small (60cm) softbox with a good hotshoe flash in it can achieve f/16 to f/22 at 1m, which means an easy f/16 at 2m and ISO400 (flash as main light). If you're in bright open shade, that's about f/5.6-light, so you shoot at f/16 1/125 and the shade light becomes your fill at -1: instant beautiful outdoor portrait, just add 81B! You can set it up and work that one exposure with no further thought for a couple hours, with enough DOF to cover minor focus issues.

And $1.50/shot? That's like $23/roll on 645 - what are you doing!? Even in Australia (the land of incredibly high prices), I can buy C41 from the US for $5/roll and pay a lab to develop it for $7 (DIY for $2). Cheaper still for B&W.
I appreciate the input on the strobes, but I try to avoid using them whenever possible. It makes things more static, complicates things, and it's more grip that I need to keep track of. Now if it's raining outside, and the formals need to be shot in a dungeon of a church, than well there's little option, but if it's outside, or it's not raining outside, available light looks better on film IMO.

16shots/roll + FedEx + Richard Photo Lab = expensive (but good) results. One roll of 120, 16 pictures, costs almost $40 to get developed and scanned at RPL after cost of purchasing, shipping, and developing+scanning that roll.

Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
I think you are simply learning that getting the $#&@ing shot in the first place, and getting it in focus, counts for a lot more than the shot's technical details in terms of sharpness, grain, etc. IME, it's consideration number one of picking a camera for a specific purpose. IMO, if you cannot get what you want with medium format, get rid of it, or use it for more suitable subjects. A camera is worse than useless if working with it is causing you to miss timing and focus. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing exactly what you want to focus on and exactly when you want to click the shutter, but stumbling over the camera and missing it.
It's a B*#(%. You're right, there really is nothing worse than seeing moments and knowing that you're missing them because you're waiting on the camera.
Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post

If a tool is keeping you from getting the job done, get rid of it.

With regard to client expectations, do you show them examples of what to expect?

The few times that I have been bit on this its been because I didn't do a good job before the shoot of explaining what I provide, really showing my style and my prints.

The clients were simply in the market for a product I didn't offer and I didn't spot that problem in time, I was too hungry for the sale.

You have identified the problems, every machine of every type has, for lack of better descriptors, a personality and a skill set.

The question is really are you willing to adjust to get the MF advantages.

It is my understanding that Jose Villa actually uses both the Contax and 35mm. The 35mm for the faster candid work, the Contax for (my words here) the money shots.

Jose will actually direct the action when needed for the money shots.

This isn't the classic formals by any stretch nor is it the normal PJ style so many shoot today. If the couple does something fun that he couldn't get, he'll have them do it again.

His direction also comes in the form of nudging clients into situations that give him the shots he sold them.

Because he is willing direct when needed, he's not in so much of a rush and can keep his shot count down and still get exactly the what he needs to get on MF.
Jose Villa is one of the reasons I decided to use film in my business, and I'd love to go to one of his workshops to really see how he does it, but $3000 not including travel to California or Mexico is a bit rich for me.
Quote Originally Posted by guitstik View Post
What are you shooting at 1.4? Your DOF is going to be so narrow everything IS going to look blurry. Most fast lenses don't live up to peoples expectations when opened all the way, stop it down and your AF will speed up because now it has something to lock onto. Also learn how to shoot manually before relying on AF. I have maybe one or two AF cameras that rarely if ever get used because I like to shoot manual. When I am out and about I have my lens set for light and distance. I know the effective range of my lens and I do not shoot past that. Seven feet is about the farthest out I shoot because I shoot from the hip and I have learned to judge distance well enough to be able to get the shot.

Stop the lens down and try again.
I shoot at f/1.4 for the shallow DOF and I love how the 50mm f/1.4G renders backgrounds. It's almost this swirly, spherical mush in the background.

My 24mm f/1.4G lives at f/1.4. It's the reason I bought it, and it is perfect for shooting receptions on black and white film.

I just wish I had more contrast to work with.
Quote Originally Posted by film_man View Post
Your problem is that you try so use the 645 as if it was a 35mm camera. AF on medium format is for the patient and subjects that, preferably, don't move. If you are trying to do focus tracking or whatever, just focus manually and get over it. If you really do need AF then shoot the 35mm and sell the Mamiya. Simple as that.

As for those you say are shooting weddings with a Contax 645, I've read interviews of a few of them and they all said they focus manually.

So don't expect that dropping a few $$$$ on a Contax is going to solve your problem.
That really gives me alot to think about, one of the reasons of buying the Mamiya was that I thought I could use it like a 35mm body. But that's not the case now, is it?

Quote Originally Posted by fstop View Post
Use the medium format camera for portraits and formal shots, use the 35mm for action and candids.
That's what I've been doing, but like I said, the F100 is just so much easier to work and flow with.
Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
Nobody else seems to have mentioned this so maybe I am wrong but I would have doubts that the F6 will give you anything in the way of higher resolution or better prints in the same size compared to the F100.

If you have your heart set on the F6 and it does have some advantages over the F100 in certain circumstances then go for it but you might be disappointed if you expect it to deliver the same advantages in terms of prints as MF as well as having the advantage of fabulous AF as the added bonus.

My reasoning for the F6 is that it's all about the AF, viewfinder, and Nikon's i-TTL system. The F6 has a much better AF system than the F100 or F5, and shooting mainly with a 24,35, and 50 1.4, accuracy at f/1.4 is critical. Also I have 3 SB-600's and With an SU-800 I can use those 600's wirelessly, which would be great for receptions having a flash on a stand in the back, or in my hand. I've done it with my D700 and it works fantastic.

Quote Originally Posted by guitstik View Post
From what I gathered, the OP seems to like shooting wide open all of the time.

My point being, shooting wide open be it MF or 35 will be blurry/grainy, even the fastest Leica lenses will do so. A narrow DOF has it's place but not where there is action. It is best suited for the studio or art shots.
But I like that outrageously shallow DOF though, it really isolates the subjects and can render out the backgrounds. Not to mention f/1.4 really helps alot for available light too
Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
In the op's case, shooting weddings and portraits, the action is generally slow. The subjects are normally walking slow, standing or sitting and they have very predictable destinations.

Even in fast paced sports the magic is simply knowing/predicting where and when the subject will be.
Exactly, which is where f/1.4 and 35mm works just fine aside from not being as crisp as MF. But the thing is even though it's generally pretty slow, the Mamiya still can't keep up.

Thanks for the input again, I'll sit and think on this for a while longer, and I'll shoot with the Mamiya more in the meantime and practice with it more. What I think happened was I noticed how much slower the Mamiya was and I didn't like how I was missing shots I normally wouldn't with it, so I just stopped using it. It's just when I look back at the scans on my computer, they look awesome (when they're in focus) and I get 2nd thoughts on switching to 100% 35mm.

Does anyone know of any wedding/portrait photographers who aren't editorial or documentary shooters who shoot exclusively 35mm? I think Joe Buissink used to, but pretty sure he shoots digital now.

Thanks guys!