Quote Originally Posted by FrankB
I currently shoot 35mm (Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-105mm, 70-300mm ED, 50mm f1.8), primarily B&W landscapes but with a bit of Velvia and a few other subjects thrown in. I usually enlarge to 8x10 and any good ones that I'm lucky enough to get are blown up to 16x12.

I'm currently thinking of adding a medium format system to my kit to try and obtain better image quality. Specifically, I'm after clearer detail and better tonality. I don't find grain is too much of an issue at the moment. I started off on a Pentax S1a, so the lack of a TTL meter doesn't worry me overmuch. I don't feel ready to move up to a view camera.

I'm lusting after a Pentax 67 with mirror up (lovely optics, lighter than the competition (I'm not after a rangefinder), quite readily available, familiar layout, TTL view, etc.). However, even with prices tumbling on ebay and in the dealers, I'm still looking at the thick end of ukp 1000 for a body and a couple of lenses in good nick. That makes it unaffordable until late next year at the earliest. (Mamiya RB/RZ's and Bronica GS's don't flick my switch to the same extent and come in at around the same price (or more) anyway.)

Having read Ailsa's thread a while back, and needing interchangeable lenses (ever foot-zoomed a waterfall shot?!) I'm thinking that the other main option is a Mamiya C330. A good condition body and pair of lenses will set me back ukp 400 from a dealer with a guarantee, probably less on ebay. I could probably shake enough small change out of the sofa to have that in just a few months time.

So...

1) Am I right to be looking to medium format for clearer detail and better tonality? The scans of medium and large format work in the APUG galleries and various comments on various threads seem to suggest I am, but all opinions are welcome on this!

2) Anyone used a C330 for landscapes? I've shot a few portraits on one and I understand they're favoured amongst studio and wedding shooters, but I don't know how good they'd be for landscape work.

3) How easy is it to switch your compositional eye between square and rectangular formats?

4) If it were your hard-earned money, would you save, wait and get the Pentax or shake the sofa and get a C330?

All contributions much appreciated.

Thanks,

Frank
Iím a few months ahead of you on this one Frank, having also considered the Pentax 6x7 among others and rejected them all on cost grounds. I elected to buy a Mamiya 330s outfit on eBay, consisting of a body, 80mm and 135mm lens, various view finders and accessories including a hammerhead flash for 300 pounds. I have since added a 55mm lens to the collection for another 100.
I find the camera extremely easy to use, itís put the pleasure back into picture making. I enjoy the mechanical aspect of it after the electronics of my Canon 50e, which incidentally I havenít used for nearly a year. My only gripe is film loading, but then like you, Iíve been spoilt by years of using 35mm drop in cassettes. The square format does take a little getting used to. If you look at my latest web images you will see that Iím sticking rigidly to the square format, for the time being, to force myself away from the 35mm rectangle, but cropping is a future option.
The choice of either waist or eye level viewfinders means that it is easy to get the camera to the most suitable level for the subject. The greater detail and tonality available from the larger negative is very noticeable, and translates through to the finished print.
So you see where my hard earned money went, and I donít regret it.