I think I loaded 120 film once just to try it. Then i took all apart to understand the film path. That's the extent of film use since my Minolta XG-1 50mm f/2 days. I just gave that camera to my niece for a photography class which required a film camera. Nice memories and images. I was thinking about giving her the RZ, but thought better of it, and then it dawned on me I still had the XG-1. Stuck in the closet after fixing a leaky shutter.
One day couple of years ago while I was hanging out in my friends studio/lab, one of their customers brought in a 6x7 negative for a reprint. It was a portrait of an older gentleman in a classy setting. They had it scanned on their dlab, no fancy drum scanner, the image immediately stood out from the typical stuff from dslrs. Something about it, depth, tonality. .. It made a big impression on me. Just like browsing through my copy of Gilles Bensimon Photography: No Particular Order with those big crisp faces.. Just realized i should probably find out what he shot with, and the outcome of the search. :http://photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/00Ru0k?start=60
Derek Stanton , Jan 04, 2009; 05:24 p.m.
Steven Klein, Markus Klinko, David Sims, Fabien Baron, Craig McDean, Solve Sundsbo, Mikael Jansson, Tom Munro, Thomas Schenk, Bruno Bisang, Andreas Bitesnich, Rocco LaSpata, Walter Chin, Nathaniel Goldberg, Vincent Peters.... Gilles Bensimon used the big Fuji GX, among lots of other cameras, but he said in an interview that he didn't use anything smaller than 6x7.
It was pretty simple back then. If you shot fashion, you bought/rented an RZ67 or Pentax 67. Now, it's the Hassy H.
The number of people i can think of that shot 6x4.5 is very small. There was a very famous French guy who's name i can't recall. Ellen von Unwerth said in an interview that, occasionally, certain of her clients made her use 645 (Contax, i believe) when they needed "big blowups" of things. But, her normal work was all done with 35mm Nikons with grainy film, so her 'moving up' to 645 is of no significance in this discussion. Same story with Terry Richardson. I think Pamela Hanson used 645s.
It's not about enlargement size necessarily, until you get to posters/exhibition-sized stuff. It's about tonality and dimension, and having more information in a scan to manipulate it. If the objective was only to get an 11x14" print with the smallest grain size, you get a Canon 5D or Nikon D700 and add a little 'grain' with Exposure. You shoot a 6x7 to get a bigger feeling image. I don't have the words to adequately describe what that means. But, if you've looked at enough fashion shot with those cameras and then compare the images to those shot with 35mm or "35mm digital," you should see it. Look at the RZ images here:http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=40287499%40N00&q=mamiya&m=text
Look at a Herb Ritts book (or, better yet, print). Tri-X with an RZ is unmistakable. Tri-X with a 645 looks more like 35mm ISO 100 film.
What's important to remember is that we're talking about fashion, handheld. Under optimal circumstances: tripod, stationary subject matter, strobe-lit, fine-grained film, yeah, the differences shrink until you get to very large prints. But, fashion and stills are different animals. The bottom line for me was this: 100 fashion pros used the RZ/P67. 5 used a 645. Was i trying to 'outsmart' the 100 guys getting the Calvin Klein and Prada campaigns?