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Author Topic: Medium Format FILM  (Read 4896 times)

Piece

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Medium Format FILM
« on: February 28, 2006, 05:00:20 pm »

I was thinking about getting a medium format film body but honestly don't know what to get.  I prefer a camera without automatic options and that requires manual focus.  Personally I have no idea what to get in this realm as it is completely new to me (I started on digital and am working backwards it seems).  

I've looked at the Hasselblad 500C but don't know if this fits the bill for me.  If you guys have any lense suggestions for this camera, or a sugestion on another medium format back and lense options it would be greatly appreciated.
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BernardLanguillier

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2006, 06:36:26 pm »

Hi Piece,

It is probably difficult to give you a general answer without knowing what you intend to do with this camera, now and in the future.

- if you intend to transform your film camera into a digital platform at some point of time, then the Hassy H series is probably a top contender, with what are probably the sharper lenses out there, even if many seem to prefer the look of the Contax lenses.

Other options are the Mamiya 645AFII, the older Hassys (but there are no interesting square digital backs...), and... the Contax 645... officially dead, but still rumoured for a revival.

- If film is your only thing, then format might be a good angle from which to look at things. Do you want to shoot square, 6/7 or 4/3? For square, Hassy and Bronica (dead though) are the most obvious options, along with some more exotic Russian stuff. Hassy lenses are way more expensive than everything else, but appear to be in their own league,

For 6/7, look at the Mamiya RB/RZ and Pentaz 6/7 (no changeable back though),

For 4/3, then the Hassy H, Mamiya 645, Contax 645, Pentax 645... are the obvious options.

- What kind of shooting are you in? For commercial shooting, a changeable back is probably a must, which means Hassys, Mamiyas, Contax, Bronica,...

If landscape is your thing, then weight and robustness are probably more important. The Contax 645, Pentax 645/67II, Mamiya 7II are good candidates. I have been using my Hassy H1 for landscape too, but it is rather heavy.

If street shooting is of interest for you, then the rangefinder like Fujifilm bodies, Mamiya 6 or 7II and Bronica are very good options.

Regards,
Bernard

Anon E. Mouse

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2006, 07:38:51 pm »

This is very complex. There is the style of the camera - view, rangefinder, view finder, waist level, SLR, TLR and combinations there of. Then there is the format - 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8, 6x9 (close to 35mm), 6x10, 6x12, 6x15, 6x17, 6x24. Not all formats are readily available and some are very old. The lens selection varies with the system as well. And do you want to use 120 film or 220 film or both - the difference is in the length; twice as many pictures with 220 (the number of pictures varies with the format). Some cameras will use one but not the other, some can use both with different backs, some can use both with a twist of the pressure plate.

Here are some manufacturers both current and bankrupt that you can chose from:

Hasselblad
Pentax
Bronica
Mamiya
Rollei
Plaubel / Makina
Horseman
Alpa
Fotoman
Fuji
Linholf
Art Panorama
Holga / Lomo
Noblex
Seagull (Chinese)
Kiev (Russian)
Brooks (Veriwide)

I am sure I have missed a few. There are also lots of folding cameras from the past. The optics can be good and they are cheap.

Welcome to the world of medium format photography!
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Anon E. Mouse

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2006, 07:43:07 pm »

P.S. One of the best entry systems is the Mamiya C2 / C3 / C220 / C330 TLRs - there are lots of different models for basically the same camera with just a few differences in features. They have intercangable lenses and a grea bellows draw. They can be had on eBay for a good price and will let you get you feet wet.
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Stephen Best

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2006, 07:47:29 pm »

Quote
I was thinking about getting a medium format film body but honestly don't know what to get.

I'd look at a Mamiya 6 or 7. The viewfinder isn't great but the results are. My personal experience with 6x4.5 was that the results weren't much better than a 35mm rangefinder (Leica, Contax).
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Concorde-SST

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2006, 07:56:59 pm »

Hello,

If I may be of help - recently I had the opportunity to
work with an Alpa 12 with a Digitar 24mm lens - the
camera is absolutely superb, the viewfinder too - very
bright and superbly manufactured.

Oh yes, there was a Leaf Aptus 22MP back and I was
blown away with the results.

So if you can spare that many bucks (of course film is
still possible with the Alpa - max. 6x9 if Im not wrong).

best,

Concorde-SST
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Piece

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2006, 01:18:19 pm »

I'm not looking to use a digital back, this is more for a personal project of my own.  Shooting square (6x6) waist level.  I'm sticking with Hasselblad, I've decided.
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dazzajl

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2006, 04:33:13 pm »

Quote
Shooting square (6x6) waist level

My favourite.  

I use a whole heap of cameras for work and fun, 5x4, 6x17,  EOS, digi and film but for some odd reason, I still like my old battered 6x6 the most.

But before you go and spend a whole load of cash on some lovely hassy stuff I would give the Bronica SQ a look. They are nowhere near as fashionable as the H and nobody is ever going to be impressed when you pull one out of the camera bag. The lenses are surprisingly good though and whole kits can be bought for very little cash.
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jwpeterson

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2006, 05:14:57 am »

A Vote for the old:
I just purchased a Mamiya 7 (original model, not the II) and I love it already. It's an incredibably compact, tough medium format rangefinder. it's practically small eneough to stuff into my fall overcoat and it easily fits into the pocket of my winter coat. It focuses much faster in medium and low light then the typical medium format SLR, and won't give me that "umbilical view" of the world.
What makes this and other machines without a digital upgrade path (such as Bronica) SO attractive is that the abscence of the ability to buy a $20,000 digital back, results in used prices that are incredibably discounted. It is really amazing what one can pick up these cameras for, used in great condition. I plan to add wide format lenses (i bought it with the 80mm, and ordered the 150mm) using it for landscapes and street shooting (it's real forte's) as well as portrait work (less typically percieved as the domain of the rangefinder)
Digital is great, but I miss film so much I was starting to shake, and medium format is the place to re-enter film at this point for me given the quality possible, and the ability to scan medium format negatives and produce very large files.
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SJM

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2006, 04:35:59 pm »

A non-auto, manual focus MF body?

All the following, bar the 645 models of Mamiya and Contax, use manual lenses. However, the Mamiya and Contax AF can be switched off so this not really an issue. Alas, neither use leaf-shutter lenses (or at least make use of the leaf shutter, see later).

Hasselblad 500 (500, 501, 503) series is purely mechanical and has a proven line of Zeiss (leaf shutter) lenses. 50O & 501 now discontinued. 6x6 format gives room for cropping. I considered it but it didn't have mirror lock-up so went for the Contax 645. Fairly strong second market. Other Hasselblads need battery while the FE's have shutters in the cameras.

Rolleiflex, not big in N. America, but quite big in Europe and deservedly so. Deserve to be as big a name as Hasselblad. However, the 6006 series is not non-auto; needs a battery which apparently drains quickly. However, it uses Zeiss AND Schneider lenses and they are as good as those for Hasselblad, if not better, and are also leaf shutters. 6X6 format allows cropping. Some lenses second hand are going very cheap (an unused 150mm HFT PQ sold for 140 [US$c.250] privately in UK recently, but this is rare?). Has mirror lock-up and perhaps more useful accessories than the Hasselblad.

Mamiya. Sorry, don't have much experience of them but the lenses are reputed to be very good, on a par with Zeiss, etc. but at half the price. However, at least the 645 is battery operated. Other than 6x7 camera, only found in 6x4.5 which restricts cropping. Has mirror lock-up (on all models?). I think they have a lot going for them so don't be put off by the name (seen as secondary to the other three here). I think the 645 AF version is the direct competitor of the ....

.... Contax 645. I have this one and I find it to be very well designed and built. Not overly automated and everything can be overridden. Much easier on the eye and hand than the Hasselbald or Rolleiflex. Has a sensible (albeit limited) array of accessories. It is an extremely good compromise between 35mm and MF and suspect directed at 35mm users as an intro to MF. Uses a limited number of Contax lenses. However, because of the shorter back flange compared with the Hasselbald it will take all the Hasselbald CF, CFi, and CFe lenses. These will have to be manually stopped down (like the old preset lenses) but I never found this to be a problem, especially with mirror lock-up. Lens adapters are available from Contax (if any still on the shelf) and Novoflex. Contax don't exist anymore but parts are still supplied for next ten years (as of 2005). Said to be a battery eater but I've had no problem as I use a batery pack. My only complaint is that it was not made in 6x6 format, but this is my only complaint. There seems to be a strong second-hand market and I have seen lenses go for close to their retail price - not sure why.

Other MF makes are perhaps best avoided due to poor quality (unless I missed out a good but old and defunct maker, like Exakta with the Scheider lenses). Other makers are regarded as specialised such as the Fuji 6x8 and Linhof and are more restrictive in their application than the above four.

If I had to choose again, and had the money, I would go for the Contax 645 for makro work, as well as wildlife (using long telephotos), and the Rolleiflex for landscapes.

Hope some of this info', albeit a little disordered, helps,
SJM.
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Geoffrey

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Medium Format FILM
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2006, 10:52:30 pm »

Like others have said - it starts with the format, and then moves from there. Some prefer the 645 as it is akin to 35mm in proportion. I found it to be neither fish nor fowl, and too heavy to hold up to the eye.

In fact, the joy of MF for me is shooting off the glass, composing on a screen. It somehow makes the composing more thoughtful and the pictures more assured and less "snap-shot" like. I tried the Mamiya 6 and just couldn't compose on the rangefinder anymore (glasses), and same for the Contax (too heavy to hold up).

So my vote is for the Hassy or Rollei.... and if you try them both, I suspect the ergonomics of the Rollei will sing their own song. They are amazing well thought out cameras, and the 6003/8 series is amazing.

Try them all, tho, don't shop from other opinions. Each solution pleases someone, and the tradeoffs are done with different shooting philosophies in mind.

Geoff[attachment=796:attachment]
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