Buying advice?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Christian G, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. Christian G

    Christian G Member

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    Hi :smile:

    So I'm selling most of my digital gear and going analogue.
    I currently have an Xpan 2 (got it yesterday) and a Yashica Mat 124g.

    In 35mm format I have two Canon Ae1s, an Olympus Trip 35 and a Ricoh 500G.

    I have about a $ 2-3000 budget to further invest in FD-lenses and /or another 35mm or MF system.

    I prefer light gear because of a wrist-injury. The Xpan is about 1kg (2pounds), with a lens. For that style of camera-body, that I'd about as heavy as I'd go. My tlr Yashica is actually 1 1 kg, but I really don't notice the weight.

    So here's the question ;
    If I one lucky day get the chance to exhibit or sell some large prints (1x1,5m or up to say, 2x2 meters), I'm wondering:

    - Which MF-system do you recommend? I enjoy my Yashica a lot, but would like more focal lengths. Mamiya or Hasselblad both look interesting, as does Bronica. Thoughts with my budget in mind?

    - Are there good alternatives in 135mm-systems that would give the needed detail and resolution? To stick with FD-mount would be very convenient.
    -Should I change to another 135-system? Leica M, or other?

    I have been looking at a wide 35mm compact such as Fuji Klasse W or Ricoh Gr 21 etc.. and in MF Fuji/Voigtlander G670(w) alternatives, as I find all these quite intriguing..

    Any input would be welcome :smile:

    P.s. posting in 35mm-forum as well.
     
  2. OP
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    Christian G

    Christian G Member

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    Manual focus, I forgot to mention that.. :smile:
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Depends. 645 any brand won't be too heavy. All of them use prisms and may be as heavy or heavier than
    a Hasselblad/Bronica 6X6 with waist level. They're about the same physical size as the Yashica but are used horizontally rather than vertically. The Bronica GS-1 gives 6X7 negatives at not a great weight penalty.
    Considering weight, rule out the RB or RZ cameras. They weigh about 10lbs ready to shoot. There's also
    the rangefinder 645 Bronica and 6X7 Mamiya. not too heavy but more limited lens choices. Both use leaf shutters, that's nice if you like to use flash.

    The absolutely lightest would be a folder, but no interchangeable lens.
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I would suggest Hasselblad with a waist level finder. A prism such as a PME 45° finder makes it like a heavy 35mm camera but it can be on the heavy side after a while. Each new lens runs $300 to $500 so it would be within your budget.
     
  5. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    The Mamiya RB & RZ 67 cameras are very heavy, I don't consider them candidates for holding by hand. Likewise the Pentax 67II is heavy, and for sharpest pictures should be on a tripod, and mirror latch up should be used to avoid vibrations from it swinging up; supposedly the vibrations in the II are not as much a problem as in the earlier versions.

    I've own the Bronica SQ-Ai & SQ-B, and their weight allows for hand holding, but it's a little awkward--the hand doesn't form a natural position in my opinion (and I have wrists that are worn from arthritis). Lots of lenses and accessories for these; go for a WLF (waist level finder) for the lightest weight, as the prism finders are quite heavy. I would expect the Hasselblad to be very similar.

    The Fuji/Voightlander 670 folder is an option, but it's just one lens. The Mamiya 6 & 7 cameras offer a few lens options, but the camera is physically large, and they want an awful lot of money for these.

    The Fuji GW670 & 690 cameras are an option, but only one lens.

    Forget the Fuji 645 folder--they have reliability and bellows problems. But a great lens.

    So if you want a variety of lenses, go for the Hassy or Bronica SQ family. With a single lens mounted it's a pretty compact option. If you're comfortable with a single lens, the Fuji GW670/690 or GSW 670/690 (90 & 65mm lenses respectively). Either of those is a lot less than the 670 folder--in fact you could buy a GW and GSW both for less than the folder is new. I suggest the III version. You'll need a separate meter for any of these options.
     
  6. Craig75

    Craig75 Member

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    just relax and enjoy yr xpan would be my thoughts.
     
  7. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Consider the Pentax 645n. Great prism viewfinder, auto exposure or manual, 1.5 frames per sec auto wind, autofocus with (expensive) af lenses, easy manual focus with excellent less expensive lenses from 35mm and up. Not too heavy. Excellent ergonomics.
     
  8. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Let's see, enlargements up to 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 feet. That's pretty big. I'd look at a lightweight Chamonix 4x5 field camera with a carbon fiber tripod. I'd also favor the expensive razor sharp Rodenstock Sironar S series lenses.

    If you have to go with a medium format camera with interchangeable lenses then I'd look at a Hasselblad again with a carbon fiber tripod.

    You could go with the sharper lenses of a Mamiya 6 or 7 but a camera with a three lens kit will run you quite a bit of money.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
  9. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Personal opinion, for the size print you are talking about, you want a MF or even LF camera.

    The RB/RZ-67 are nice, but rather heavy cameras. I would pass on them due to weight.
    The Hasselblad is nice and seems light, just use the basic camera and WLF to keep the weight down; no motor drive, no prism.
    I am not familiar with the Bronica line to comment on them.

    The 645s are an option but IMHO, that is going the other direction, smaller rather than larger.

    I love the idea of a 6x9 rangefinder, but they are not easy to find.

    After the Hasselblad, I would look at a light 4x5 field camera. You can put a 6x9 back on some of the 4x5 camera, so you have the option of 6x9 or 4x5. But, to me, a 4x5 is not as easy to shoot as a Hasselblad.

    For 135, the Olympus OM series 1,2,3,or 4 would be good for a general 35mm camera. And that is a relatively light camera.
    For 135, I shoot Nikon F2/F3, but I purchased an OM kit for when the Nikon gear becomes too heavy for me to haul around. I am a senior citizen and cannot carry the weight of gear that I easily did when I was in college. I have the OM2 + 24, 50 and 135 lenses, a basic 3 lens kit.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    to hell with your MF / 35mm gear you will eventually want to get rid of it
    and get large format cameras. 4x5 probably.
    with good technique ( even crappy technique ) you can get negatives
    that can easily enlarge to the size you want.
    have fun !
    john
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    And John hits the nail on the head. :smile:
     
  12. jspillane

    jspillane Member

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    The Xpan is a very special camera, and you are unlikely to get higher quality with lower weight looking anywhere else.

    MF SLRs are, by their nature, weighty things once you add a few lenses.
    If you need a (somewhat) light SLR, I'd look at Hasselblad or Bronica SQ. 6x7's tend to be a bit heavier and do better with prisms due to the shape of the negative (in my opinion). 6x6 shines with waist level.

    Bronica 645 RF and Mamiya 6/7 are lighter (and costlier) systems if you like rangefinders.

    I am primarily a 6x6 shooter, but I could imagine being quite happy with an Xpan and a 4x5 as my whole kit :smile:
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i try alan :smile:
     
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  15. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    The fuji 6x9's are great cameras and fit your need. the large neg gives you plenty of film area to crop with if needed and the lenses are very sharp. they are very inexpensive compared to the Mamiya systems but only have fixed lenses. I have both the normal and wide version but there really is not that much of a focal length difference between them. still with their costs you could get both try them and the sell for the same cost you bought them for if they dont work out. yeh they dont have a built in meter but a small hand held will not be hard to carry or buy.
     
  16. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Hi Christian, and welcome to APUG.

    As many members already know, I'm the head cheerleader for Hasselblad.
    The classic 500-series cameras are excellent, reliable, versatile, and easy to use.

    They use Zeiss lenses, the best on the planet, and Compur shutters.
    While repair of Compur shutters is becoming an issue, they very seldom need repair.
    That comment is based on the fact that I'm a service tech and service those lenses.

    You can get a very wide range of focal lengths from 40mm to 500mm. 80mm is normal.
    There's also the SWC camera that uses a 39mm lens which is not removable.

    I have a strong preference for the square 6cm x 6cm format.
    It gives you many cropping options after you take the shot.
    I normally use a slightly shorter focal length than first impressions would suggest.
    This gives me an opportunity to contemplate different views after the film is processed.

    And slightly off-topic, I must agree that you will eventually gravitate to large format.
    I personally shoot every format from 35mm to 8x10 sheet film. Each is different.

    Good shooting.

    - Leigh
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    No, actually that is my job. I got my name because of all the Hasselblad lenses I own. But you can be my second.
     
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    Christian G

    Christian G Member

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    Man, I guess I will post in the Large format forum as well :smile:
     
  19. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Here is some information that you might like to read from the Large Format Photography Forum.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info
     
  20. Two23

    Two23 Subscriber

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    You didn't say what you photo, and your style. That's where we have to begin.


    Kent in SD
     
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    Christian G

    Christian G Member

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    Thanks for all the amazing advice, people.

    Landscapes and Urban landscapes, mostly. Some portaits.
    I like high contrast at the moment, but not always.
    A few examples:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/purecinema/31511435934/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/purecinema/31511428554/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/purecinema/32333618725/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/purecinema/31956611460/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/purecinema/31511431854/in/dateposted-public/




    I am leaning towards a waist lever finder, because my wrist will handle the weight better. Thinking about Hasselblad (Don't know which model) or Miamyia C (not sure about which models, I guess C330s? ). Are both these considered reliable?

    I also have a crush on Fuji/Voigtlander GF670/gf670w - although these are expensive and obviously not wlf.

    I am also going to researching large format (for polaroid and standard) :smile:
     
  22. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Mamiya C series cameras were very reliable. Wedding photographers used them for years.

    Also look at the C220 cameras. They are lighter in weight but just as reliable. I own a C220f and it weighs the same as the Hasselblad that I used to own. It has the same brighter focussing screen as the latest C330s. You do have to cock your lens shutter on the C220 unlike the C330 with automatic cocking and adjusting for parallex when shooting hand held takes a little longer but I don't really shoot macro hand held anyway. On a tripod a paramender solves this problem for both cameras equally.

    I still recommend large format for large print sizes though.
     
  23. Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    Everyone here that said you're eventually going to end shooting large format were correct. It happened to me. It's happened to them. You too will fall the the siren song of large format.
    Large format won't bother your wrist at all either if you get one that requires a tripod.
     
  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Yes, that happen to me too. And just think before I joined APUG I was happy with one 35mm camera. You have been warned!
     
  25. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    For hand held medium format, I think 6x6 makes the most sense for your requirements since a WLF suffices for much of the work. If you go for 6x7, then you have an upside down image if you rotate the camera for a vertical format and use the WLF making a prism desirable--adding weight. So I say 6x6. And a Bronica or Hasselblad is lighter than a TLR, and they offer more of a system.

    You'll want to use a tripod with MF on shots with very long lenses.
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I use a prism on my Hasselblad. It gives a brighter and larger image and eliminates the left right reversal. Plus it has a great through the lens light meter.
     
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