Getting a medium format SLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Siompa, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    I have a couple of medium format cameras, however all with fixed lenses.

    I've got a Fuji Gs645 pro (the folder version) which is amazing, but never really understood the wonder of rangefinder.
    I also got a Zeiss Ikon 645 which have some issues with the film coming out "loose" if you know what i mean. And lastly i have a Rolleicord IV which is also great but a bit limited.

    So after a lot of researching i feel that the Mamiya RB67 pro s is the most flexible system and also not to pricey ( got a kid on the way, so no hasselblads for this guy)

    Pros:
    Shoots anything from 645 to 6x8 and also polaroid ( is there also a 35mm back?)
    Filmbacks, this is a must, to be able to change filmstocks on the fly.
    Polaroids would be fun to try out through a good lens.
    Not to pricey accessories and lenses, my photography is my hobby and not my income.
    Fully mechanical, no batteries and less stuff to worry about?
    Except for hasselblad, Mamiya is kind of easy to get serviced, or am i completely wrong about this?

    Cons:

    Maximum shutter speed of 400. Not ideal but okay. Are there faster Lenses?
    The weight? I've got no problem with it, working in the film business as a camera assistant I'm used to lugging around huge cameras.


    I guess what I'm after is some feedback from people who has it or if there is any alternatives that i missed.
    And if someone is thinking of selling a system in a couple of months when I saved up a bit of money, please let me know.

    PS. I know that hasselblad are the most reliable and still get serviced by hasselblad and the lenses are amazing but i don't have 1000$ to get started on a system since its not my job. So please, no " you should get a hasselblad". Belive me I wish I could :tongue:
     
  2. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    You summed it up pretty nicely.

    As you're stepping up to 6x7, I seriously doubt that you will ever shoot 4,5x6 anymore. If I were you, I wouldn't even bother to buy the rollfilm holder. For the same reason, once you've accepted the difference in wheight and size of the camera and lenses, I can hardly figure why anyone should suggest you to buy a Hasselblad instead.

    It's the shutter, not "the lens" that has a 1/400th maximum speed. This is normal with leaf shutters of this size (#3 shutters for 4x5'' format have a maximum speed of 1/125th!). There is a built-in shutter in each lens, so if you don't want to be appointed "client of the year" at your camera repair shop, be sure to check well that the shutter of the lens you are buying is ready to use and perfectly working at all speeds. (On the other hand, these Seiko shutters seem more reliable over time than others, when well kept: I own an RB system since more than 20 years and I never needed to have any shutter serviced).

    A service that you will possibly need to consider, is to have the light seals in the rollfilm holder and the mirror damper foam replaced: these are usually "gone", unless the previous owner had them replaced and the camera was well mainteined.
     
  3. Jim70

    Jim70 Member

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    I have the Mamiya RB67 and a Mamiya 645 pro tl. I find these cameras to be a good value for the $$. Like you, I don't have unlimited funds available so I found that I could afford a suite of lenses and backs for each camera.

    I've found that backpacks are the way to go (for me) to carry these cameras, particularly on mountain hikes. However, the 645 is small enough that I can throw it along with a lens or two in a larger camera bag for a day trip.

    I've never had a Hassy, but I have owned a Bronica ETRSi system. It was OK but I liked the Mamiya more..While it's clearly not a "top of the line" system, the Mamiyas are good, substantial cameras. (I also don't own a Rolls Royce and I don't hang out at Monte Carlo.)

    Insofar as shutter speed on the RB is concerned, I don't think you'll do much handholding; a substantial tripod is highly recommended. Once you're on a tripod, shutter speeds of 1/4 or 1/2 sec for many scenes are no problem. (Clearly this isn't a sports camera!). Also, I find that setting up the RB forces me to work slower and more deliberately. This is a good thing fdr me.

    Others will have different opinions but these are mine..
     
  4. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    As already written in other threads, in my opinion the key to use the RB handheld is to make a good use of the neckstrap. Once the neckstrap is well adjusted, so that the camera hangs in a well balanced position at the appropriate distance from the eyes, it's even quite comfortable for handheld shots. I've done landscape and architecture photography, as well as daylight weddings, and the RB turned out to be more handy than one would think at first.

    Just for curiosity, if the RB is not a "top of the line" in 6x7 format, which other camera surpass it in your opinion? It was possibly the camera most used by studio professionals when 6x7 format ruled on magazines.
     
  5. OP
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    Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    I think i will continue to do 6x4,5 cause the E.B.C lens on the Fuji gs645 is just amazing, and the camera is portable as well :smile:
    By faster lens i meant if there is a lens with faster leaf shutter, 500 maybe? §
    Also, do all rb67 lenses work on the pro S model? I couldn't really get my head around the mount



    I exclusively do handheld but i also like to push film so it shouldn't be an issue, i will get a tripod to try out some landscape stuff though :smile:

    Thanks for your input!
     
  6. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    All lenses use the same Seiko shutter with the same 1/400th top speed, as far as I know.
    Again as far as I know, all lenses and bodies (non-C , C vs. Pro, Pro-S, Pro-SD) are backward and forward compatible. I don't know of any exception.
     
  7. OP
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    Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    Thanks :smile:
     
  8. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    As you have done your research you may have considered a Pentax 67, later model with mirror lock up. Top shutter speed of 1/1000, nice range of lens, down side is does not have interchangeable backs. I have a Kowa 6 without and a Super 66 with interchangeable backs. As I seldom use color not having different backs is no longer an issue, having mirror lock on the Super 66 is.
     
  9. r-brian

    r-brian Subscriber

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    I have a RZ67 but it's not something I carry around for casual shooting. For years I had a Bronica SQa with the speed grip and AE prism. This outfit was easier to use and carry around than the Nikon F4s I had. With the SQa, you can add a 645 back if you want to shoot rectangle photos or learn to enjoy the square format or just learn to crop.
     
  10. OP
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    Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    Yeah I’ve looked at the Pentax and feels that I loose a bit of the flexibility I’m after, and it’s usually pricier.


    I’ve been looking at the Bronica as well but it’s biggest is 6x6, right? And I don’t know about servicing as they’re electronic as well as the brand is dead
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have lots of different Mamiya options :smile:. C330, 645 Pro and RB67.
    The 6x8 option for the RB67 is quite limited - you can't actually see the full frame in the viewfinder, and it only covers completely when the back is in one orientation.
    There was a 6x6 back, but they are very rare, and frankly didn't make much sense.
    I use both 6x7 and 6x4.5 backs on mine. Mostly I use the 6x7 backs, but I do get good use out of the 6x4.5 backs. The three biggest reasons that I use the smaller format are:
    1) the rotating back feature - it is really useful;
    2) I have a projector for 6x4.5 (and 6x6) slides. I don't have a projector for 6x7 slides; and
    3) You get more exposures per roll.
    I do use my RB67 hand-held. The left hand trigger grips make a huge difference when using the camera that way. That being said, the camera, lenses and backs that I have are big and heavy.
    The RB67 (and the RZ67) are and were top of the line. They are and were durable, pro level equipment.
    They can be serviced, but I don't believe that there are any new parts being made.
     
  12. jimjm

    jimjm Subscriber

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    Bronica did make a 6x7 system, the GS-1. The only drawback I can see, compared to the RB67, is the lack of rotating back. Vertical shots would require using a rotary prism finder.

    I've had an SQ-A body for over 15 years now and have had zero problems with the body, backs, lenses or any accessories. Biggest plus for me is the system is really versatile and has been very durable.The lens shutters are all electronically controlled Seiko. The SQ had the least electronics, the SQ-A added mirror lockup and capability for using auto-exposure finders. SQ-Ai added Motor drive capability, longer shutter speeds, OTF metering and TTL flash capability, and a few other changes. There's a good amount of lenses and accessories on the used market, and the prices are reasonable. I've thought of jumping to Hasselblad, but the cost difference would only net me a fraction of the Bronica gear I have now, in terms of variety of lenses and accessories I can afford. Are the Zeiss lenses better than Bronica? Maybe in some cases, but I've never had any reason to complain. There was also an SQ-Am and SQ-B produced, with different features and capabilities.

    As of a few years ago, Tamron USA was still servicing Bronica. Don't know if that's the case now, but I'd guess there are some independent repair people out there.
     
  13. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Right. Keep in mind that some K/L (???) lenses may have a rubber ring affixed to the rear mount to allow them to be used on RZ cameras (honestly, I am unsure of the details, but some lenses have this ring).

    Anyway, the rubber ring needs to be pulled off (it comes off easily) to allow it to be mounted on the RB67.

    There is also more RB information on this thread:

    https://www.photrio.com/forum/threa...o-s-hail-the-emperor-of-medium-format.131051/
     
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  15. OP
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    Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    But the sq stands for square, right?

    If I weren’t after a mechanical system the sq would’ve won over the right since it’s price difference. However the gs-1 is a bit pricier than the RB and it’s not mechanical
     
  16. OP
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    Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    Seems you got a nice setup! :smile:

    I’ll probably get a 645 back as well, always nice with more frames.

    I’m thinking of building my own left hand grip which I would be able to change angle on
     
  17. OP
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    Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    Found out that it’s just the L series that won’t work on RB
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'll be the freak here and say that I do use my RZ 67 handheld, regularly, even in moderate low-light circumstances (I've got steadier hands than most, so I can and do pull off 1/15th of a second hand-held with the 110mm f2.8 lens). Is it light? Hell no, but it isn't horrible either.
     
  19. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    Over the years I’ve had the mamiya 1000, the Mamiya 645 super, the RZ, and I now have the Bronica ETRS which i like the best. The rz/rb units are too big. The 1000s is a bit heavy but the other two, while 645 systems, are better.
     
  20. WilmarcoImaging

    WilmarcoImaging Member

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    The RB is a solid system and you won’t be disappointed.

    I use the RB handheld but normally with shutter speed 1/125. I have the multi angle grip but when shooting handheld I prefer no grip, just feels better to me with one hand under the camera and the other operating focus knob and shutter release.
     
  21. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    For hand held shots I suggest the Bronica SQ-Ai or Fuji GW690III or GSW690III. The Bronica takes batteries but it's easy to care spares and they are a commonly available size.

    Since the different cameras available for medium format offer quite different features, it's probably best for you to prioritize your requirements since some of them may be mutually exclusive at an affordable price.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Hasselblads are no longer all that expensive. Think of it as taking a little longer to save for the next lens.
     
  23. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    You can't really go wrong with the RB according to what you have posted. Not a lot of mechanical medium format cameras out there really. One other you might look at if you want fully mechanical is the Bronica S2a. The Bronica is a good system but it is old. I've always thought the Hassy is expensive for what it is unless you have the money then it is great. I'd rather just shoot 4x5... If I had the want and the scratch I would get one of the focal plane Hassys myself (200/2000 series).

    If your purpose of buying the camera is to take pictures of your soon to be little one, then the combination of the bellows on the RB and the fast synch speed is going to be a godsend. You can shoot a flash into the corner of the room and still get sharp pictures close up. I'd call that a win/win. The only other camera similar to it out of the box would be the SL66 from Rollei, but it ain't cheap, and you can't get a decent flash sync out of the focal plane shutter.

    By the way, don't let the Hassy fairy dust get in your eyes. Lots of photographers back in the film days skipped Hasselblad to use the Mamiya. Two off the top of my head would be Herb Ritts and Liebowitz. In other words, don't let myths make you feel bad about your choice.
     
  24. David T T

    David T T Subscriber

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    I have the RB67, and I love using it handheld for portrait/fashion sessions lasting 2-3 hours. I can deal with walking around with the body, waist level finder, 3 lenses, 3-6 film backs, and an old steel tripod. A good backpack that puts the weight on your hips is essential. If the weight doesn't bother you, there are few drawbacks!

    To me, its the perfect camera. I wouldn't take a Hassy system for it in a straight up trade. YMMV.
     
  25. OP
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    Siompa

    Siompa Member

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    They hassys are at least 150% the price of a Mamiya so it is a lot, at least for me who doesn’t use it for work. They are frickin beautiful though, maybe I’ll get one when I turn 40 ;p
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Great concept but the actuality is not so great. The Hasselblad 200/2000 shutters are not all the reliable. I would recommend the Hasselblad V Series.
     
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