Looking for Recommendations for a Lightweight MF camera

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Megan Eagles

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Hi there,

I am a keen and experienced user of my trusty (but heavy!) Pentax 645.

I was wondering if there were any recommendations for a more lightweight option for day to day / holidays?

I am aware that lightweight generally means a rangefinder lens, but I don't have much experience in this. So I am ideally looking for a lightweight SLR or an autofocus rangefinder. Is there anything good out there that could be recommended?

Many thanks!

Meg
 

Paul Howell

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The lightest tend to zone focus folders, my Kodak Tourist is light, easy to use and I use it for landscapes focus is usually at infinity so less of an issue. Other folder is a rangefinder, the Mamiya 6, the folding fixed lens 6X6. I need to have mine overhauled. Last is a fixed lens TLR, like a Yaschia or Minolta, not as compact as a folder but light.
 

Donald Qualls

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I agree, a folder will be lighter than any TLR or SLR, and the scale focus type will be the lightest of all (because RF linkage or even just optics add weight).

That said, a 645 RF with frame counter (like a Konica Pearl III) can weigh less than a scale focus 6x9 and take up considerably less carrying space. The Pearl III (freshly serviced, by preference) would be my recommendation if you can only get one.
 

John Wiegerink

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Meg,
Most of the medium format SLR's are not going to be much lighter than what you already have. If autofocus is desired, then Fuji rangefinder AF cameras might be the lightest. If it were me, I would forgo an SLR and get a Mamiya 6 or Mamiya 7. That's just me, of course.
 

Arthurwg

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Mamiya 6 or 7. Light and very versatile. Choice of lenses, very easy to hand-hold, easy to carry.
 

GregY

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I've used the gamut of MF. My favourite by far in hand was the new Mamiya 6. I sold off the 150 and used the 50 (spectacular) and the 75mm. These days I'm using a Rolleiflex and the truly light & tiny Voigtlander Perkeo ll (which also has a remarkable lens.). Folders have their charm if they fit with your subject matter.
 
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4season

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Pilot 6 / Pilot Super / Great Wall DF are lightweight 6x6 SLRs, with the Great Wall cameras being the most modern. But if you're accustomed to a Pentax, you may find these kind of primitive.
 

abruzzi

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I agree, a folder will be lighter than any TLR or SLR, and the scale focus type will be the lightest of all (because RF linkage or even just optics add weight).

That said, a 645 RF with frame counter (like a Konica Pearl III) can weigh less than a scale focus 6x9 and take up considerably less carrying space. The Pearl III (freshly serviced, by preference) would be my recommendation if you can only get one.

I’ll second this one if rangefinders are on your list. It’s smaller than most of my 35mm cameras, and the advance works surprisingly well. (I don’t do red window cameras.)

The Fuji AF cameras are really nice too. I have a GA645zi, which would be great as a vacation camera, but they are a bit of a time bomb, since the rear screen on most is flaky or non-functional.

For an SLR a Bronica ETRSi with waist level finder is pretty small. The SQ series is only a little larger, but the trick is to stay with the WLF and no grip. Once you add them it’s close to the size of the Pentax.
 

xkaes

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The big question becomes, Do you want to change lenses? If not, you can get pretty light -- a FEW options have been mentioned, and it comes down to if you want older or newer. If yes, stick with what you have.
 

blee1996

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I do enjoy 6x6 and 6x9 folders and they are very light and compact when folded, but to get great results in a non-fiddly way a light weight TLR is still hard to beat. I second Dan's recommendation for a Rolleicord (for its quality, size and weight), but in general any decent TLR (Autocord, Diacord, Yashica, Ikoflex) in proper working order will be a good candidate.
 

Alex Benjamin

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Another vote for the Mamiya 6 folder. Cheap, great lens, fits in your pocket.

Not very modern, though.

 

Maris

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My light weight roll film outfit consists of:

An anonymous aluminium tripod bearing a sticker "High Quality - Made in Japan". Goes up to 1.63 metres with geared centre column.
A Velbon QHD-53D tripod ball head with a quick release plate.
A Lubitel 166 roll film camera. Surprisingly sharp images from f11 on down. Dual format 645 or 66 as selected.

Total outfit weight exactly 2 kg. A bit more with a roll of film in it. Also add the weight of a cable release if needed.
 

John Koehrer

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I think the Kodak uses 620 film but you can put 120 on a 620 spool.
 

John Wiegerink

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I'm fond of my Kodak Special Six-20 6x9 folder. The Anastigmat Special lens is a superb performer, honestly.

I have pretty much the same lens on a Kodak Monitor Six-20, and it's a Crackerjack. It's one of the few cameras/lenses I refuse to part with. It's one of the few 620 cameras that makes it worth respooling 120 film onto 620 spools. Your picture example proves it.
 
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