Pentax 6x7 + 105/2.4 - OR - COntax 645 + 80/2 - what would be your choice ?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Matus Kalisky, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    OK, to be honest - I am not about to buy any of these (my wife still recalls the price of the Mamiya 6 .. ), but I have seen some excellent portrait, still life, close-up and documentary work where thin DOF helped to isolate the subject. At the same time medium format delivers smoothness and tones.

    So - I am asking - for the photography mentioned above - what medium format SLR with fast lenses would you choose for such photography? Contax 645 + 80/2.0, Pentax 6x7 + 105/2.4, Mamiya 645 + 80/1.9 or something else? For get the price differences.

    O know one could take Crown Graphic with Aero Ektar, but let just put that one aside.

    I am a happy user of Mamiya 6, but it does has its limitations. And sometimes I would like to try a different approach.
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If you can swing it, I'd go for the Contax. If not, the Mamiya. I like the P67 too, and I love the Pentax lenses (that one in particular), but it is quite a lot bigger, and not as versatile, IMHO.
     
  3. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Contax for me as well.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber
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    Mamiya RZ67 with the 110mm f/2.8 lens :smile:

    Best of the bunch for close-up work.
     
  5. TimmyMac

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    I have a 645 1000s with 80/1.9, and RZ with 110/2.8, and I'll second this.

    Besides the close-up advantage, if you want a little puff of fill flash, you won't be using any of the fast 645 lenses or (especially) the Pentax. In addition, the magnification advantage of the RZ means the 1.9-2.8 jump isn't as big as it looks.
     
  6. Jeff Armstrong

    Jeff Armstrong Member

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    I actually prefer the Pentax 67 with the 105mm over the Contax.

    I wrote a Dead Link Removed article and I gave my reasoning why I prefer to use it for weddings.

    To sum it all up, I think the Pentax 67 is a more reliable long-term workhorse, that, though not without its limitations, produces an image on par with the characteristics of the 80mm f/2. I like the flare of the 105mm better, personally.

    Dead Link Removed

    Feel free to read the full article if you want the TL:DR version!
     
  7. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Subscriber

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    The lenses for both your choices are really good. You would not go wrong with either.

    That said, and you should really stop reading now, :smile: I'm not really a fan of either 645 of 6x7 as film formats. 645 negs just seem too small, and the mamiya 645 SLR I have is not that much smaller than the hasselblad, and since I like the square, I lean toward the blad (yes, I have both). 6x7 on the other hand gets 10 shots per roll and 10 doesn't divide into nice strips for one printFile page per roll. If I could develop the discipline to just waste the 10th shot on each roll of film, I'd probably like 6x7 just fine.

    I've been shooting 6x6 since 1982, and not really going to change. :smile:
     
  8. MrclSchprs

    MrclSchprs Subscriber

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    Or, as an alternative, a Pentax 645 with the Pentax 67 105mm. A little bit smaller and a little tele ... wonderful combo!
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council
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    Another vote for the Mamiya RZ/110 f2.8 combo. I've shot a lot with it and it's a very versatile combination.
     
  10. pressureworld

    pressureworld Member

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    The Pentax 67 and 105 2.4 combo is a portrait dream machine in the right hands. I'm in agreement with Jeff, It's also more reliable and cheaper than the Contax.
     
  11. johnha

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    I'm amazed how long-lived the Mamiya 645 & P6x7 (and Pentax 645) systems have proved, how they maintain compatibility throughout progressive generations and how plentiful the gear is on the used market. By contrast the Contax was short-lived and has much more limited availability today. Any of the combos mentioned by the OP will work, all very similarly and all handle similarly (assuming metered prisms and handgrips/motors for the 645s). Mamiya RB/RZ are fantastic 'studio' cameras but much bulkier (they're effectively 7x7 for the rotating film back) and bellows focussing doesn't always suit some situations. I use Bronica 6x6 gear, it's very good but the lenses are not particularly fast (the same is probably the case for the 645).

    My choice would be the P67 (the larger negative out-weighs the reduced shots per roll), although I haven't used the 105/2.4, it is heralded as a fantastic lens (the 165/2.8 is also a good portrait lens).
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member
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    You get a lot more bang for the buck with the P67, and wider lens selection. It's more intuitive if you're accustomed to 35mm work. Needs tripod support and mirror lock for exp slower than 1/60th. The 105 is quite sharp. The big prism makes the body a bit heavy. 645 is just too small a neg for me.
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council
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    I would challenge your assertion that the RB/RZ are studio cameras. While they do thrive in that environment, they are entirely field-usable. I took my RZ with three lenses (50, 110, 180) to Mexico City with me and shot street photos with it. I was NOT using the meter prism, just the waist level.

    [​IMG]

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  15. johnha

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    Hi FlyingCamera, I put studio in quotes to summarise their best usage, not necessarily based on size & weight but the general workflow. I haven't used an RB/RZ (but did consider buying one), but do have a C330F. The C330F is a great camera for many purposes (and much simpler than an RB/RZ) but I struggle with an open WLF and bellows focussing in outdoor situations where inclement weather may be threatening. I feel the C330F needs a bag or case, but I'm happy to sling my P67 over my shoulder.
     
  16. Poisson Du Jour

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    There are still better lenses in the Pentax 67 line up than the stalwart, everyday 105mm, though it is a great starter lens. Whatever system you buy into you must be prepared to go further and acquire lenses to broaden your photographic potential. One lens will not cut it.

    Whatever lens you put on a lot will also come down to the skill of the photographer in bringing the image through.
    I would be cautious purchasing a Pentax 6x7 (1969 vintage) or the later Pentax 67 (1989) without a comprehensive review of mechanical operation; the cameras are making regular appearances on service benches, chiefly for broken meter coupling chains (an idiosyncracy that needs to be fully understood, very especially by beginners using a P67 with the TTL meter). Other problems include the shutter/mirror solenoid, winding mechanism, film counting roller, shutter speed derangement, corrosion of the battery compartment, delamination of shutter tapes.... a list that can be added to just about each day. Find a good, well looked-after specimen and use it but don't abuse it. Unfortunately so many have been abused in decades past and are not that good a buy for unwary enthusiasts.
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council
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    The open WLF in rain/snow is always a concern, but I've managed - keep myself between the ground glass and the weather when the hood is open, close it as soon as possible, and keep it closed between shots. The bellows on the RB/RZ? Not so much. They're pretty well secured behind the support rails that hold the lens mounting panel. And I've shot with my large format cameras in rain and snow before. They do tend to turn into a bit of a sail in high wind, but that's not really going to be a problem with the RZ.
     
  18. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member
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    Oh gosh. I have one P67 MLU body that I bought 40 yrs ago, and the 105. They've been thru hell and still function perfectly. The other body only needed new light gasketing which I paid nine bucks for and installed myself. These are tough cameras.
     
  19. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Member

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    I have had the P67 + Super Tak 105/2.4 combo for a few years now. Used it for a couple of vacations with slide film and those chromes are just beautiful and are big enough that you don't need a loupe to appreciate them.

    I also have the M645 1000S + 80/1.9 C. To me, it really comes down to which size neg you prefer and if you want a 35mm style (on steroids) or "medium format" style camera. Using the WLF is more comfortable on the 645 than on the P67, so I use a prism on the Pentax and a WLF on the Mamiya.

    No experience with the Contax.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member
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    I had a friend carrying a Contax & Gitzo CF tripod over his shoulder when he slipped on a wet rock crossing a creek. I had a 4X5 along. We were in the most remote basin in the high Sierra, where the easiest way in is a narrow step ledge a week from where we parked. Two tripod legs were broken. So I whittled him two prosthetic legs from whitebark pine sticks, and duct taped them on. Then I carved a little stick with a notch to pry the dent from his filter ring. That lens and the camera were dry enough to use again after a couple of days, but another expensive Zeiss lens in his bag had to sit two months in a dessication box after we got back to clear up.
     
  21. I own a Pentax 67 with a few lenses -- but not the 105/2.4 sadly -- and I also own a Bronica ETRSi system. The Bronica, with its 75mm lens, is an exceptionally good portrait camera and is even useful for wider shots:
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    And other cool stuff:
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    But boy, would I ever love to get my hands on a nice Contax 645 set!
     
  22. film_man

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    I've owned a 6x7 and played a bit with a Contax (know a few people that own one). Both are wonderful cameras producing amazing results. Personally I prefer 6x7 to 645 as a format so that's that. I would also factor in the fact that a Contax is very expensive for something that cannot be repaired.

    There is an alternative, you can get a Pentax 645NII with a Contax 80/2 converted for use by the BokehFactory. If money is no object you can always do that.

    But...if money were no object I would just buy a 110/2 for my Rollei.
     
  23. Well, shoot, if money were no object, I'd like a complete Rollei SL66 outfit, thankyouverymuch.
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member
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    My late brother sold Rollei and Linhof, and had a couple of his own SL66 kits. Wonderful camera. But whenever we were out shooting together, he'd ask to borrow my P67 (I mostly shot 4X5). Seems he preferred the ergonomics of the Pentax.
     
  25. NortheastPhotographic

    NortheastPhotographic Advertiser

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    Rollei Hy6 with the Schneider 80mm F2 Xenotar and or 110/2 Planar would be my choice! Actually I do most of my shooting these days with a Hy6 Mod 2 and an 80/2.8 Xenotar. I really couldn't ask for a better camera. Frankly I think the Contax/Pentax choice really comes down to whether you want to shoot with an insert based film loading camera or not. The images from both are stellar, though I prefer Pentax images in this case.
     
  26. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member
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    I own a substantial SL66 outfit. Would still like to get my paws on a Contax 645 though..
     
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