Which MF for hiking?

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gregmacc

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I'm looking at purchasing my first MF camera. One of my considerations will be how manageable it will be to take the camera, a tripod and a couple of lenses on a full day hike. I'm wanting to cover some very hilly countryside and an average return trip of 12 Km (7.5 Mls). To answer my own question, I am thinking Hasselblad but I would be interested to know what other hiker/photographers are using. I would like to be considering the RB67 because it ticks so many other boxes for me, but I'm quessing it might be too big and bulky. I use a nice Lowepro camera backpack but wouldn't be able to fit much else into it if I went with the RB67 ... Any ideas? ... Opinions?
 

Marc Leest

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Mamiya 7 ii with 2 lenses, suited for your style of photography.

Marc

Using a Fuji GSW690III myself.
 
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My first choice for MF backpacking is a Yashica-D TLR. It is cheap. The later Yashinon lens version is crystal-clear. It is very light weight. The finder is bright. The lens is not interchangeable, so using a normal lens all the time is a constraint. Constraints are not always bad, though.

A decent tripod will weigh far more than this camera. It's the tripod you should be cursing during your hike, not the camera.
 

Venchka

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Colorado backing trip

It's all relative. I used what I had at the time.

Fall+Creek+Pass+Marker-1.jpg


Fall+Creek+Pass+Elev-1.jpg


Colorado+Holy+Cross003-1.jpg


Pentax 6x7, 105mm/2.5, Plus-X, D-76 1:1.

Multi-day trip. Self-contained. Hiking staff as monopod. Over 4,000 feet elevation gain from low point to high point. Then back down to the car.

Read all of your post: Loose the camera "backpack". They are heavy, inefficient, and have terrible suspensions. Buy a proper backpack with a proper suspension system. I don't know what's available in Oz. I use an Osprey panel loading pack for 4x5. It would be fine for anything smaller with room left over for essentials.

Have fun!
 
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nc5p

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I would love a Mamiya 7 but it's rather pricey. I have the 645 Super, which I use with the 35mm lens and 55-110 zoom. Biggest issue hiking with the MF cameras is you really don't want it hanging around your neck while in motion. There's too much chance of it striking the sharp rocks or getting caught in brush. On the other hand, putting it away in the pack is hard to get to and rather a pain constantly getting it out and putting it away. Maybe someone else has a better way of doing this. These cameras are a bit too much for the fanny packs, which I used to use with 35mm when I shot that format.
 

Venchka

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Another advantage of a proper backpack: Most have D-rings on the shoulder straps. Hang the camera from those with quick release buckles and just enough strap to get the camera to your eye. I'm still thinking in terms of the Pentax. A camera with WLF would be in position automatically.

If I were going backpacking today........

I would take the 4x5 and a Leica. If the trip limited me to one camera, I would probably still take the Pentax and the 45/105/150 lenses I have now. If weight were seriously limited, Hasselblad 501cm & 80mm lens.

Just do it! There's a lot of country out there that never gets photographed. A mile past the end of the road is new territory.
 

Mark Fisher

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If you rally want to go light, the Fuji GA645Zi is hard to beat and the quality of the (limited) zoon lens is quite high. Definitely one to consider. If you want an SLR and like the square, a Hasselblad is also hard to beat. I have both of these cameras and I prefer the Hasselblad unless I really need to travel light. If you want to go 6x7, I would look to the Pentax 67. It is big and heavy unless you compare it to the RB67. Of there, the Pentax needs to most robust tripod due to the leaf shutter. All of them have mirror lockup.

For reference, I settled on Hasselblad after using Pentax 645, Mamiya 220, and a Rolleicord. I love my Hasselblad. I also picked up the Fuji on Sandy King's recommendaiton. I use it when I really can't bring the Hasselblad and tripod. It works well, but I think I'll probably end up with a larger fixed lens Fuji rangefinder sometime
 
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gregmacc

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Thanks all for the ideas and suggestions so far ... I don't usually carry the camera on my body when I'm hiking. For the type of work I do/plan to do, I'm having to stop and unleash the tripod from the pack anyway. Taking an extra moment or two to unload the camera is no big deal. I've heard the TLRs are great, and as Dave says, I don't see the limitations of one lens being an issue. What I would find limiting is being restricted to the tripod height that a TLR WLF necessitates (maybe there is a solution to this?). I would definately be packing a prism finder with any or the SLRs that I'm considering. I've not really considered the rangefinders ... Don't they have RF adjustment issues? Are they really that much more costly? ... I'm willing to go to $1500 USD if that gets me the system that works.
 

Venchka

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WLF at eye level: Extend the tripod/center column until the camera is at eye level. Flip the camera 90 degrees and look in the WLF. It's a bit odd at first. Looking 90 degrees to the line of the lens. You get used to it. I do that with the 501. No need with the Pentax.

Unless you're using very long exposures, you don't need a tripod. A monopod would be fine. Even those aren't really required. Load up with TMY-2 or one of the Portra 400 flavors so you can keep your shutter speed up. Piece of cake. The need to use a tripod with MF cameras is vastly overstated. I use MF hand held and I also put my 35mm rangefinders on tripods sometimes. "The Horror". If you always shoot at 1/30 or slower, disregard. Modern 400 speed film will remove much of the need for a tripod. That's my story & I'm sticking to it.

You can get a ton of MF gear for $1,500.
 

MattKing

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What I would find limiting is being restricted to the tripod height that a TLR WLF necessitates (maybe there is a solution to this?).

A prism finder for a TLR is a useful option. The prism finder (not the porrofinder) for Mamiya C series TLRs is quite usable, if somewhat heavy.

I used a prism finder equipped Mamiya C330 for almost all the weddings I've shot. I'd swap the finder with the waist-level finder for certain special shots.

IIRC, there is/are excellent prism finders for at least some of the Rollie TLRs.

By the way, a C330 or C220 with 65mm and 135mm lens is a very nice kit for walking/hiking.

Matt
 

RH Designs

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I use a Mamiya 6MF with all three lenses. Easily fits in a small bag and weighs little more than an equivalent 35mm SLR kit. The lenses are amazing but the built-in meter needs care in use, so I usually take a Sekonic as well. I have hiked with an RB67. Once ...!
 

DanielStone

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greg,

what format are you looking for out of preference, or do you not care? I was in the same pickle as you, wanting a light camera with MF capabilities. I settled on the Fuji GW670III(6X7 rangefinder). The rangefinder in terms of focus accuracy is dead-accurate, the glass is superb, and it is nice and 'bulky' in the hand, without a bulky weight :smile:!

if you prefer the 35mm(2x3) format, then you might want to look into the Fuji GSW690III, its still a rangefinder, got a 65mm 5.6 lens(vs the 'standard focal length' 90mm 3.5 on the GW670III).

also, if you decide that the 670III is the camera you're after(I'm the 2nd user on mine, and it looks great still), I've been looking to sell it.

if you are interested, PM me and we can talk.


-Dan
 

tim elder

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The medium format rangefinders are all very capable cameras and should not have alignment issues if they are working properly. The Fuji medium format rangefinders are priced within your budget but they are mostly fixed lens cameras.

I bought a Mamiya 7ii for walking around cities this summer on vacation; it is the perfect camera for me and came around at the right time. They cost more than $1000 with a couple of lenses. I bought the 7ii because I'm a fan of the 6x7 format and didn't want to carry the RB67 around all day, through airports, etc.

If I was going to carry around a medium format SLR all day, it would probably be the Hasselblad. On the other hand, if your hiking excursions aren't going to be that long, or if you're eventually going to return to a car, it wouldn't be that hard to suck up the weight of a RB or Pentax.

Tim
 
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I highly recommend a rangefinder. I do lots and lots of hiking on a weekly basis and have hiked with many systems, which include MF SLR systems. And my conclusion is that SLRs are simply not suited, to me anyway for hiking. They are too heavy, bulky, and most are not easy to handhold.

I have a Bronica RF645 and a Mamiya 6. Both are wonderful hiking cameras. They are small (for MF), and quick and easy to get a shot. But most importantly, they are light in weight. A Mamiya 7 would also be great as well. Like I said, I highly recommend one of these three MF rangefinders. Rangefinders aren't for everyone though. If you've never used one maybe you could borrow or rent one first to see if you'll like using them.
 
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On the Yashica TLR:

My Yashica-D weighs 2 lbs, 9 oz. That is unloaded, but in its leather case. You can get one like it for $125 - $150 used easy (a late model one, with 80mm, f3.5 Yashinon taking lens). I got mine for less than $100.

I'm not likely to take a $1000 kit on a real hike (rain, scrambling over rocks, bears, etc.).
 

Matus Kalisky

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Just to mention. The Bronica RF645 with 45mm and 60mm lenses should fit your budget. Also - it is a rather "young" camera (when compared to Mamiya 6). The problem might be that the format is vertical - not necessarily a problem with tripod but something to consider. The 100 and 135 mm lenses are costly.

I do hiking with a Rolleiflex T - works nicely, though for landscapes I often find that I crop to more rectangular formats. Wider would be sometimes better too. Longer as well :wink:

You did not mention whether you have a tripod already. If not, have a look at Feisol - I have a good experience there.
 

scottmj

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It all depends on how active you will be on your trail and what you want to get out of the hike. Me, When I hit the trail my backpack has: RZ67proII body, 4 (6x7) film backs, #1 & #2 extension Tubes, (3) lenses a 250,140macro & either a 110 or 75 mm lense. Batteries/Film/Filters/Tripod/small note book/compass/poncho and all are in ziplock baggies. If the terain allows I carry my F100 with an 35 - 70 and a 80-200 on my belt. On my light trip I leave the F100 and lenses behind. The idea is to have FUN and enjoy mother nature, if this happens it will show in what I call the SOUL of your images. It really won't matter what you used to capture them.
 

36cm2

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I would agree with the Mamiya 6, with the Hasselblad a close second. I have seen both in action on hiking trips, but have personally used neither of the two. I would want two lenses with either camera. I usually shoot a Rolleiflex on these types of trips, but I feel limited by the fixed focal length at times. If budget and compactness are your top concern, then you may want to look at a 1950s folder (e.g. super isolette, perkeo, etc.). They're in the $200-$400 range (after CLA) and are great for being so compact, but you will lose lens quality and convenience of operation as compared to the three other cameras mentioned above. If you can deal with that, they're great. The RB67 is a great camera, but I wouldn't hike with it and (although argued ad nauseum on this site elsewhere) most others probably wouldn't either.
 

Venchka

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About time

It all depends on how active you will be on your trail and what you want to get out of the hike. Me, When I hit the trail my backpack has: RZ67proII body, 4 (6x7) film backs, #1 & #2 extension Tubes, (3) lenses a 250,140macro & either a 110 or 75 mm lense. Batteries/Film/Filters/Tripod/small note book/compass/poncho and all are in ziplock baggies. If the terain allows I carry my F100 with an 35 - 70 and a 80-200 on my belt. On my light trip I leave the F100 and lenses behind. The idea is to have FUN and enjoy mother nature, if this happens it will show in what I call the SOUL of your images. It really won't matter what you used to capture them.

Finally. One other person who knows what photography in the wild is all about. Scott, that's a manly man inventory.
 

Joe Grodis

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I'd gladly take the Pepsi challenge any day.... Mamiya 7!!
 

mopar_guy

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My 1949 2X3 Pacemaker Crown Graphic is fairly easy to carry and I can carry more film.
 

Ektagraphic

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I think most will tell you Mamiya 7 or something like that but if you are on a budget go for Mamiya M645. Awesome camera. Any one of the vintages of it is great.
 

domaz

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Pentax 6x7's aren't that bad with the light lenses like the 105mm and the 90mm 2.8 (non Leaf Shutter) is the lightest available. They can be left around your neck, and are tough enough that a bump against a rock isn't going to hurt them very much. It is still a heavy kit though- Mamiya 7 would be better, or better still a very lightweight 4x5 kit like the Gowland Pocket view. Now my 4x5 camera with lenses is lighter than my P67 w/lens.
 
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