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Thinking about Medium Format

Discussion in 'Film Cameras' started by Tim Williams, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    I would like to get into medium format on landscapes. I have never shot medium format, never even held a camera, but the IQ has so much more depth it seems than 35. Any suggestions on a good, place to start. Camera system , lens selection. I would like to stay as budget minded as possible . I'm looking at Pentax 6x7 and Fuji GW690.Also have looked at Pentacons ect but really don't know my way around. Looks like a 35-55 would be a good focal length to start. With 35mm film I shoot a 24mm usually.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  2. MoonMind

    MoonMind All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Pentax 6x7 or 67 is a fine camera, but there's one downside for landscape photography: weight (well, size and weight, to be honest). Lens quality is top notch, and while not exactly cheap, prices are good, plus these cameras are real tanks ... The GW690 models feel somewhat less well made, but are very sturdy nonetheless. You have to look for the rather elusive GSW690 to go (somewhat) wide-angle, though - the GW690 give you a 35mm equivalent ...

    Before going Pentacon (that's my system of choice), I'd suggest assessing your usual shooting conditions - if you're often shooting in cold and humid conditions, the cameras are prone to failure. I love the style and operation of those cameras, but using them in cold weather has to be discouraged. Access to lenses is good - and the Flektogon 50mm f/4 (26.5mm equivalent in the diagonal) is a fantastic lens and very affordable. For landscape, I'd get the Flektogon and a Biometar 80mm f/2.8 to start with; you don't need a prism finder, either (I actually prefer the waist-level finder - but the prisms are actually also quite nice). Viewfinder coverage is lacking, though; if that's a problem, you have to look elsewhere. This'll get you started for less than $500 - but make sure to thoroughly test the camera before buying. I have two working bodies (one with an expert overhaul, one without in decent working condition) - but frankly, that's somewhat rare. CLA is a must if you are serious about using the cameras.

    All in all, I'd say the Pentax 67 route is the most desirable one if you can abide the weight - and are prepared to pay $1500 for a landscape setup. If size, weight and price didn't matter, I'd get a Pentax 67 II with a couple of lenses and be done.

    All that said, I actually have one camera I actually carry regularily: the Mamiya 6 MF. Its bigger brother, the Mamiya 7 (II), should be one mean landscape machine (the 6 is already very good, using the 50mm f/4). You end up with a somewhat smaller setup, especially if you forego the tele lenses. But these cameras are so sought-after that they'll set you back at least $2500-3000, and that's not counting the wide-angle lenses ... The 6 MF is a little cheaper.

    EDIT: As usual, your post got me looking around :)  I'd say that the best value is in Mamiya and Zenza Bronica system cameras - but they *are* bulky. However, around here, a Mamiya RZ67 with wide angle lens can be had for considerably less than $1000 - and that's with *a lot* of extra equipment. Auction prices are lower. And the Bronica models are even cheaper.

    M.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  3. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    Thanks Matt, that's the kind of info that will get me all the more interested. Yes the Mamiya 7 is a beautiful system, but out of reach for a hobby. I'll look at the 6MF and Bronica systems.
     
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  4. MoonMind

    MoonMind All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    The 6 MF is a wonderful camera to use and shoot, and the lenses are fantastic. There *is* a Bronica 645 RF - but it's a bit hard to find and usually not cheap - but it has a nice set of wide-angles available. A ETRSi (or ETRS) will set you back a fraction of the price, though - and a GS1 (6x7) is very, very affordable as well (though of course quite bulky).

    M.
     
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  5. Cerita

    Cerita Veteran Subscribing Member

    337
    Jul 24, 2017
    Canada
    I have the Fuji GW690, I like it but it's a bit too big and heavy for me to carry about for city shots, but I would take it on a hike for instance and with a tripod. I have only used it once, and thought the shots were decent but then I am an amateur and still have lots to learn about exposure. I hope I get to use it again soon.
     
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  6. davidzvi

    davidzvi Veteran

    439
    Apr 18, 2014
    David
    @Tim Williams@Tim Williams you are moving in a few different direction here aren't you? Have you considered the Nikon D850 to handle both your need for a sports / AF and Landscapes?
     
  7. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    Not really. I have considered the D750 for both and a D800e for just landscapes and shoot my D300 for sports and I've thought about walking away from photography and taking a long break while I finish rehabbing my back. Then I got up this morning and back packed my Fuji kit down some trails and got a few keepers I hope. It hurt like hell but at least I was out doing something. I have most of my Fuji kit sold but put the deal off until Monday, so I may change my mind on that also.
    I have a collection of film cameras that I shoot with. Nikon , Olympus, Canon, Minolta, I just like shooting film and if I'm sitting around at night watching TV I'll usually have my OM2n with me to play with. Therapy. If I get a medium format I may never shoot over 10 rolls through it. At 65 and never experienced the challenge it's been on my list of things to learn. I now have the necessary kit together to develop my film , just making a decision on scanners. That was another thing on my list almost completed.
    If It seems like I'm all over the place it's because I am. Since my wife unexpectedly passed away 9 years ago I try to stay busy with something I enjoy and that's photography. My kids are all grown and have families of their own so I stay busy with it and it keeps me active and always wondering what I can do next. All aspects of it appeal to me. I never want to feel like I'm working at it. The day it comes to that, I'll walk away.

    Edit: Also I forgot to mention that 3 years ago I had open heart surgery and since then I can't remember what happened yesterday most of the time. In other words don't try to figure out my thought process, it will drive you crazy. I know because it does me. And people ask me why I don't date Lol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  8. porchard

    porchard Veteran

    459
    Feb 3, 2013
    Devon, UK
    A year or so ago, I obtained a Bronica SQ-a. Using this camera slows one down to an extraordinary degree!

    In circumstances where - when using a DLSR - I might take 30-50 shots, when using the Bronica, I would probably take no more than five! This results in a far greater enjoyment and appreciation of the whole photographic process. The experience is very much worth trying (as you're planning to do:) ).

    Interested to hear how it goes. :) 
     
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  9. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    Matt which ever one I get will have to have a grip or a handle on it lol. I just don't think I would enjoy it otherwise. Little things. Going back out now to shoot until dark. We have a soft light day. First one in forever it seems. I'll research more when I get in. Thanks again everyone.
     
  10. phigmov

    phigmov Veteran

    274
    Mar 23, 2015
    Bang for buck, the TLR's might be worth looking at too - the Mamiya C330 or similar (also interchangeable lenses) might be an option. Won't get the panoramas of a wider format but squares do have a certain charm and the cameras are generally a little lighter and simpler (electronics in MF cameras can be even more iffy than normal 35mm SLR's - I'd go fully mechanical if you can).
    The Fuji rangefinders are awesome - heavy but lighter than a RB or RZ plus you get a glorious sharp 6x7 or 6x9 negative (the wider end is expensive though).
    I should add, if you're driving into your environment and weight isn't a problem (also a sturdy tripod) then the RB or RZ's would be great - the RB's in particular can be had for a song and they have the rotating back thing going on which can be handy.
     
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  11. Steve Moorhouse

    Steve Moorhouse New Member

    5
    Mar 13, 2018
    Milton Keynes UK
    Dr Steve Moorhouse
    Have you considered Mamiya 645? I have a pair of Mamiya 645 Supers, lovely cameras although I haven't used them for a while now. But a lot easier to carry round than 6x7 cameras.
     
  12. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    Steve I'm looking at all angles as this is all new to me. I am getting my education as we go along, thanks to all the info I'm getting. You guys are super.
     
  13. phigmov

    phigmov Veteran

    274
    Mar 23, 2015
    Some GW690 shots in this thread Fuji GW690

    A few from an RB67 Mamiya RB67

    A few from the Rolleiflex Rolleiflex TLR

    I'd put a few Bronica ones up but I've had issues with both of mine - more experimentation required.
     
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  14. Cerita

    Cerita Veteran Subscribing Member

    337
    Jul 24, 2017
    Canada
    There is also the Fuji GA645Zi, it's a fixed zoom lens, AF rangefinder. I quite like it, as it's lightweight and very portable.
     
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  15. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    Steve I found a Mamiya 645 super with a 45mm 2.8 lens for not much. Am looking into it now. Thanks
     
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  16. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    512
    Dec 31, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    José
    I do recommend Pentax 67 or 6x7 MLU, but only if you also consider a second body or other alternative as backup on the field. These things sometimes just block, happened to me. Lenses are great and not so expensive: I have the 55/4, 105/2.4 and 200/4 and find it a very balanced kit. Concerning weight, yeah... but with a good backpack this is minimized.
     
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  17. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    If you do decide to go the rangefinder route. Throw away the lens cap. Or you will at some point think you have bagged the shot of a lifetime, and discovered you left it on !
     
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  18. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    That would so be me Lol.
     
  19. Oldmanjim

    Oldmanjim New Member

    1
    Mar 22, 2018
    Delaware
    Jim
    I have a Mamiya 645 pro tl with 45, 55, 80, 210, 2X TC, and a set of extension tubes that I got for less than $1000. It all firs into a Tamrac shoulder bag and is pretty easy to transport. Lots of fun shooting it. Good luck to a fellow vet!
     
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  20. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    769
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    Well after my little 1.5 mile hike yesterday my back has said no mas. I wont be changing kits but I still want to get a Medium format camera for my collection and learn how to use it so the research continues. I don't have to leave my house to take portraits.
     
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