645 system with good portrait lens

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by nikita_kirilkin, Apr 2, 2021.

  1. Hi there!
    I've decided recently to switch from pentax 645 NII to something more modern and with interchangeable backs (at least film).
    First my choice fell on Contax with its beautiful 80/2.0. But the thing is it's quite hard to find good body and also hard to service (lack of spares). Then I had a look on Hasselblad H system and I liked it. Yes, it's pretty expensive, but it still can be serviced and has a digital back options. But recently some people told me that H system has pretty boring lenses and they are mostly used with studio flashes, i.e with F stoped down. Is it true?
    And are there any good options of 645 system?
    PS I also shoot with Hasselblad V system and really appreciate 80 2.8
  2. "Boring lenses"? What is a boring lens?
    nikita_kirilkin likes this.
  3. "studio flash with lens stopped down"

    Older studio flashes had a limited range of power outputs. Getting low power output from from otherwise powerful units could be a problem. That's not really an issue with modern types. Just turn the power down.
    nikita_kirilkin and mag_miksch like this.
  4. Good 645 system in MF is Rolleiflex SL66-series with magazin 4,5x6 and all fine lenses as well
    nikita_kirilkin likes this.
  5. Nothing wrong with your Pentax system. Why do you want interchangeable magazines?

    Their main use was to reduce film-changing time for busy pros during a shooting session. Or for a quick swap between film types. If you don't work like that, then there's no need for interchangeable backs, with their increased likelihood of light leaks.

    Yeah, there are some really stupid people around.
    haim_toeg and nikita_kirilkin like this.
  6. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    I don't know that you'll find anything very much more modern than your NII in a *film* camera. If your problem with your camera is that you see it as old-fashioned, jumping to another system because 'parts are still available' seems like only a short-term answer. Anybody still using film now is choosing to do something a bit old-fashioned, surely (and I am one of them, when I'm not too lazy).
    If you want to make a real jump into the future, it's going to have to be a digital; any digital will give you the option of a 4x3 frame. Make it a mirrorless, and you can use anybody's lens you like (probably including the ones you already have) on a mount adapter.
    nikita_kirilkin likes this.
  7. I must have told that I'm going to use it for portraits indoor and outdoor.

    I meant that lenses like Planar (for Hasselblad and other) had it's own character and you could easily distinguish two different lenses. Nowadays almost all prime lenses have same picture and bokeh rendering.

    Exactly, but I wanted to tell you that people mostly use Hasselblad in studio shooting some adv with aperture stooped down to F8.

    Thanks for the advice, I'll check it!

    Actually I love Pentax 645 NII. It's a great camera and nice lenses. The only con is the lack of interchangeable magazine. I got used to shoot BW and color in the same time.

    The thing is - I'm not worrying about Pentax reliability, I just want to have an option to switch from BW to color and back :)
    I'm shooting film and I really like the process and this approach.
  8. Another possibility is the Bronica ETR system. I had an ETRC a while back, and got on pretty well with it. Actually the ETRC was a version of the ETR with a fixed hinged back - I had no use for interchangeable backs. The ETRS and later ETRSi had interchangeable magazines. The ETRS had mirror lock up and a facility for TTL flash exposure, probably needing a fairly exotic flashgun to work though. Although the ETRSi is newer, some people say that it's less robust than the ETRS, having more plastic components.
  9. AJG


    If you're happy with your current Pentax and its lenses, then why not buy a second identical body? It wouldn't be as compact as a second back for another camera with interchangeable backs, but it would give you the flexibility of having two different films available at the same time. I used to own two Rollei 3,5 E cameras for exactly that reason--at the time, a second Rolleiflex was cheaper than a Hasselblad accessory film back.
    John Crowe and nikita_kirilkin like this.
  10. I'm sorry. I'm usually pretty tolerant. but this is way over the top on so many levels.

    Stick with your Pentax. If you want to switch from one film to another, just buy another Pentax body. It would be unlikely to cost more than buying another whole system, lenses, backs, and all.

    In any case, consider getting a hernia belt of some kind with the cameras you're shooting.

    A traditional preference for portrait work in 6cm formats is a 120mm (I quite like my Zeiss 120mm Biometar f/2.8)
    John Crowe and nikita_kirilkin like this.
  11. Sounds cool, but it won't be compact and I'll have to buy another lens :)

    Probably it would be cheaper buying one more Pentax body and even lens, but a bit bulky..
    Eh, probably I'm not that old and have no clue what the hernia is ;)
    Every photographer has his own conception of portrait lens. Some use 180, some 150 and 120. Some use even 120 Macro.. My choice is 80 mm on roll film.

    What about Mamiya 645?
  12. The ones with interchangeable magazines are really unreliable. Don't touch 'em would be my advice.

    I have 3 - two Supers and a Pro-TL - every one has needed extensive repair several times over. Only one of the Supers is now working, and I've reverted to using an old all-metal 1000s model with fixed back.
    Then buy another Pentax 645 body. Probably cheaper than a fully serviced 'blad A12 magazine. And if you swap systems it'll cost you even more.

    Or shoot colour negative and convert the scans to B&W. Because I'm betting that your workflow isn't fully 'analogue' and you're just wasting time, money and natural resources shooting film only to end up with a digital file.
    petrochemist likes this.
  13. Hello
    Rolleiflex 6008-integral-2 (or Hy-6) + 4560 back usable vertically or horizontally
    Portrait lenses?
    Xenotar 80F2.0
    Planar 110F2.0
    APO-Symmar 90F4.0
    Makro-Planar 120F4.0
    Tele-Xenar 150F4.0
    Tele-Xenar 180F2.8

  14. Are there really any 645 systems without a good portrait lens? Portraits would have been a major part of the role for any such camera.

    Agree 100%, if you want multiple backs for use in studio, there no reason not to simply get a spare body or two. They're reasonably affordable these days.

    Edit: I see Joe's already added that suggestion - note to self read to the end of a thread before replying... :D
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021

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