645 vs 67 vs 4X5 for on-tripod use

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by rjpierrard, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    I've already read through the "645 vs 67" thread, but as my goals are slightly different than the person posting there, I hoped to ask for my own needs.
    I'm looking to get a film setup, and have decided against 35mm format here, as I would be more likely to use a digital camera for general purpose photography.
    Personal use: landscape, long exposure, and studio.
    I enjoy wide angle, usually between 20 and 24mm in 35mm format terms.
    I don't expect to use these handheld, as (again), I'd use a digital camera for that.
    I would like to be able to print very large, preferably 18X24 comfortably.
    I like the higher aspect ratio of 35mm film and digital compared to 4X5, 67, or even 645, but I know I could crop any of these as needed.
    I would also like the setup to be reasonably light and portable.
    With regards to volume, I probably wouldn't go through a great number of exposures per month, but it is preferable to keep running cost low.
    From what I can see, I've got three options:
    645 format, preferably a Mamiya of some sort. Lens of choice: 35/3.5N.
    67 format, preferably Mamiya RZ67. Lens of choice: 45/4.5W.
    4X5" format, preferably a folding camera like a Crown Graphic. Lens of choice: Nikkor 75/4.5.
    What are your takes on these options, given what I personally would use them for? Would you suggest a setup I've not considered?
    Thanks!
     
  2. In technical terms, 4x5 is the clear choice for printing to 18x24 (I presume you mean inches!). 6x7 is less good but still adequate, 645 is on the limit at this size. Cost of equipment would be roughly the same, lightness and portability of a Crown Graphic comparable to an RZ67 (which is a heavy 67 compared with a Mamiya 7, for example), so it's really a question of the extra bulk of 4x5 film holders, the extra film cost and effort of processing, and also that 4x5 is not ideal in damp conditions,
     
  3. To the extent that there is a fairly linear relationship between size of the negative and the ability to make large enlargements, etc., bigger is better.

    However, this is affected by the lenses available. Some LF lenses are not really so high quality as those available for some MF cameras.
    It's not just a matter of negative size, but you need to consider what lenses you intend to use.
     
  4. Thanks,
    I know that the larger the film itself, the larger the potential image; and yes, the lens does matter a good deal.
    The Mamiya 7 is unfortunately out of my price range, though if I could, I would certainly consider it and the 43mm lens.
    One detail I forgot: I would be scanning all (the good) images onto my computer and working on them digitally from there. I already have a scanner, though an Epson V700 would be nice if this type of photography becomes a regular occurance.
     
  5. The RZ67 would be my choice, based on your stated needs. It is relatively portable. The back rotates for easy vertical/horizontal shots. It focuses with a bellows, which allows for close focusing (the 645 is limited to about 3'). Best of all, used RZs don't cost very much. You can get a complete camera and lens for the cost of a single used Hasselblad lens - about $1000. Bodies and lenses are readily available. You get 50% more film area than 645, but only 10 shots/roll instead of 12.
    Any of these cameras will produce an excellent 20"x24" print (18"x24" is non-standard). The formats are very close to standard print sizes, which are multiples of 4x5, so relatively little cropping is required. The widest lenses for medium and large format cameras are roughly equivalent to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera. The "normal" lenses are 80mm, 90mm and 150mm respectively. You limited at the long end too. The longest MF lens is 500mm and the longest common lens for a 4x5 is between 210 and 300 mm - bellows only stretch so far.
    The larger the format, the bulkier and heavier the camera. Obviously, the Mamiya 645 is the most portable and handles much like a 35mm camera. The 67 is about 1/3rd larger, but still relatively portable. You probably need a roller or large backpack for a folding 4x5, although I've carried mine in a LowePro Photo Trekker.
    Roll film is still relatively affordable, but you will probably have to wait a week to 10 days for processing. 4x5 film is very expensive at $1.00 to $2.50 a sheet, and commercial processing can run as much as $5 a sheet, if you can find anyone to do it at all.
    The best reason to shoot 4x5 is the Scheimflug effect and perspective control. That's very useful when keeping the hoodoos vertical and parallel shooting in Bryce Canyon, or for toenail to horizon depth of field for landscapes in general (selective focus is not a "landscape" technique). Sometimes that's worth the backaches and waiting for windless days.
     
  6. I think you missed a choice: If you like the aspect ratio of 35mm, you should consider a 6x9 camera. A Fuji GSW69 would do the trick, and of course you could use a baby view camera 2x3" to get similar results.
    If a Mamiya is out of your price range: what is your range? MF is not cheap.
     
  7. If your not developing film yourself, sheet film can get a bit expensive. There are economical instant pack film backs for sheet film cameras, that take readily available 3.25 X 4.25 Fuji, instant color and B&W film. This makes learning to use a sheet film camera very affordable; about 80-90 cents a shot.
    There are also roll film backs for sheet film cameras. Many width options; some extremely wide, with extremely high prices. Others, with more conventional widths, 6X7 or 6X9, in the $75-$125USD range on used market.
    Both the 645 and RB/RZ cameras have Fuji, instant pack-film capable, Polaroid-405 backs on the used market.
    Since you say your hand held work will be done with digital, I would skip the 645 option. Most folks employ a 645 when they want a negative larger than 35mm, yet still want to have a camera that handles closer to a 35mm. (My opinion) Why limit yourself to only increasing your negative size by 3X that of 35mm, from a 645, when you can increase by 4.5 times, with a RZ negative.
    I am a RZ shooter. Lenses and accessories for the RZ are costlier, (average, across the board) for the same focal length, prism, winder, etc...than for a 645 system. The widest [normal wide] lens for the RZ is 50mm. Shooting the 50mm on the RZ, would be about a 28-30mm(?) on your 35mm camera.
    The only lens wider for the RZ is the very expensive 37mm fish-eye.
    For sheet film, I wanted all the movements I could get. For me, the only answer was a monorail camera.
    It's not that heavy, but definitely has some bulk, mainly due to the purpose built monorail case, allowing you to keep the camera assembled and ready to use, yet protected and transportable.
    Monorail cameras require a sturdy tripod, and RZ's also shine on a tripod or monopod. I often shoot my RZ from a monopod, when on-the-go.
     
  8. Thanks for the detailed replies!
    @Edward: Thanks for the pricing for film developing. With regards to the 18 vs 20X24": given that I enjoy and would more often use the 1.5 aspect ratio, I went with that size, even if 20X24 is more standard.
    @Michael: Previously I couldn't find many examples of 6X9 cameras; the only 6X9s that I've seen recently have been fixed-lens only, with the lenses being approximately a stop slower than the comparable Mamiya RZ lenses.
    My price range is somewhere in the range of $1000, which I've priced the setups of the Mamiya 645, RZ, and Crown Graphics to be (with the wide angle lens prices I've seen).
    @Marc: From the calculations at http://www.mat.uc.pt/cgi-bin/rps/fov, 50mm on 67 should be 83*, equivalent to 24mm on 35mm film. Since this seems to be my FOV of choice, I'd prefer not going narrower.
    I'm not sure yet if I'd be use the movements very often, and experimentation is looks expensive when it comes to large format.
    Thanks for the tip about tripod/monopod usability for these systems.
    I think it's pretty much decided for the RZ67 then: thanks!
     
  9. Unless there's a nice interchangeable-lens 6X9cm with a good (reasonably fast, eg f/3.4 or 4.5) wide angle lens.
     
  10. Congrats on the RZ decision!!!
    Last year/year and a half i went through the same decision process. Ultimately, I chose the RB Pro-S, but obviously same format as the RZ and *love* it!!!
    I lugged it up/around a few mountains local to me yesterday and while heavy, it really does a magnificient job (can't say enough good things about my new Feisol CT-3342 carbon-fiber tripod!!!!).
    I chose the 6x7 b/c it's 120 film size is the largest (easily obtainable) *roll* film available. It has all the convenience of 35mm and provides a much, much larger neg.
    Enjoy!!!
     
  11. Get a 6x9 Crown Graphic. The ratio is exactly the same as 35mm plus you have the option of putting a very wide lens on it.
     
  12. Or you can get a Cambo Wide and shoot 4x5 inch or 6x12cm, 6x9 cm, 6x7cm. Cambo Wide cameras with a 58mmXL, 65mm or 75mm show up regularly. The camera is light and the lenses are superb.
    A lot of the landscapes on my website www.frankbunnik.zenfolio.com are made with a Cambo Wide with 65mm, 90mm or 120mm lenses.
    Good luck with your choice, Frank
     
  13. I don't know much about them but no one has mentioned the Fuji 680 which is 6x8 and does take interchangeable lenses.
    Years ago I went with a 6x6 Mamiya TLR and 55mm lens, then upgraded to a Speed Graphic 4x5 with 65mm. In the past few years the films of choice, for me, became very hard to find, processing became very hard to find, and shooting with digital became so easy, that I ignored the 4x5. Medium format and 4x5 Velvia transparencies are unbelievabe to view but in the spring I sold the 4x5 system to buy a Canon 17 TS-E. Now it is coupled with a 5D II and although shifting and stitching may not be for everyone I can now create files similar to medium format that can be enlarged to the sizes you are thinking about. For your purposes the TS-E 24 II could be amazing. Just a thought!
     
  14. 18" x 24" is not a big print, my smallest print now is a on size C paper, 17" x 22". 135 format digital is more than capable
    of high quality prints at that size, and larger, pare a 5D MkII with a 24 mm TS- E and you have the capacity to print larger
    than that even before stitching. Get into stitching and you end up with a 36mm x 36mm, 36mm x 48mm, or even a 24mm
    x 60mm sized sensor with perfect parallax free images that are effortless to stitch perfectly in post.

    Before I get crucified for that I would point out that I use 135 format digital as well as 645, 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9 film cameras.
     
  15. @Robert,
    I don't know if it's appropriate for me to post this, but I have "baby view", a 6x9 Arca Swiss that I'd like to sell. It's probably from the 60's, but it is excellent shape. I just had a new bellows made for it, at the factory in France. (they've moved from Switzerland, apparently for customs reasons or something).
    It has a Galvin back, which lets you view the scene, then slip in a roll-film adapter. Very slick. Also has Graflex back so you could use film holders. I have three 6x9 rollfilm backs, and six lens boards - three are recessed.
    I'd like to get $950 for it.. we can continue corresponding off-site if you wish, with more details and photographs. Again, I hope it's ok to mention this, I've seen others do it occasionally. If not ok, the moderator can delete this.
    Paul
     
  16. Robert,
    I have a Horseman VHR view camera with a 6x9 back. I went with this system because it is relatively compact and I can scan using my dedicated Minolta Multi Pro. I also find using lens movement can really make (or break) an image. The lenses are small, quite sharp, and easily found used at reasonable prices. The drawbacks are that the widest I go is 65m which maybe is not as wide as you like and I find that viewing the image on ground glass is not that bright and takes practice. My prints from velvia are superb. Still for the most part I mostly use my Nikon d300.
     
  17. stp

    stp

    I've always considered a flatbed scanner to be the weak link in the chain in obtaining large, high-quality prints from a medium-format or large-format camera. Rather than sending film out to be drum-scanned, I'd prefer to do it myself, and the most cost-effective way to do this, IMO, is with the Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 scanner. Of course, this scanner has been discontinued, and the market value of these scanners has increased by about 50%. If I were in your shoes, I'd rather go with medium format over large format simply because of the enhanced at-home scanning possibilities, although a good scanner isn't cheap. Pick your favorite medium-format camera, get the best deal you can on a dedicated film scanner, and you'll be producing large, high-quality scans and prints with relative ease.
     
  18. I think the RZ would be a good choice. The 6x7negative is really great and the RZ is a workhorse and these days the price is quite reasonable. Scanning is the next consideration. The Nikon 9000 scanner for a person on a budget is probably to much for a used scanner. I would just buy the best scanner you can afford and use it and improve on the system over time. The last consideration is having the film processed. Some area's still have some good labs and others do not. But you can still process your own B/W if you want to do that.
     
  19. You've heard this already, I'm quite certain, but shooting a 645 or a 6x7 camera isn't appreciably different than working with a 35 mm camera. Look through the viewfinder, focus, maybe apply MLU, and then press the shutter release. Tripods are recommended, but you can easily work without one as in fashion studio shooting with strobes.
    4x5 is a completely different animal. Lenses (always primes) come from companies other than your camera's manufacturer and have to be mounted in lens boards. You need to choose boards that fit both the lens (shutter size) and your camera (many varieties). Every time you unfold the camera, you place it on a tripod, attach the shutter release cable to your lens-board-mounted lens, and attach the whole assembly to the camera.
    Level the camera (very important). Remove the ground glass protector. Pull out your loupe and go under the dark cloth for the first pass at focusing. Oops! Everything is dark, so open the shutter. Next, use rise, fall, shift, and tripod movements (requires re-leveling) to compose the image. If you need to use a different lens, you'll have to repeat a number of the previous steps. When the composition looks right, refocus. Apply tilt or swing if desired, but that will add at least a couple more minutes to the process.
    Stop the aperture down to the desired setting and check again to see how everything looks. Warning, the image on the ground glass could be quite dark. Now, close the shutter, because if you don't you're going to ruin a piece of film when you draw the dark slide. You'll learn this lesson the hard way a few times before it sinks in and you start to check this step obsessively for every exposure.
    Pull out your handheld meter, you gray card if applicable, and any cheat sheets that you've developed in order determine the correct exposure. Set the shutter speed by turning a dial on the lens, a dial that can be difficult to read in low light or if you're using any filters. Re-check the aperture setting as it's easy to bump it with your finger when setting the shutter speed and now suddenly you're two stops away from the exposure that you thought you were making.
    It's not a bad idea to open the shutter to double-check your focus at this point. You might have bumped something when you set the lens parameters. Or you might have forgotten to lock down the focusing knobs. When finished make sure to close the lens - AGAIN - and check the aperture - AGAIN.
    Now you're ready to put a film holder into the camera, the film holder that you spent time loading last evening when you would rather have been sleeping or enjoying your dinner. Make sure that the white label of the dark slide is showing or your create a second exposure on a pre-exposed piece of film. Make sure that the holder snaps in tightly or you'll have light leaks. Check ONE MORE TIME that the shutter is CLOSED. Draw the dark slide in a smooth, steady motion. Not too slow or you'll have light leaks. Not too fast or you'll move the camera and you'll have to start all over again.
    Now comes the magic moment. Press the shutter release. Of course if you're using a slow film and a small aperture, the shutter will be open long enough to ensure that wind will blur your shot. Or something might move into your frame. If all goes well, replace the dark slide (black label out this time signifying an exposed sheet). Congratulations! You've captured one shot. Now all you have to do is make sure that the holder doesn't open accidentally until you get back to your base of operation where you'll use hot, steamy changing bag to transfer the film into a light-tight box, keep track of the sheet so you can apply processing adjustments if necessary, and get it all home safely without some overzealous airport security person ripping open the box and destroying all of your hard work.
    The strange thing is that some of us actually LOVE this tedious process. Who knows? You might be one of us! Give it a try!
    One not on 75mm lenses. They work work on all 4x5 cameras. You might need a recessed lens board. Check with a knowledgeable dealer or with someone who has experience using your camera model.
     
  20. Robert, just a couple of pertinent questions:
    1) Have you used film before?
    2) Do you plan on processing and/or printing your own film?
    If the answer to both of the above is "no", then I'd really think hard before jumping into film - just because it sounds fun, arty, cool, etc.
    The only reason to use film nowadays IMHO, is to darkroom print it by traditional "wet" methods. If you're going to scan it or (horror) have it scanned and printed by someone else, then there really is little, if any, advantage to shooting film over digital. As an earlier poster suggested, a good full-frame DSLR will pretty much equal the quality you can get from going the film/scanning/digital printing route. Wet printing, especially for B&W, is a slightly different matter, but then you need to add the cost of a darkroom or darkroom rental into your budget and negotiate the steep learning curve for film processing and printing.
    The other thing you'll find is that the general quality of MF super-wideangle lenses is lamentable, short of blowing your entire budget on the lens alone. The Mamiya 35mm f/3.5 isn't a stellar performer if edge and corner definition is important to you, and it's only the equivalent of a 23mm focal length in 35mm terms.
    Am I sounding negative? Very probably when it comes to using MF film with a hybrid digital workflow. I'm actually trying to be very positive about what a 100% digital workflow has to offer. Coming from a commercial photography background, I'm of the opinion that the equipment or medium used should be secondary to the finished image, and if digital capture offers the most efficient solution to getting a given image quality, then to me that seems the obvious way to go.
    Below is a comparison between scanned 6x4.5cm medium format 100 ISO B&W film and a 12Mp full-frame DSLR. The same subject was shot using lenses with equivalent angles of view. I know which one I'd choose to blow up to 18" x 24", and I'm sure the difference would be even greater using a higher resolution digital camera.
    PS. I should add that those are very small crops, and that if you saw the whole frame at the same magnification it would probably easily be equivalent to a 16" by 24" print.
    00ZdDl-417287684.jpg
     
  21. Just to throw out another 6x9 suggestion, have you looked into the Mamiya Press/Universal/23?
    http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Mamiya_Press

    The widest lens is a 50mm f/6.3, so a little slower than you'd probably like but definitely wide on a 6x9 frame. Also, the Super 23 did have a bellows back that allowed for some minor movements and the use of a ground glass if that was something you were into, not to mention allowing you to use 2x3 sheet film, or any number of backs including 6x9 and 6x9.

    They can be had for fairly cheap as well.

    Just a thought.
     
  22. 18" x 24" is not a big print, my smallest print now is a on size C paper, 17" x 22". 135 format digital is more than capable of high quality prints at that size, and larger, pare a 5D MkII with a 24 mm TS- E and you have the capacity to print larger than that even before stitching. Get into stitching and you end up with a 36mm x 36mm, 36mm x 48mm, or even a 24mm x 60mm sized sensor with perfect parallax free images that are effortless to stitch perfectly in post.
    Scott and I butt heads a lot over other questions on this forum, but I'll back him 100% on this answer. Modern, 12 MP and higher DSLRs are capable of the print size specified. (You will see some advantage with landscapes by going with even higher MP sensors.) In comparisons between CoolScan scanned 6x7 and 18 MP files I don't really notice any advantage to the film until past the 30" size. A 3x18 MP frame stitch out performs the best 6x7 scans I've seen, even from drum scanners. Note that flatbed scanners are worse than the CoolScan.
    That said if you simply want to shoot film for some work and have a flatbed scanner I think I would go with 4x5. Even on a flatbed 4x5 looks great, you're shooting from a tripod any way, and there's plenty of detail should you ever want to print larger than 24". It's a different shooting experience, but if portability and hand holding are not a concern then you might as well step up to LF.
     
  23. RZ67II is my top recommendation. The 50mmULD (eq to 24mm in 35mm) and the 110mmf2.8 are the two lenses to get.
    You can print up to 40x50 comfortably if you send the film to be scanned at high quality.
     
  24. Also as many suggested, 35mm film with a good film scanner is totally capable of 18x24 prints. Understand that at the size you print, the bottleneck for 35mm is your scanner not the film or the camera.
     
  25. I agree with Rodeo Joe, absolutely.
    Unless you were wet printing, I`d not jump to a film camera. I simply hate the look of scanned film (I have a V750PRO, b&w films in every format). Sending the film for quality scans and prints is an extremely expensive pain; by far I prefer the results I get in my own darkroom.
    Sheet film and/or view cameras with roll film backs are even a more complex and different approach. Again, if you don`t have your own darkroom, I`d say they are certainly unpractical (and I`m saying this as a darkroom freak!).
    For color work, I don`t need other than a full frame DSLR.
     
  26. ... BTW, have you considered image stitching? (digital)
     
  27. I'm going with, that the scanner is the bottleneck here. Yes, there are bad scans out there, but there are clean, on target drum scans that give the Photographer a starting point in finishing. I use 6x7, and 24x30 prints are achieved with stunning result. Great points made on this thread. Pentax 6711. Tango Drum scans. Landscapes. I treat my working process with medium format like 4x5. Methodical.
     
  28. Make sure to get the 50mm ULD and
    not the earlier 50mm, the older version
    has got so much edge distortion I find it
    to be unuseable.
     
  29. If you buy the 50mm make sure to get
    the ULD version, the older lens has got
    so much edge distortion I find it
    unusable.
     
  30. ... Maybe you want to mean perspective distortion?
     
  31. Minor corrections:
    - the Mamiya 35mm f/3.5 is a bit wider than RJ said: 22mm (rounded from 21.7mm) in 35mm terms. Every mm makes a difference when you get to the ultrawides.
    - the 50mm on the RZ is substantially wider than Marc said: 24mm (rounded from 24.2mm) in 35mm terms.
    - The "widest lenses for medium and large format cameras" can also be substantially wider than Edward said. Many traditional SLR or rangefinder 645, 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9 cameras have options in the 21-22mm area (35mm equivalent). Modular superwide units like Alpa, Plaubel, Horseman, and Gaoersi can deliver 15-20mm in 35mm terms on rollfilm, using large-format-style lenses like the 47mm Super Angulon, or the 35mm and 45mm APO Grandagons.
    Just to throw out another 6x9 suggestion, have you looked into the Mamiya Press/Universal/23?....The widest lens is a 50mm f/6.3...​
    Ryan, you beat me to it! I use this combination too. It gives a crisp, distortion-free 21.4mm equivalent image, on a very large 6x9cm negative, in the OP's favoured 35mm aspect ratio. (Think of it as a giant Leica M rangefinder with a 21mm Super Angulon [albeit slower], but with interchangeable backs and 5.4 times the film area). With a Polaroid back on the Mamiya Universal, it gives an even wider (18mm equivalent) image. It would come in under the OP's $1000 budget too.
    Also as many suggested, 35mm film with a good film scanner is totally capable of 18x24 prints. Understand that at the size you print, the bottleneck for 35mm is your scanner not the film or the camera.​
    That very much depends on using slow, fine-grained film. At ISO 200 and above, the 35mm film format becomes the limit.
     
  32. The result of Velvia 50 drum scanned from a 6x7 trans, tells the story. Very hard pressed to tell the difference between that and 4x5. Unless movements are used. Again, a scan done right yields awesome results. All other vibration techniques exercised. Tripod, Cable release, mirror up, hyperfocal focusing.
     
  33. Sorry for not responding earlier, I didn't expext so many responses!
    With regards to a miniature LF like a 2X3" Crown Graphic, that is certainly an option, and one I hadn't considered to be honest. At this point in time, I think I would prefer MF over LF for the familiarity to 35mm process and control. I may go to large format eventually, and it is an area of interest, but I don't think it will be soon yet.
    Same response at the moment to Cambo Wide, though I've read about it used on Luminous Landscapes, and it does seem quite nice.
    I've looked at the Fuji 680, but haven't been able to find much info on it, and KEH doesn't have much merchandise to put together a setup to see what I can really get into with it.
    Regarding tilt-shift lenses on non-LF bodies: yes, I've considered this option as well. I've seen some awesome pictures done by stitching the images together, eliminating parallax errors, etc. I'm not sure exactly how much image quality you're losing by using the entire image circle, but of course it depends on the lens. To be honest, a TS lens alone is more than what I've been expecting to pay for an entire MF or LF setup, sometimes almost twice as costly.
    I've been doing digital panoramic stitching myself for quite a while now (using a Nikon D90), using AutoPano Giga. I adore range of image size you can get from stitching, and the choice of how much or little of the subject to stitch. However, the biggest problems I'm having right now are with moving objects (even simply in windy situations), and objects close to the camera. I'm going to rectify the second with a panoramic head, but moving objects seem to be the bane of stitching processes, and one of the reasons I plan on moving to a larger format to capture similar printable quality.
    @Paul: thank you for your offer, but right now I'm just doing my research to see what works best for my situation and requirements, and so won't be ready to purchase for a while yet. Cheers though!
    Regarding the weak link discussion, it does make sense that a lower-quality scanner will give less precise renditions, but I would think that a well respected scanner like the Epson V700 should give good results; that being said, I will certainly consider a dedicated MF scanner.
    I have not had personal experience photographing with a view camera, though I have been to studio shots with a friend using a 4X5" view camera. I do not have the experience to operate one, but know some of the differences between view, MF/35mm/digital.
    @Rodeo Joe: I have not used film as an artistic implementation before, and unfortunately I do not plan on processing the film myself.
    I do agree that it's what you want the finished image to be that's the deciding factor on what type of equiptment to use. As mentioned before though, there are times where the situation dictates a single shot where a digital capture would limit print size.
    To be perfectly honest, I'll say that my ideal digital setup will be a Canon 5D with the 24/1.4L. This will certainly give better results than the D90 I've got now, and will be my workhorse camera. But I also want to use film in my work: and if the quality of the film will be similar if I use a 35mm camera, I'll use something larger (but not unwieldy).
    Right now the Mamiya RZ looks like the best of the several worlds to me, in terms of cost (under $1000), size/portability (much smaller than a view camera), image/colour/tonal quality, and running costs (where the view camera is unfortunately in last place).
    With regards to end print size, I specified what I hope to achieve minimum from this setup: there are certainly instances where the project works best as a 30X40 or 24X48.
    I also agree with the setup mentioned by Mauro for the Mamiya RZ, thanks!
    @Ray: I've seen some of the results from those wide angle LF lenses, and they amaze me! Unfortunately the prices are an accurate reflection of their quality.
    I'll look further into the mini-view camera idea, as well as the other 6X9 MF possibilities.
    Thanks for all the responses!
     
  34. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    There is clearly a relationship between the camera you buy and the scanner you use.
    If , for example you have drum scans made at a good lab then you can print a quality 24" x 18" from any of the options you consider.
    At the other end of the spectrum, if you're going to scan with a consumer flatbed you're going to need the 5" x 4" to make a good print of that size. I have a V700 and whilst it gets a fair amount of use, I would not personally use it to make a print larger than say 16" x 12" from 67 and say 12" x 8" from 645. No doubt others' limits will vary though I doubt whether many would go as far as you seem to wish if quality is a major factor- and if it isn't, why buy into medium or large format?
    In the middle you have film scanners that some people ckoose to buy and others choose to buy-in scans from labs, dependent objectively on volume and subjectively on whether they just want it.. If you intend to buy or otherwise use a Nikon Coolscan 9000 then in my experience (I did have one but sold it as I wasn't making enough use of it) you'll be best with a 67, If you buy or use an Imacon, then either of your medium format options will give you a great 24" x 18" print.
    I would also join others in suggesting that
    • You could print to your selected size from a dslr- certainly my 5Dii will go that far. You don't actually need MF unless you want to get a bit bigger. If you choose to own a film scanner, then any scanner you buy will cost on its own, more than the 5Dii
    • If you can't or won't go further than a V700 scanner, and hence a 5"x 4" camera, just make sure you're au fait with the logistics and time taken to learn and use a large format camera. Some people love that sort of thing, but not everyone.
     
  35. I have a gorgeous, scratch free RZ67 ProII that I would sell you, but I'd also tell you that it won't equal my FF Canon at the size you talk about unless you are shooting black and white.
    I am very critical of print quality in large enlargements, and will admit that I am absolutely going to look at a 24" print from 2 or 3 feet. If you are really picky too then you really will have to go to 4 x 5. I have no horse in the race, as I have duplicate RZ systems, lots of perfect condition RZ lenses, several view cameras and lenses, and the Canon 1DsIII. I've compared them all and it takes 4 x 5 to get a top enlargement from color film that will compete with FF DSLR.
    If one wanted to focus on black and white then it's totally different. The superior ability of black and white film to give that fantastic dynamic range is a very valid reason to look to film.
    If you decide to go for film, but not to go bigger than medium format, the RZ is a great choice for many reasons, including generous neg size, rotating back, superb lenses (stay with the later units), great focusing system, rock solid build quality. I've shot with many, many brands of film cameras and the RZ is my favorite.
     
  36. Before the Pentax 6711, I had a Fuji GX-680. Loved the concept, and the images were superb, but---It was heavy! How heavy? 11 lbs. heavy. I lugged that thing up and down hills and places. I was younger then, and even then it was tough. The Fuji GX-680 was made for the studio. I prefer the 67 frame. I have a habit of packing a frame. The 67 is it for me. I've used Hasselblads. The Square didn't work for me either.
     
  37. I used Hasselblad before I went RZ. Now, I do love square images. 40% of my enlargements from the Hasselblad ended up remaining square. I would usually know at the time of making the image. But, what bothered me was that on the 60% of the images that ended up rectangular, by using an RZ I could have had the benefit of more film area. The Hassy "6cm" is really less than 56mm. The RZ is a full 72mm wide! That's 29% greater length. That means that I can get a 13 inch wide enlargement at the same enlargement factor as a 10 inch wide enlargement from the Hasselblad. For me, that's a big deal as I see a REAL difference between 10 and 13 inch wide enlargements from Hasselblad images.
    This of course is assuming that the optics are on an equal plane. For the RZ lenses I selected (the later 50 ULD, the 110, the 210 apo) that is certainly true. So, if you stick with medium format, you really need to maximize your neg size for the enlargement sizes you are talking about making.
     
  38. You need to look at ALL the alternatives... http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~razzle/
     
  39. ... landscape, long exposure ... I enjoy wide angle ... I don't expect to use these handheld ... I would like to be able to print very large, preferably 18X24 comfortably.​
    As others have already mentioned, the RZ (and less expensive RB) are good choices. I have a couple actually. Printing to 18x24 is no problem if you have access to a Nikon 9000 or better; 8x10 is about as large as I'd go if digitizing with a consumer level flatbed.
    Having said this, you're much better off with a Gigapan coupled to a P&S digicam. I've been using one since their beta release 5 years ago. The only limitation is that the scene must tolerate what amounts to minutes long exposure. When this constraint is satisfiable, this $400 combination lets you record images with unparalleled resolution and dynamic range.
     
  40. @Dean: thanks for that link, I hadn't seen it before
    @Robert: I've already mentioned about the digital panoramic stitching. Just a recap: I do it already (need a pano head though); and enjoy the range of possibilities, FOV, etc; but given that stitching is non-optimal and often downright abominable for moving subjects (even just when windy), there are times I'll simply want a larger sensor to take that image in a single exposure.
    Thanks for your comments!
     
  41. I agree with Don Bright regarding the comparison between a good drum scan of a 6x7 chrome on RVP 50 and 4x5 chromes. After spending 50+ years carrying most of the top medium and large format cameras in the field, I reached the conclusion that there is a point of greatly diminishing returns when going above the 6x7 format. Budgetary concerns preclude even thinking about 4x5. The weight and complexity of film holders makes chasing fleeting moments during the Golden Hours of dawn and dusk an exercise in patience and serendipity. Even the greats of large format photography ended up with medium format rollfilm cameras for their combination of information capture and efficiency.
    The cost of the latest large format lenses puts your project out of the running. I know of no combination of lens and body with modern, multi-coated optics (not to mention aspheric) that you could put together under $1,000. I agree with the some of the others that the biggest bang for the buck would be the Mamiya Press or RB/RZ with 50mm lens. If you can find the ground glass back for the Mamiya Press, you can use the Scheimpflug technique by tilting the camera back and increase your depth of field without overly stopping down. The 50mm Mamiya-Sekor will cover 6x9 with modest movements. If you opt for the RZ, look into the 50mm L lens with its modern multi-coating, floating elements and ultra-low dispersion glass. An RZ with 50mm ULD optic and 120 back can be found for around $800 on the 'net.
     
  42. Thanks Andy. At the risk of repeating myself, lets remember how important it is to find equipment that one feels is tailored to ones needs and method of working. Getting used to cameras that one is going to get rid of is a process that many of us has found to be expensive. Certainly our friend Robert want's to avoid that, and find a set up that will provide bang for the buck, and yield beautiful images too. As I've mentioned I use the Pentax 67 system, a few of the lenses they made were great, although not all. I've managed to make what I have work with for me, and that is what we have to do. Make the best of what we got no matter what the equipment is. When I was is the hunt for a field camera, as I mentioned I used a Fuji GX-680 for a while, then realized it is what it is, too heavy, but you see I knew that going in, but I thought a little pain would improve the pictures, NOT! I had my sight set on a Mamiya RZ67, but after the Fuji GX-680 episode, I was determined to lighten up, so thats why the Pentax 6711. Weight was the motivating factor at the time. Knowing that the Mamiya RZ was lighter that the GX-680, I went even lighter with the Pentax. I've seen results from the RZ67, and they are awesome, so if you're going that way with the RZ, I would say your on the right track. Not every lens is a home run within a particular manufacturer. In the case of the SMC Pentax 67 lenses, as I said there are a few good ones, the 45, 75, 105, and 200. Luckily these focal lengths cover it all, but there are a few more lenses that they made that may have given the Line a bad rep. So choose wisely. I think this thread has already provided the preferred lens for the RZ, I think it was the 50mm ULD, AND THE 110 2.8?
    Medium format film cameras are awesome. I think that the response that you have received from your quest has proven that. This has been an active and informative, interesting thread. Not often I re-read threads, but their have been good contributors here mostly because of the passion for medium format, and good taste for the TONALITY of a properly exposed piece of film.
     
  43. Hi, no time to read the whole thread, sorry if this has been covered.
    Have you considered the RB67 Pro SD with the 6x8 electric back? You said you preferred aspect ratio nearer 35mm. The electric back also means you only have to wind the body, as on the RZ; BIG bonus.
    For 4x5 check out the Sinar Wolf (in the UK), called the Alpina or A1 in other markets. Very light, standards fold close to the rail, same movements as any other monorail but not quite as rigid as some. Accepts any lens or Sinar part except rails (which on this model are flat not round). I've made a split-rail extension which, with an extra bellows & support, lets me use up to a 600mm. lens.
    You can use roll film backs in all formats to 6x12 and still have full movements, you can also easily adapt the rear standard to take a digital back/body and stitch multiple frames.
    I'm over 60 and can backpack this kit all day even without a tripod monkey. I do have other outfits but this little Sinar is what I take to the hills.
     
  44. The Crown Graphic.
     

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