Looking for some suggestions

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by lancemcvay, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. I've been wanting to start taking some more medium format 6x6 photos and slides and scan them. I do have the equipment to do this, but am thinking about acquiring another medium format camera. I have around $500 to spend. I was looking at Rolleiflexes, but I already have a Ricoh Diacord TLR in that focal length. Do you have any recommendations? I don't think I have enough for anything like a Hasselblad setup, but I was thinking maybe Mamiyia. They have 6x4.5 and 6x7, so I would probably try to get a 6x7. I would like to find something with a larger maximum aperture, f/2.8 or quicker.

    Also, I have a scanner, but it's a few years old now and is pretty slow. Does anyone know of anywhere reputable and not crazy expensive to have 120 scanned at high resolution, but with no corrections made to it?
  2. For medium format, you wouldn't generally want a larger aperture than f2.8. Your depth of field is very slim even at that. f2.8 is probably the same as f1.4 in 35mm. Since you already have a TLR w/ a good lens, you might want to explore a SLR or rangefinder camera. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The SLR is better for close ups, but is big and heavy. The rangefinders are compact and light, especially the folders, but are limited in their ability to take close us shots.
  3. I'm thinking about a Kiev 88 that's had a CLA done to it and some lenses.
  4. Lance,
    With mailing and the web, I guess the world is fairly small, but it would help to know where you live.
    You may already have someone near you that a member could suggest for processing/scanning.
  5. Juneau, Alaska.
  6. Prices on the Mamiya manual focus stuff are in the basement right now. With some careful shopping on craigslist, ebay and Keh.com I was able to put together a nice 645 kit of a 1000s body (with waist level finder) 35, 55, 80, 150 and 210 primes for about $450. The 6x7 stuff is a bit more, but not much. You should still be able to get a decent kit with your budget if you want to go that route. Just do a lot of looking around and don't get in a hurry about it.
    Can't help you with the scanning part. I'm using an Epson V600, which is good enough for web posting, but I plan on enlarging any keepers optically. If I ever finish my first roll, that is.
  7. I just remembered that I have a scanner I bought at a garage sale that does 120. It's a Minolta Dimage Scan Multi. I just need to get a cable that will connect it to the SCSI controller I have and I should be good for scanning. It does 1128 dpi for medium format.

    I am looking at the Mamiya c330, and will also look at the 6x7. I really don't want 6x4.5. I'm really fond of 6x6, and I hear great things about most 6x7 cameras.

    Currently comparing online reviews between the Mamiya c330 and equivalents, Kiev 60 and Pentacon lenses, a Mamiya 6x7 TLR that uses the c330 lenses, or a Kiev 88 updated by one of the third parties like Hartblei or Arax. I want to get a selection of lenses. All of these seem to be in the ballpark.

    The Mamiya RB67 is another strong contender.
  8. Realistically, $500 is not really enough to get a whole system.
    Its interesting to read the comment that Mamiya 645 prices are in the basement. Not in our part of the world (SE Asia). I now only shoot digital now so I can say this: People shooting film here is growing exponentially as more a more more people shoot film as well. A Hasselblad 501cm with an 85 lens will bring over $1500. Mamiya 6 & 7, maybe a bit more. Rollei 6x6 for a 3.5 80 $2000. the same with a 2.8, maybe $2500. The Rollei 645's are tightly held. With the Pentax 645 system, it's gone through the roof due to the 645D.

    You might get a Pentax 67 but you will need an assistant to carry it around. Bronica is also relatively inexpensive.
    One day I am going to get a 501. Thats my plan. If you are going to buy something make sure its a name brand with good support etc for repairs, that you have access to a good, inexpensive developer. In Alaska, I'm not so sure. I hope this helps.
  9. 'Which MF camera to choose' is a question that gets asked frequently here, so you can get lots of ideas by browsing back for the last few years. Here are some thoughts about the ones I have used.
    (i) By far the most important thing is what works for you, and what suits the way you shoot. This means you may have to try a few different things before you figure out what you like. Some people hate TLRs; I like them. I'm a backcountry hiker, and a normal-lens kind of guy, so most of my medium format negatives come from my Rolleiflex or Rolleicord-- relative lightweights.
    (ii) If you want a TLR with interchangeable lenses, the Mamiya is the only choice, for practical purposes. It's a big camera, but it's not as heavy as some complainers moan. An advantage of the Mamiya TLRs is they have a very straight film path, and feed tangentially off the roll. Most other cameras and backs put a kink in the next frame if you leave the film in the camera for a while. This may or may not be important to you.
    (ii) You mention a Mamiya 6 x 7 TLR that uses the c330 lenses. Ca n'existe pas. I believe the only 6 x 7 ever made was the Omegaflex, a rare bird, and it was arguably not even a TLR.
    (iii) Mamiya TLRs are unfashionable right now, so their prices are very low. If you buy one, many Mamiya TLR fans recommend the C330f, which is the second-last version. Check out Graham Patterson's Mamiya TLR website, which is encyclopedic.
    (iv) If you want to go 6 x 7, your Mamiya choices are of course the RB or the RZ. You may be able to find an excellent one at a good price, if you are patient. Look for one bought by a pro in about 2002, just before he/she said 'screw it' and went digital. The latest versions of the RB/RZ lenses are outstanding.
    (v) With all the above cameras, exercise caution. They're all pro cameras, so many specimens will have lots of mileage and heavy wear. Factor in the cost of a CLA, which will not be cheap. It costs close to $400 for a Rolleiflex overhaul by one of the top technicians, like Mr Fleenor.
  10. (ii) You mention a Mamiya 6 x 7 TLR that uses the c330 lenses. Ca n'existe pas. I believe the only 6 x 7 ever made was the Omegaflex, a rare bird, and it was arguably not even a TLR.
    this is what I am referring to
  11. Avoid that camera like the plague. It's an obscene Frankenstein abomination, probably cobbled together by a do-it-yourselfer. The only reason to create such a camera is if you were a Graphic user, and you wanted to be able to swap backs between your cameras.
    (i) The major reason to avoid it is you don't know if the film plane is in the correct register for the camera. You might be perpetually out of focus.
    Even if it is in the correct register, there are three other reasons to avoid it:
    (ii) The film gate on the Mamiya is 6 x 6, so you're only going to get a 6 x 6 image anyway.
    (iii) Even if you somehow milled away part of the innards of the camera to expose the 6 x 7 gate on the RH-10 holder, you would not be able to view a 6 x 7 image with the square reflex viewer on the camera.
    (iv) The Mamiya lenses are designed to cover 6 x 6. They could not be relied on to cover 6 x 7 with any edge sharpness.
  12. If you ever go for a Kiev then go for the Arax route, these guys build them from new parts with much better quality control and give a 2 year warranty in case anything goes wrong. You can look them up on the web (Arax photo). I have my Kiev60 from them for a little over a year now and it's a great machine, never had any issue with it and you can get some nifty lenses for it (like the great CZJ 50mm wideangle).
  13. Lance,
    I use Mamiya C220 with 55mm, 80mm and 135mm lenses for hand holdable shooting and Mamiya RB with 50mm, 90mm and 180mm lenses on tripod. I'm very happy with both systems and they are inexpensive to get from ebay or KEH in the US.
  14. Despite another period of low prices, condition is something you really need to investigate with Mamiya RB67 gear. Competent repairs/service on all medium format stuff can be expensive and difficult to source, so keep that in mind when blithely advised that a CLA with put things right. My approach has always been to get the newest, cleanest bodies, lenses, backs and accessories I could afford. There is good gear out there but be patient and prepared to buy it a bit at a time.
    With Mamiya RB lenses, f3.5 is the fastest they come with the newer KL series--f3.8 with the older C glass. 90mm and 180mm were the most popular--and commonly found--focal lengths.
    I'd look at nothing older than a ProS or ProSD body. Same goes for the backs. ProS backs almost always need new light seals along with the seals on the RB adapter where the back connects. These are fairly easy DIY jobs. Newer SD backs lack the biodegradable light seals of the ProS backs. These newer backs and bodies include double exposure lock-outs that save film--and face. Early Pro bodies and backs are getting very old.
    Whether you go for the big Mamiya depends totally on your objectives. The plus-sized negatives and slides are addictive. What do you plan to shoot???
  15. Dave Simms, thanks for that advice. It's all a lot I hadn't thought of.
    Uncle Goose, I am leaning towards an Arart Kiev 60. I have a Zorki rangefinder that I really love.
    Thomas K and C Watson, good to know, thanks for your input.
  16. You might find a clean Fujifilm GW670-III or II (6x7 format in 120) within your budget. It has a fine f3.5 Fujinon EBC 90mm lens. But you have to like 120 rangefinders.
  17. Fuji 6 x 7
  18. Fuji 6 x 7 photo - perhaps a little clearer (despite other items then being sold)
  19. Or A Fuji 6x9 Rangefinder, plenty on Ebay, a lot of them less than $500, great cameras. If you get a G690 it also has available a 65mm lens as well as the usual that comes with it, either a 90mm or for those it may be 100mm.
    Those are only Fuji Rangerfinders without a built in lens. Your system is simple.
    The g690 is known as the "Texas Leica", though most models look pretty close. They have great sharp lenses, all the Fuji Rangefinders. No light meters. Use the Sunny-Sixteen Rule as approximation or get a light meter or use another camera's light meter.
    But if you set it at f/8 - f/11 and 125 speed you'll get most day shots except the real extremes, brilliant sunlight, early dusk etc. If those, just adjust from that usual setting. No big deal.

Share This Page