Medium camera for good price for a newbie?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by francesco_bertelli|2, May 24, 2011.

  1. I want to buy a medium camera for my girlfriend.
    I am a pro photogrepher and i already own from hasselblad to 8x10, but this kind of gift i'm a littl eembarassed on what to choose...
    i dont wanna buy anythign too complucated or expensive becaus my gf doesnreally know much about photgrahy
    so i was thinking about the Yashica MAT... i guess has the light meter built in right?
    even i dont wanna spend to much, i dont want either spend too low and buy crap...i don't mind spend more but for good...
  2. For something with an eye-level finder Pentax 645 (manual-focus only, pushbuttons for exposure comp & shutter speed) or 645N (can take advantage of autofocus lenses, uses more traditional dials for exposure comp & shutter speed) generally behaves like an oversized 35mm SLR and is relatively friendly for a newcomer, offering full autoexposure and TTL flash capabilities if wanted. While still relatively reasonable for medium format the system isn't quite the value it was 18 months ago, the lens popularity has seen a bit of an uptick in the last year since the new digital 645D was (finally) released. The 645 and 645N kits with 75mm standard lens are usually pretty reasonable in price.
  3. i'd stay on 6x6, i really never liked the 645 format... also the yashica goes for 140$..
  4. I think that would be a great choice Francesco, not too expensive, not too complicated. I too love the 6X6 format.
  5. Just to clarify models, the Yashica Mat has NO meter...the Yashica Mat LM is the older model with a meter, and the Yashica Mat 124 is the newer model with a meter. Hope she enjoys her new toy! :)
  6. You can't beat the Rolleicord -- solid camera with basic photographic functionality that will always work for her if it is in good shape (meaning properly serviced). No meter, but that shouldn't be much of an impediment. I think it has better optics than Yashica, but maybe I'm just biased toward German glass.
  7. The Rolleicord's shutter cocking/release mechanism isn't the friendliest of set-ups. I'd suggest that she try one out before you commit any of your hard-earned pennies.
  8. Hello Francesco,
    You may also consider a medium format folding camera. Jurgen Kreckel has a very nice website about this type of cameras:
    Mostly of them don't have bulit-in meters. Many of them don't have rangefinders, either. But you should be able to find plenty of them with coupled or uncoupled rangefinder. They are even more compact than the TLRs, and just as effective and cool as shooters. Jurgen lists all European affairs, but Japan and US made some good models, too.
  9. My initial suggestion of Pentax 645 was mostly because of the relatively-high level of automation available.
    Another eye-level, relatively modern possibility would be a Fujifilm 645 rangefinder (GS645/GA645 series). Included lens varies but is usually wider-than-normal. If you're looking for something crafted from leather-covered metal, this isn't the right choice but may be relatively user-friendly. Like the Pentax 645 also has motorized film advance.
  10. "doesnreally know much about photgrahy"
    Hmmmm. Better to pay for AE Program and AF in preference for her hating you for giving her something she finds impossible to use.
  11. Francesco, if she doesn't know much about photography perhaps a medium format is not such a good idea? How about getting a really good quality old SLR with manual focus lens, fully working exposure meter and at least aperture priority exposure?
  12. If she's new to photography then a meterless camera might not be the best way to go. The Yashicamat 124G was the last of the Yashicamats made and is most likely to still have a working meter. She may find the reversed view disconcerting at first.
    The Pentax 645 or Mamiya 645E allow eye level viewing, correct left to right viewing, and multiple exposure modes. A used Mamiya 645E with normal 80mm f2.8 lens is about what a good used Yashica 124G would cost, depending on seller. The Mamiya also allows interchangeable lenses.
  13. Why not a digital P&S?
    If she does not know much about photography, I would make it easy on her. IMHO digital is easier to start with than film, faster feedback if you got the shot or not.
  14. The lightmeter in the Yashicamat 124G is rubbish - too easily influenced by light outside of the picture area - you might as well guess the exposure! Right, that little rant's out of the way.
    Excuse me for saying this Francesco, but is an MF camera really what your girlfriend wants? I mean have you talked it over with her, or are you trying to draw her into your interest? And without wanting to stereotype or sound sexist, I don't think that an MF SLR or TLR is really a lady's camera. I would think that a rollfilm rangefinder would be lighter and more stylish, but often these are quite expensive. The Mamiya 6 series are probably the most affordable on the used market.
  15. Be honest to yourself. Is this a present for her or an excuse for you to get a photo trinket? Answering this may save you a lot of hassle further down the road.
    And I am not judging you, I've myself have made this mistake a few times. And if I would give a film camera to my girl then it would be a restored fixed lens japanese rangefinder. Canonet or Yashica to name a few. My experience tells me that ladies are more into looks than technicalities.
  16. As a couple of others have mentioned already: I think that a medium format camera may be a bit much. I understand where your heart is (because I too LOVE photography, and I've been here myself). But a medium format camera system is not a simple mechanism, and it takes a lot of heart and dedication to learn and love the process involved.
    I had a long-time girlfriend who loved photography, and she had the eye as much as anyone ever has. I knew, however, that she didn't have the patience necessary to learn the process of film, light, and manually focusing so I gave her an advanced point n' shoot digital camera. She ended taking photos that I wish I had taken! Her photos were very impressive, they really were... But it was because all she had to do was point n' shoot, without thinking of anything beyond what she saw at that moment. If I gave her anything more complicated and involved, it would have stayed at home and there would have been no photos at all.
    If she really wanted a medium format film camera, I expect she'd research it and buy what she wants on her own. As a gift though, give her something simple and useful, and you'll both be happy. There are some excellent point n' shoot cameras out there that to the untamed eye will match the quality of even the most expensive and complicated camera system.
  17. I wonder about the appropriateness of posting ones own classified ad here but, that listing says "WTB". Doesn't this mean you're Wanting-To-Buy rather than Wanting-To-Sell?
  18. Those old voigtlander bessas are pretty good users. And since you are a pro, you can teach her from the basics. The old bessas don't have built in rangefinder so focus could be hard for a newbie but you can help her make her own rangefinder card. ( You can also teach her the basics about light such as the sunny 16 rule.
    Rollei IMO is a little bit too much for her use. But if you really want to give her a TLR, get the yashica.

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