Too late for medium format?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by etaf_khan, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. I've been shooting slide film in my 35mm camera for several years now. I have no desire to go digital because film makes
    me happier than anything else. I am a sharpness freak so I use the best equipment I can afford (prime lenses etc).

    But I know that I would enjoy medium format. The only thing is that I worry that it will become
    impossible to find 120 film soon, or find a place to get it developed. I travel all over the world and love to shoot
    travel photos.

    Is it too late to jump into MF to shoot film? I've been considering a Hasselblad 501CM and/or a Pentax 645Nii system for
    some time now. I'm just worried about taking the plunge.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. it


    I just sold off my 645N stuff for nothing. Depending on where you are, getting film and lab services is going to get harder and harder. I would seriously take another look at digital, it can also make you happy.
  3. Is it too late to jump into MF to shoot film?
    I don't think so. New films still being made. Readily available at least here in the USA. Traveling with MF is another issue altogether. Too much of a hump for me and getting film through customs in every country is a hassle. But I'm older now. In my youth I'd take an RB67 everywhere so YMMV. I'd say jump in and try it. The investment is not bad and if it's not your cup of tea sell the stuff or just use it at home. Thats what I do now. Shoot film in my Bronica's at home and travel with digital gear. It's just easier for me now. When I travel, I travel light. Best of Luck to you..................Lou
  4. You like film and you like it sharp, jump in, even 645 will make you extremely happy and there will be film for years.
  5. Hi Etef.
    Professional studio photographers still prefer film, when it has to be really good. And if you prefer sharpness and
    resolution there is no way around film. And it is still the cheapest to work with. I guess we will be able to get film and
    labs in every big city for years. And it will take at least 5 years before the digital sensor can compete with the film.
    You can always put a digital back on your MF camera, and you have so many great lenses to choose from. The
    good thing about digital is that the manual film cameras and optics are so cheap now - and with a good scan you
    have the best possible raw material.
    I am using old Hasselblad gear on shooting ancient architecture, it gives far the best shots and the biggest range
    concerning light and shadow. It is not as easy to work and travel with as 35 mm, but the slower process might add
    something to your photos that you did not find before...Claus
  6. I'm fortunate to have a pro lab 1 mile from my house. Dip 'n dunk processing only. But you can always mail out for processing.
  7. Take a look at this site

    I saw their works at an exposition in Laval where our photography club (APAL) meets every week. When you go to
    the site, take a good look at the SIZES of the prints shown in the caption.

    They had about 30 of their works exposed. Viewing them live in those sizes - almost all are at least 4 by 6 feet
    - is simply amazing. You can be 2 inches from the print and and you can still count the hair on the eyelashes.
    Their next exposition after leaving Laval (suburb of Montreal) is in Belgium.

    The older brother is around 30 years old and his younger brother, 25 or so. They provided an interesting
    presentation of their works, how they started, etc ... Lovely evening.

    They use film in their 4x5 and 8x10 cameras !! They mentioned that they had been loaned state of the art
    digital equipment but for their needs, it simply didn't cut it.

    So is it too late for MF? I think it's whatever you make of it.

    Like Ian, I have a 645N, lenses to go with it, large flash, etc ... I tried to see my equipment at a reasonable
    price but no takers. So I'm keeping it ... who knows, film may become a "niche thing". So now I'm shooting
    weddings in digital because most people are looking for DVD slide shows, want to print their own, etc ...

    But I'm simply not going to see my MF equipment.

  8. it


    Professional studio photographers still prefer film, when it has to be really good.
    That is just completely untrue. I don't know a single studio commercial photographer still shooting film. Commercial clients now demand digital.
    Maybe there are a few holdouts, but I bet 98%+ of them are 100% digital. Probably more.
    The pros who still shoot film are the fine art photographers who have their 'look' and methods down. I did a workshop a couple of years ago with Shelby Lee Adams and he was worried about his 4x5 supply chain as he used a lot of specialized chemicals. He also used special 20 packs of Tri-X that weren't manufactured anymore. He didn't know what he was going to do when his freezer ran out.
  9. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    TOO LATE???? NO WAY! This is a perfect time to get MF equipment at rock bottom prices. THese mostly professional cameras were once selling new at thousands of dollars n you can have em for a couple hundred with lenses n backs.

    As for film going extinct... I don't think so because there are enough hobbiests n serious enthusiests involved that there is a large enough market, despite the digital rage.

    As you get more involved, you'll find developing your own film is a well worth effort. The demand for fine art B&W prints is thriving because silver gelatin prints are more in demand as "art" rather than a digital computer printouts. Waht is a printout worth?... how much will you pay for a silver gelatin? What is the longevity of the digital printout vs a silver photo? ummmm......

    Yes digital has some advantage in the sence it is easier n has a cheaper perception... but when you start adding up the cost of ink n paper, you'll find it's not as cheap as you might think n wet prints will start seeming a better deal with such a low investment in top quality professional equipment.
  10. Well put, Paul. You hinted at what I believe to be the intrinsic differences between film and digital, shelf life. Indeed, most commercial photographers now shoot digital. It is a decision based on convenience and economics, not quality. Their product need not survive beyond the life expectancy of an advertising campaign. Can one really expect to see a difference between film and digital in a two page spread in "The Journal Nature", or "Newsweek?"
  11. Ian,
    Speaking from personal (20+ years in the field), commercial work is an odd duck, are you talking catalog/product
    work, or the commercial field in general (which also includes exec. protaiture, architecture, etc)?

    I know that my clients don't care what I use, as long as they get their images within the time frame they need
    them. The time requirement drives the medium used.

    For most of the product and catalog work, I use a scan back on a Sinar, for shots involving people or some
    special effects, for larger reproduction, or for longer term use, I use MF or LF film. I have a set of custom
    Toyo lensboard/back that allows me full movements using RB lenses and film backs, as well as allowing one to use
    LF lenses as well, so film size can be chosen based on repro ratio, from 6x7 to 8x10.

    While many successful studios use Dslrs, the lack of movements is a big negative to me. Having been classically
    trained in product work, in a real studio, not a school, I find a dslr's lack of movements too restrictive and
    not allowing me to reproduce the designer or art director's vision accurately. For some client's, it's a non
    issue, for others it's the main reason they use me for their campaigns.

    There has been a predominant shift in commercial work lately, technical accuracy is becoming less and less
    important to photographers, and the prevailing "fix it in post" attitude is, in my opinion, the sign of either
    somebody who doesn't care to learn the skills neccesary to execute and image properly, in camera, or sheer laziness.

    Typically the issues that often get fixed in post are easily just shot right in the first place, and if one were
    to honestly analyze the time requirements, one would likely find that it's less expensive for the customer, and
    allows the photographer to get more work done. My post workflow typically consists of a tiff-jpg conversion with
    color profiles for emailing previews, for identification purposes to ftp files. The scan back takes 3 mins to
    make an moire free, high resolution (105mb, if needed) file that is ready for use.

    Granted, film is slightly more involved, I typically use Portra 160NC or Fuji 160S, processed and scanned in
    house, the C41 process is kept in stirct control (tighter than Kodak's requirements), and with a fully color
    managed workflow, color accuracy is as good as any digital source. Lots of work up front, but once your profiles
    are in place, it's not a whole lot different. The end result can, in many cases, far exceed the digially captured
    image, both in terms of dynamic range and resolution, as well as rendering some really intense colors better.
    Yes, it costs more, both to the studio and client, but for some, it's worth it. So, in my case (and others I
    know), film is the "high end" product, if you will.

    Film is not going extinct, if it were, Kodak and Fuji wouldn't be introducing new products aimed squarely at the
    pro market, would they?
  12. If you can get film processed for a good price then don't worry about taking the plunge. I asked on another forum if I should get the latest and greatest digital to replace my Mamiya RZ and every single person said "NO". I think if folks are willing to spend the time and money on film and scanning etc. go for it.
  13. It's not too late. Just do it. The more who use film, the longer it will stay in production.

    People who have given me their "obsolete" darkroom equipment are now asking for it back - because they are BORED with digital. Story here:
  14. Hi,

    A man I know who was high up at Kodak says Film is going to die out.

    Maybe Fuji, Kodak, even Ilford will one day be gone.... but the Chinese will always see a market...

    The Kodak man says that making film is expensive and dangerous and a "Niche" will not be enough to keep it alive....

    Already there is 120 film from China available all over online. I assume it will be as long as there are any takers.

    I recently moved to a Mamiya (About 2 weeks ago).

    bought 4 rolls of Ilfors (EUR4.50 a pop), was told it costs EUR3.75 to develope a roll and 89c a print. OUCH!

    I intend to learn how to develope my own negatives and scan them. The poor mans way to MF.

  15. No, it isn't. Only this year I bought yet another Mamiya TLR, the C330 f.
  16. It actually is too late. You should have bought a medium format camera yesterday. So don't hesitate too much and
    get into medium format before prices go up again.
  17. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    But, Chris Boonzaier, if you could sell that print for say $500 framed, 89¢ is a small investment. Why do people think of their pictures as trourt? It's not the quantity nor the cost that matters, it's the quality that counts most.
  18. I doubt it. It does a great job at a good price. To buy one of the best digitals, costs several thousands.When I want to shoot slides for a projector, I cut 120 chromes down to superslides. Since 127 slide film costs $12.00 a roll.
  19. If film does die out, there will be alot of people still working in the oldest of all photographic processes.And, commercial work is different than the needs of others.Since sports photogs use digital, a person to compete would have to do the same. But, during the Monica- Clinton scandel, a Time photog was able to beat his competitors by have a picture of her on film. His competitors missed out by deleting their photos of her. Tey di that before she become a news item.
  20. Like Chris I bought a C330f this year to go with my 3 other MF cameras and like Jenny said, the more using film the better. I dont want to get into a digital vs film debate but if film is your thing definately go for it and Im sure you will love the quality of MF. From here I can see my D70 and I think "I must put that away" I can also see my C330f and I think "I want to take it out".
  21. AJG


    I think film is going to be around for a while longer. Remember that older media often survive for a long time after a major
    technological switch--radio is still here, even if it doesn't dominate popular culture the way it did before television. In my
    commercial business, I have gone almost completely digital, although I still shoot color slide film for a few clients and
    some people still like the look of real black and white film/fiber paper for portraits. Film is still the most cost effective way
    to get the highest quality image for a lot of things, especially with the nose dive in the value of medium and large format
    cameras and lenses. For my personal work, 4x5 film and fiber paper is still the way to go. I still haven't seen a black and
    white inkjet print that I prefer to what I can do in my darkroom. Digital isn't evil, its just different. I guess my suggestion
    would be to go even bigger than medium format if your subject matter works with a larger, slower camera.
  22. I take my Bronica RF with the 45mm (28 equiv in 35) when I need the best in a wide view. I combine this with a Leica CL and 40/90 combination, or a film SLR with a 35 and an 85. The SLR may soon become a Canon or Pentax digital with a good lens that crops to a 50 equiv and some tele capability.

    Either way, I will stick with my Bronica wide set-up. Distortion is minimal. The gradation in those big negs is fantastic, and they scan beautifully with an Epson V700 flatbed scanner.

    Enjoy film to the fullest while we still have it. Buy film and have it processed. That's the best way to be sure it's still around. I'm continuing to shoot film with my Canon FD's and Leicas. Provia, Velvia, and Fuji's PRO series is great stuff.
  23. You would lament to buy a Film camera, especially living in developing countries. Even in Canada, it is difficult to get darkroom chemicals in many cities. Choices are limited & not readily avilable even for commonly used 35mm Films. Things would become extremely difficult and expensive every passing day with Film cameras as digital is becoming universal, quality is multiplying, cost is falling & new format of digital cameras are develoing (like Leica S2). If you are living in Asia and travelling, a medium format Film camera would become a white elephant in terms of cost of using it.
  24. Get the Pentax. Here's why: the Pentax 645 to K mount adapter ring. It runs about $200. Since all Pentax lenses ever made fit on the
    newer Pentax bodies, the glass alone will be worth the price of your investment. I bought a Pentax 645, and I'm totally satisfied.

    I don't know about Hasselbads, because they're out of my price range. Meanwhile, Hasselbad has long been the preferred camera of
    astronauts. If they can put a Hasselbad on the moon, someone will want to purchase a body made by that camera company later. If
    you're going to go digital later, the Hasselbad might be a better investment; they make medium format digital backs for some of those
    cameras, but they cost about as much as a new, small car. Check your desired model for compatibility.

    You are going to have trouble finding medium format slide film eventually. You need to be prepared to do your own reversal processing
    to convert the negative print film into what you want. If you've been shooting slides for years, you're probably competent enough to do
    your own labwork, if you're not already.

    One other hidden cost of switching to medium format from small format is in the accessories. In 49mm filters, I could pick up a full
    case of screw-on filters for about the price of two screw-on filters for my medium format camera. Further trouble is, there is more of a
    range on the lens barrel diameters for the Pentax 645 lenses. This means, that unless you go to gel filters, you may end up having to
    spend a bundle, and duplicating filter types to fit the array of lenses that go with the camera body. That said, I still think it is a great

    You mentioned your love of slide film. Probably the best reason to do medium format is to enjoy sharper enlargement printing. There's
    a huge increase in print quality for a modest increase in negative size, when going from small to medium format film. For slides, that
    might be another story.

    Let me say this; for less than $2,000, I picked up a used medium format film kit that a bunch of people will probably look down upon.
    The glass alone is worth twice that, in my opinion. That glass, with the adapter ring, also fits on my 20 year old Me Super, and my new
    digi-cam. And, because I stepped up to the larger format size, I have a fair collection of prints here that people around me like. The
    clarity was a major jump, for me. I wish I had made the switch years ago.

    The only way this could have been better is if I could have afforded the logistic support to move to a view camera.

    In closing, let me say that sooner or later, you may have to face the digital bugaboo. It's not a big deal, in greatness, but it's not an
    artistically destructive change, either. It is what it is. You'll win some; you'll lose some. If you're good enough, you could have used
    anything from a Hubble telescope to a pinhole camera anyway. Good luck. J.
  25. Etaf, I asked myself the same question about "too late" when I switched from a 35mm film camera to MF film camera a
    couple of years ago. I decided not to worry about future film availability.

    Switching to a Hasselblad has changed my life and my photography. If I have to switch to something else in the future, I'll
    worry about it in the future.

    I love shooting my MF film camera and am taking better pictures than ever. If you know you'd like MF, I say go for it!
  26. I would get a super clean 500 series Hasselblad and the lenses that work for you and don't look back. By the time they stop making film easy to get/ process MF digital backs will be less than they are now. In the meantime you will get images that really hold up in many ways.
  27. I suggest going with used equipment to really save money and if it does not turn out to interest you then you can sell it at no loss. It should satisfy you though! You will not believe the difference over 35mm film. As long as Velvia is made in 120 format it will really be worthwhile for stunning results. The format does make you slow down and work carefully to achieve the best results. Good luck!
  28. I thought Canada was a developing country...
  29. "I am a sharpness freak so I use the best equipment I can afford (prime lenses etc)."

    I heard those new fangled digital cameras can use primes leses now.
  30. For what its work, I shoot both digital (Nikon D200) and MF (Mamiya 7ii). They both serve their purposes. For ease and convenience, I shoot digital. For large reproductions, I shoot MF. I am in the market to buy another camera, and I have decided to go with either the Mamiya rz67 pro IID or Hassy 503CW. This way, I can continue to shoot film when needed and later on, I will be able to add a back. After some research, I will probably lean to the Hassy 503. Personally, I love film, specially its look when printed 16 x 20. I live close to NYC, but I have decided to process my own film at home. Caqll me nuts, but I really enjoy processing the film. It is quick and easy.
  31. Might be wrong on this, but seems to me prices of MF have actually gone up. If my observation is correct, get one now,
  32. Hell No its not to late!!! Medium Format is actually undergoing a revival, with lots of folks who got into digital, never shot film, and are now in search of greater resolution, better colors, etc.

    Also, you can get your 120 or 220 film processed by Fuji Labs thru any Walmart. Just mark the Special Requests section of the send out film envelope with 220 E-6 Slide Film, 2 Week Special Service, etc. and you will get back beautiful, pro lab quality results for a GREAT price (120/220 slide for $3.88/$4.88 or 120 print film, 16 3x5 or 3x3 prints for $1.80 !). The slides come back in a plastic protective sleeve, and I use the prints as proofs for what I want to enlarge.

    Get your Hasslebald and never look back, you wont regret it!
  33. it


    "seems to me prices of MF have actually gone up"
    I just sold off all my MF stuff. (645N + 4 lenses) Actually the prices have fallen to basically nothing. Luckily I got a deal on the stuff when I bought it all used in 2004.
    It's not too late to get into collodion emulsions either. If you are into the process, shoot film.
  34. There's nothing like looking at chrome on a lightbox shot with MF. I love it and don't think there is a wrong time to get a MF camera system.
  35. Too late...absolutely not. After wanting a Hasselblad for almost 15 years but not being able to afford one, I finally was able to buy a Hasselblad with lens at a fraction of what it would have sold for several years ago. Of course, it is used, but I only buy used cameras and equipment from EP Levine's in Boston, a trusted dealer.
  36. This year I bought:

    2 Hasselblad 500 C/M's. 5-12 exposure backs. 1-24 exposure back. CF 50mm F/4 FLE, CF 80mm 2.8, CF 100mm 3.5
    and CF 180mm F/4, two extension tubes.

    I have hundreds of rolls of black and white film, I shoot E-6 and run it with my Kodachrome at Dwayne's. I am rarely in a
    hurry for the E-6 so it is fine. I do all my own black and white.

    To late? Not even close....
  37. I live in a small town in Mexico and I can still get Fuji 160 whatever you call it. If I take a 2-hour trip to the nearest big city, I can get a much wider array of medium format emulsions. I don't think medium format film is going to disappear anytime soon.

  38. It is still possible to find 120 film in cities in China, Laos and Thailand and they have processing as well. But they may stock just one or two film types and I do not have the confidence in their processing quality. So, I end up hand carrying film there for shooting and back for processing.
  39. This year I've bought 5 6x7 cameras, including one brand new. And next year we'll hopefully have a new med format film camera from Fuji. So, personally, I don't think it's too late. I develop my own B&W and I have a reasonable local lab for color.
  40. Here in Israel you can get 120 format slide film at a few of the pro or high end shops. Can't speak for other places but it can be found. And B&H/Adorama will aways ship anywhere you want.
  41. I always wanted to shoot medium format, but never did. I just recently picked up a Mamiya C220 off ebay for $130. Went to Ritz and got a roll of 100 Tmax --the very last roll of anything 120 in stock. Came in the next week to have my film developed --they said it'll take 2-3 weeks because they have to send it out to a lab. Okay. Still waiting for my prints, but shooting with a TLR is a lot of fun! If you have the time to carefully plan a shoot and have the time to wait for your prints then I say go for it.
  42. Etaf, go for it if you like film!!
    I still use film all the time, even I have a digital slr. Film gives me different feeling which digital can't. I use films for all of my location/studio works...and carry 100+ rolls of film to different places. One thing you have to know if you take 100+ films to other countries...the Customs will open/check it one by one, especially in SouthEast Asia.

    Good luck and have fun..!!
  43. Not at all,

    At the moment I can buy 120 format film about 1/4 mile from my front door, anything Kodak, Fuji or Ilford they almost always have in stock.

    Development is a bit tricker, I shoot a lot of 35mm b&w and develop that at home but 120 I'm not yet equipped for but will be soon. As for colour, I do have to send that off to a lab but it's not too bad in terms of economics as with a MF camera you are not very likely to be shooting the thing like a machine gun, it's a much more considered, slower process in general so those 10/12/15 frames will be well spent in many cases.

    I picked up a Mamiya C330F with an 80mm lens, a 55mm lens and a Cokin A adapter just for the TLR for a paltry £150 with 12 month warranty. The results have blown me away!

    Go for it and enjoy it!
  44. You can find film, chems, processing and paper even in Finland. No, we're not a developing country but population of 5,3 million doesn't really help when something starts to lose general interest. Film still lives and there's always Germany close by for bulk orders. Ok, slide developing takes a week but otherwise I'm all good.

    For b&w work I bought 135-120 enlarger, Leica and Rodenstock lenses and 30kg (66lbs) of various size papers for 200 euros. With my slowish shooting habits I'm set for some time. Money spent + image quality + fun = can't lose.
  45. I am a UK online photographic accessory retailer. I sell loads of film equipment, especially to Italy and Eastern
    Europe so film is still going strong in Europe. There are huge stocks of film in the UK.

    I agree with others that now is the perfect time to buy medium format gear. Stuff that cost 1,000s years ago can be
    had for next to nothing now. Even if you don't like it you'll get what you paid for it on eBay.

    Personally, film is not for me but I can see why people enjoy it and good luck to you all. To be truthful, I wish digital
    cameras hadn't been invented at all. There was something magical about film that I can never describe. However,
    now digital is here I can't justify not using it... the results are so good and so instant. (New 5D MkII on order ;-) )
  46. I am a 35mm film shooter and I also think sometimes to get a MF system, but as we all know, finding and developing MF films is realy harder that 35mm, so I am still in confusion to make any decision about MFs.

    Digitals are very good nowadays in terms of resolution but very-very expensive.

    I am also considering to get a digital body of my lens brand after some years, but it would only happen if I get any trouble in getting my 35mm films or trouble in developing those.
  47. Not to late and I cant see the time when film is not available....
  48. I really want to go back to MF, but I'm worried it would just end up sitting on a shelf, gathering dust...

    However, a 'user' Hassie or Bronica and a single lens, couple of backs with a good B&W film, I could see myself enjoying that process... especially as my wife brought home some freebies from her work (Beard easels, enlarger lenses, and we had to turn down a 5x4 enlarger due to not having enough space!) as they're scaling down their lab (usual story wrt. digital)....

    Tempting, very tempting...
  49. I think this is the right moment to start with MF when you are a photographer who loves film. Prices of equipment
    are very low now. Last year I bought a Rolleiflex 6008 Integral and three lenses (50, 80 and 150mm) for very
    reasonable prices. In Spain, I even can't get 135 slide film anymore from the local shops in the small, remote,
    town where I am living, But going to professional shops in Barcelona (1 hour driving) there is always 135 and MF
    film in stock. Prices for developing of MF slides by a large laboratory here increased from EU 6 to EU 17, takes
    almost two weeks and I got the slides back dirty and wrongly packed in the plastic sleeves. So now I am
    developing my slides by myself. It is not difficult and the slides look beautifull without any colour cast. But
    you will have to invest in a good (drum) processor, like the JOBO CPP2 for maintaining accurate temperatures.
    Besides, it is fun to have full controll over the entire process for getting your slides.
  50. Here's another thought. Why not buy a couple of hundred rolls of 120 from a discount supplier and stick the whole lot in the freezer? Film keeps virtually indefinitely in the freezer no matter what the expiry date says. Black and white film especially lasts until the end of time. If you do end up ditching MF in the future, the film in your freezer will be worth more than you paid for it because it will be even more scarce. Stick it on eBay and you're into profit. Also, remember you don't need a whole heap of processing companies either... you just need one.
  51. I don't seem to have a problem keeping my fridge packed with 120 & 4 x 5 sheet. Developing 120 and scanning it isn't rocket science either. Do keep in mind most medium format cameras do have digital backs available from 20 to 60+ Megapixles. MF will surely out live a DSLR you buy today.

  52. Hi Etaf -- I love MF and contend that it's not too late to make the jump into MF film. Getting 120/220 film and developement labs are certainly harder than it used to be but not impossible. You can always pick up a Mamiya or Contax 645 system now with a film back and then get a digital back later for it later if you like. Eventually, you will find a digital 645 system to be much easier to process as film becomes more scarce, but digital backs are still pretty expensive (the price decline is there, but moving at a slower pace due to the smaller market and fewer competitors). Cheers, Jeff
  53. I have both Hasselblad and Mamiya kit and will continue to use it. Moreover, Fuji/Cosina are just about to launch a new rangefinder film camera in medium format. I would not worry about film being available in 120/220 especially as Fuji do not appear to be.

    Medium format is great, I hope that you take the plunge. I am sure that you will enjoy the experience.
  54. Check out for 120 film. I have ordered from them and they are quick and very professional.
  55. I just got an old Rollei and loved travelling and shooting with it. Look for expired film deals to get quantity for cheap. As others have said.. the more users of MF, the more film and processing will be available!
  56. Do it--not too late. I just got a 500cm, couple of backs, and a 50mm for a very reasonable price. I take primarily landscapes so its perfect for me--will pick up a 150mm to do portraits assuming the economy dont kill me first. Always wanted a Hasselblad.
  57. Though MF format films are still made their availability, particular at the time of your need may be somehow unpredictable. This however strongly depends on which part of the world you are in. In Germany and in US thats not a problem but cost has been definitely gone up and significantly in the last 6 years or so. I would suggest stockpiling you'r favourite films in a freezer if you're a low volume shooter like me. Possibly most non-pro users shoot less frames in a MF than one do in 35mm. Its because of small no. of shots/per roll , time required to reload and the cost. In turn that perfects your eye for composition and exposure. It's a great positive transition you'll feel after seeing the quality of even a 645.

    For those who are from India:
    The city of Calcutta, India, where I was born the supply of MF films is really in a sad state.No velvia or Provia, only Fuji ACROS and some generic NOVA, if you're lucky you may get some Reala. Seems that people are no longer interested in MF, something I regret for the city which still runs one of the oldest photo studio/business in the world estd. in 1860s. No wonder I see w2s advts. for Pentax 67, Hasselblad CM/CW and Linhof technika at dirt cheap rate. I was offered a very good P 67 with 55 and 90 mm plus wooden grip for around US$350

    The silver line is BnH has a liasion office in Pune and one can procure from them:
  58. I recently bought a Fuji 6x8 (Gx680) film camera and have used a Mamiya 645 Pro for some time. Film based MF cameras that cannot be upgraded to digital backs are very cheap and very high performance. your first choice is format size 645 if you hand hold and carry it a lot or 6x7 (or similar) for tripod work. The quality jump between 35mm and 645 is bigger than the jump between 645 and 6x7. Film is easily and cheaply available in North America - especially from the big NY stores like B&H or Adorama. Velvia 100 slide is very impressive but a pain to work with unless you buy the $2000 Nikon scanner (I only have the $1000 35mm one) as you have to get it scanned to pint (as any large print available in Canada are done digitally). I print film myself as I picked up an Omega enlarger cheap (although my wife objects to its massive size!). Of the 645 Cameras you cannot go wrong with a Mamiya which is cheap and readily available and the Contax is a steal (it can take a digital back). For larger format again Mamiya or Hasslebad are both supurb. I borrowed the Pentax 6x7 and it offers easy handling compared to the Mamiya RZ67 or Fuji Gx680 but is a compromise. I would be tempted by the Mamiya over the Pentax 645 as it is more available and cheaper (look at KEH). If you want really high quality glass look at the Contax or Hasslebad. the Contax being not much more than the Pentax (the bodies are less but lenses are more). If you are unsure buy a cheap Mamiya and trade up later
  59. I know Hasselblad prices very well and for the most part it is absolutely a buyers market. You should RUN to buy Hasselblad ( if that's your choice ) and not delay. Prices will rise eventually ( gosh I hope so for my business' sake ) but right now you can get some stuff for extremely good prices.
  60. What they have in stock at the local mall or drug store has absolutely nothing to do with what is still available. 120 is the second most commonly used film size after 35mm and while selection may narrow as time goes on is certainly still go to be with us for many years. This is the age of the Internet and FedEx so as long as there's one B&H photo or Freestyle to buy from and one lab to overnight film back and forth from, that's all that's really needed. I would not recommend MF for travel work because of the size and weight of the gear and the hassles of carrying any kind of film through airport security but that's ups to you. Keep in mind that 120 is a professional format and the film and processing are going to be at professional prices. As for Hassy vs. Pentax, that's no contest, go with the Hassy.
  61. This has been a very motivating thread.

    I sold all my Hassy stuff about 12 years ago because 35mm was less restrictive at weddings and events. While my clients did not notice, I found that I really missed the image quality of the larger film format. Over the ensuing years, I've been through the growing pains of getting into digital - anyone remember the Kodak DCS315?? - and now shoot all events relatively painlessly and with awesome results.

    But there's still this nagging desire for the larger format of film again.

    So.......ebay has been my friend, and I see that there's a few really really nice Mimiya 645 AFDs at very attactive prices.... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............... --Rich
  62. Too late for medium format? What? No way. I just got interested in 120 film recently, and I have to say that there does seem to be some kind of huge revival going on. Some people here are saying that prices are dropping...that is definitely NOT what I've been seeing. It seemed like no matter where I went, any 120 cameras were going for crazy prices. I was looking for a Yashica A. I went to 3 different camera shops, and 2 antique shops and the cheapest one I saw was $250! I finally bought one on eBay for $70 and even then I was nearly outbid...there were 14 bids on that camera. I also bought a Zeiss Ikon Nettar for $50, and I was nearly outbid on that one too. I don't know what's going on, but there seems to be a huge interest in medium format cameras all of a sudden.

    Then you have the fad with the Holga and Diana cameras. Yeah, they're kind of lame, but the good thing is that they seem to be generating a lot of interest in 120 film.

    So no, I don't think it's too late at all. 120 film isn't going anywhere. Yeah, maybe you can't walk into Walmart or a drug store and buy it...but you shouldn't have any trouble getting it. I know I can easily get it from the camera shop where I usually buy film and chemicals. In fact, if someone were just getting interested in trying medium format, I would say that the time to get a camera is now...because there seems to be growing interest and the prices are going UP!
  63. To address the issue of the availability of processing... if you shoot B&W... do it at home... if you shoot slide film... take it to the same place you take your 35mm slide film now. The hardest to find processing will be for C-41 processing, ironically the opposite of 35mm. Hassy prices on bodies are slipping but be sure to pay attention to all the parts... many people getting into used Hassy gear are finding that when they find good deals on used film backs it is because they have light leaks. So be sure to have a budget that includes solid backs and of course, lenses. The Mamiya 645 stuff, especially the older manaul focus stuff is dirt cheap right now and you can get into one of those systems for virtually nothing, and the bodies appear to be very reliable. I picked up one for $50 that looks like it's been dropped off of a building and the shutter and film advance runs flawlessly.
  64. Personally I think that it is too late even though you will be able to get film for years to come. With the advent of 20+ MP, full frame 35mm sensors and good noise control in the body and in processing it becomes increasingly hard to tell the difference between MF and 35mm prints, even at 16x20. That being said, my 16 year old daughter is a film fanatic and loves MF. It has great niche appeal and will survive in small to modest ways for some time to come.
  65. While I love my 5D and its practicality, it still keeps me in the realm of fast 35mm shooting, and so I too turned to MF since a year ago in order to slow down, think and improve my photography, especially in terms of composition and understanding exposure. This in turn is improving my shooting with the 5D!

    If you do decide to take the plunge into MF, I'd recommend either an old-timer type camera like a Rollei TLR, which is easy to use and gives excellent 6x6 results and is easy to travel with, and/or a system with a future DB upgrade path, eg the Mamiya 645, Hassy 503/203, or Rollei 6008 series, etc. My favourite travel combo is a TLR + 903 SWC, or Mamiya 6 or 7 with a pair of lenses. Most MF prices are still softening, it depends on the model, scarcity, whether there is an upgrade path, etc.

    There will undoubtedly be a decline in the range of 120 film availability, but MF shooters will adapt. Currently, I develop my own B&W, there is no shortage of good colour processors here in UK, I scan with V750 flatbed, but I am also building up a full wet darkroom set up at low second hand prices. It may also be wise to 'double up' on key items, ie add a second camera body, or a second Jobo CPE-2 processor, for future parts availability. Wait till you see your MF images, then you'll know you were right to make the move!
  66. Anthony,
    I'm curious as to the logic, larger photosites (MF & LF backs) inherently have lower noise, have more lax lens sharpeness requirements, and have a more 3d look to them, as well as greater dynamic range. The best noise processing is not having it in the first place, in my opinion.

    Film still can do things that digital just can't, including long exposures and the like. As I said previously, they both have their place.
  67. As for buying your first medium format. I have a Mamiya C220, Mamiya Universal, 8 Yashica TLR's several folders
    and a 6x9 Speed Graphic. What did I do several months ago?Bought a Mamiya RB67 pro-s! I'm just saying that if
    you want a MF, get it. What you want, that's all that counts.
    About the comments that digital is better. I'm not saying what's better than what. But, I will say that the high
    megapixel digitals cost a great deal. I bought my RB67 in E+ condition with a 220 film back for $166.00 The
    only "marks" are on the memo clip on the film back.
    Adorama said body with waist level finder. At that price and condition, I thought I would have to buy a revolving back.
    But, it came with the RB back AND the film holder!
  68. I shoot with medium format all the time. I have a Pentax 6x7 system that I picked up a couple of years ago for $1200.
    Camera, 3 lenses, pentax spot meter. You can't beat that. I've since purchased several more lenses in excellent quality on
    ebay. (You have to be careful here!) I buy 120 film at my local pro-store in Cincinnati and have it developed at a pro-lab here.
    Sometimes I use Dwayne's in Parsons, Kansas. I also buy film from B&H. I have never encountered any problems. I shoot
    mostly Velvia and occasionally color prints. I also shoot TMax and develop and print my own B&W in the darkroom. Digital
    cannot begin to equal the quality of true B&W silver print.
  69. Not only is it NOT too late, there is a new medium format camera on the way!
  70. I shoot with medium and large format only. Don't worry about the alarmists preaching doomsday messages where film is
    concerned. You'll be fine. Do what you love.

    - CJ
  71. Whats old is new again...I recently did a shoot for a client who wanted film. I backed it up with my 5D RAW- was truly amazing how much better the film (NPH) looked. These were environmental portraits with various light indoors and out. Digital is defenately a wonderfull are Big Macs when your in a hurry, but a 5 star meal cooked by an expert is simply in another us all out- shoot film and report back!
  72. WOW!!!!! I'm truly overwhelmed by the detailed and well thought our responses! I'm also happy that this didn't turn into a digital vs film debate. I'm now so certain that I'll be getting a Hasselblad system (to begin with) and perhaps later adding a Pentax 645 system for a bit more versatility and ease of use.

    Ironically, I already have a Rollei MF slide projector... but no camera to shoot with. I'm now going to look into whats available on KEH... as i've had good experience with them.

    Thank you to everyone that has given me such good feedback. I'm reading every word that comes into this thread, so if anyone has anything more to add, i'll be checking back regularly.
  73. Keep in mind that all these "experts" don't know squat about the future of film. The die-hard digital advocate says film is dead or dying. The die-hard film fanatic will advise that the future of film is not at all dim. The truth is somewhere in the middle. If you find yourself an inexpensive Rolleicord or Yashicamat you can try medium format out and you're only out a couple hundred bucks, if that. And if they stopped making film you'd have a paperweight. So what? We have fun, in life, by doing things that are a challenge, or simply unique. You won't regret buying a film camera instead of a digital, that's for sure, because digital will be here whenever you want it. So, maybe, will film.
  74. Erie, of course you are correct that each has advantages. All of life is a compromise. LP's haves some advantages over CD's but it is clear that (with the exception of small niches) it is too late for LP's. My point is that digital has passed the tipping point for the large majority of uses. And the number of remaining uses for which film is better than digital are shrinking each year as digital technology improves. There is a reason besides clever marketing that there are so many MF systems around at bargain prices and the new digital bodies are snapped up instantly. The market (meaning serious photographers) have increasingly seen that film, while having some advantages in a small number of circumstances, is not as good a product for the very large majority of used. In terms of functional advantages film is approaching a dead end. That being said, film will be around for a long time.... like LP's... and everyone who prefers it should enjoy it.
  75. Bad analogy for me, I have over 1200 albums, and probably as many CDs, there is no comparison, with vinyl winning
    out for overall quality in areas of imaging and tonal accuracy. (yes, I have better than most audio equipment,
    and a real turntable does make a huge difference), but I really can't use LPs in the van, either.

    As I said, to each their own, I maintain at least a years stock of film and chemistry at any given time, and
    process all of it in house.

    Here's one of my standard test subjects for moire, only film and my scan backs get it right without post work
    (this is downsized from a 35mb scan back file)

    <img src="" border="0" alt="test1.jpg">
  76. "There is a reason besides clever marketing that there are so many MF systems around at bargain prices"

    The reason is because when digital came out. The pros couldn't afford digital backs for their Hassy's and other pro equipment. So, they sold them for digitals.
  77. For travel digital is a lot easier. However, this year I have travelled with my Rolleiflex TRL and a lot of BW film which is easy to develop just about anywhere.

    I will probably bring my 4X5 Tachihara next time as well. Shooting film really changes your perception of what you see and how you experience the world. Film makes you notice certain things that you would not see if you had your D300 in hand. I would say you entire life become more harmonious, more sensible.
  78. Etaf,

    120 Film is a great medium. The problem is (at least in my area) the good local labs that can process it correctly are a dying breed. I just got tired of fighting my lab and so I made the switch to digital and I'm glad I did. I still use MF for certain BW shots, but digital is used 90% of the time. I am very pleased with the resolution and color fidelity. However, the most important element I've gained is I now have full control of my images. The finished product is exactly as I envisioned, not as some tech envisions. So, the moral of the story is - Use MF if you have a really good lab. Also, take another look at digital and don't be surprised if you end up with both.

  79. jbm


    I have been shooting again for about a year. I'm 30 but my initial experiences shooting were in high school in the darkroom with 35mm and MF.

    I love my Nikon Digi SLR but have just moved into a Mamiya 645 with two lenses, a couple of backs, a viewing prism all for $500.

    I just got back from a Yousef Karsh exhibit at the Boston MFA...larger formats are where it's at. Get the 'Blad and kick some ass!


  80. Damn, this started out as too late for Medium Format and the poster bait and switched to a film vs. digital thread! :)

    What I *was* going to say was that digital is the GREAT leveler with regards to physical format. Who cares about the
    sensor size - except if you want more image for larger print work. Enter the medium format cameras emerging today,
    including the new Leica S2. What is pretty cool here is you get larger resolution/print capabilities without the shock of
    physical format change like 35mm to 645 (new enlarger, developing equipment, blah blah). Photoshop still works.

    We live in interesting times - I'm quite eyeing the emerging "MF form factor" cameras... and others.
  81. Etaf Khan: "Ironically, I already have a Rollei MF slide projector... but no camera to shoot with." Oh my, you're going to love those slides. Anthony Zipple: "LP's haves some advantages over CD's but it is clear that (with the exception of small niches) it is too late for LP's." LP died years ago... no, wait... it didn't. ;) I can find huge number of new (and used) LPs even in the small city where I live not to mention what you can get from bigger music stores. Those things are not sitting on the shelfs either. LP has been in a bit of a revival after digital! 90's. It's not all about resolution and convenience. I happen to like how MF film looks like. Creating some things with digital would be time consuming computer work and/or would require some very expensive equipment. Also, MF snapshots rock.
  82. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    WOW! This is still active.

    It is impressive how many people are involved in film, especially MF despite the digital rage. Places like this n APUG are true supporters. It seems no matter how many film companies went out of business, there's a Russian or Chineese company to take it's place. I'm confident no matter how popular digital becomes, there will always be film... just as VanGogh might have been concerned about oil paints going the wayside.
  83. Etaf, I don't believe it is too late at all. I shoot with two Holgas, an SL66 and Fujifilm 645iPro, all MF cameras, and I have no problem finding film, developing my own, and finding accessories such as 6x6 neg sleeves and neg holders for enlarger. In fact, Ilford has just introduced the Delta 3200 120 film (in Tokyo where I live, anyway) and there are five different 120 Portras to choose from. However, I believe you are in the wrong forum. Have a look HERE at what's happening with film at Photokina if you still believe you're too late.
  84. I shoot Hasselblad, Nikons, Holga... all film. Because I shoot mostly b&w I process and print my own. No problems here!
    (with getting the film, anyway).
  85. "Who cares about the sensor size"

    Plenty of people. Larger sensors means less dense photosites for a given resolution generally meaning less noise.
  86. As many people have note the main issue with Medium format is processing (especially printing). My own finding is that very few places handle 120 film these days and that even "professional" labs do not do a very good job. For example Vistek in Calgary only go to 8x10 prints photographically and use scanning and printing beyond that. I have been disappointed with how they print from slide. In hindsight I should have got a Nikon 9000 scanner not the 5000 I bought. I have a high quality enlarger and do my own print film enlargements. the message here is that you either need to live in a major city (e.g. NYC, San Francisco) or do your own printing. Third party MF scanning with a good digital printer is another option but expensive.
  87. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    It seems like the pro labs, n the industry on a whole, is trying to kill off film saying it's not superior to digital, "just take a look a the lousey prints you're getting?" is the normal responce these days. Sure they look lousey, they were printed digitally! Why do they do this?... it's cheaper to make plastic disposable junk cameras n print pictures via computer. Those elevtronic cameras you ddigtialheads are using will all be dead in no time at all. My old RB is 35 years old n will serve me another 30 years with proper care. Ever see an antique digital camera?... and you won't either!

    PRINT n PROCESS YOURSELF!... shame on the digital industry n it's folowing for trying to kill off a perfectly good medium.

    Ah that feels better.
  88. Amazing thread. Couldn't read it all, I have a life.

    Someone up there said he couldn't afford Hasselblad. Look again brother: I've had an ad in PN running for about 4 months
    and I've had exactly 3 bites. I love the thing, it's a joy to use, so I won't go below $750. Meanwhile my other MF camera,
    Mamiya 645AF, sells-without a lens-in the high 700-to 800 dollar range on the auction site. And the Fuji MF rangefinder
    lines seem to get sold on EBay at even higher prices. I think there were so many Hassies made over the years, they were
    mostly used by pros who have switched to digital & the leftover niche buyers are way fewer than cameras available.

    So it's a good time to buy & try, but you may lose most of your investment. It's a matter of the number$ isn't it?
  89. Erie, The fact that you have a lot of vinyl and see advantages does not mean that the vast majority of music listeners have decided that the tonal differences are imperceptible. There will always be a tiny group or listeners haunting vinyl record outlets arguring with each other about arcane differences but this is a very small group relative to the CD world.... and increasingly the MP3 world. I have friends who swear by their 78s and wax rolls but that does not make those vehicles less of a dead end. True for film. There will be a small niche for film for a long time but it is small now and smaller each year. So I guess it depends on what we mean by "too late." Can Etaf use film for years to come? Sure. Is it going to become less and less easy to find good film labs? Sure (It certainly has changed in the past 5 years!). Will film offer advantages over digital? Not a lot now and fewer each year in the opinion of most photo print viewers. In absolute terms, it is not "too late" but film is a dying approach to photography in most people's opinion and certainly a dead end technology.
  90. Anthony, about vinyl records, etc. many musicians such as Eric Clapton prefer tube amps for their guitars. Because in audio, tubes are better. I know my old tube radios give better sound than my digital ones. I have an old Zenith that classical lovers prefer for that same reason.
  91. I had a chance to spend some time with a very famous flute player, he did not call himself a flautist as he pointed out he did not own a flaut.

    Anyway he felt that keeping his flute aligned north to south at night made it play better the next day, totally crazy but if you believe something is going to make a difference then you will hear a difference.

    This was one of the top flute players in the world, you would think he would know what was needed to make a flute sound good, but even he was subject to the placebo effect.

    He also owned both a gold and platinum flute, when he was asked which one sounded better he would challenge people to tell him which recording of his were done with which flute, I don’t think anybody could. I kind of got the feeling that has in fact was coming to realize that is was his playing that made the sound, not the flute.

    IMO vinyl records suck, but I know there are going to be people who will convince themselves otherwise.

    I have to wonder at people who complain about the “harsh” sound from CDs if they find live concerts to sound harsh.
  92. Anthony Zipple,

    Why does it matter which one is better. The OP asked if it is "too late." The answer is no! We have no idea what his
    purposes are so why make comments about film being dead? He wants to shoot slide film because that is what he
    does.... that is what he enjoys. I personally think that 35mm slide film will be harder to find than 120 slide film because
    most digital 35mm has become more popular than 35mm film, while 120 film is more popular than MF digital. So why do
    you feel the need to state that "film is a dying approach to photography in most people's opinion and certainly a dead end

    He already shoots 35mm slides and he is interested in 120 slides, but is worried about supply. Well as stated before
    that supply is not going to be depleted in the near future.

    The only approach to photography that should be dying is yours approach that you believe that there is only one
    approach that is worthwhile.
  93. Go for it! As long as there is demand for film, someone (American, Chinese or whomever) will provide it. Processing labs are getting more difficult to find but if you live in a major city you will be fine. And if not, there is always the mail. And MF will likely be around longer than the 35mm you are currently using. I just bought an RB67 a few months ago and I love it. Happy shooting!
  94. Etaf, I can't imagine what I could add that hasn't already been said here. So here I go anyway. The film vs digital debate isn't what you wanted to get into, so I won't address that. You already said that you prefer film. And I won't venture a guess as to how long MF film will be available as that's all anyone here is doing. Guessing. I do know that MF film is available now and if you buy some quantity and freeze it you are set for many years, so this isn't an issue. Heck, you can even find obscure film sizes like 127, 620 and 828. Pricey, but they are around.

    I like the way that MF slows you down. To me it is an advantage only having 11 to 15 shots a roll of 120 film. If I know I'll need to shoot a lot of frames I'll pack my 35mm camera. Some of the MF gear is pretty big (relatively), but my Zeiss Super Ikonta III (which shoots 6x6) and a Fuji GS 645S that shoots 6
    x4.5 are small cameras and very light. The Ikonta is a folder and it is positively tiny, even compared to most 35mm cameras. The cost of both these cameras w/ lenses was under $550, so the value is certainly there.

    There's a definite increase in image quality compared to 35mm even though I am shooting Leica glass on the 35mm end. The Fuji is better for landscapes and the Ikonta is wonderful for shooting on the street. People love the old folders. Where you'll end up spending some bucks is on a quality MF scanner. A flatbed would be a waste of money as it can't get nearly as much information from the negs as a dedicated film scanner can. So figure on a sizable investment on this end. If you are printing in a darkroom then you can save some money in this area.

    Hopefully these suggestions, as well as all the others here, will help you decide what to do. If you decide to go to MF, and I think you should give it a try, perhaps your greatest reward will come when you see your first roll of film developed. Man, those 120 Tri-X negs are beautiful! Printing them almost seems unnecessary.
  95. Etaf, I hope the one thing you get from this post, is to do what you want. Not, what others say you should do. That is All that counts!
  96. Anthony Zipple, cameras are not records and therefore your analogy doesn't hold any water (to throw in a metaphor just to add to the confusion). The OP clearly states he wants to stick with film. Go from there.
  97. Not too go off topic too much, I just posted a question and it may be relevant to inquire here. Anyone know where I can rent a Horseman SW 612 or 617 in teh NYC area?
  98. Etaf,

    Is it too late? Absolutely not! I've just made the jump from medium format to large format and have no worries about the availability of film. Can you buy it at your local store? Probably not, but if you're shooting slides you already know this. Can you get it processed? Of course, although it depends where you live. You may have to mail it to a lab -- sure it's a little inconvenient but it's not impossible.

    As for the future of film, please look at this thread if you haven't already:

    Happy shooting!
  99. Personally, I like the look of medium format quality. If you do decide you want to have a digital image to manipulate as well, digitizes medium format film at 1000dpi, up to 4000dpi in jpeg or tiff. That way, you can have the best of both worlds. (the pricing page)
  100. Hi, Too late for medium format? Never! Here are a couple images I made with the new TMAX 400 film this summer. That's right, I said new film from Kodak.

    The first is the harbor in Jamestown, Rhode Island enshrouded in early morning fog.

    The second is the Newport Bridge from Jamestown the night before. It is an 8 minute exposure as a ferry went by and the fog rolled in.

    Neither of these scanned versions come even close to what my prints look like. It's my fault, because I didn't spend enough time working on my scanner settings.

  101. Okay, I totally blew that post. Here's the second image I referenced.
  102. I am teaching technology, physics and color management - I myself use film since 1960 - and I use
    digital as well
    since 1996. For me it is a question of what does you customer/client want to get - something quick and
    OK or
    something really exceptional and lasting for ever? I shoot on film from medium format upwards including
    (which I like for landscapes more than 4x5 due to its better format ratio) and despite all the tomatoes
    which are
    thrown at me sometimes by very active digital promoters, I prefer film over digital. Film is a living and
    lively media,
    digital is usually plasticy and dead - sorry for offending the digital promoters, but I am allowed to voice
    my opinion.
    Another aspect - who can tell you for sure that your digital files will still be readable in 20 or 30 years
    from now, but know what I want to tell you.
    Jump into film if you wish to do so, there will be film for the next 30 - 40 years for sure - too many
    photographers are shooting with film and enjoy the unsurpassed quality and flair of this medium.
    Prof. Dr. Georg N. Nyman
    Vienna, Austria
  103. My Mamiya Super Press 23 with 6x7 and 6x9 backs, 65mm, 100mm and 150mm lenses amongst other things showed up today. Yay! Can't wait to shoot with it.

    For medium format I've got, in order of purchase, I think:

    Mamiya 645 Pro (sold)
    Holga FN
    Mockba 5
    Mamiya 7II with 80mm
    Koni Omega Rapid 100 with 60mm
    Koni Omega Rapid 100 with 90mm
    Mamiya RB67 with 50mm and 90mm
    Mamiya Super Press 23 with 65mm, 100mm, and 150mm
  104. Oy veh, forgot to double CR.

    Mamiya 645 Pro (sold)

    Holga FN

    Mockba 5

    Mamiya 7II with 80mm

    Koni Omega Rapid 100 with 60mm

    Koni Omega Rapid 100 with 90mm

    Mamiya RB67 with 50mm and 90mm

    Mamiya Super Press 23 with 65mm, 100mm, and 150mm
  105. I still shoot 4x5 for one very particular client.

    The problem with waiting is that the lens manufacturers are either not making lenses or make fewer for medium format and large format. With the law of supply and demand that means these lenses are going to get more expensive over time. So buy now. Even if you decide you don't want them their resale price will go up (in time). [Remember in school when the bell curve was discussed?]

    I currently am buying all the Cambo and Crown Graphic cameras, lenses and accessories I can afford. Next I'll probably get some Hasselblad gear to go along with my Mamiya RB67 body and lenses.

    One problem here in Atlanta, Georgia is the large pro photo lab (HS Photo) stopped developing C41 films this past July. They said there was not enough demand by their pro photographer clients.


  106. If you want quality, go for either MF film, LF film or a Phase One back. I know which ones I can afford.
  107. Mike, I use a Phase One scan back on a Sinar, you'd be surprised how affordable they are.
  108. "There's nothing like looking at chrome on a lightbox shot with MF"

    This statement, often encountered, makes me wonder. Although I shoot chromes, I don't spend a lot of time looking at
    them on a lightbox. Neither does anyone else. I use the lightbox to edit. Period. It's only a short step in the process to
    printing (the step that really counts) and should have little impact on the decision to go MF.

    "So it's a good time to buy & try, but you may lose most of your investment. It's a matter of the number$ isn't it?"

    If you buy digital, you will be guaranteed to lose your investment. If you buy film MF, you may or may not, depending on
    changing styles and tastes.
  109. Greg, about your Mamiya Super 23, I have the Universal. You will like your Super very much. It isn't mentioned alot on PN, but, they are great cameras.
  110. Thanks Jack. I'm currently looking through the manual that I downloaded from Butkus. It's quite a bit more complex than my Koni Omegas, but am already loving the pancake aspect of the 65mm Mamiya lens. It fits really nicely in my small bag with the 65mm lens mounted. Everything is cleaner than the crappy photos appeared to be on the auction site so I'm really happy there. The 150mm lens looks brand new, it probably wasn't used much by the previous owner and I'm wondering how much I'll use it.

    Oh, and the two main reasons I picked it up were for the 6x9 back and that I wanted to play with the rear movements of the Super.

    And as a bonus, the previous owner has it packed in a suitcase with foam rubber he cut himself.
  111. Medium format is very viable. If you're worried about film not being available in the future then I recommend
    looking at the MF systems that have both film and digital backs available to them. The new Mamiya 645AF III/Phase
    One Camera are perfect examples of this. There are others, some you might be able to find used.

    I've been using a Mamiya RZ67 for years and last year I picked up a Mamiya 7II for doing travel photography. Did
    this for two reasons ... the RZ kit is HEAVY for travel ... especially since I try to travel as light as
    possible. I stopped taking digital along when I travel because I got tired of carrying all the extra electronics
    (chargers, computer, etc.). I like to travel with one carry on bag and my backpack with my camera gear. Anyway
    ... I know it seems I'm going off topic. I do have additional points.

    The 6x7 images from both of my cameras are just breathtaking. They are rich in detail and color even when blowing
    up 400ISO to 20x24. I still occasionally shoot 35mm and I'm always disappointed about how they don't have the
    impact of the 6x7 images. I feel the same way about digital. Everything has its place (35mm, digital, MF, LF) and
    only you can decide what makes you happy. 6x7 makes me happy. When I have to shoot sports or when a client really
    wants digital, I forgo 6x7 and produce the best work I can for them. When time allows me to shoot 6x7 and I shoot
    on film.

    I feel an investment in MF equipment that accepts both film and digital backs is a winning option.

    One last note. I think someone pointed out about going through X-Ray while traveling and the possibility of fog
    issues. In my European travels I've never been able to get a hand inspection of my film (which always frustrates
    me). So far all my film has been fine. X-Ray will always be a concern. I'm willing to take the chance because 6x7
    captures my vision more accurately than any other format.

    Just my 6x7 worth ...
  112. The day they stop making 120 mm black and white film is the day the World should come to an end.
    You can make it yourself if push comes to shove.

    If people fail to understand the difference between analog and digital, thenanalog will die. People are still buying vinyl...... so there is hope.

    The "quantum photon detection, silver halide oxidation-conversion, recording technique" e.g. photography, is still the most technologically
    superior process. More importantly, it is proven to provide a data storage mechanism that lasts at least 150+ years, (almost as long as paint)

    There are also a large number of very good to excellent 120 film cameras out there for very low relative cost. They were the best in the World,
    20 years and 50 years ago, and are the same today in terms of optics. German optics from 1920 - 1960, will never be exceeded. It cannot be,
    because at the level of physics, perfection was attained ..... that is the wavelength of the visible photons could be recorded with out loss of data
    (at least with $100,000 dollar microscopes). The limiting factor was not the film, not the lens, ... it was the wavelength of photons.

    Why doesn't somebody invent a digital insert, with exact 35 mm and 120 mm cassette dimensions and CMOS/CCD screen that will fit into any
    old analog camera? Answer, money

    Much more money to be made selling new cameras for the snap shooters, than providing equipment to make 'obsolete' cameras more versatile
  113. It's never late. Here are the images I shoot with Contax 645 with 35mm lens and scanned on a calibrated Nikon 9000

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  114. I am an old coot that has used just about every medium format camera made from Rollei to Koni-omega, Kodak, etc and I finally settled for the Pentax 645. I have the 35, 55, 75, 150, 2x extender which I purchased after trading in my Hasselblad. I liked the Hassy but the Pentax is a much more user freindly camera. I was one of the first purchasers of the Pentax 645. I make mostly 16x20 inch prints. The Pentax lenses are extremely sharp and the camera's motor drive, through the lens metering, view finder correction eye piece, 120 or 220 film inserts,and the many modes, make taking pictures a pleasure. You forsake interchangable backs. Which much to my dismay I found that not ALL Hasslblad interchangable backs were interchangeable, and I had to have them corrected. I also encountered light leaking problems at times.
    I realized that I did not need the interchangeablilty because I was standardized and was using one film most of the time. I also found the 645 format more convienent than the 2 1/4 inch square format.
    I have no trouble getting film. I find tha Freestyle Photo in California a great source for supplies.
    I use digital for snapshoots, but for serious photography the quality of a film print can not be surpased.
    One last item. While on a photo safari with a camera friend, he wanted to try out my Pentax 645. I used his Hassy and he used my Pentax. The next day he traded in his Hassy for a Pentax, which he used for years and was delighted to have made the switch. Hope my experiences help.
  115. I am an old coot that has used just about every medium format camera made from Rollei to Koni-omega, Kodak, etc
    and I finally settled for the Pentax 645. I have the 35, 55, 75, 150, 2x extender which I purchased after trading in my
    Hasselblad. I liked the Hassy but the Pentax is a much more user freindly camera. I was one of the first purchasers
    of the Pentax 645. I make mostly 16x20 inch prints. The Pentax lenses are extremely sharp and the camera's motor
    drive, through the lens metering, view finder correction eye piece, 120 or 220 film inserts,and the many modes, make
    taking pictures a pleasure. You forsake interchangable backs. Which much to my dismay I found that not ALL
    Hasslblad interchangable backs were interchangeable, and I had to have them corrected. I also encountered light
    leaking problems at times.
    I realized that I did not need the interchangeablilty because I was standardized and was using one film most of the
    time. I also found the 645 format more convienent than the 2 1/4 inch square format.
    I have no trouble getting film. I find tha Freestyle Photo in California a great source for supplies.
    I use digital for snapshoots, but for serious photography the quality of a film print can not be surpased.
    One last item. While on a photo safari with a camera friend, he wanted to try out my Pentax 645. I used his Hassy
    and he used my Pentax. The next day he traded in his Hassy for a Pentax, which he used for years and was
    delighted to have made the switch. Hope my experiences help.
  116. Go to go to "Gallery"-select Ray Firmani to view some of my Pentax shots.
  117. For me, there's much irony in the facts that: quality MF system gear has never been cheaper; film has never been better; and quality pro labs have never been scarcer. Still, with film still affordable and abundant and a great, thriving pro lab 15 min. away, it's a great time for MF as long as it lasts.
  118. If you want medium format, my advice is to start by wading instead of jumping off the end of the dock into the ocean. Buy a Holga - it will only cost about $30.00 and you can see whether you like the workflow of medium format film or not. You'll learn about handling the film, getting it processed, processing it yourself - and then how you want to make prints - all analog workflow or scanning and printing.

    If you do like the workflow, then decide what type of medium format camera is most conducive to your working style: rangefinder, TLR, or SLR medium format.

    The first medium format camera I used regularly was a Rollieflex TLR about 40 years ago. Decided I hated TLRs, then used a rangefinder 6x7 for 25 years (recently retired it as it's now just too costly to get repaired), have had a Hasselblad for 20 years - and I have a Holga.

    So, I'm not trying to dissuade you from getting the medium format camera of your dreams - only that your dream may become more clearly defined once you start working with film in medium format. You could learn an awful lot about medium format with an outlay of only $30.
  119. The rumors of MF death have been greatly exagerated. MF stuff is selling for a pittance right now... becase PEOPLE ARE SCARED and EVERYTHING is selling for a pittance compared to just a few months ago. Things are very scary out there... but MF film still beats the hell out of the best digital.

    As far as MF cameras... The Pentax 6X7 has the faltest film plane around... but I have really liked Hasselblad for the square format... it really makes me see and compose in a different way... That's why I use it. I think film MF will be around for a long time... and when the economy gets better the resale valuses of your MF will climb as well.
  120. I'd say experimenting with a Holga camera and 120 film is a great workflow training session, and cheaper than spending cash for a MF system that you may not enjoy in post-production. BTW--Holgas are fun, and introduce a texture to a photo that will never be accomplished with any other camera.
  121. Here's another example, same shoot (of my daughter Skylar)...
  122. When I first bought my good camera about 38 years ago, it was a mamiya 500DTL. In a short time, it convinced me that the negs were too small. So, I sold it and bought 2 Mamiya TLR's and a 4x5 monorail. Haven't looked back since.Now, I only shoot 35 for astro shots.
  123. Hello there, i'm a student photographer.
    My dad brought me a Mamiya RB67 early this year ('08) and i also managed to get few 120 rolls too (availability no
    problem here in southern India). While processing them is a bit headache, but if you're determined that should'nt be a
    big problem.
    I enjoy shooting on MF while all of my classmates do it on digital and swear by it. Nevermind. I think it's a personal
    And No, i don't think its too late, it as never been so far.
  124. Wow Evgeni! I love the tones of the third one, but they're all great.
  125. No, it is not to late! Her is a brand new camera for 120/220-film:
  126. Scott,

    This is a camera forum, so I'll keep it real short. Have you seriously listened to a real high end system with
    records? Honestly? I have a fortune invested in my music reproduction system including an unbelievably expensive
    processor (DCS) to upsample a CD from 44kHz/16 bit to 196 kHz/24 bit (and then CDs can start sounding really
    nice). My playback system has one of the most natural sounds for a CD player (a Forsell air bearing system) and
    yes, my amplification is all tube based. But compared to a record? Wow, different league. It makes a big difference
    how the records are kept, how the system is set up, etc. but you are the first person I've heard in a decade that
    would claim people have somehow falsely convinced themselves that records are better. During many years, just the
    like the Chairman of Sony, I couldn't listen to CDs until the mastering of them and the playback systems got a lot
    better (and yet, people all over convinced themselves how much better CDs sounded because it was "digital"). There
    are amazing digital recordings from professional machines (1 MB/sec continuous) which sound as good if not better
    than a 45 rpm record (so its not digititus here). Unfortunately, Sony chose the original standard of 44 kHz/16 bit for
    the CD because it was the only way they could make the CD players cheap enough back then. MP3 is much
    worse; people should all set their ipods to "Apple Lossless" to at least get CD quality sound. Today, Blu Ray disc
    copies of recordings could be made and they would probably beat records hands down. But there is not the demand
    for it (nevermind just for movies where Blu Ray blows away DVDs yet sales remain mediocre). In short, the sampling
    rate of CDs is way too low to compete with records. Unfortunately(!), because they are a lot more convenient and
    easier to maintain, etc. But please don't blame the people who listen to records as they are deluding themselves.
    Far from it.


  127. Audun,

    The medium format Voightlander looks really cool. Just like a nice giant M camera (only probably not that much


  128. No!!! Fuji have just released new films, Velvia 50 and Provia X films on 120. They wouldn't have done the R&D if film was
    dying. You will always be able to buy film, Kodak still make various Super 8 Cine Films...
  129. Remember, if it ever does become too late, it will be because consumers decided it was, and manufactures acted accordingly.
  130. Well said Jack. Use it or loose it.

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