Wanting to go into Medium. Help me pick a kit :)

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by yada_wack, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. I am looking to go into medium format. I've been shooting
    extensively with a Leica M6 and 90mm Elmarit 2.8. This outfit I
    think is the closet as it can come to Medium quality/grainity :)

    I am gearing toward the 503 CW 80mm Hassb kit. However the 500 CM
    looks very interesting to me due to the low prices. Can you guys
    give me some recommendations? My wallet size is around $3000.

    I will be shooting Family potrait the most. Very big family :)

    What would be a good / decent starter kit for someone with "good"
    amount of knowledge on producing a decent potrait shot.
  2. Dear Yada, contact me directly, good news for you. a good offer.
  3. 22years ago I went with 500CM and 50mm-80mm-150mm with 120back and 220 and nc2 finder and I think it was about 5000 new.You could get this kit now for possibly in the $2000 range.I added 4 more backs and a 120mm and a superwide And two ELMs and have a very useable set now.
  4. Go for 503CW 80mm Hasb kit, you can add motor drive to it & belive me it makes a difference. With 500 you will never be able to exercise this option.
  5. I suggest you go with a longer lens at first, one that more approximates the 90 you have been using. The 120 zeiss lens is a very popular, versatile portrait lens.
  6. Hey Yada, don't forget about the bronica sq-ai. Compared to what you would spend on hassy you can get the same kit plus a couple more lenses :) Really depends on how many lenses you need.
  7. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2957455803&category=3351

    What do you think about this? The price seems reasonable. I guess i'll aim for a 503 CW then :)
  8. Yada,

    I have the same objective with my photography, family portraits, and I've ended up with a Hasselblad 203FE with the 110mm F2 lens. I have owned the 500CM, the 501, and the 503, but the 203 is a great deal more useful because of the AE mode. I have gotten absolutely great portraits outdoors with a reflector.

    The 203FE is like your Leica on steroids. Bigger, wieghs more, 3x larger negative. My current set up is the 203, 110, PM90, D-40, using mostly Kodak Portra NC 400. Never have image issues on 11x14 prints.

    The big advantage to using Hasselblad equipment is that you can sell it easily on eBay and try something else until you're happy.
  9. I enthusiastically recommend that you set aside some of your budget to buy a studio strobe. I bought a JTL Versalight 200 with stand and umbrella reflector for approximately $360. This lets me get so much more out of my medium format photography...especially for portraiture. I can use f8-f16 for excellent depth of field, and I don't worry about camera shake (the strobe freezes the movement). The camera need not be fixed to a tripod, so I can walk around the subject, searching for the best height and angle while looking through the viewfinder. I also invested $3. or so in a large foamcore white board to reflect light back into the shadow side of the face. I personally prefer the Rolleiflex twin lens reflex for portraiture because I want to be able to see the facial expression at the instant of exposure. But whether you go with TLR or Hassy, I believe you'll be very glad that you invested in some studio strobe lighting. The photo I'm posting here was done with the single Versalight and umbrella plus a white foamcore board for reflected light fill. The camera was a Rolleiflex 2.8F Planar with Pro Tri-X 320TXP exposed at EI200 and developed in HC-110B.
  10. Link to photo: ("see Father and Daughters")

  11. " .... Link to photo: Father And Daughters"
    it looks perfectly lit to me. and, i love the composition and poses. and yet, i vastly prefer the Rembrandt-like lighting of this shot of yours: Dr. Tom Netzel with daughters Rivka and Adira studying Torah.
    in terms of content, the studio shot shows us better than words could ever do that this father loves his daughters and they love him, and all three are very happy about the matter. but, the shot of a father reading a venerated text with his daughters moves me even more. here the message is not only the joy of family love, it is also that these two young women are being raised to contemplate a dimension to life beyond the immediate concerns of career, family, and consumerism.
    (btw, the DoF is terrific. my (limited) experience is that there would have been less grain shooting an iso 800 color print fim, and then converting to greyscale in Photoshop.)
    as we all know, there's a big subjective element in all of this. and, the bottom line is that they are both excellent portraits, each in their realm. my apologies to Wack for going off-topic. but, it does relate to the issue of buying a strobe as part of your kit vs. some other allocation of $363 of your budget.
  12. $3000? Holy cow! I started MF with a $500 RB67 Pro-S kit and thought that was extravagant. Since then, I've probably spent another $500-700 adding a 50mm lens, pola back, and an extra 120 back. For now, I wouldn't spend more than $1500 on new (used) toys. One body w/ waistlevel, two backs, and two lenses (normal/tele + wide-angle) is all you need to get into medium format in a big way.

    I agree with the other posters that you should get a good strobe or two instead of more cameras/lenses. In addition, a good light meter (Sekonic L-508, Minolta Auto Meter IV/V) is a must for flash shooting, and getting the most out of MF in general. Your $3000 will be gone in no time... good luck! Have fun with medium format... it's great.
  13. If you like the M6; consider the MF equivalent. I own both a Hasselblad and a Bronica RF645. The latter works lie an oversize Leica; the 65mm lens has similar image as a 35mm (but beware of shallow depth of field). There is also a 100mm portrait lens, very crisp but will focus only down to 1.2m. For bust portrait the kit with the 100mm lens is superb but for heads only you'll need to crop the neg.

    The Hasselblad is very good but it may get some practice before you will feel at ease with a waist-level finder plus you'll need a tripod. There are many threads on rangefinders also Mamiya 7. But the 645 format is very good in my view and gets you 16 shots per roll.

    Try it.

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