Film and Darkroom User

Film and Darkroom User (http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.org.uk/forum/index.php)
-   Cameras - medium format (http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.org.uk/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=29)
-   -   Choosing a medium camera (http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=10287)

gsingh 26th February 2015 06:59 PM

Choosing a medium camera
 
I'm on the look at possibly getting a 6x6 medium format camera. Before I talk about the camera I have a few questions I hope someone can help me with.

1. Would I be able to develop the negatives myself or can only a lab do this with it being a medium format?

2. Can you get auto focus cameras/lenses in the medium format?

3. Generally speaking how fast are the shutter speeds? I don't want a camera where you can only have very slow shutter speeds. I would like to be able to set the shutter speeds high.

4. Do you recommend medium slr or range finder cameras?

5. Can you get flashguns for m. cameras like you can with most 35mm cameras?

6. With rangefinder cameras is it difficult to judge what the lens is seeing?

I have seen some m. cameras and the viewfinders are tiny. How come they are so small? Does anyone know a good 6x6 camera they could recommend me?

CambsIan 26th February 2015 07:55 PM

Hi gsingh

There are others on here with a lot more knowledge than me but here are my thoughts

1... Can definitely develop 120 film at home at home ( I do )

2.... Yes both manual and auto focus (Fuji for example), but think many more are manual than auto

3... Mine go up to about 1/400 but others go faster I have seen some at 1/500th, think my Fuji is a lot faster still.

4, 5, and 6 will let others with way more experience than me answer those.

Ian

CarlH 26th February 2015 08:07 PM

1. B&W is very easy to do, developing tanks will take 35mm or 120 film lots of youtube videos to watch.
2. I've not seen any and if there are will be very expensive i would think
3. Hasselblad 200 series cameras have focal plane shutters 1/2000 sec speed
4. slr easier to frame the image, use grad filters. Rangefinders easier to carry and very quiet to use.
5. yes get one that uses a pc cord
6. no

Mike O'Pray 26th February 2015 08:12 PM

The Pentax 645N is autofocus with a top speed of 1/1000th. It does not have the advantage of inserts that you can change mid-roll but unless you suddenly see a shot that cries out for colour when you have a B&W film in it then this isn't too much of a problem. With 16 shots per roll so probably all shot the same day it is likely that light conditions will remain much the same

However I have no idea how much you have to spend. It will cost several hundred pounds and with the standard 75mm lens you might need to budget for 450 at least

Have a look at the Ken Rockwell site. He has a good review of this camera

The older fixed lens folders are a much cheaper way into MF

Mike

skellum 26th February 2015 10:16 PM

Hi gsingh.
Before we suggest particular cameras, can you tell us a couple of things?

First, what kind of subjects are you hoping to shoot? (Some MF cameras are fairly compact and quick to use, others are really studio beasts)

What shape prints do you like? Square, rectangle?? The more you pick a format that suits your style the less you'll crop and waste film.

How tight is your budget? I'm afraid this is a very big question- an old 6x6 manual folder could be yours for 20 quid. A Hasselblad with 2 or 3 lenses could run to a couple of thousand easily. Remember, just a few years back top quality MF cameras were almost exclusively used by working professionals.

Last question (and the hardest)- why are you thinking of medium format? It usually involves carrying more (heavier) gear. The cameras are often slower to work with.
On a positive side, MF can make big, beautiful, creamy smooth prints. Have you seen prints made from medium format negatives to compare to 35mm? And I mean real prints, not viewed on the web.
I don't want to put you off, as I use medium format a lot, but picking the wrong camera can be a big disappointment.
The more we know what you're thinking the more we can help.

Cheers!

paulc 26th February 2015 11:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skellum (Post 100942)
How tight is your budget? I'm afraid this is a very big question- an old 6x6 manual folder could be yours for 20 quid. A Hasselblad with 2 or 3 lenses could run to a couple of thousand easily. Remember, just a few years back top quality MF cameras were almost exclusively used by working professionals.

If one is to throw auto-focus in to the mix, costs increase - Any AF camera will require complex (and expensive) lenses, and there is greater costs involved if/when it goes wrong.

One advantage of medium format is the larger viewfinder - If you use a camera with a waist level finder, it usually has a pop-up magnifier so that you can get a closer look at some detail to check on focus. The downside to most MF cameras is the bulk and weight, a small folder will probably weigh about the same as a small 35mm SLR. A full blown Mamiya RB/RZ kit could give you a hernia :eek:

alexmuir 26th February 2015 11:20 PM

I think that autofocus is an unnecessary complication in this situation, unless you have a big budget. Only a few MF cameras were developed with AF systems, and they were expensive when new. If AF is essential, I would recommend sticking with 35mm where there is a vast choice of very sophisticated equipment at reasonable prices.
The other point is that many MF cameras have a maximum speed of 1/500. If high shutter speeds are essential, 35mm is again a better choice. There are reasons, however, why high speeds might not be as important in MF. The design of many MF cameras allows them to be hand held at slower speeds. They also tend to use leaf shutters which are different from the type used in 35 mm SLRs. They allow flash to be used at any shutter speed, which can be useful.
While I agree that the old folding MF cameras can be a good starting point, I think it can be difficult to find a good, working example, unless you have quite a bit of knowledge and experience. If you can afford it, I would suggest one of the 645 SLRs would possibly be a more reliable choice. I'm thinking of the Bronica ETRS, Mamiya 645 or Pentax 645. I would check out examples from dealers where you get some sort of warranty.
I hope this helps,
Alex.

gsingh 27th February 2015 08:10 PM

Thanks for all your comments so far. Here are the answers to the questions raised:

I'm wanting to use MF for mainly portraight images like head shots. Still images mainly.

Ideally I want to shoot 6x6 but anything that is close to a square I don't mind. I don't want rectangular. I could get away with 6x7, what do you think?

Budget I would say 100.

I want to shoot on MF to be able to make large potraight prints. Not needing to crop would solve a lot of headaches and time. I also want to make small prints too from the MF negatives but as they will be mainly of head shots and people I think square images would be better. I will be looking at shooting mainly b&w and sometimes colour.

I have been thinking of this question over the last few days, why do I want to shoot on MF? Smartphones such as mine have decent cameras and for most people they are more than enough. When I first started using 35mm my big concern was I would not have enough shots per roll but that has proven not to be the case. I like I'm sure many other people have hundreds of images on their smartphones but I found that I had to delete most of them because they were rubbish. Since using 35mm film yes I have had less shots to play with but I have kept more of my images. Less waste and my time with film has been so much more productive. Using bigger formats though there are less shots available would suite me just fine.

I haven't actually seen real life prints from MF just from the web though I would like to though.

Argentum 27th February 2015 09:30 PM

have a look a Fuji GA645zi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_pybwbc0tQ

its 4x3 aspect ratio in portrait orientation when camera is level.

Suitable for portraits and groups.

If you can find a good one then its worth considering.

But you won't get one for 100

Jakecb 27th February 2015 10:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Argentum (Post 100975)
you won't get one for 100

I think he's right, you might struggle to get one for that.

Keep us posted though

Mike O'Pray 27th February 2015 11:01 PM

For a budget of 100 max the old 6x9cm folders might be ideal in terms of size of neg but all of them, I think, have fixed lenses which means that head-shots involves the photographer being so close as to be in the subject's face.

It is sad but true that in MF 100 will not get you much, if anything at all in terms of interchangeable lenses. Big enlargements of full body or half body( waist upwards) cropped for head only, might work OK but unless the print is very big a 35mm camera with a 90-120 lens and say Ilford D100 film might do as good a job

Having said all that I have a 645N which at the size of prints I make might not make much sense but for some reason I just had to have it:D

Mike

CambsIan 28th February 2015 06:48 AM

One of the cameras that I use is the Mamiya M645j, the baby of the M645 range.

It was my starting MF camera, and does all I ask of it, although I have not done any studio work with it.

The M645j will still be over budget, but may be less over budget than many others.

Might be worth a consideration.

Ian

CambsIan 28th February 2015 07:54 AM

Been thinking since my last post.

I have another camera which may be a possibility as a cheaper lead into MF and may even come in on budget.

The old Kiev 60.

Has WLF, metered prism, interchangeable lenses and shoots 6x6

Yes it looks like and operates like a massive SLR, yes it has winding on / overlap issues, yes it's built like a tank, yes it even weighs like one, yes this is a marmite camera (you either like it or don't like it) but it can produce decent pics.

Not to everyones taste but another possible contender ?


Ian

Richard Gould 28th February 2015 08:31 AM

A better made camera than the old Kiev, which was one of the worst MF cameras, typical Russian lack of quality, would be a pentacon six,
but for 100 you are not going to get much more than a fixed lens camera, Personally I enjoy folders, but for close up, head and shoulder type shots they are not suitable, for 1/2 to 3/4 length type portraits they are fine, but not for extreme close ups, you couldn't focus close enough with them for the most part, so Gsingh you need to increase your budget a lot, perhaps go for a Bronica, reasonably priced and plenty around, To be Honest if I were the OP and on such a limited budget I would feel inclined to stick with 35mm and get perhaps a 100 to 300 or 80 to 300 zoom and use that, He says the pictures would not be printed big, but you need a bigger budget for the type of use he wants to put MF to
Richard

chefsteve 28th February 2015 08:48 AM

Personally I would stick with 35mm, use it to do what you want to photograph until you have worked out exactly what you need, and then use that knowledge to decide what MF equipment you will have to purchase. Use a slower film if you are unhappy with the grain.
The main reason I chose to go with MF was to force me to slow down when out taking photos, as with a totally manual camera you cannot just point and shoot.

steve

Alan Clark 28th February 2015 10:12 AM

If you want a square format then think about a twin lens reflex camera. You should be able to get something for less than 100.
Don't worry about not being able to change lenses; some wonderful portraits have been taken with TLR cameras. After all, Irving Penn used a TLR - a Rolleiflex- for his Worlds in a Small Room series of portraits, and portrait photography doesn't get any better than this...


Alan

DavidH 28th February 2015 06:54 PM

Looking at what you have written about the subject matter, it doen't seem that fast speeds would be of great importance, although plenty of MF cameras go up to 1/500.
I think a TLR could be your best bet (Rollei, Minolta, Yashica et.al.)as they can often be obtained in good condition for the amount you are prepared to pay and can give lovely enlargements.
Flash is no problem as all but a few have flash connection, but of course a focal plane shutter will have a limit to the speed at which you can use flash.
A camera such as a Bronica, which has the advantage of interchangeable lenses and backs will be out of your price range if in half decent condition.
I'm one of the few here who has a Kiev 60, and I really like it. It is, however big and heavy so that's an important factor to bear in mind. Actually, I have two bodies, one bought from Arax and one from Hartblei, each about 12 or so years back. Each of these suppliers modifies the camera to avoid the poor quality control that bedevilled the ones from the original manufacturer. One of mine has been completely trouble free and the other had a felt light trap refitted.

KevinAllan 1st March 2015 11:20 AM

I recently bought a Fugi GA645zi on ebay for 280 but many were priced at 400

Richard Gould 1st March 2015 12:26 PM

A Tlr should suit the OP fine, but again looking at the prices for a good one, such as Rollei, Minolta or Yaschica you will be very lucky to find in good condition for 100, If the budget was 150 to 200 then you could easily find a TLR in good condition, and if interchangable lenses are a must for a 66 then one of the Mamiya's such as the c330 TLR's mightbe an option, the top speed on these are 500, and the lenses are easy to find, and TLR's, or any camera with leaf shutter, have flash sync at all shutter speeds which make fill in flash very easy,
Richard

Argentum 1st March 2015 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevinAllan (Post 101021)
I recently bought a Fugi GA645zi on ebay for 280 but many were priced at 400

And how do you rate it as a camera? Image quality, useability etc...

DaveP 3rd March 2015 05:54 PM

I got a ga645zi last year. I bought it for alpine mountaineering. It's compact and easy to use one handed what with the motor drive, AF and AE operation. And we're talking about a gloved hand, on a 4000m peak without really stopping moving, when your heart is beating twenty to the dozen! Metering was good enough to handle shooting slide film in bright light with snow etc, as good any other camera I've used. Lens is great if a touch slow. A great camera for walk around/travel shooting. A poor choice for use tripod mounted because of a lack of an easy usable manual focus option.

big paul 13th May 2016 07:43 PM

at the moment the medium format market for Mamiya,s and pentax 645n (eBay) seems to be at a good place money wise. the last couple of months I have been looking at eBay and when things have been coming up I have been putting a bid in or making a offer I have managed to buy a Mamiya 645 afd11 two film backs four lenses two of then zooms all of them AF ,and a arsat mc 30mm 3.5 that will fit other cameras with an adaptor and all for about 1400. I was looking at a hasselbladH1 or H2 with a standard lens ,and for about 1400 I would have got a knackered old H1 or H2.also I couldn't afford to buy any Hasselblad lenses . so Mamiya and pentax AF cameras seem to offer medium format auto focus at a very reasonable price.



www.essexcockney.com

Jakecb 13th May 2016 11:41 PM

I wonder if the OP is still listening? Doubtful but I am willing to be corrected! MF auto-focus, not something I know of.

cesare 14th May 2016 05:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by big paul (Post 108317)
at the moment the medium format market for Mamiya,s and pentax 645n (eBay) seems to be at a good place money wise. the last couple of months I have been looking at eBay and when things have been coming up I have been putting a bid in or making a offer I have managed to buy a Mamiya 645 afd11 two film backs four lenses two of then zooms all of them AF ,and a arsat mc 30mm 3.5 that will fit other cameras with an adaptor and all for about 1400. I was looking at a hasselbladH1 or H2 with a standard lens ,and for about 1400 I would have got a knackered old H1 or H2.also I couldn't afford to buy any Hasselblad lenses . so Mamiya and pentax AF cameras seem to offer medium format auto focus at a very reasonable price.

www.essexcockney.com

Agreed, the mamiya 645AFD camera bodies and lenses are excellent, and can be had for sensible money. The only exceptions are the wide lenses (28 and 35mm) which seem to be very expensive compared to the other lenses. You can however fit MF mamiya 645 lenses to the AF body (no adapter required) and you obviously loose auto focus (you get a focus indicator) and the meter only works as a spot meter. Manual focus 35/3.5 lenses are sensible money, and it's one of the last things on my list to complete a lovely 645 setup!

The only downside is the mamiya 645 chews batteries, and it's not great at understanding rechargables either. Lithium AA batteries are the answer - a bit expensive, but they last well, and the reduction in weight compared to normal AAs is quite significant.

Wahiba 18th June 2017 05:01 PM

I know this thread is a bit out of date, but being a new boy and getting my posting numbers up I will offer some suggestions.

120 is so much bigger than 35mm that means a lower quality 120 camera could produce a better picture for enlarging than a 35mm trouble today is that 120 scanners are pretty expensive. However technology is at hand. I have an epson flatbed with the film scanning facility. It is set up for 35mm only. However by making ones own mask 120 film can be scanned in two passes and combined using the panoramic facility on a decent editing programme. I use Adobe Elements 7 and have had really excellent results including some 120 slide film.

for new 120 the only source now is Lomo who do some. I have the Belair which is set up for 12 x 6, 9 x6 or 6 x6. Not the greatest of lens (interchangeable) but massive magnification not required.

There are plenty of old 120s, TLRs and folders on fleabay. You do not need to spend a fortune to bet a reasonable 120 camaera.

Bill 25th June 2017 07:31 AM

Whilst we appreciate your comments on 120 cameras in general your references to scanners and methods of using them are inappropriate and totally irrelevant to this forum which is dedicated to film and DARKROOM printing. Please bear this in mind in future posts.
Thanks
Bill

Mike O'Pray 25th June 2017 04:27 PM

I wonder what the OP decided to do? While this is a very old thread, at least by FADU standards, I note that the OP has been here as recently as March this year.

It is always nice to know what the thread starter decided to do after all our advice.

Mike

GoodOldNorm 26th June 2017 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveP (Post 101122)
I got a ga645zi last year. I bought it for alpine mountaineering. It's compact and easy to use one handed what with the motor drive, AF and AE operation. And we're talking about a gloved hand, on a 4000m peak without really stopping moving, when your heart is beating twenty to the dozen! Metering was good enough to handle shooting slide film in bright light with snow etc, as good any other camera I've used. Lens is great if a touch slow. A great camera for walk around/travel shooting. A poor choice for use tripod mounted because of a lack of an easy usable manual focus option.

Snap! That is exactly what I use my Fuji for, photographing on-the-go , if it is blowing a gale I use one of my walking poles as a monopod. The lens is very sharp, I put a Moose warming polarizer on mine when using Kodak Porta 400 and set the camera to asa200. It turns the camera into a "point and shoot". The film has great "latitude". You would have to do something drastically wrong to get an exposure that was difficult to produce a good print from when using the Fuji loaded with Porta. There is no time to "faff" about on mountains especially when your mates are moaning about holding them up. At my age stopping to take a photograph is a good way of sneaking a breather.

GoodOldNorm 26th June 2017 01:12 PM

I put a Moose warming polarizer on mine when using Kodak Porta 400 and set the camera to asa200.
QUOTE
It should be asa 100 not asa 200 I allow 2 stops for the filter.:slap:

Slixtiesix 27th June 2017 05:19 AM

I would recommend a TLR for your purpose. Finding a good one for 100 GBP may be a demanding task however...
If the budget was a bit higher I would recommend a Hasselblad 553ELX.
Anyway, these cameras have shutters that only go to 1/500 sec.


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:23 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.