Getting into medium format photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by NMLeakway, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. NMLeakway

    NMLeakway TPF Noob!

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    Is purchasing and using a Holga camera a good way to get into medium format photography? I know they are cheap, which is good given my present financial situation, and I like the effect the holga cameras are capable of achieving.

    so I guess what I'm asking is, would any of you recommend purchasing one of these cameras? If so, which model has worked well for you or which would you recommend? If not, what would you recommend?

    Also, this may sound like a dumb question, but what kind of film do Holga cameras take?

    I appreciate any answers/comments :mrgreen:
     
  2. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    I think Holgas are made more as toy cams than as real medium-format cameras. They are extremely cheaply made and will not give you very good quality, unless you are deliberately looking for the kind of beaten-up effect that they give. Although I've never actually used a Holga, I'm pretty certain you you would get better results with a quality 35mm camera than with a Holga. If you want to get into MF photography for the better quality of shooting on a larger film size, then you should invest more in a better-made MF camera.

    BTW Holgas use 120 / 220 film I believe, although there have been makeshift mods to them to accomodate 35mm film as well. Usually whenever anyone talks about any kind of medium format, they are referring to the 120 / 220 film size. Although I think some people regard 4x5 sheet film as in the class of medium format as well.
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you like the look of Holga images, then by all means, go pick one up. They are toys that function as cameras, so keep that in mind. ;) They take regular 120 film (which is what you'd pop into a "real" MF camera) so this is an inexpensive way to view the joys of those big negatives.

    Keep the black tape handy and tape it across the sides and back. This will help keep light leaks to a minimum, as well as keeping the back of the camera from falling off at an inopportune moment. :razz:

    Go have fun with it, learn from it and when you're really smitten with MF, you will want to explore more camera options. You'll probably always enjoy the fun little Holga no matter what else you end up with. :)
     
  4. Karalee

    Karalee hOtLiPs!

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    Also you can pick up box cameras that run medium format film for cheap too, hit the vintage area of the film cameras on ebay ;)
     
  5. Paul Ron

    Paul Ron TPF Noob!

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    There is a huge following of Holgas that make all sorts of mods to them and really have fun experimenting with these cameras pushing the envelope. BUT... don't expect too much of them, they are fragile, made of cheap plastic, leak light, and generally, are falling appart most of the time, held together with electric tape or duct tape.

    I'd recomend you get a real camera that may be a bit outdated but still built like a tank, the older Mamiya TLRs. You can still find em for around $300 with clean lenses and fully operational. Another great camera was the Yashicamat. THey can still be found for as little as $50 but may need some repairs to get em working. Most times they are DIY fixeruppers.

    Whatever you do... stay away from e-bay. Part of my photo hobby has been camera reapir of MF cameras as well as collecting. I was too poor to have my cameras serviced so I learned to do it myself. In my many years of doing this, I see too many e-bay bargains come in needing more than overdue maintenance n repairs, most times, costing more than a good working one would have cost. Watch the forum classifieds here and on PhotoNet, you'll find a better deal form people that are a bit more honest than dealers.
     
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  6. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Paul is right. Ebay can be a headache all along.

    On the thoughts of MF cameras, yes, the Mamiyas are good, Yashicas as well. Cheap MF cameras can also be found, for example, a Liubitel TLR, made in Russia can give you a taste of what's like to work with a TLR without having to spend a big amount of money. These cameras use the 120 film and are 6x6 format (also known as 2 1/4 by 2 1/4).

    You might also want to look into the 6x9 format cameras of past. Some good folding cameras such as Zeiss Super Ikontas (they cost lots of $$ though) and the Kodak Monitor series, which have a good lens and can be bought for $50-60.

    Since I'm thinking of joining in (getting my feet wet) the DSLR crowd, I might sell some of my older cameras soon to make some needed dough to buy a body. Watch the TPF want ads thread. ;)
     
  7. mox

    mox TPF Noob!

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    recently purchased a Mamiya C330f and it was not expensive at all

    On ebay you can get them for around 50-100$ and they are ready to go !

    I'd suggst you to get something like a Mamiya C3/C33/C330/C2/C22/C220.. they have interchangeables lens.. in case you want more ;)
     
  8. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    We have seen the price of Med. Format cameras drop in recent years. I believe due to the increasing resolution of DSLR's. Even Hassy's are about half there used price of about 5 years ago. Keep an eye open, you might run across a deal of a lifetime.
     
  9. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Yashica Mat 124G is worth considering. I just bought a recent mint one for £70.

    Rob
     
  10. NMLeakway

    NMLeakway TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot for the suggestions, it is appreciated.
     
  11. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    You can also consider getting a kiev with Arsat lenses. It's obviously not hassy quality optically, but the build is similar and they're pretty nice cams.
     
  12. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    Which Kiev model do you recommend, Doc?
     

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