Help! I've got this new MF itch.

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by dgs, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. dgs

    dgs TPF Noob!

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    A funny thing happened on my journeys through digital . . . I'm shooting a bit of film again. And for some totally insane reason I find myself lusting after a Mamiya 645.

    I have a perfectly good Speed Graphic I very rarely pull out and use as a view camera. So I don't even have an excuse for needing a 120 roll film fix. I don't need it and am no doubt incompetent to use it.

    I digress . . . The questions for you learned gray beards are:

    1. Is there a better choice in MF slr than the Mamiya? What should I be looking for as I peruse eBay and pawn shops? Which 645 iteration is recommended?

    2. Can anyone steer me to an affordable scanner that will handle 120 as well as 35mm negs?

    My thanks as I await answers to yet another of life's perplexing questions.
    :hail:
     
  2. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In regards to the scanner, what do you consider "affordable". Dedicated film scanners capable of 120 is pretty darn expensive. Flatbeds will be your only other choice which only a select few are known to produce good negative scanning results.
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    1. There are few 645 options. Mamiya has the giant market share, Pentax is #2 in that format. Either are excellent. Bronica, when it was alive, made a 645 as well. In 6X6 You can choose Hasselblad or Rollei. In 6X7 you are back to Mamiya and Pentax. In 6X9, Fuji is the main player.

    Personally, I consider the Mamiya RZ67 to be the best medium format camera system ever made. The major reason is that it handles focusing like a view camera so the lenses do not have a focusing mechanism of their own. That makes them very sharp and well corrected. The lens designers can really get things right when nothing moves in the lens. The others aren't shabby, of course. They are, in fact, excellent. The RZ is just in a class by itself because of the view camera-like lenses. You can buy RZ's for unbelievable prices on Ebay - or any of the others, for that matter.

    2. The Epson photo scanners will handle medium format. You can get them for around $200 at the local office super store.
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Decent flatbeds designed to scan film (some from Epson or Canon) can do a fairly good job with 120 film, but in my experience the included film holders don't always hold the film totally flat, so you may need to improvise an appropriate film holder for your negative size. Also you'll need to play around with the software a bit (and possibly try another software solution like VueScan) in order to get the most out of it.
     
  5. dgs

    dgs TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, folks, your input is helpful.
     
  6. ThomThomsk

    ThomThomsk TPF Noob!

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    When I sold my digital gear I bought a couple of Bronica ETRSis with the proceeds. Generally they seem cheaper on eBay than the Mamiyas, probably because they are no longer made, although servicing should still be possible through Tamron (who owned Bronica) or independent repair shops. Anyway, I bought two quite late model cameras so I had my own spares if the worst came to the worst, but I doubt I'll be in that position because they are so well made. If you go for one of these, make sure it has the PE series lens, and check the serial number with the seller - mine are around 838**** and I estimate they are less than 5 years old.

    My only doubt now is whether 645 is big enough. The difference in quality from 35mm is still remarkable, but I do wonder if I should have gone for 6x7 instead. On the other hand, I mostly do landscape, and a 645 is relatively portable.

    Thom
     
  7. Rusty_Tripod

    Rusty_Tripod TPF Noob!

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    Did you say you don't need the Speed Graphic? That sounds like a good starting point. Nevertheless, I fully understand the attraction to the Mamiya. I am not at that point yet. I drool over the idea of the Speed Graphic because I am from the generation in which they were used for school photographs and newspapers. Perhaps, I am an aficianado of Weegee!

    Rusty Tripod
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You might look into a vintage 6x4.5 or 6x6 folder. That's medium format that will fold up and fit in your pocket. I've never used a 6x4.5 model, but I love my 6x6 and 6x9 models. Folded up they are like a fat wallet. Smaller than any 35mm SLR.
     
  9. myopia

    myopia TPF Noob!

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    what are u refering to?


    my mamiya 645 just landed on my doorstep. still have not loaded it with film or figured out where the iso/asa setting dial is. lol. i am excited none the less.
     
  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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  11. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I improved my flatbed scanners sharpness by two fold simply by chucking the film holder. I covered part of the bed with a piece of poster board then cut a bit of plexiglass. Sanded it with emery paper to make a ground glass effect. Put my negative right onto the glass used the plex to hold it down and move it against the bit of poster board to make sure it was straight. I love the scanner now, but am not sure I dont want a dedicated 35 film scanner as well. I like the flat bed i have because it will do various film sizes up to five by seven.

    I tried vue scan and it probably is the best, but I bought silver pilot. Before you buy silver pilot get the demo and work with it. Darn little program has some neat features. For one thing since it zeros out the film base, rather than use stock filters, in theory you can use any film or even old faded films.

    Also you can load several different skin tones samples and overlay them on your shot till you find one you like. You have to use it to know what I'm talking about.

    From the scanning I've done so far I can tell you, the better the negative the better the scan. There is a lot of tolerance in scanning film but still it works best with a good negative.

    The scanner is a plustek 48t or something like that. cost a hundred bucks with a twenty buck rebate (Which i haven't gotten yet)
     
  12. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    when you buy a folder be careful the bellows may well be rotten. I have had miserable luck with them most wind up being sacrificed for the lens. It got so I only bought them with plans to take the lens off and use it on a polaroid 250 body because the bellows usually had leaks.

    There are however some quick fixes but I never found one that I liked. Still I love the idea of the folder with range finder. Ansco had couple but dont drop them. Yes I dropped one.
     

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