help me... with research on Contax 645

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by melissam, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. melissam

    melissam TPF Noob!

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    I currently own a Canon Rebel 2000 -and would like to move up to medium format for improved "portrait" quality. I am amateur, only taken 1 general photography class, have many guides and books on manuel functions of cameras, understand ( to some degree) aperature and fstops and shutter speeds etc,

    Thinking of purchasing a Contax 645 --

    First off, is this camera have the automatic functions of my current SLR, I have read some on it and understand this camera does not have fast shutter speeds (which is fine) since I would keep my rebel around for those "candid" or event shots... , can little ole "non-pro" me work it?

    I know these are pricy, but it would be worth the money if it will help with improved quality of my pictures.. I understand a lot comes from lighting etc... which I plan to get to eventually, but for those outside lighting opportunities, will this camera be a considerable improvement over my current 35mm SLR?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated...
     
  2. Walt

    Walt TPF Noob!

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    Medium format does give you better tonal range and obviously better enlargments.
    Before commiting huge dollars for the Contax you may try picking up a used Pentax 645. They are automated and you can usually find one for a reasonable price. Not to mention extra lenses are a lot cheaper.
     
  3. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    The shutterspeed isn't going to hinder your ability to shoot candids. shutterspeeds of 1/500 are more than enough to capture moving people. Pentax, bronica and mamiya all make very affordable 645 systems.
     
  4. melissam

    melissam TPF Noob!

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    Okay, so should I be re-considering Pentax or Maimya?? the reason I "shyed" (if that is a word) away from Pentax, was that it didnt seem to be substantially cheaper... and there were no additional backs available.. I was thinking LONG TERM of possibly adding a digital back (or enjoying the possibility).... granted that would be so far off with the costs as they are... but nonetheless... sill a cool option...

    I am considering a used camera to cut costs as well...

    Are the Pentax 645, Maimya 645 and Contax 645 ALWAYS automatic (not a "special" code I should be looking for.. and with an outfit.. does that make the camera "complete" and ready to be used?

    I'm so new to all the extra pieces of Med Format....

    for example-- what are prisms, b/i/ellows(sp?) etc????

    Also should I be going with the outfit that includes a 80mm lens or should I consider the body with a 50mm lens instead?
     
  5. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Well if you're going to shoot portraits a 50mm is going to be too wide to do any tight cropping. Even the 80mm will distort if you move too close to the subject. For portraits you should be shooting with a 135mm and above.

    As far as autofocus goes, I believe your choices are Mamiya and Contax.
     
  6. Walt

    Walt TPF Noob!

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    The Pentax is not always on auto. I suggested that one because you can get a used one in very good condition and if you find you don't want to stay with medium format you can recoup your investment. The 75mm lense that usually comes with it is the "normal" lense. A 50mm lense on a 645 camera is a wide angle. The pentax comes with the prism finder built in. Some medium format cameras come with a waist level finder and you have to buy the prism finder extra. These type require the extra prism for the light meter and auto functiuons.
    Check around Ebay for what's out there plust there should be some sites on the web that give you an overview about medium format.
     
  7. melissam

    melissam TPF Noob!

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    Okay, I can focus manually, but its the setting the exposure that will screw me up,,, I mean, I would love to get more practice (that would be great for a digital camera actually so you could see instantly what you've done correctly or incorrectly...

    And I know I look like the lazy photographer that wants to get all this knowledge without really "working" at it.. heheheh... I've taken one class, but with two children under 5 years and a full time job, it leaves little time for those "selfish" activities, so if I can pay the extra $ to get better results, I will do that. I just dont want to get hosed by spending $ on something that isnt for me.....

    so for a closeup of an individual (portraits) maybe a nice tight headshot, I should be using 135mm lens? and for a group I would need a 50mm? do I have this right...
     
  8. photobug

    photobug TPF Noob!

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    No idea where you live, but most major cities have photography stores that rent equipment.

    It's a way to try-before-you-buy.

    Worth a shot.
     
  9. ksmattfish

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

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    I second the "try before you buy". If you're going to invest a lot of money in a system, you better pick the right one. I would attempt to learn more about MF in general through web searches and books.

    You might find it beneficial to start off in MF with a cheaper, vintage camera. There are numerous MF options ranging from less than $100 to several hundred, and more such as Rollei or Yashica TLRs and Agfa and Zeiss folders. These cameras will not have all the features of the MF cameras you have mentioned, but they can take a very fine photograph, and cost a lot less. Probably teach you a thing or two also. One thing I like about my vintage MF cameras is that they are small compared to modern MF cameras. These may not be appropriate for "professional" jobs, but you could do your own work and practice a bit for cheap.

    Do your research, because even with today's cheap prices on used MF gear, a major name brand MF SLR in good shape, with standard accessories (like a film back and a waist level finder), a standard lens, and a close-up portrait lens is going to cost you $1000.

    Also there are interesting pro MF cameras that are rangefinders instead of SLRs. It makes them a little smaller, still bigger than a 35mm SLR. Fuji and Mamiya make them.

    Have you had the opportunity to look at prints from 6x4.5cm shots vs 35mm, or even 6x7cm shots? You don't want to spend a lot of moola, and then a year later decide that you wished you'd bought a 6x6 or 6x7 system.
     

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