Medium Format Newb

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by bigfatbadger, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    I'd like to start using medium format, so far the closest I've got is a holga, which, while being great, I don't think is going to prepare me for using other medium format cameras!

    Has anyone got any reccomendations? The budget is fairly tight, but if I buy something I'd like what I learn on it to be generalisable to other MF cameras.

    Any suggestions appreciated!

    Cheers
    Jon
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll assume that you mean a really tight budget, much closer to $US200 than $US2K.

    There are a lot of old twin lens reflex cameras available. The Yashicamats and Minolta Autocords are capable of giving good service. The cost is not great. Either one will give you a chance to learn something about ground-glass composition. You'll also need a good exposure meter. A Luna Pro, fitted with a battery adapter, will serve you well -- about $US80.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    TLRs aren't the only way to go (and some are also massively overvalued on Ebay); MF SLRs are dropping in price too.
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I began shooting with a rolliecord many many years ago. There is little difference in the actual use of med format than in 35mm the apertures work the same the shutter speeds are the same except.......

    With some med format you get real shutters not focal plane. Leaf (real) shutters sync with strobe at any speed making them ideal for fill flash. They tend to be a bit slower but heck life is a trade off.

    Setting the exposure is just like in 35mm...

    composing is just knowing your format ie.. in 35mm if you are shooting for 8x10 you leave a little on each end and you turn the camera for verticle. In 6x6 you compose it either side to side or top to bottom depending on which you want. You don't have to swing the camera but alas in the 6c4.5 you do.

    I would not buy a bellows type camera as a first med format. Twin lens as good as you can afford.... slr 645 if you have the bucks. slr 6x6 if you have a trust fund... take a look at the rollie as well as the yashicas I have seen some go for around a hundred bucks on ebay but those cameras are rising in price all the time. Funny the med format slr (so called) pro ones are falling at the same time) good luck. I liked the minolta tlr (twin lens reflex) 220 and 330 there was a 33 and even a 3 model that were great. The 220 and 330 actually came with interchangable lenses im not sure about the others. I had the 220 and if it didn't give you a hernia it was a great camera.

    YOU WILL LOVE MED FORMAT even if you only shoot it a while. It is an exerience no photographer should miss.
     
  5. tasman

    tasman TPF Noob!

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    I just started with medium format and picked up a Bronica 645 camera for under $350US on ebay. There are other ones that might go for less, you have to be at the right palce at the right time to get a deal on ebay.
     
  6. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    Do many of these cameras have light meters? I mean, i'm guessing the MF SLR's do, but I'd be lucky to get a TLR with one right?
     
  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depends. The earlier TLR's didn't have them. Many of the later ones did. I suggest to you that you will still prefer to have a separate meter.

    Scenario: the camera is set up on a tripod, focussed. The scene has been composed. You wish to make a last check of the brightest and the darkest parts of the field. Separate meter -- piece of cake. Camera-based meter -- not so easy.
     
  8. j_mcquillen

    j_mcquillen TPF Noob!

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    A Bronica ETRSi (645 SLR type camera) is a good start - a simple manual camera, but built to last, with top quality lenses (leaf shutter, so you can flash-sync at any speed) and a range of accessories (waist level finders, prisms etc) available. Plus you can get them dirt cheap - around £300 to £400 for a good quality used camera, with 75mm lens, 120 back and WLF or Prism :wink:
     
  9. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    Would have to agree with the previous posts, either a Mamiya or Bronica 645 is a good way to go. The problem with twin lens reflexes is they have fixed lens, and as you are viewing through a seperate lens are not accurate when shooting close-ups. The larger medium formats are great [RB's,Hasselblad, etc] but are more costly to run and are a lot larger. The 645's are just like using a 35mm, but a bit larger and with the advantage of interchangeable lenses and accessories. Due to the digital revolution, the prices are more than reasonable second hand.
     
  10. ThomThomsk

    ThomThomsk TPF Noob!

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    I'm just a few months ahead of you with MF Jon. I bought a Bronica ETRSi and was so impressed that I got a second one in mint condition, as a kind of insurance.

    I like the 645 format, but then I mostly do landscape. Turning a 645 SLR on its side and trying to use the waist level finder will just give you a crick in the neck, so you would want a prism finder if you like shooting in portrait format, and in the case of the Bronicas the prisms have a meter in them. I mostly use a spotmeter anyway, so the lack of a meter in the camera doesn't matter to me.

    The main reason I went for the SLR is the removable backs. Want to switch films mid roll? No problem, just buy a spare back or two.
     
  11. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I've mentioned it a couple of times in other threads, but I think a Fuji GW690III or something similar would be worth looking at, though probably more expensive that some of the other choices. I don't know what they are going for these days. 6x4.5 is larger than 35mm, but I feel like if I'm going to being using MF, I want to try and make full use of it. 6x9 is a really nice sized neg.
     
  12. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Sorry to be pedantic but aren't those Mamiyas? Minolta made the Minoltaflex, Minoltacord and Autocord TLRs. AFAIK they were all Rollei copies, but very good ones from what I hear. I found a mid-50s Autocord at a decent price and am waiting for it to arrive.

    I'll let you know what the Minolta's like in a few days, in the meantime I can recommend any Yashica Mat with a Yashinon lens (or even a Yashikor if it's going cheap). The 124/124G are the most sought after, but considering the silly price they usually go for on Ebay (some nearly £200) you'd probably be better going for an earlier model, which is likely to be just as good. The Mamiyas already mentioned have a very good reputation, though I haven't used one myself. AFAIK they're the only TLRs with interchangeable lenses, and also differ from most by using bellows. By the way the problem with the viewing lens not accurately representing the final image in close-ups can be fixed with a paramender (though they may not be particularly cheap)

    Advantages of TLRs over a 6x4.5 SLR include obviously the larger, square negative size, plus the lack of mirror slap (which can affect those med format SLRs without mirror lock-up). The disadvantages of a TLR include not being able to switch films mid-roll, with the exception of the Mamiyas you can't change lenses, and the reversed image on the waist-level finders takes a lot of getting used to (at least it does for me; apparently some people have no problem adapting). Then again a TLR is cheaper. Of course if you want the square negative but the features of an SLR you can get a 6x6 SLR, which like their 6x4.5 equivalents are going incredibly cheap second-hand.
     

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