Medium Format noob

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by ajmall, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. ajmall

    ajmall TPF Noob!

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    Like many of you I have been 35mm since the start but am now thinking of getting to know the basics of medium format photography. I've had a brief read on cameras.co.uk to get some understanding about what medium format does, lenses, film etc. but would like your suggestions on the best 3-5 medium format cameras for a beginner. If you could let me know rough prices (new and used) I would be grateful.
     
  2. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You can always start with a TLR camera, most of them are cheaper than the SLRs. Such cameras are:

    Yashica D (about $60 to $100 on Ebay)
    Yashicamat (a litle more than the above on Ebay)
    Mamyia C2 (this TLR has interchangeable lenses, about $120 to $150 on Ebay)

    *the above are 6x6 format

    You can also look into a good folding RF medium format like:

    Zeiss Super Ikonta B, 6x6 (about $150 on Ebay)
    Zeiss Super Ikonta A1, 6x4.5 (about $175 to $250 on Ebay)
    Zeiss Super Ikonta C, 6x9 (about $200 to $250 on Ebay)
    Kodak Monitor, 6x9 on 620 film, you can manually respool the 120 film on these babies if you have a 620 roll (about $50 to $75 on Ebay)

    Others to consider:

    Koni Omega, 6x7 (don't know the prices on this)


    Just make sure to check whether the seller has a good return policy.
     
  3. ajmall

    ajmall TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the info.

    can you explain what the numbers mean on the film types (120 etc?), please. also, what's a TLR camera? never heard of that term!
     
  4. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    TLR=twin lens reflex. These cameras have two lenses, one for the veiwfinder, and one with the shutter.

    Google has lots of great stuff about these cameras.
     
  5. ksmattfish

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

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    What kind of photography are you doing? What are your subjects? What is your budget?

    120 film is the standard medium format film these days. 220 is the same size, but the roll is twice as long. Some cameras can use both 120 and 220 size film, some can only use 120.

    620 film is an obsolete format, but the film size is the same as 120. Only the spool that the film goes on is slightly different. There are a lot of 620 cameras that go cheap, because it's hard to find 620 film, but with a little effort/modification they'll work with 120 size film.
     
  6. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    I thought 120 was a square neg, and 220 was a neg like a rectangle and the single photo was twice the length of 120? But I guess I was just listening wrong.
     
  7. ksmattfish

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

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    It's the camera that decides the size and shape of the image frame on the film. Common sizes, in centimeters, are 6x4.5, 6x6, and 6x7. Less common sizes are 6x8, 6x9, 6x12, and 6x17cm. Most cameras do one size, for instance a Pentax 67II does 6x7 (surprise!), but some cameras are able to shoot multiple sizes. Some of the old folders can do 6x4.5 and 6x9.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On medium format cameras that use film backs, try to work in a couple or more film backs into the deal ( and hopefully save in the process ). Shooting with my pentax 645 with 120 backs I typically get 15 shots per roll. Those 15 shots seems to go by quick and changing the roll out in the field in the middle of a shoot is very cumbersome. Made me wish I had a few more backs preloaded and ready to go.
     
  9. binglemybongle

    binglemybongle TPF Noob!

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    Just to let you know ajmall, Ive just bought a Rolleicord Vb at weekend from ebay.

    It cost £65 (~$120) and its in really good condition. Optics are clean, not a scratch on the case. Just need to run a roll through it to make sure but im quite confident.

    You can go cheaper and more expensive depending on condition. This is quite late in the Rollei range of TLRs (by my understanding - i can be corrected) but personally i think its going to be ideal to start off with.

    Has all you need (a shutter and lens cover is about it to be honest!). You will need to get a seperate light meter but you can pick these up for peanuts as well.

    I also looked at a Yashicamat and the Yashicamat 124g (this has a rudimentary light meter but from advice i have been told this is only an estimation and shouldnt be relied on too heavily). 124g have been my preference but I was too eager and didnt see any coming up for my price range.

    Also have a look for later Rolleiflex 2.8 and 3.5 models.
     
  10. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    The light meter on my Yashicamat124G has been spot on so far. I have about 15 rolls through it.
     
  11. binglemybongle

    binglemybongle TPF Noob!

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    Easy there tiger!

    I was in no way putting the camera down. I was just passing on what i hoped was useful information. I had been advised that it wasn't very good but now i stand corrected.

    I make a full and unequivocal apology. Forgive me.
     
  12. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    Haha, no offense here. I love my 'Mat. I was just trying let you know that what "people say" isn't always entirely true.
     

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