Medium format woes.

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by Lackoffunding, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Lackoffunding

    Lackoffunding TPF Noob!

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    I think this thread will fit about 90% of the threads in here.

    I want to get into medium format. I currently shoot with a 5d, an old A1, and I want to get something a little different. Here are my questions...

    -Is medium format worth it? What differences will I notice between say, a rb67 and a 5d/A1? (aside from weight)

    -Is an rb67 what I am looking for? I know it is cheap, as my budget is about 300 bucks. I want to shoot basically what is in my flickr, plus some landscapes and portraits. www.flickr.com/gmacmt/

    -What about processing. I dont have access to a darkroom, and I dont have a ton of extra cash right now.

    -Lastly, What lens should I be looking for for general use?

    Thanks so much
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The RB67 is big and heavy (even for a MF camera) and may not be the best choice to carry around for landscape photography. If you don't mind square pictures, a Bronica SQA or SQAi is much more manageable in terms of size and weight and the lenses are very good. 80mm is the standard lens for those (equivalent to 50mm on 24x36 camera) and 50mm (equivalent to 28mm) is a good wide angle lens.

    I have never really compared colour prints from a 5D and a MF camera side-by-side by I have never seen a print from a digital camera that matches the quality of a Cibachrome print from a properly exposed slide. Same for B&W, silver prints from a MF camera have a different look compared to a digital camera and I nthink they look better. You will definitely see a difference with your A1 (more details, smoother tones and potential for bigger enlargements).

    Colour is not as easy to process as B&W, but to process B&W films you don't need a darkroom, just a changing bag a few accessories and chemicals (see here). You'll need a darkromm if you want to make prints though. BTW, you don't need a ton of extra cash to set up a darkroom. Just black out your bathroom or kitchen and buy a cheap enlarger on eBay.

    See above.
     
  3. Orgnoi1

    Orgnoi1 TPF Noob!

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    There are quite a few low-dollar-high-quality MF rigs out there... choosing will probably be just as hard as when you decided to go with your 5D... maybe harder as film is much more of a "lost art"....

    I can vouch for Mamiyas although any brand will give you exactly the same results given comparable glass... if you are interested in the RB maybe even take a look at the 645 models as well... slightly smaller negative but the results will still astound you... the 645 lenses will go like this from ultra wide to normal... 35, 45, 55, 70, 80 and if you are mainly into landscapes you should stick with the more wide... all of which will give you great images..
     
  4. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I second the M645j or sister systems from Mamiya. I had two Mamiya M645j bodies, and a slew of Sekor C lenses, 45 (wide), 80 (normal), 150 (long) and 210 (telephoto). They felt and worked great. I had a prism finder attachment but would have preferred a waist level view finder. Could never afford one when I could find one and could never find one when I could afford it. So I never got one. First thing you'll notice, as you pointed out, 'Dude, there's actually something in my hands.' Yeah, they're big. But beautiful. Have a good tripod, not a flimsy digicam thing either. The 645 bodies are cheap but the glass isn't so be prepared for that. And I got all of my gear over the years from eBay so that IS a good source for gear. Especially www.shutterblade.com an eBay store that sells oodles of film photography gear.
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Medium format values are astonishing right now. You can get beautiful equipment in your price range that you would not have been able to touch even 5 years ago. Continue to do your studying and enjoy the search.

    The RB is a cannonball. ;) If you are strong and won't mind packing it around along with the added weight of 2-3 additional lenses, it will perform beautifully and give you high quality negatives. I saw from your flickr page you do like to get out and roam around, so do keep the weight factor in mind for hiking.

    645 negatives may be large enough for you and you'll certainly save some weight if you go that route. I own a Mamiya 1000S system, with a metered prism attached - and I have a deep love affair with it. Laughingly simple to use and the lenses are of excellent quality. I spent very little for a pristine body and have had fun adding lenses as I go.

    That said, my husband recently spent a whopping $150 for an older Pentax 6x7 with wooden grip and one lens (75mm), and the size of those negatives is addictive. This is another great body style that's easy to use (like an oversized 35mm) and there are tons of lenses out there to add to your system.

    I will agree with Steph - let the negative processing be the least of your worries. For under $50 these days you can get set up at home to process your own and, after a few fumbling first attempts, it's so cheap and easy you'll wonder why you waited to start saving $$! ;)

    When you consider all of the above, what it might boil down to for you is what you plan on doing to obtain prints from your beautiful negatives. If you spend this money on beautiful, high quality gear and process at home carefully, make sure you don't ultimately shoot yourself in the foot by using a cheap scanner or photo printer. :razz:

    Getting into enlarging at home carries a big fear factor for a lot of folks, but for the cost of scanner/printer/ink cartridges/paper, you could indeed set up a simple darkroom at home and put out BIG prints from those big negatives.

    You have a lot to factor in, but in answer to your first question, sure - medium format is always worth it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  6. ksmattfish

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

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    I'd make an effort to hold any medium format camera you are thinking of buying in your hands. Those Mamiya 6x7s are huge, even compared to other 6x7 cameras such as the Pentax 67.

    Will you notice a difference between 6x7 film and the 5D? Probably, but which makes nicer prints depends a lot on the photographer's skills (or the availability of good lab services if they aren't doing it themselves) and personal taste. After comparing large prints ( 20"x__" ) from the 5D I had no qualms about selling off my Pentax 67II and Hasselblad 500c/m.
     
  7. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

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    The RB isn't really that heavy, but yes, it's big. Keep in mind that this is coming from somebody that regularly shoots 8x10 (and larger from time to time) in the field.

    I have, MF wins from 8x10 up, in sheer tonality and smoothness. B&W even more so, in fact I find that using faster films (HP5 and the like) give you just enough grain to actually make the image look sharper, and give it a bit of character.

    Color is very easy to do at home, uses the same tank and reels, just need to use a water bath (I used to use the kitchen sink, with the wife's permission, though now I have an automated processor), in some ways it's easier than b&w, there's only one developer time, unless you're push processing, and it's either right or it isn't.

    erie
     
  8. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    When I got seriously into medium format about 16 years ago, I tried all of the major medium format cameras, by either renting them, or buying them, trying them, and then selling them because I wasn't happy. This took a few years.

    I finally ended up with the Pentax 6x7 with 45mm, 90mm, and 135mm lenses. It works just like a jumbo 35 SLR. Very easy to use, but big and heavy. The quality is phenomenal. Much better than Mamiya, and even better than Hasselblad because the negative is bigger. I started with the old model, which was stolen, then I got the newer model II and the new lighter lenses (the thief did me a big favor). It's still my favorite camera. And so far the best digital camera hasn't tempted me to switch.

    And with film, you get the "look" with real grain. Then, it's a simple matter to scan the negs and go right into PhotoShop.
     
  9. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    I would say the biggest differences are the increased res you'll get with the 6X7 film, and in my opinion, film itself will give you much better skin tones, never mind the near absence of blocked up highs you get with digital.
     
  10. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    I also wouldn't scoff at getting an old century graphic and a roll film back. Lenses seem to be cheaper and you'd have some movements (albeit not many).
     

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