MF Cameras

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by mrsid99, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I'm starting to think about MF cameras and I'm leaning towards the 645 format, I like the idea of auto-focus with the option of aperture and shutter priority so the next consideration is what camera is the best bang for the buck?
    I've looked at the Pentax 645 and it seems OK but the range of available lenses seems limited or is it that I haven't looked too hard?
    Any thoughts/input would be most welcome.
    Sid.
     
  2. ksmattfish

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

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    I think that if you are coming to medium format from a 35mm or digital point of view it can seem like there isn't as good of a lens selection available. For sure they don't make a lot of super long focal length lenses for medium format gear, and you usually don't have other brands making the lenses for the camera systems (only Pentax lenses for Pentax cameras, only Zeiss lenses for Hassy, no Sigma, Tokina, Tamaron, etc...). But I think you'll find that there are lenses that can cover pretty much anything you want to do.

    http://www.pentaximaging.com/products/cameras/lenses/pentax_645nii/index.jsp

    I've never used an AF medium format SLR, but I hear that it tends to be a lot slower than with 35mm or digital.

    Most modern medium format SLRs have a variety of metered viewfinders to choose from; some offer the exposure modes you mention.
     
  3. ksmattfish

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

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    Why are you interested in medium format?

    What would your subject matter mostly be?

    When would you be using a medium format camera?
     
  4. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    When the mood takes me.

    It's also highly likely that I'll want to digitize the negs so any thoughts on how to do it?
     
  5. ksmattfish

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

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    All of your answers lead me to suggest a larger format than 6x4.5, in particular 6x7. 6x4.5 is about compact size (for medium format), speed of operation, and economy (more photos per roll), which is all great for weddings and commercial portrait work. A 6x7 camera won't be too much bigger, but the film area per photo is almost twice the area of 6x4.5; that's twice as much detail. There are no AF 6x7 cameras that I am aware of, but you can get various metering and exposure modes in most of the modern SLRs.

    I scan my medium format negs with a flatbed scanner that has a film drawer. The bigger then neg, the better it works. I went with the flatbed model because it's a 1/3 or less of the price of a film only medium format scanner.

    In 6x7 there is the Pentax 6x7, 67, and 67II. There isn't much difference between the 6x7 and the 67; you would want one with the mirror lock-up feature. I have a 67II; it's really nice. These cameras are designed like 35mm SLRs on steroids.

    Then there is the Mamiya RB (mostly mechanical) and RZ (mostly electronic). I don't know a lot about these. They have removeable film backs. They are kind of big.

    There are several 6x7 rangefinders: Mamiya and Fuji. And there are a few vintage options.
     
  6. spike000

    spike000 TPF Noob!

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    The RB & RZ are huge beasts but excellent quality.

    If you are looking at the 645 then the Mamiya 645 is a solid camera with reasonable autofocus however - as has been previously mentioned the autofocus is much slower than with 35mm. I find that the AF is useful as a guide but then 'touch up' your shot with a bit of Manual Focussing.

    645 is magazine cover format but remember to use it upright to get the most useful shots (most magazines are upright!).

    If you are looking at 67 then the Pentax 67 is certainly the easiest to handhold as it looks like a large 35mm SLR and handles very similarly.

    Auto exposure is ok on these cameras but again not as reliable as a 35mm SLR. You will be better off with a Lightmeter of some form to assist with getting the exposure exact.

    I can safely say that trannies you shoot are much much much better from a larger format camera and that once you have used one you are unlikely to ever take a 35mm landscape again!


    Spike
     
  7. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Thanks for your input folks and I apologize for not replying sooner, it's going to be that way for the next few weeks until I get situated.
    One question, on the 645 format, I assumed the 4.5 dimension was vertical but after thinking about it I suppose it's normally in the horizontal because the film dimension is 6cm vertically by whatever length it is.
    So the suggestion to hold the camera vertically makes sense because the shots will then be 4.5 in height and 6 wide or have I got it all screwed up?
    Thanks again folks.
    Sid.
     

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