4x5 or medium format.

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by darry85, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. darry85

    darry85 TPF Noob!

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    52B896DB-DA42-47CB-97BA-097F3AE37F08.jpeg 389F87C2-4936-4C55-9996-171A982F09A4.jpeg 768DDCDC-73C8-4117-AFE6-8955CF0FDF8D.jpeg 1AE88008-F81F-45E9-8B39-AABBC7A96DAB.jpeg

    This is some of the work I do currently.

    So I’m looking for a decent medium format or 4x5 camera. I don’t want to spend more than $600. I was thinking of a rb67, but I heard they’re a pain to operate. I was also thinking of working in 4x5, but can’t make up my mind. Any suggestions of a camera or thoughts on the rb67? I was thinking of getting the intrepid 4x5.


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    I have both an RB67 and a couple of 4x5s. Each has their advantages.

    120 roll film is much easier to find and have developed locally if I want to shoot color. I can develop 120 and 4x5 b&w at home, though.

    120 scanners are fairly common and low-priced. Not so much for 4x5.

    The RB is quirky, but you get used to it. It's a very mechanical device with lots of foolproof contrivances on it. 4x5.... well... you're pretty much released from that constraint.

    In all, however, if I'm gonna be lugging a bunch of heavy gear around, I'd go 4x5. Specially if frames-per-second isn't going to be an issue.
     
  3. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Bronica SQ-Ai for the medium format, it's a little heavy but built well. You should be able to find a nice one with an 80mm lens in your budget. You could also get a lens / board, holders, and a new Intrepid 4 x 5 camera within your budget.
     
  4. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You heard right -- an RB67 is a pain to operate, but then that pretty much goes for any medium format camera. One thing about pain though is it's very relative. So for example any medium format camera is less pain to operate than a 4x5. You can at least load film in a medium format camera out in the field -- not so much with a 4x5. Most medium format cameras can be used without a tripod -- not so much a 4x5. An extra roll or two of medium format film can be stuck in a pocket -- not so much a 4x5.

    Joe
     
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  5. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thoughts:

    Medium format:

    With any MF system EXCEPT the Pentax and first Gen. Mamiya 645, most can be adapted to digital.

    The RB 67 is nice because it can hold backs from 35mm to 6x8. It is versatile and has a rotating back. Any Hasselblad will have a 6x6 square back so rotation is not necessary.
    glass for all hassys will be pricey. Glass for Mamiya, Pentax, Contax, Bronica and others will be far cheaper.

    Unless your a glutton for punishment, avoid the Russian Kiev 88, Kiev 88CM and Salyut cameras. They are near exact copies of the old Hassy 1000 but are not as well made.
    The glass however is very much usable and with adapters, can be put to any modern SLR. The Kiev 88CM are newer design with the Petakon 6 mounts which are different from the older Hassy 1000 mounts. That is a different mount from the Hassy V mount system BTW.

    The RZ67 is a fine system though more pricey. Uses similar glass as the RB and is forward compatible with the RB 67 glass.

    If you go the speed Grafex route or TLR keep in mind that the Mamiya, Minolta and Rolly cameras are the best (though not in that order). The Grafex 2x3 and Speed Graplex are good cameras provided that you watch the bellows and the sort.
    Avoid Holga unless you like to get drunk.

    Med. format has some nice abilities and the overall image quality will slam dunk 35mm hands down.

    Large Format:

    Large format is for those who like to go slow. The images are far superior to anything else and are a total joy to view when completed.

    Brands to use are almost anyone because cheap 4x5 is an open invitation to not having a market. The crowd who plays with LF are typically going to either have ALTO of money or NO money (because they spend it all on the camera.)

    Toyo, Horseman, Calumaet, or almost any other brand is fine, BUT, (speaking from experience here) if you go with an older Calumet CC400 though a fine and very usable camera, does not like anything under 110mm in lens FD.

    With a newer Toyo or such, you can mount a 60mm with no issue and if really brave, a 50 or under lens with a bag bellows.
    A VERY STOUT tripod is in order and a SOLID understanding of camera movements is in order.


    Tripod is also recommended for landscape MF.

    LF (from 4x5 to whatever size) is fun but time consuming so don't plan on shooting sports events.

    Getting 4x5 film processed (if color) can be a pain given many color labs simply don't exist anymore. Unless you like to brew your own and go both B&W and C41 processing.
    E-6 (transparency) is difficult but not impossible. And can yield some spectacular results.
    but understand that with LF light behaves much differently because you can move both the front AND rear standard on a L:F camera changing the FD AND distance to subject. This is no small issue.

    Read up on LF and I seriously recommend getting books on the subject.
    I am currently reading (for the 3rd time) "A user's Guide to the View Camera" by Jim Stone. (this book was published in 1987) so the information may seem a bit dated but is totally relevant.

    Glass for a LF is a horse of a different color. You need to understand how LF glass operates and angle of view and the like and understand that even though you can get good deals on LF glass, "good deal" in cost is relative. A "good deal" may mean that what is normally a $1500 lens is selling for $400. The same is true for many other lenses but its personified with LF.

    If you get into LF remember you will also need a dark bag, dark cloth and film holders.

    LF is fully capable of being adapted to digital with ALOT of aspects I wont go over. But can be VERY fun especially with the movements.

    Its a bit laborious but REALLY fun!
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have owned a couple of Bronica SQ-A-series cameras since the 1990's and the late mid-2000's. Reliable. Simple. Plenty of lenses, backs with inserts. Very easy to use, not so "mechanically clunky' as the RB/RZ series. Each lens has its own Seiko interlens shutter. Metered or non-metered. Half-speeds with the metered prism.

    This is natively a 6x6 or square format camera, but 645, 35mm and 35mm panoramic format magazines were made. Stick with 120 format, not 220...
     
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  7. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If an RB is too much of "a pain," I don't think you'll like using a 4x5.


    .
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think there is a lot of confusion when people talk about the Mamiya RB 67 ,which I feel was designed to be a studio camera, and not a Hand and Stand shooter. In my opinion, the RB67 is really a studio camera, designed to be shot off of a tripod, and seldom hand held. The Hasselblad, The Bronica,and the various models from Pentax were much better for handheld use. Lighter, ergonomically "different", and lacking in some of the features that the RB possessed, these other cameras had different niches.
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I once worked at a Seattle family portrait studio that used the RB67, and it is at first glance an intimidating machine, but after a short while, you get used to its made-in-Japan kludgyness. it really is not that much different than most 120 rollfilm SLRs. Shootin' 4x5 you have all those wonderful camera movements!
     
  10. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Derrel is correct that the RB was set up as a studio and/or positional camera (stationary on tripod).

    The hassys and 645 range cameras were the "field" cameras.

    They were the natural evolution of the older TLRs.

    But IMO they are only as intimidating as one wants them to be.
    No more than figuring out all the menus on a modern digital.
     
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  11. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Back in the mid 1980's I wanted a larger format than my Mamiya 645 cameras, I thought about an RB67 but decided to get a 5x4 Wista 45DX instead a decision I've never regretted.

    These days I also use a,Super Graphic which is great for hand held work, I have a 6x9 roll film back but haven't used it for quite a few years. I also carry a TLR, I shoot to format and don't crop and like the square format for some images.

    Ian
     
  12. unpopular

    unpopular Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    FUJI GX680!!!!!! Let me live vicariously through you!

    Seriously, though. In your case it might actually make sense. It's definitely going to be a pain like RB67 (probably an even bigger pain, actually), but if you're interested in large format the GX680 has some useful movements. I mean, if you're even thinking 4x5 you should just put asaid your "Pain to Use" preconception! Large format is a pain, there's just no getting around that.

    If you're wanting something a little more user friendly, then 645 might be a better format. Anything in 6x7 will be pretty bulky aside from something like a Mamiya 7, Plaubel Makina. I'd suggest a Mamiya Press or Universal, or a Koni-Omega but they're ergonomics are pretty awful. IDK. Maybe the later Universals wouldn't be so heavy?

    I definitely second the Wista or a TLR. the Mamiya TLRs always inspired me.

    I'd avoid a monorail, maybe a medium format monorail would be better, but yeah, I used to think I'd like to use a monorail just for all the movements, but they're pretty annoying to set up and carry around.
     

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