Medium format camera recommendation

Olivermuk

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Hi all

I'm after a recommendation of a medium format camera.

Budget about £300 and ideally something that's easy to focus and that supports easily available/affordable lenses.

I'm a long time 35mm film user and just kinda fancy playing with something else.

Not looking at doing anything with it other than playing and taking cheesy photos.

Olly
 

Peeb

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Good question. I elected to go with a Mamiya C220, equipped with the 80mm f/2.8 lens. Unless you are experienced with waist-level view finding (flipped perspective), you should also invest in an eye-level viewfinder. Warning, if you take it out in public, you are almost guaranteed to have someone strike up a conversation about your old-school camera.
 

Peeb

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dxqcanada

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If you are thinking about medium format ... I suggest go square !!!
I loved that format, since I had been shooting 35mm for the longest time.
I did have the C330 TLR, but I found the lenses cumbersome ... I switched up to the Bronica SQ-A.
Bronica SQA will be cheaper than any Hasselblad.
 

ac12

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Do you really WANT interchangeable lenses?

Generally that adds bulk and cost to the camera.
A simple TLR is generally "good enough" to play with for MF, and are more affordable.

You should budget a CLA. Those old leaf shutters can be gummed up after 40+ years of non-use, and the shutter speeds are likely not accurate. If you are lucky, the shutters are close, but how to test? You will need a shutter speed tester $$$, IF you can find one.
If you have an interchangeable lens camera, like the Bronica or Hasselblad, and maybe the Mamiya C220/330, you will have a shutter in every lens. So the total CLA cost will go up, with each lens you get.

I do not think that MF cameras are "easy" to focus, at least in comparison to a 35mm SLR. But I have not had any trouble with most of the ones that I've used. I made good use of the pop up magnifier. You get used to it after a while, and it becomes a non-issue.

The reversed left/right is one of the "problems" when using a WLF. Subject goes left, but in the WLF, the subject goes right :boggled: But like focusing, you get used to it after a while. At least the image isn't upside down, like with a LF camera.
 

cgw

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Good quality medium format gear ain't cheap any longer. Japan now seems the place where you'll find an assortment of good quality 645/6x6/6x7 system gear. Not to pour cold water on things but MF is tough to get fixed now. Once pros switched to digital well over a decade+ ago, the MF ecosystem steadily collapsed--pro labs and competent repair techs being the main casualties.

Rather than TLRs, I'd suggest newer 645 SLR system cameras from Mamiya, Pentax and Bronica. Any of these with a "normal" equivalent 70-80mm lens will give you negatives with way more resolution than a 35mm neg can deliver.
 

mrca

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I opted for a Mamiya RB67. Built like a tank...and weighs almost as much, body, back, viewfinder and a couple of lenses come in at under $800. I have some 67 backs and a 645. It's fully mechanical, no battery, so it won't suddenly become an expensive paper weight. The 5 element lenses produce stunning bokeh and micro contrast.
 

Peeb

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I opted for a Mamiya RB67. Built like a tank...and weighs almost as much, body, back, viewfinder and a couple of lenses come in at under $800. I have some 67 backs and a 645. It's fully mechanical, no battery, so it won't suddenly become an expensive paper weight. The 5 element lenses produce stunning bokeh and micro contrast.
That camera seems over the origial poster's budget, but I've often considered getting an RB. I believe I recall that @480sparky has (or had) an RB67.
 

Soocom1

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The price of MF film cameras have gone through the roof.
I suspect something is up in that arena with supply super short and especially in the ebay market seems rather thin in the US.

Regardless, I would recommend a 645 system to start out.
Lenses are widely available and massively diverse.
start with an 80mm and poss. a 150 mm lens of some kind.

The TLR's are fine but stay away from the older stuff like the Minolta autocords only because they have few available parts and repair and are of an age where things break easily.

Just IMO.
 

mrca

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I agree. A 645 has a substantial increase in resolution and tonal transitions over 35 mm but is still easily hand held. 864 area vs 2,700. The 67 is 4200. My rb67 needs a back pack to lug it around and a strap to help support it's weight. You also get 16 shots per roll instead of 10. If you are having your film developed and scanned by a lab that reduces cost per shot from $3 to $1.80. The beauty of the RB is I have both 67 and 645 backs.
 

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