Hello, I am getting into medium format and I was hoping to get someone who has actually worked with medium format cameras opinion, on what is a good beginner camera or what too look for. All the buyers guids expect me to afford $2400-3500 being. a student and a photo major makes that impossible for me to buy right now lol. So any help as to what brand, buying tips etc would be greatly appreciated, so far i seem to be leaning towards mamiya.
Ive been using Mamiya M645 after 35mm format. I have an 80mm f2.8, 210mm f4, prism finder and a motor drive - and em very much happy with the output given that it is an old model (1975). For you, I think you have to have this kinda unit for your first step, given that your a student in Photography, a good discipline to have a "manual camera body", in a long run, you can shift to the new model, once you have a budget.
Photography isnt just for a new and branded gear, its also a discipline of how you work on the simple gear that you have.
Jeffo, look at buying used. There are many deals out there as prople are swithching to digital.
In the past, I have used mamiya tlr's and bronica slr's. depending upon what you wish to photo, either is a good choice.
the next thing is whats better the tlr format or the ( I cant think of the name) or the format with one lens. I have heard that tlr is better for hand held
twin lens reflexes give you a square negative and therefore never have to be rotated like a 35mm or medium format single lend reflex. Either can be used hand held.But they are heavy!IMHO, these cameras are best used on a tripod or with flash. More personal choice than anything. Landscapes may be a problem for some because of the square.
With both, the image is reversed left to right unless you spring for a metering viewfinder which is an additional cost.
All the info you have been given is very good. TLR or SLR, they are different. Both make great negs, are heavy, work best on a tripod, should start out manual (you are a student), etc.
Used is quite frankly your best bet. Go to www.ebay.com and do a search for TLR camera or 645 SLR and you will see many, many cameras for sale. As one above said, digital is the current craze and lots of folks are "leaving their first love" and their outfits are for sale.
Things to look for. . .interchangeable lens (Mamiya do both in TLR & SLR), available lens (many for Mamiya are called Mamiya Sekor), type of viewer (I like the waist level, but then I am an oldtimer)are the viewers interchangeable? and a zillion other questions. Oh, and you will need a good meter. I suggest a Gossen.
LOOK, at eBay, and do not buy at the first sighting. Often you are able to pick up a complete outfit for the cost of a single camera. Lots of folks on the digital craze bandwagon. Do not expect to find a good photog magazine because all the good ones have gone digital. While looking for a camera for one of my new students (we search together, but the student has the final say on purchase), we have run across old photo books on eBay, they are always a good reference.
All around the Mamiya line of cameras are an excellent choice for ANYONE who wishes to make good photographs. But you should remember the camera only sees what the 'mind' behind it tells it to see. Oh, yeah, if the image MUST be digital, Epson makes a 4990 scanner that does a grand job of taking an image from film to digital. And it does medium format quite well.
Good luck in your pursuit in the field of photography. I am sure Mamiya will do you well.
The first medium format camera that I ever used, at the age of about 5, was a TLR. It was a fixed focus, fixed aperture Kodak Duaflex with all the capability of a modern, cheap P&S. In the 1950s, medium format was the meat and potatoes of snapshot shooting. The best brand for someone like you, a student with little money to spend on a camera, is "USED." In addition to Mamiyas, there are rangefinders such as the Koni-Omega Rapid and Konica Press cameras (6x7 format, interchangeable lenses, under $400), Various Kodak cameras (some of which were professional caliber), Minolta and Yashica TLRs (6x6 format), the Kowa 6 (interchangeable lens 6x6 SLR, cult following, under $400 for body and common lenses).
I own and use Pentax 6x7 bodies and lenses. The bodies can range from $600 to ~$1000 used and lenses are somewhat expensive, but not as expensive as new ones. The Pentax is a system camera with interchangeable finders as well as lenses. To use a flash with one, though, you need a bracket because there is no accessory shoe (cold or hot) on the body. I use $5.00 generic flash brackets to hold my flashes. The flashes must be connected to the camera with a PC cord.
Other cameras to look for, especially if you can live with a fixed focal length lens, are the Fujifilm rangefinders and Bronica SLRs and rangefinders. You might also find what you want and need in a Fuji 680 (6x8 format) or in a 645 by Pentax, Bronica, or one of the Russian brands.
I don't recommend ebay for purchasing a usable camera. No matter how sophisticated you might be, some cameras demand that you handle them before purchase. The Pentax 6x7, for instance, is like an oversized 135 format camera while others, such as the Bronicas and Mamiya SLRs are like big boxes in your hand. You should know that before you hand over your precious ducats. The Koni-Omega Rapid has a non-standard film wind that some people really love and others call a piece of $#!&. Give you local stores rights of first refusal. Help keep them in business if you can.
Well i have been comparing the tlrs to the regular single lens and it looks like im rly leaning towards the mamiya rb67. I deff like hte idea that it has a waist level finder, that was a must have in my lyst, the manual is no problem i have 35mm down from previous cameras I used when I first started photography. Plus the lense will take many of my 77mm filters from my canon L series lens's. The tlr's are nice but they are just about extinct and parts and repair could be a problem. So now it is just finding the best deal possible!
Remember that you will have to budget in a meter with the wl finder, and it is virtually impossible to get a vertical shot using a wl finder.
Having just got rid of a C220 and 3 lenses and now using an RZ, I can say that either would be a terrific choice.
The TLR will be a less costly choice now but you may want the versatility of an SLR later on. That's why I ended up getting the RZ and selling the TLR. Knowing what I paid for the TLR gear used just a few years ago and what I got for it when I sold it, I can state unequivocally that medium format gear is a bargain these days.
If you really think the SLR is the way you want to go (I'd still recommend a TLR or perhaps a press camera as an intro to the format) then I'd suggest the RZ rather than the RB. The RZ is a better body and gives you more options down the road. The RZ can take RB lenses but the RB cannot take RZ lenses. Thus, if you go with the RZ you have more options available to you. A used RZ Pro (not Pro II) can be had for about the same as an RB SD.
On either the RB or RZ the WLF will work fine for both vertical/horizontal shooting because of the rotating back these cameras have. It's unique to Mamiya (as far as I know) and it's a wonderful little feature.
As far as where to buy, eBay is fine as long as you're careful and check out the seller. Check their feedback rating and email them a couple questions to see what their responses are. Another good place is KEH. They have good prices and their product ratings are quite conservative. Customer service is excellent. I've used them a number of times and will continue to.
Yeah my budget is set at about 6-700max Im trying to find a deal that has 2 lenses the body (ofcourse) waist and prism viewfinder, the polaroid back ( Ithink that will be a usefull gadget) 120 and 220 backs and a light meter. there are a few so far but they keep reaching 800 exactly almost everytime i find one. The next one besides the mamiya is the bronica, iv been looking into them but they have so many models im sure what one is close to the rz/rb and if bronica is even worth it. Mamiya has such great responses and a very good history of how much wear and tear there cameras can take.
I having Mamiya M645 1000S, 80mm f2.8 lens if you interesting in. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a Mamiya 1000s in beautiful condition that has been used very little. It has the 80mm and 150mm lenses in perfect condition.WL finder and prism. 120 back. It performs flawlessly. I'd let it go for 675.00. you can contact me at email@example.com. I can post a photo or email you one.
I have a Mamiya TlR and a Mamiya Universal press and like them both.
I have a used Mamiya m645 in 8-9 condition. I have just purchased an RB67 Pro SD and will be listing my m645 on eBay soon. If you would like to purchase it I will send you photos of the entire system which is rather extensive. Consisting of 3 lenses, 2 finder screens, lens hoods, waist level and metered prism finders, filters etc. I take extra care of all my photo equipment and this is all in excellent shape. TCrowe
I'm no expert, but I just bought a used Mamiya 645E at the local photo shop for $400. Included the 645E body and 80MM lens. The thing was almost brand new. You can find tons of Mamiya stuff on www.keh.com at good prices, too, and I've heard nothing but good stuff from them. I have not read too much bad about the 645E. It is limited in that the prism, viewfinder and film backs are all fixed and not interchangeable, but it can use any of the lenses available to Mamiya, and you can switch between 120 and 220 film carriers. For the money I couldn't pass it up. I'll see later how the pictures turn out!
I have a Mamiya 645 1000s selling for $525.
1 80mm lens, some brassing but lens pristine, a 70mm leaf shutter (Exc. cond), 55mm lens (exc. condition), Motordrive (shows use but not abuse) 2 extension rings for closeup, nonmetered prism, 1 220 film insert, 2 120 film inserts, 1.5x teleextender (good condition, SHARP optics)
PM me for photos. Mamiya still makes parts for this camera.
It's not necessary to invest this much. Mamiya 645's can be purchased used at 300-1000 USD. This one went for 300 GP (400 USD):