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Archive 2012 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7
  
 
Jewced
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


I recently sold my digital camera (Nikon D3100) to buy a medium format film camera. I bought a Nikon F5 about 6 months ago and I haven't been able to touch my digital since then. I like the thought that film forces me to use and the speed and heft of the F5 can't be matched by a digital camera that I can afford.

I'm looking at the Pentax 67 and Mamiya RZ67 as my MF options that are within my budget. There's a great Mamiya RZ67 kit in a local shop with the 110mm/2.8, 120 back, and waist level finder for $600. I think that I'm going to buy it, but I want to make sure that there aren't any reasons I should consider a 645 camera. 645 costs less to shoot per frame and is lighter, but neither of those two things are deterring me from going 6x7.

Is there anything that I'm missing?



May 27, 2012 at 09:01 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


The main difference I can think of is built-in metering, but maybe the Pentax has that?


May 27, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Policar
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


Are you sure you like the IQ of film? So grainy…. And scanning is such a pain in the ass. I kind of liked my F4 but it took no more thought than any dSLR, just more money, and even with a Nikon 9000 I never got great scans because of film flatness issues and grain. And when I used a glass carrier I just got Newton's rings but IQ was better (you must use multi pass with Nikon scanners, btw, so it's slow and then spotting all the dust…I don't miss it much). Best case scenario 6x7 is as good as FX. That's what turned me off from it.

That said maybe I'm just jealous that you have the tenacity to keep with it and I didn't.

The RZ67 is a steal in general and that's a decent price, I think. That system is awesome. The 110mm f2.8, 65mm f4 and 50mm f4.5 ULD are truly fantastic lenses, even wide open. The difference between 135 and 6x7 is enormous, but not because 6x7 is so great (similar to FX, actually, but a little more resolution and a lot more grain), just because 135 is terrible by digital standards. The huge negatives are great.

But the system is HUGE. I brought it around with me and took some landscapes with it (that far surpass anything I've recently shot on digital because digital made me lazy and Velvia made me work for it) but it was always a big pain carrying that camera and those ridiculously large lenses around. The Hasselblad really isn't much better but it's smaller (until you put a wide on it). So would any 645 camera be much smaller. If you can handle the size and weight then it will serve you well but it's big enough to be an issue.

One other issue with 6x7 is mirror slap. Okay, the shutter is a leaf shutter so no problem, but the mirror slap is a big issue with sharpness and using MLU adds just another step to a reasonably long process… Only an issue for shots you need tack sharp (landscapes and product shots) so you'd have the time in these cases anyway. For handheld work (difficult on such a big camera, and you will tend toward low angles naturally because of the waist level finder) it's kind of trivial since there will be shake anyway. But there's more technique involved with 6x7 than 135. What the bigger negative gets you is better tonality and less grain, so depending on how big you print (or how much grain bugs you, some people like it on black and white) either 645 or 6x7 will be better. The rule applies with 1/(focal length) for shutter speed, so you need more light with 6x7 than with 135 or 645 not just for the generally slower lens speeds but also to retain the extra resolution that's theoretically available to you.

Whereas the F4 is a walk in the park and, like all modern SLRs, is basically a glorified point-and-shoot, shooting 6x7 takes a bit more practice. There's no meter in the camera so you have to be competent at metering (particularly when shooting slides) and then the bellows extension requires exposure compensation depending on focusing distance. The image in the finder is flipped horizontally, which I found actually resulted in better compositions (weird, right) but you need to get used to it. And because of the increased resolution you need to know your hyperfocals a bit better. Honestly, though, it's the most fun system I've used except for the size and it is pretty easy to use overall. My first shot was perfect technically when I moved from 135 to 6x7. Cannot say the same about my first photo on LF. Just make sure you have good meter (spot for landscapes, incident for studio) and some patience. I am selling mine soon but I loved this system; I would have preferred the Mamiya 7, admittedly, but the cost is outrageous. Digital has the same IQ as 6x7 (even APS-C is close) but is nowhere near as fun. I just got lazy and the cost caught up with me when I switched to LF.



May 27, 2012 at 09:27 PM
JohnJ
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


Did you know that you can get a 645 RFH for the RZ. I have one and it's great if you do want to save money on film but there is no other point in shooting 645. 67 is much better.

JJ



May 27, 2012 at 11:02 PM
kwalsh
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


If you can suffer some comments from a "MF wannabe" I'll throw in my $0.01 (I really don't think my advice is worth the going rate of $0.02 on this topic).

I've shot 35mm film and a little 4x5. MF was too rich for my blood back when film was king. Recently I've kept looking at it because the prices are getting quite affordable. So far I've decided for my limited film shooting 35mm and 4x5 are fine. But my thoughts as I looked at them were:

645 - Compact enough to hand hold, a bit cheaper, built in meters and what not. But really not "that much" bigger than 35mm as far as negative size goes.

67 - To me was "real MF", distinguishably larger negative size than 35mm. As already pointed out the cameras are considerably heftier.

So from my completely theoretical, no real world experience at all, I'd say if you can get what you want within budget and plan on using a tripod go for the 6x7 setup.

Enjoy the journey!

Ken



May 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


The Fujifilm GW670II is an absolutely fantastic camera. My favourite film camera. The GSW690II is also great, but I prefer 6x7. They're both fixed lens cameras, with 90mm on the 6x7 (equiv. AOV normal 47 mm), and 60mm on the 6x9 (equiv. 28mm).

http://www.dantestella.com/technical/gw.html



May 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Jewced
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


Thanks guys. You can get prisms with meters for the RZ. I think I'm going to end up going with the RZ.

To pollcar, the reason I like film over digital right now comes from a ton of factors. After using the F5 for a while I realized that I'd never be able to use a lightweight camera again. My D3100 was way too small for my hand and all of the controls were a pain in the ass. To get the same feel in a digital as my F5 I'd need to get something like a D700, which I really don't have the money to do. Additionally, the way in which digital allows you to see the shot immediately after you take it allows me to form a "trial and error" mentality. The pictures from digital are disposable, whereas when I shoot film I'm able to take everything with me. It's not just a bunch of 1s and 0s, but actual energy from the subject preserved on a filmstrip. I feel more of a connection to what I'm doing when I shoot film, and that brings me more pleasure. As of right now I'm shooting for myself, so it's all about enjoyment.

As I mature as a photographer I hope to bring the same mentality I have shooting film to digital. Right now that's not possible for me. Film isn't for everyone, that's for sure.



May 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Policar
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


jcolwell wrote:
The Fujifilm GW670II is an absolutely fantastic camera. My favourite film camera. The GSW690II is also great, but I prefer 6x7. They're both fixed lens cameras, with 90mm on the 6x7 (equiv. AOV normal 47 mm), and 60mm on the 6x9 (equiv. 28mm).

http://www.dantestella.com/technical/gw.html


This might be a great idea if you're not interested in buying more lenses later. Rangefinders hand hold better (no mirror) and are smaller. The RZ67 is lovely for portrait work and studio work or if you really need to know just what you're getting, but for landscapes and travel a rangefinder might be nicer. If the GSW690 were cheaper I would be all over it.

Also consider TLRs if you don't want to switch lenses. The RZ67 makes more sense as a system than with just one lens. If I can ever afford to get back into MF I will probably go with a rangefinder since I don't use it enough to need to swap backs or lenses. If I shot more portraiture than landscapes I would go TLR.

Shooting film is fun...I quit because I realized medium format didn't have everything I needed (no tilts or shifts), large format was too slow and expensive to shoot the terrible photos I typically shoot, and 135 looks terrible. Digital view/tech cameras are too expensive and fiddly. There's nothing out there I like! But if you like 135, 6x7 will astound you. Pick up some Velvia 50, btw, but you might need to bracket if you meter it TTL (if you shoot film, buy a spot meter; otherwise the camera and lab are doing half the work for you and you won't have nearly as much control over your exposures and contrast).



May 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Jewced
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


A meter sounds like a good idea. I'm planning on picking up more lenses as time goes by, which is another reason why the Mamiya looks great. Old lenses come up on craigslist all the time for great prices.


May 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM
dirb9
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


I went with the RZ over a 645 because, as people have mentioned, I didn't see enough of a difference between 645 and 35mm to justify another system. The grip for the RZ helps a ton for handheld stuff, and in case you weren't aware, you can use RB lenses on the RZ, which makes for cheaper lenses. And, as much as the metered prism would be nice, using an external meter hasn't really presented much of an issue for me.


May 28, 2012 at 01:41 AM
 

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philip_pj
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


I never considered an SLR in medium format for the field - too bulky, heavy (2.5 kgs), hard to transport and carry, knobs sticking out everywhere. And it would just live on the tripod, oh, make that a very heavy tripod. And add a handheld meter.

Rangefinders are fabulous in all MF formats, akin to big Leicas, but most likely not heavy enough for the OP, as they are lighter than the Nikon F5!

A common misconception is that 645 ~= 35mm.
Could not be further from the truth, either in actual film real estate (see below) or in output quality/ print size/ detail rendition/ colour integrity/ tonality. Not even close.

(1) 35mm 24x36=864 sq mms; (2) 645 56x41=2296 sq mms.

Ratio (2)/(1): 2.66

As film is the same in both formats, given similar lens quality the results will be startlingly better.

FWIW, 67 is 56x68=3808 sq mm, so 3808/2296=1.66 the size of 645, for a 66% improvement over 645. Which improvement would you rather have?

So - It's ALL medium format from 645 on..and 645 rangefinder lenses are wicked sharp. I can see a difference in Mamiya 7 transparencies from Fuji 645 ones (60/4) but it's still close, and other factors influence, such as DOF/diffraction, and many MF lenses fall away from f8.

Some resolutions for various MF lenses here:

http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/MF_testing.html



May 28, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Peire
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


From medium format systems I can recommend Mamiya 645.To shoot larger formats (6x7cm,6x9cm,6x12cm), portable 4x5'' camera like Linhof Technika IV with a few roll film backs and a set of lenses was a good option for me.

Try also Mamiya 6/6MF (6x6cm) and Mamiya 7/7II (6x7cm)- great,portable medium format rangefinders.Fuji GA Zi (6x4.5cm) with it's 55-90mm zoom and AF is great as well.



May 28, 2012 at 04:39 AM
mawz
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


Policar wrote:
Shooting film is fun...I quit because I realized medium format didn't have everything I needed (no tilts or shifts), large format was too slow and expensive to shoot the terrible photos I typically shoot, and 135 looks terrible. Digital view/tech cameras are too expensive and fiddly. There's nothing out there I like! But if you like 135, 6x7 will astound you. Pick up some Velvia 50, btw, but you might need to bracket if you meter it TTL (if you shoot film, buy a spot meter; otherwise the camera and lab are doing half the work for you and you
...Show more

Fuji will give you limited T/S with the GX680, also you can get T/S lenses for 645 mounts from Hartblei/Zeiss, Hasselblad offers a T/S bellows body for the V-series and of course there's the Linhof technical cameras which aren't too pricey if bought used (or you can use a 4x5 with a 120 back). There's a lot more options for Tilt/Shift in MF than there is in 35mm.



May 28, 2012 at 04:43 AM
glacierpete
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


I personally would rather get a medium format range finder. Mamiya 7II (incredible optics) or Fuji GSW 690. They are not as big and and heavy as MF SLR cameras. No mirror slap. I used to have both. It all depends on what you are usually shooting.
These huge negs look great on a light table. But drum scans are expensive. Also consider the quality of a 24mp Nex 7 with good Leica M or Zeiss lenses, or the new 24mp Nikon D3200 with good glass.

Dont forget to add film, printing cost and expenses for drum scans to your calculation. It is not just about a body and a lens



May 28, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Ed Sawyer
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


It's hard to beat the rz system for value and performance. I would go with that, and add the L grip and aeII finder prism. It can be shot handheld down to 1/30 with no loss of resolution if you are careful. As an all in one system, it is the best out there. If you can live with the cost and limitations the mamiya 7 is better optically but not as flexible as rz. The gw/gsw are excellent too but the m7 surpasses them, as does the rz with its best lenses. The best rz lenses are so cheap these days that it doesn't make sense to get anything but the latest versions, particularly of the 50uld, 65m/la, 180wn, etc.


May 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM
mhayes5254
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


Check out KEH for good prices on the RZ system. No need to get anything better than Bargain grade.


May 28, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Jewced
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


The Mamiya 7 looks great, but it's just too expensive for me. I'm well aware of film costs, but they're not as important a factor because they don't require me to save a lot of money. I'm a 17 year old high school kid. I'm going to check out the RZ today and I'm probably going to end up buying it.

To glacierpete, I'm trying to get away from shooting digital. Technically, I know, the quality is better. The cheap (that's ironic), commercial feel that I get from using digital doesn't do anything for me.



May 28, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Tomser
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


Another vote for the RZ , a great system in every respect .
It's a tad large, but not very heavy, and bellow focussing is incredible .
Rotating film back is of course a requriement .

Mind the mirror slap , but that's not much different with other MF cameras .

Leaf shutter lenses are a great, very quiet and versatile; with digital backs, you need to stop down a little to avoid CA, otherways the RZ lenses are briliant .

I used the M7 , which can deliver outstanding results; but it's a range finder design, not very flexible, and focussig and framing can be a gamble in most situations .



May 29, 2012 at 07:31 PM
redisburning
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


both RZ and Pentax are great 67 systems.

both are tripod cameras, and truth be told I think for 600 dollars you can get a P67 and a 105/2.4 for 600 in pretty reasonable shape and that is what I personally would go for among those two.

I bought a gw690iii that was DOA, and it's certainly an alright camera. It is big, which isnt so bad, but it wasn't nearly as plastic as people make it out to be. If you like heft, and you shoot with an F5, I would honestly consider it. 6x9 is a TON of film.



May 29, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Medium Format--6x4.5 or 6x7


I prefer the Pentax 67II to the Mamiya 6x7s and various rangefinders. I like the portability and versatility the Pentax offers, with the AE prism and excellent evaluative metering. Very hand-holdable. And you get one extra frame per 220 roll!

If I didn't have the Pentax, I'd probably get a Fuji 6x7 or 6x9 wide angle rangefinder.

The RB and RZ are just too big and clunky. You're better off with a folding 4x5 -- far better IQ and a smaller and possibly lighter package. But no good for handholding by today's standards.

I've been selling off my RB system, starting last week. Sorry to see it go, but perhaps someone will get some use out of it.



May 29, 2012 at 08:04 PM
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