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09-05-2011, 10:30 PM   #1
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Which MF camera?

just got a rather generous gift from some wealthy relatives of mine and i've decided that I want to get myself some medium format goodness.
currently, i've narrowed it down to three systems: Pentax 645, Pentax 67, Mamiya RB67 and Mamiya RZ67
any recommendations on which route i should go? any other suggestions for what i should do?

here's my reasoning behind each one so far:
Pentax 645- Most practical of the bunch, relatively inexpensive, seems like the easiest to use
Pentax 67 - 6x7 image size, better handling than the RB67
RB67 - 6x7 image size, waist level viewfinder seems like it'd be fun, relatively inexpensive
RZ67 - same reasons as the Pentax 67, but with waist level VF also

as for what i'll be shooting, a majority of it will be landscape, the rest will be random shooting autofocus does not matter at all to me. Biggest factor in what i finally choose will be the amount of unadulterated fun i get out of shooting


Last edited by adpo; 09-05-2011 at 11:34 PM.
09-06-2011, 12:17 AM   #2
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My bias opinion with some honest bits...

Pentax 6x7 is a joy for me to use. I've been picking up lenses at very good prices and in mostly excellent shape or I service them easily for the random fungus or loose elements. I have the folding hood, the TTL prism and the regular prism and hope to add the rigid hood. I like making jokes about the size and weight, but the fact is that it is similar to an over equipped 35mm rig. This system match all the point for my use. Small facts that is a bit of a negative compared to Mamiya is the ability to change film backs. I've also not heard any transport issues found in the RB or RZ, as the Pentax 6x7 can develop transport issues over time with overly rigorous handling.

... and can't much of anything about 645... small film area...?
09-06-2011, 08:47 AM   #3
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The R*67 are a pretty economical MF camera theses days with inexpensive lens options than, say, a Hasselblad system. And a large system with a lot of features that's at home in the studio but doesn't stop the determined from carrying it around outdoors.

Consider the Mamiya 7II or Mamiya 6 for a lightweight alternative without being a fixed lens camera. A rangefinder you can backpack long distances with for those landscapes and works for travel and street photography as well. You'll actually want to take it with you more places than possibly the RZ67. And a small, compact tripod with a lightweight ball head is all you'd need for that camera. The wide angle lenses are not cheap, however, and is not a system that supports large telephoto.

The P6x7, as already noted, can sport a WLF too. Good for cutting the weight down and for landscapes with its 100% view and critical focus. On a tripod, you can actually shoot in portrait orientation really easy too with that WLF on. Many of the P6x7 lenses are comparatively inexpensive. A few harder to get ones will still command a hefty price though.

The P645 brings the ease of 135 format shooting to a larger negative. Still not an especially large image projected on a 120 roll. And the smaller the negative, the higher the optical quality, resolution and cost of your scanner needs to be to get the most of it. And the manual focus lenses are also inexpensive. But with the 645D people wanting the better lenses in the line up, you might find those harder and more expensive to get.

And don't forget TLR cameras as an option. Some can be very economical and are a good introduction to shooting MF film. If you decide that it will be a long term commitment, they make a great second MF camera that's easy to carry around.

Selecting your first MF camera is not easy. It seems only after having one do you know what you'd want in one. And you often end up with two.

Last edited by tuco; 09-06-2011 at 09:34 AM.
09-06-2011, 09:03 AM   #4
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Yeah, what they already said

If you plan to actually lug these things around you should look at the weight and bulk, I think some of the Mamiyas are pretty tank like... Also, check out the interchangeable lens Mamiya TLRs, they are fun and inexpensive though you seem to be wanting a rectangle.

Need to reiterate a bit: the 6x7 Pentax can be had with a waist level VF.

In your shoes I'd make a list of the lenses / accessories I would conceivably want - and ones I definitely would - and look on the bay and KEH etc to see availability and pricing.

09-06-2011, 10:38 AM   #5
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RZ67 II hands down.
09-06-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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For me it depends very much from your photography prepferences....

If you like long telephoto or macro the 645 might be the bes choice - and it is may be one step toward a 645d

If studio is your preference the Mamiyas may have advantages due to the Leave-Shutte-Lens (and than you do not have to cary them.

For mid-range and wide angel I would prefere the 67

I has the 645 first and could not resist an additional 67.....
09-06-2011, 03:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
RZ67 II hands down.
You might want to help the OP out by giving reasons why that camera is, hands down, his best choice for landscape photography.

I'm actively shooting 3 different MF camera systems and, frankly, the RZ67, as fine as it is, would be my last choice of all the cameras noted above for stuffing in a backpack, hauling it and 3 lenses plus a good-size tripod out on the trail looking for landscapes. Shooting landscapes by walking from the car is a different matter. And I can think of more nimble MF cameras for travel and street photography too.

Last edited by tuco; 09-06-2011 at 04:03 PM.
09-06-2011, 05:51 PM   #8
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Lenses. The Mamiya lenses are phenomenal and the RZ is really not that much bigger than the Pentax.

From what the OP says the Mamiya 7 with the 43mm and the normal lens would be ideal. I've only shot one 2x of about 1 roll total and it is an amazing camera albeit with a steep learning curve and pricing.

If you're shooting landscape in MF you're on a tripod so an SLR vs. RF makes little difference to the exposure. Handheld snaps definitely favors the RF.

09-06-2011, 06:13 PM   #9
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thanks for your opinions everyone! i still don't know which system to go for, so it most likely will come down to which one i find the great deal for first
09-06-2011, 10:38 PM   #10
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I have Pentax 67II and, now, Mamiya 7: consider further Tuco's opinions also the weight of the body cameras and lenses!Is quite different!
09-07-2011, 12:37 AM   #11
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the weight isnt so much of an issue for me, i'll primarily will be driving here and there to get my shots rather than going on long backpacking excursions.
would it be a good idea to go with the relatively inexpensive (300 off KEH for an outfit) RB and figure out what i want out of a medium format system from there?
09-07-2011, 02:04 AM   #12
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A few more points to consider :

1. Leaf shutter lenses on R*67 - means you can have very fast flash sync speeds. The P67 is only 1/60.
2. P67 will have a range of fast f2.8 lenses in its lineup. R*67 do not.

That said, I have a RB67 and its a joy to work with. Its no harder to lug around than any large 'junk' of a MF camera since it needs a big bag anyway. Operation is smooth and well thought out mechanically (lots of interlocks, so you won't fire the shutter w/o pulling out the dark slide for example).

The P67 is 'easier' to use SLR style if thats your thing.
I opted for the top down style precisely cause I wanted to get away from my DSLR style of looking at things
09-07-2011, 02:59 AM   #13
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another idea: if RF is no obstacle, but price is a consideration, one of the Koni Omegas may be worth taking a look. A few online friends have these and the lenses are fantastic. You are looking at an auxiliary viewfinder for the very wide lens... but the kit is low price and gives enviable results. This is a camera I've often been tempted by.
09-07-2011, 03:17 AM   #14
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Looks like i'll catch another buying addiction at this rate, there's just so many different things to choose from

spotted a hasselblad 500c with WL viewfinder, 2 120 backs and an 80mm f/2.8 lens for $450, is this a good deal? If not, i'll just nab that RB67 off KEH
09-07-2011, 03:29 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
A few more points to consider :

1. Leaf shutter lenses on R*67 - means you can have very fast flash sync speeds. The P67 is only 1/60.
2. P67 will have a range of fast f2.8 lenses in its lineup. R*67 do not.
1. The P67 is only 1/60 1/30. 1/500 with its two leaf shutter lenses.
2. P67 will have a range of fast f2.8 and f2.4 lenses in its lineup.
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