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02-06-2008, 06:04 AM   #1
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Medium Format Question

So I've had a hankering to try out medium format but I have a dilemma. I would really like to get a Pentax 645N. They're reasonable now on Ebay as well. I'm also looking at Mamiya systems which are going pretty inexpensively as well.

Now for the dilemma...

I really would like to stay with Pentax since I like what they've done with their dSlrs and I think they have a great future ahead. The problem with buying Pentax MF gear is there isn't anywhere near as much to choose from as there is from Mamiya. I'm trying to decide which way to go.

Any and all opinions appreciated.

Slick

02-06-2008, 06:35 AM   #2
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Don't forget the cost of lenses for medium format. Nothing to sneeze at.

I limit my medium format play to cameras with fixed lenses. Still great quality and lots of fun, but without the temptation to rob a gas station to fund a lens purchase.
02-06-2008, 06:44 AM   #3
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I know what you mean about the lenses. I don't plan on getting too far into it (famous last words), mainly a portrait lens and a macro. I travel full time for work so I'll be limited in what I can carry anyways. I already have a pretty full bag with just the K10D stuff. KEH seems to have a decent supply of lenses at reasonable prices.

It's mainly an experiment to see if it's really something I want to get in to more heavily later on.

Thanks
02-06-2008, 07:06 AM   #4
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I was going to mention the decent selection at KEH. I use an old Hasselblad with a Zeiss 50mm wide angle lens for landscapes. THAT is a sharp lens! I like the camera because it is completely mechanical, without so much as a light meter. As for lens prices, I think it will be a long while (especially given my Pentax and rangefinder LBA) before I am able to buy a second, although I really wish I had the classic 80mm Planar.

You might also consider a Pentax 6x7. The neg is a LOT bigger than the 645, and if you're going MF, you might as well go whole hog, right?

02-06-2008, 07:18 AM   #5
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I thought about the 6X7 but it goes back to the travel thing. I've heard that the 6X7s are pretty heavy. That, plus a couple of lenses and all the other camera gear I carry might be a bit too much. I haven't ruled it out, though. I'm still trying to reduce my dslr kit to a manageable weight, LBA hit me big time a couple of months ago, lol.
02-06-2008, 07:29 AM   #6
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The Mamiya Six is an excellent medium format folder which I can actually fit into the front pocket of my pants. True, not something I'd like to haul there all danged day long, but that just goes to show that it doesn't take up an inordinate amount of space in a camera bag either.
02-06-2008, 07:47 AM   #7
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That's a new one on me. Interesting camera. I'll have to consider that one as well. That's another problem with MF, too many choices. But it's a good thing as well.
02-06-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Slick Quote
I thought about the 6X7 but it goes back to the travel thing. I've heard that the 6X7s are pretty heavy. That, plus a couple of lenses and all the other camera gear I carry might be a bit too much. I haven't ruled it out, though. I'm still trying to reduce my dslr kit to a manageable weight, LBA hit me big time a couple of months ago, lol.
I have a 6x7 with MLU and a 90mm leaf and 200 mm f4. That combo is a bit heavy to say the least, but wait till you see the results of the slides.

When i first looked at MF systems in 2000, i leaned to the 645, but settled on the 6x7 format, for the more bang for the buck.

If its light weight you want, look at the used Yaschica mats. Light, silent.

If buying a folder, watch for pin holes in the bellows.

Dave

02-06-2008, 10:39 AM   #9
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The bellows was one of my concerns on that type of camera. I'm still tempted by 6X7s but I'm leaning toward 645 right now. Was watching a Pentax 645N with a BIN of $350 but someone snagged it.
02-06-2008, 11:40 AM   #10
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The Mamiya 6 is NOT a cheap camera in used condition. The body alone was like $2500 new.. I'd guess that for $2000 you could get a nice Mamiya 6 with two lenses or so.. Very sweet camera though.

The Pentax 67 is a cult classic. Very large negatives from a very small package. It's the size of an overgrown SLR. Portrait lenses are generally cheap.. It's the wide-angles and teles that cost a bundle it seems.

The Pentax 645 (not the N or NII version) is a really nice camera and can be had for a song these days. The possible benefit to going with the 645 system is if Pentax produces a 645D and you hav ethe scratch and they decided to keep the mounts the same, you have glass already.

Another option in MF is the Hasselblad 500 series - They're really cheap, couple hundred bucks or so. Couple that with a Zeiss 50mm for about $500 and you're in for under a grand. There are cheaper lens options for the Hassy though.
02-06-2008, 01:56 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom M Quote
Another option in MF is the Hasselblad 500 series - They're really cheap, couple hundred bucks or so. Couple that with a Zeiss 50mm for about $500 and you're in for under a grand. There are cheaper lens options for the Hassy though.
Yep, that's the pair I have: 500c and 50mm Distagon. Gorgeous, bombproof, relatively inexpensive, but not exactly compact or convenient. I've never figured out how people hand-hold those things. Always a tripod for me, but I use it for landscapes anyway.

Of course, if you're talking about cost, between the film and developing (unless you're lucky enough to do it yourself) MF costs about a buck a frame. And that's before you've even thought about printing anything.
02-06-2008, 02:18 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom M Quote
The Mamiya 6 is NOT a cheap camera in used condition. The body alone was like $2500 new.. I'd guess that for $2000 you could get a nice Mamiya 6 with two lenses or so.. Very sweet camera though.
Don't know if you actually clicked on the link I provided or not, but either way some decades-ago jackass at Mamiya makes it advisable for me to make a clarifying post.

The link was to the Mamiya Six.....not to the Mamiya 6, which is the one you're thinking of. Two very different cameras.
02-06-2008, 03:18 PM   #13
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Having owned both the Pentax 645N and Pentax 67, I would definitely recommend the 645 if you're opting for a more portable set-up and cheaper too. Now as to whether to choose between Pentax, Mamiya or even Bronica cameras in 6 x 4.5 cm format, that needs a little more thought. The Mamiya and Bronica are more readily available compared to the Pentax. If you go Pentax, you can use the 645 lenses on the DSLRs with an adapter (not cheap), so that is something to consider.
02-06-2008, 04:02 PM   #14
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I love the Pentax 67 but I certainly wouldn't recommend it if you are limited to what you can travel with. It's not just the camera and lens, but you'll most likely need a heavier tripod than what you are currently using with your DSLR.

I have hundreds of negatives that I made with a Mamiya 645. I would bet that you can get into that system at a decent price, especially if you don't need AF. I just prefer the 67's larger negatives and, in most cases, I'm willing to carry the extra weight.
02-06-2008, 06:27 PM   #15
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The tripod I have is a Manfrotto 190XPROB so it should handle the weight OK. Also, I looked at some of the Hasselblad 500s and you're right, I can get in under $1000 for sure. I wouldn't mind having one.

I'd really like to use Pentax for this but like I said, it seems like the pool of available gear is dwindling. Looking at Ebay there's a lot more stuff available for Mamiya than for Pentax. If Pentax never releases the 645D then it will get harder and harder to find lenses, backs, and the like. That's my main reason for looking at Mamiya.

I actually bid on an auction on a Mamiya 645 Pro TL setup with 2 lenses and a few other items today and had the high bid but didn't meet the reserve. Too bad, it was a nice system.

It's a tough decision. They're all good systems and each has it's own tsrengths and weaknesses. I'm not in a hurry so I'm taking my time and weighing my options.

Thanks again for all the input
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