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09-20-2013, 07:06 AM   #1
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Doubts on 67 or 645


In this period I'm living a return on film photography. But instead of ending with some rolls, the desire to continue to shoot film grew.

I'm here to ask you some advices.
The problem is that I was sure to buy a 6x7, but then I red some posts that suggest a 645 instrad of thr 6x7.

So I'm a bit confused, and this is the reason I've started this thread:
I'm above all a portrait/street photographer; considering this, what do you guys would like to suggest to me? 645 or 67?
And then, what's the difference between 6x7,67,67II, or 645 and 645n? (I really don't consider the 645nII)
Both between 67 or 645, which model do you recommend?

(oh please, if you can, tell me also about lenses!)

Thank you very much!!

09-20-2013, 07:19 AM   #2
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1) I have myself "returned to film photography" and don't regret it one bit. Yes, it is slower. Yes, film and film development are costly. But film equipment and even medium format equipment is cheaper than ever (or perhaps slightly on the rise again because of an increased interest for film).
2) If you want to carry less weight, go for 645. Which body does not really matter - they are all good, but the user interface is a bit better on the N or N II versions. Let the price decide.
3) If you want maximum image quality, go for 6x7 or 67. The 67 II body is much more modern and has better exposure metering, but the image quality of 6x7, 67 or 67 II is the same. Again, let the price decide. And use the potential saving on more lenses. Yes, the 6x7 is heavy and the lenses, too, compared to the 645, which is "small and compact" in comparison. But you *can* shoot the 6x7 handheld (I do it all the time), and the wooden grip makes it easier to carry.
"What did I do?" I bought into both formats ...

Remember, the price drop on used gear has already happened. Whatever you buy from these two systems, you can sell again without a loss when you get tired of it. Don't "invest" - you will never make a fortune - but you will in all probability not lose one cent on owning such equipment and selling it again if or when you should tire of it.

Last edited by LaHo; 09-20-2013 at 07:36 AM.
09-20-2013, 07:29 AM   #3
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You also asked about lenses.
For 645 the 45mm, 75 mm normal lens and the 150mm tele make a nice trio. The A-version is manual focus and much, much cheaper than the FA/DFA-versions. Manual focus is fine. The FA (auto focus) versions of the 75mm and the 200mm can sometimes be found at price leves quite close to the A-versions for some reason.
For 6x7 the 45 mm WA (yes!) is very good, the 75mm is a nice "wide normal", the 90mm normal a must if you don't have the 105mm, which is a bit longer "normal lens", and then there are the 165mm or 200mm tele lenses. They are all good. The 165mm is F2.8, which can be nice in low light - a fine portrait lens. In most cases it does not matter much whether you go for the older Super-Multi-Coated Takumars or the newer smc Pentax versions. They are all good. Some focal lengths like the 55mm and the 75mm have newer (and more costly) versions with improved optical designs. Look them up in the Lens section of this forum.

Last edited by LaHo; 09-20-2013 at 07:37 AM.
09-20-2013, 07:40 AM   #4
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In my opinion
If making transition to use 120 film, go as large as possible, considering the aspect ratio and available lenses
Used lenses are reducing in price.
It seems there are not many camera systems that used the true "6 x9" format which is a bit inconvenient anyway as it is 1.5, not suitable for standard paper sizes or standard computer screens.
Graflex used a size 57.4 x 77.7 which is close to 1.33 and a nice standard ratio.
6 x 7 is large enough , and can be cropped either square or to 1.25 or 1.33

I am using a hybrid of Pentax 6 x7 and Graflex backs. The Pentax lenses cover the slightly wider format OK.

A big advantage of medium format for me, is that cheap flatbed scanners can make a good scan.

I didn't see the benefit of making a transition from 35 mm to 645, either in film or in dslr.

09-20-2013, 07:41 AM   #5
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LaHo is right, it really depends on if you are looking for portability or for larger negative, personally I'm in the latter camp... but I continue to debate picking up a 645 as well.

Here are some comparison charts if you haven't seen them. There are some metering and exposure per roll differences. I would recommend the 645n over the 645 due to several features that were added. But yes the 645 can be found quite cheap so it would be worth the price alone.
For the 67 I really love the II model, its a complete redesign and has better mirror dampening than earlier models, which is something to consider if you are shooting slow shutter speeds.
09-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #6
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I own an original Pentax 6x7, a original Pentax 645, and a 645n. You say you are a portrait / street shooter. My recommendation then is to get a 645n (or 645nii) with a FA75mm lens (which is the 'normal' 50mm equivalent lens for a 645 camera) and give MF a whirl. While I love the larger image size of a 6x7, it really isn't a street shooter friendly camera. The smaller 645 body is much more friendly to use (although clearly it too is a lot larger than a 35mm body). For portraits either a 645 - 120 or 135mm lens is a very nice length. With 16 frames on a roll you get good use from your film from a 645 camera. The 645n is closer to modern DSLR controls as well. Start small and work up from there.

Oh, I'll echo the merits of the 645 45mm lens. It's a 28mm equivalent lens and is oh so nice for wide angle.
09-20-2013, 11:13 AM   #7
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If you are planning to do slides, too, go for the 645. 6x7 slides are difficult, up to 6x6 is fairly easy, as used equipment is quite common. For 6x7 you will need one of the rare Götschmann projectors or something similar, and rare means expensive.
If you are not planning to do slides: 645 is 2/3 of the way from 135 to 6x7, in terms of factors of image area. For 645, there is AF available (645N, 645NII), film transport is done by an engine in the camera. It is more comfortable. Also, the up to date bodies providing also matrix- and Spot measuring, are more affordable, the 67II providing the same for 6x7 is still more expensive than a 645N. On the other hand, 6x7 has changeable view finders and is bigger.
09-20-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Ideally, you'd have to handle either, because that can be very personal. While I would love to have the 67, it does not quite fit my hands (I have an issue with my fingers).
By contrast, the 645N is almost perfect for me, but so is the Rolleiflex 6008i, which is probably heavier than the 67! It is not all about weight. The same applies to the lenses, although it does add up if you want to carry, say, 3-4 lenses.

On a light box, 67 images stand out, but 645 is not much below that in sharpness, certainly not when you crop, and many of the 645 lenses are excellent. I do admit that 6x6 or 6x7 is addictive, but the gain only occurs if you use the full negative; if you tend to crop, you might end up with 645. I use the 645N besides Rolleiflex 2.8F, 6008i, and I could not be happier with any of them.

As for 645 lenses, from personal experience the 645 35mms (= A and FA), 645 FA 45-85mm, the 67 55 latest version (via 67>645 adapter), 645 75mms, 645 120mms, 645 135 mm, 645 150 FA, 645 200 FA, 645 300mm(s) are all excellent.
The 645 45mm does not have a stellar reputation, but I never used one myself. The A 55mm is good but not quite on the level of the lenses listed above (I had one).

09-20-2013, 04:30 PM   #9
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Lots of good info. I would only add that the view finder of the 645n and 645nii is much brighter than the original 645. And there are several other changes that really make the 645n a significant improvement over the 645. For the extra money you pay for the 645nii it is questionable whether its worth it or not, unless you really need MLU. I doubt you will.

I agree that the 67ii would be better than the older versions and in fact, I'm in the market for one right now, having used both the 6x6 and 67 for some time.

If I were you I would try to find an opportunity to handle and use both cameras and then make your decision.
09-20-2013, 08:17 PM   #10
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Get an old 6x7 /67 body and a swag of lenses, ditch the meter (if it has one) and skill up on multispot/incident/duplex/additive-subtractive/split-base metering. Believe me, mastering a hand-held meter will beat the pants off any fancy onboard meter. True though, the 6x7 bodies are known as carrying a risk of failure given their age; this applies also to well-used 67 bodies. The 645 format does not have the Goldilocks factor to it even though it is not that much smaller than the 6x7 format. You must scoot about and find what you want and handle it, preferably run a roll of film through it. I consider old 6x7 / 67 bodies to be most risky in the wind-on mechanism area, second only to the condition of the rudimentary electronics and unknown exposure to the elements over a long period of time. So I would steer clear of places like eBay and Craiglist and visit a professional second-hand dealer to really get up close and personal with any camera body you are considering. You may have to prioritise condition over film format, despite people gunning solely for the format and getting stuck, sometimes awfully stuck, with a hitherto unreliable camera. As always, 'buyer beware'.
09-21-2013, 04:00 AM   #11
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I'm with Silent Street, really. It does not matter much which body you get, as long as it is in working condition and the light seals are OK.The price difference from 6x7 and up to 67 II is quite considerable - not so much by digital standards perhaps, but still. I would rather have an older 6x7 and spend the savings on lenses. The price difference can pay for 2-3 or maybe even 4 good lenses if you have the patience to wait for some good bargains.
I have bought two 6x7 bodies. One is in absolutely pristine condition and has only been used indoors for product shots. This one is kept at home. The other one has clear signs of use, but fully workable. On this body I have changed the seals myself. This is a quite simple operation. Pre-cut seals can be found quite cheaply on eBay. This is my working camera and a joy to use.
09-21-2013, 06:11 AM   #12
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I'm not sure whether to agree or disagree with LaHo.
Working condition is important, but light seals are not because (as he says later in the post) they are extremely easy to fix.
And if you look at his sig, you see that he has both the 6x7 and 645 (same as me!). In the end you have to try both and see which is to your liking.
09-21-2013, 06:29 AM   #13
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The most comprehensive list of lenses for the 6x7, 67 and 67ii can be found at Antique and Classic Cameras. These can also be attached to the 645 line by using an adapter.
09-21-2013, 08:19 AM   #14
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Original Poster
Thank you very much for your answers: I really didn't consider much of the things that you have underlined here!

The problem is to find someone who let me try the camera, both 645 or 67. And the other problem is that if I decide to buy one or the other, I have to buy it on Ebay...So it's dangerous, as you stated for what concern light seals and ttl prism.
And the fact to search for images on flickr or web is not real, since what intrigue me is the negative product.

Another question: the developing process, is the same for the 120 as the 35mm format? I mean, Can I develop them at home like I do with 35mm?

Thank you for all the suggestions posted!
09-21-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
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Home developing is easy with 120; actually easier than 35mm because the film rolls are so much shorter and wider. Personally I find stainless steel reels to be much easier for 120 than Patterson style plastic reels; but I'm afraid that comment alone might give birth to another long discussion...
You might need to get a bigger tank, depending on what you presently have. A tank that holds two 35mm reels will usually hold one 120 reel.

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