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04-23-2015, 01:35 PM   #1
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starting medium format

I am currently using Pentax K1000SE cameras. I would like some advice on which MF camera is most like my K1000SE. I would like to keep the learning curve low so I can just jump into the MF a little quicker. I am not sure which model I should look for. I like the 6X7 models that are no longer in production. I don't which one to choose, 6X7, 67, or 67II. If anyone thinks of some other models please let me know. Thank you.

04-23-2015, 02:07 PM   #2
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I assume from your question this is for film use?
04-23-2015, 02:12 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Keh is a good place to find the bodies (6x7 body & lenses: https://www.keh.com/search/list?pmnt=Pentax+67)
04-23-2015, 02:20 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I assume from your question this is for film use?
Yes, film camera. I have no experience with digital cameras.

04-23-2015, 02:25 PM   #5
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To be honest, the easiest and cheapest entry to medium format is the original 645. It's got auto-exposure, so it's mainly a case of adjusting the aperture, and take the shot. I'd recommend the 645 as a first entry, just because you get 50% more shots, and you're less likely to have problems loading the film! The standard lens is the 75mm f2.8. The 645n is a newer body with autofocus, and is the one everyone loves (although I think the original with it's Atari joypad like controls holds a certain charm!). I think the 645 is more comportable than the 6x7 to walk around with!

The original 6x7 comes with a variety of viewfinders. The standard prism lacks any metering (so no pin in the viewfinder). The TTL prism is very similar to the way the k1000 meters. Be warned though - there are quite a lot of dead TTL's out there (and they do require periodic maintainence). The two standard lenses are either the 105mm f2.4 takumar, or 90mm f2.8. The 90mm is a bit more compact, the 105 has bokeh to die for!

In general, people recommend the mirror lock up version of the 6x7 (MLU), although I personally don't think it's *that* important. They'll usually cost a little more. The newer 67 bodies (67 and 67ii) both come with MLU, but the metered prisms may be listed as AE.

The controls on the 6x7 bodies are 'the wrong way round' compared to the K1000. That may take a bit of getting used too, and it's worth mentioning just how heavy the body + lens is! It's something special

---------- Post added 04-23-15 at 10:31 PM ----------

Oh yes, a word about 645 backs. You'll be wanting the. 120 back. The 6x7 can take either 220 or 120 - just flip a switch. Aside from portra, there aren't any 220 films available. (And portra 220 is about 3 times the price of 120 - so not really worth it!)
04-23-2015, 03:05 PM   #6
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I very briefly had a 645 and it was a very fun camera (I bought it 2nd hand and I discovered a defect within the return period, but for 2 weeks it was great). I could hand-hold it and got some good images right out of the gate.

When I got my refund I decided to try a 6x7 instead of buying another 645 (don't know why, just wanted to try it). It is an impressive chunk of metal and can double as a weapon if needed. It's heavy and the shutter generates quite a bit of torque. That's probably a bigger issue for sharp images than the mirror lock-up honestly, but can be dealt with given a good tripod/ball head and good technique (you can hand-hold, but the weight difference between 6x7 and 645 is significant). I did a lot of reading about it before I bought it so I knew what I was getting into. It's not as easy to get results from the 6x7 as the 645, but when you do it's impressive. And that big negative means big prints if you're interested in that.

There are a number of threads comparing the two and I'd read those before committing one way or hte other. They have good comentary from people more qualified than me on the subject.
04-23-2015, 05:29 PM   #7
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Firstly there are huge number of 'non-Pentax' medium format cameras - some of which may be better suited to your needs (at least when starting off) - I'd recommend you research some of these options first (TLRs, folders, SLRs & Rangefinders).

Of the P6x7, P67 & P67ii, these are professional cameras and many have had hard professional use. I'd recommend buying from a reputable dealer and preferably with a warranty. The P67ii is much more expensive and harder to find than the earlier models (at least in the UK). I'd look for a 6x7 MLU or 67 as a preference (not for the MLU - simply because they are newer cameras). The web is full of comments stating you can't hand hold them - many from those who have never tried - you can with the right technique (I prefer not to use the wooden handle). The results you get (especially chrome film) can be absolutely amazing. The 6x7s are also the closest you'll get to your K1000, film loading seems complicated compared to 35mm but as long as you take it slowly for the first few films, it won't take long to for it to become second nature.

The 645s are a different breed, auto-exposure (AF if you want it), motorised film transport and are more economical with film.

John.
04-23-2015, 09:55 PM   #8
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I will preface this to say I don't use/know the medium format, but the article(s) in luminous landscapes [https://luminous-landscape.com/pentax-645nii/] struck me as potentially useful (if I went in that direction), and you may too.

04-24-2015, 05:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mauler681 Quote
I am currently using Pentax K1000SE cameras. I would like some advice on which MF camera is most like my K1000SE. I would like to keep the learning curve low so I can just jump into the MF a little quicker. I am not sure which model I should look for. I like the 6X7 models that are no longer in production. I don't which one to choose, 6X7, 67, or 67II. If anyone thinks of some other models please let me know. Thank you.
There are a handful of cameras in MF that feel like an SLR, the 67 as you noticed is probably the definition of that (albeit much heavier). And if you'd like to go that route I would definitely recommend one. You can get the older models cheaper but they could be pretty high in mileage and run the risk of needing some maintenance/repair. The 67II is the newest, and more expensive, but will probably have a lot less use on it and far less likely to need repair. The 67 has a massive mirror and is prone to vibration from it in slow shutter speeds especially with the earlier models, something to read up on know how to shoot around it. Another nice plus is the inexpensive used market of 67 lenses. Also, consider you'll only get 10 shots per roll, not sure if you plan to mail or develop yourself.

The 645 would also be any easy camera to use and I think the use of backs is pretty easy to jump into. Otherwise the camera is going to handle similar to an SLR. You'll get 15 shots per roll on these bodies. They are lighter and may work better if you want to work handled. The early bodies can be had for song, but the lenses are more expensive on this model, especially the newer auto focus ones, the digital 645 bodies have helped keep the used market up on the 645 lens line up.
04-24-2015, 10:20 AM   #10
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Have you considered what format you would like to be shooting? 120 roll film cameras come in a variety of frame sizes: 645, 6x6, 6x7, & 6x9 are the common ones.

The Pentax 645 is relatively inexpensive, gives you 15 shots per 120 roll, and is only manual focus. It has good metering and can do automatic exposure. It is an easy and fun camera to use.

The Pentax 645N is a bit more expensive, gives you 16 shots per 120 roll, and can do auto focus. All of the 645 manual focus lenses work with it. I prefer it to the original 645. The 645Nii is a newer 645N with a couple extra features.

The 6x6 format has been around for a long time. These cameras range from $10 to $thousands. You get 12 square pictures per roll. At the $10 end, you get a fixed lens, fixed aperture, and fixed shutter speed (most recommended ASA 125 film). These simple cameras provided the world with so many photographs during the 20th century that the white-bordered square print is an icon in itself (instagram mimics them).

6x7 and 6x9 cameras are either professional (expensive) or antique (or both). The Pentax 67 is a good place to jump in. The older Pentax 6X7 models selling for bargain prices tend to be worn out.
04-24-2015, 10:26 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
Firstly there are huge number of 'non-Pentax' medium format cameras - some of which may be better suited to your needs (at least when starting off) - I'd recommend you research some of these options first (TLRs, folders, SLRs & Rangefinders).

Of the P6x7, P67 & P67ii, these are professional cameras and many have had hard professional use. I'd recommend buying from a reputable dealer and preferably with a warranty. The P67ii is much more expensive and harder to find than the earlier models (at least in the UK). I'd look for a 6x7 MLU or 67 as a preference (not for the MLU - simply because they are newer cameras). The web is full of comments stating you can't hand hold them - many from those who have never tried - you can with the right technique (I prefer not to use the wooden handle). The results you get (especially chrome film) can be absolutely amazing. The 6x7s are also the closest you'll get to your K1000, film loading seems complicated compared to 35mm but as long as you take it slowly for the first few films, it won't take long to for it to become second nature.

The 645s are a different breed, auto-exposure (AF if you want it), motorised film transport and are more economical with film.

John.
Thank you for your insight.

---------- Post added 04-24-15 at 11:29 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
Have you considered what format you would like to be shooting? 120 roll film cameras come in a variety of frame sizes: 645, 6x6, 6x7, & 6x9 are the common ones.

The Pentax 645 is relatively inexpensive, gives you 15 shots per 120 roll, and is only manual focus. It has good metering and can do automatic exposure. It is an easy and fun camera to use.

The Pentax 645N is a bit more expensive, gives you 16 shots per 120 roll, and can do auto focus. All of the 645 manual focus lenses work with it. I prefer it to the original 645. The 645Nii is a newer 645N with a couple extra features.

The 6x6 format has been around for a long time. These cameras range from $10 to $thousands. You get 12 square pictures per roll. At the $10 end, you get a fixed lens, fixed aperture, and fixed shutter speed (most recommended ASA 125 film). These simple cameras provided the world with so many photographs during the 20th century that the white-bordered square print is an icon in itself (instagram mimics them).

6x7 and 6x9 cameras are either professional (expensive) or antique (or both). The Pentax 67 is a good place to jump in. The older Pentax 6X7 models selling for bargain prices tend to be worn out.
I wonder how much it would cost to fully revive a worn out 67?
04-24-2015, 12:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mauler681 Quote
Thank you for your insight.

---------- Post added 04-24-15 at 11:29 AM ----------


I wonder how much it would cost to fully revive a worn out 67?
It really depends on how much you plan to use it. If you know this is going to be your workhorse for years to come, an investment of $2000 in a good, working camera & lenses plus a CLA would not be out of the question. A good, working 67 should cost between $300 and $600, depending on condition. Buying a beater for $100, then a parts body for another $50, plus $250 in repairs gets you close to $400 before you've bought a lens. I would buy one from someone who allows returns.

My ex-wife had a 67 MLU that she used for her fine art photography. The price we paid for it in the 1990s is not relevant today, but it needed at least one repair plus a CLA every two years, and that was her "upgrade" from a worn out 6X7. They were built to work hard, and many of them have put in years of hard work. They are great cameras. That is why many have been worked to death.
05-02-2015, 04:26 AM   #13
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Hi. I'm new here as well. I have a K100SE also and got a 645 in January. I love it! When I go shoot the 645 always goes. It's in the car almost everyday for spontaneous opportunities. I got the body for $99 from KEH and added a couple A lenses for a nice kit under $400. I have a DSLR but only use it for family snapshots or previewing what my film exposure will look like. Its nothing like the K1000 IMO, I love the K1000, but after shooting MF for four months 35mm feels like toy film. Big negative means big detail. Looking in the viewfinder on my first roll of Portra, I was thinking "how do I fill all this space?".
05-03-2015, 04:33 AM   #14
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I was able to purchase a Pentax 645 a week ago, it's the manual focus version. I am still reading the manual, and I am excited to go shoot with it. I think you got a great deal or should I say, a steal. I paid $500 for the body and a lens and I purchased a second lens with a longer focal length. I will always enjoy shooting my K1000 SE. It was my first love.

---------- Post added 05-03-15 at 05:38 AM ----------

I decided to buy the 645. Thank you for all your advice.
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