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10-25-2015, 09:52 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Beginner requires some medium format guidance...

Hi there! First off let me say, this is my first post ever in Pentax forums so I apologize in advance for anything I do that is wrong. Second, let's talk about myself so it may give you a little more insight into my situation.

I'm a young college student who has taken photography as a hobby since high school. I taught myself photography with 35mm film on the Canon AE-1 (with a faulty light meter) and found that I love film. Later, had enough money for a starter dslr, Canon T3i. From there, added a Fujifilm X100. Sold both, moved to Canon 5D (mark I / Classic) plus Olympus E-M5. 5D had broken pins, did not want to repair it. Now left with the E-M5. Still have this persistent itch to shoot film, but would like to shoot film more often than digital (there's something about it that's more beautiful and helps me create much better photos), but digital is much more convenient (darn my lack of patience!). Medium format caught my eye. They're not common, they shoot film (speaking of the 120 and 220 bodies), produce great photos, and huge (makes you look so badass).

However, the thing is I'm also the type to be very impulsive, especially with photographic equipment. I want stuff but sometimes I don't take time to think and look at what I want (though I do a lot of research that actually distracts me from my real work). I need some guidance on how to get into medium format, the smart way. I don't want to jump in and expect to know everything.

I shoot mostly fashion / lifestyle, portraits, street photography, and the like; but want to get into couples, weddings and engagement and such.

I want everything that medium format offers, except:
- I don't know what size or whatever I should get (645, 67...?)
- I don't know what are some good lenses (on a budget)
- I don't know if it's a good choice for the type of stuff I want to shoot
- I don't know if I need or want to print big (at least for short term, might need to print big for when I'm doing couples/wedding/engagement stuff?)
- What body should I even get when on a budget?

I'm sorry if that sounds like a bunch of beginner questions off the internet. I'm looking for some pretty concise answers. I'm currently looking at the Pentax 67 since it looks pretty cool. But I just also realized there's a 6x7 and a 67ii and a 645 etc. Not sure what I should get as a beginner on a budget.

On Craigslist, I currently see a Pentax 67 with an SMC 90mm f2.8 in really good condition (seller says it works perfectly) for $900. A Pentax 6x7 in what the seller says is in excellent like new condition with TTL metered pentaprism viewfinder, 105mm f/2.4 and 45mm f/4.0 lenses for $800. A Pentax 645N with 75mm f/2.8 with 120 film and recent CLA for $450. And another Pentax 67 that seems like in good condition, with mirror lockup, foam seal replaced, TTL metered prism and 105mm f/2.4 lens for $500. I'm on a budget, but not a clear cut number yet. I'm currently just saving up. What seems to be the best deal out of these?

I don't quite need anything fancy that newer models offer, but I also don't want something totally amateur (something I can keep and not just sell later on to upgrade), as I did shoot 35mm film with a faulty light meter almost daily for a year that I'm pretty aware of how to shoot film and what not. I will be shooting with my Oly E-M5 along with a medium format body, so stealthiness and versatility is not what I'm looking for in terms of medium format. What are your suggestions and what is your advice and experiences with medium format (especially with the Pentax bodies mentioned)? Cheers!

also, sorry about my rambunctious post.

10-25-2015, 10:30 AM   #2
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If you want to use the camera for more than just experimenting, I'd probably go for the 645N since you will have autofocus and auto exposure for when you need it. $450 for the body and a lens sounds like a pretty good deal- I remember paying around that much just for the 645 and an A-series 75mm!

You can browse user opinions of Pentax medium format lenses below. The table at the top that lists the most popular lenses is quite accurate as far as recommendations go
Pentax 645 Medium Format Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Pentax 67 Medium Format Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

For 645 lenses, the A series supports auto aperture but is manual focus, whereas FA, D FA, and DA (digital only) lenses support both autofocus and auto aperture. 6x7 lenses can be adapted for use in M or aperture priority mode with manual focus.

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10-26-2015, 02:25 PM   #3

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The 67II is going to cost way more than the 6x7 so that may not be an option. It is probably best to get the model right before the 67II, the 67. There are 30 optically different lenses for it but only two zooms. If zooms are your thing, the 645 would be a better option. There were a number of f/2.8 lenses made for the 67 system, so those may come in handy for your type of work. The 150 f/2.8 Takumar is nearly free these days and would fit your budget. The two leaf shutter lenses (90 Takumar, 165LS) are available if you should want to get into weddings with a flash.

Both the 645 and 67 are proven pro systems and you really can't go wrong with either.
10-27-2015, 09:11 AM   #4
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Another vote for the 645N. The combination of auto-exposure and auto-focus make it a very easy camera to use.

By the time you outgrow 645, you will know what direction you want to go in next.

Last edited by AquaDome; 10-27-2015 at 09:46 AM.
10-27-2015, 09:44 AM   #5
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From a cost/quality standpoint I doubt anyone could go wrong with the old tried and true 6x7. You can find them in excellent condition if you look a little and the bodies and lens are half or less what they were some years back.

The 645N is another I wouldn't shun and you get five more photos on a roll of 120 over the 6x7 but the larger format, IMHO, will give better enlargements just due to it's size. A personal preference but either would serve you well and the quality of either is superb.
10-27-2015, 12:52 PM   #6
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+1 for the Pentax 645N fora MF beginner.. The Ptx645 family ist the most 135like medium format (MF) camera system I know (in handling - not in size )
10-29-2015, 09:17 AM   #7
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I'd go for the P645N. Have a look at the Ken Rockwell review of it.

10-29-2015, 03:24 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forums droberto!

Well, in terms of the deals your looking at your best bet is the 645n, its a signifigant step above the 645 and the nice value for the money instead of the 645nii.
Honestly if your going to drop close to the grand for the 67, the 67II can be found for just over a grand and is a significant upgrade IMHO over the first two bodies.
Cost wise you will find the 67 lenses to be a lil cheaper as the 645 ones can be used on the digital 645 and that has created more market for them.

11-02-2015, 11:44 AM   #9

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QuoteOriginally posted by droberto Quote
On Craigslist, I currently see a Pentax 67 with an SMC 90mm f2.8 in really good condition (seller says it works perfectly) for $900.
The price is way too much unless Pentax 67 systems have nearly doubled in price over the last few years.

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