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11-21-2019, 11:29 AM   #61
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I faced something similar to you, but over ten years ago. I wanted to try medium format and was weighing many of the factors - go big? go smaller and maybe more convenient? go in between? Well, for me there was no correct answer, although there did turn out to be an answer that worked better for me than the others (mos tof the time). How is that for a totally non-committal answer?

I never settled onto one choice and part of that has to do with timing and prices. I started off with a Bronica SQ system (6x6 and also 135mm wide) and while that was fun to use, it didn't feel ideal and so I sold that and went with a Pentax 645 original and really liked that, but again it didn't feel like "the answer". I dabbled with rangefinders: Mamiya 7 and Fuji GS645 as well as Fuji GW690. I also dabbled with larger SLR 120 film gobblers like the Fuji GX680 and Pentax 67/67II and Pentacon Six. I also picked up something more advanced than the Pentax 645 that felt best (for me) -- a Pentax 645N and some FA glass for it. That has been the camera I have used consistently and still feels right for me. While the Fuji GX680 system seems most complete to me - with lenses like the ridiculously big 50mm, the sharp and versatile 65mm and the gorgeous portrait lens 180mm f/3.2, movement of the front standard (tilt and shift) - but it is big... actually really big and cumbersome compared to the Pentax 645N and so I find myself reaching for that infrequently. I had the luxury of really low prices on a lot of this gear and was able to try out a decent amount to see if it suited me. Anybody else notice the upward trend on a lot of medium format gear in the past three, four years?

One of the big things that stands out for me with the Pentax 645N is the big, bright viewfinder and the grip. For me, the improvement in viewfinder brightness presented a significant improvement and I simply enjoy looking through it and the grip felt right in my hand, so I was more apt to pick it up and use it. That you went to a store and tried out the 645 and 6x7 in your hands is great! If you can go back and try handling those again with some lenses on them, look through them side-by-side can be more valuable data points for your decision making. Also, the layout of the 645 is quite different from the 645N / 645NII, so you might find one works better for your over the other. If the shop you visited has the 67 body and the left hand grip, that might be worth trying out too. There are also non-Pentax left hand grip available for the 67 (and 6x7) bodies that might work better for your hands.

With Pentax 645 bodies you have the ability to use the 67 glass with an adapter. The 67 105mm f/2.4 adapted (Pentax made an adapter for this purpose - readily available) to the 645 body makes a very nice portrait lens. Lot of wedding photographers are using 645 bodies with the 105mm lens. The 645 system has both A (manual focus only on film or digital 645 bodies) and FA (autofocus or manual on 645N or 645NII film bodies as well as the 645D and 645Z digital bodies) lenses available. If you pick up a 645N or 645NII body and use manual focus lenses (be it Pentax 645 A or Pentax 67 or adapted Pentacon Six etc.) there is a focus confirmation green LED in the viewfinder and you can set the body to also emit an audible beep when something is in focus.

It sounds like you have a bit of time before you will make a decision, so consider finding and attending film shooter meet-ups in your area and see if you can spend in field time with these camera systems from a willing owner.

QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
Hi everyone! In the next couple of years (funds allowing) I want to move up to a film medium format solution. I decided against moving to full frame digital since I want to invest more into the APSC side of things since the KP has been working out so well. I've been pretty enamored by medium format though, I spend a lot of time looking through the pictures here and on flickr and am always wow'd by the capabilities even by such old gear.

The question is then of course do I invest in a "dead end" system like 6x7 but get a substantially larger frame? Or do I go with a system that potentially allows me to move up to the digital realm with 645? For me I'm not even sure if I'd even go to digital so I'm here to ask what other advantages or disadvantages I could expect between both systems?

Btw I have held both 645 and 6x7 cameras at my local camera store so I'm quite aware of the ergonomics of both, though I've never held a 67II.


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