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07-22-2009, 01:48 PM   #1
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Need help choosing between 645N and 67!!

Hello everyone! Iím trying to get a medium format camera for my painting reproductions. As I understand, the image area of 6x7 is almost 2x (1.82) larger than 6x4.5 format ( 56x72mm vs. 56x42mm). Is this size difference a big issue for enlargement? I may need to print up to 64x48 inches. My choices of cameras are either Pentax 645N or Pentax 67. I would prefer a 645N over 67 if enlargement is not a problem. Whatís the biggest file size I can possibly get from scanning a 120 or 220 film without losing much IQ. If I have to go with a 67, what should I look for when buying a used 67 camera. Is there any metering problem with these cameras? Is it hard to get one with accurate meter? What kind of viewfinder will be a good choice for me? 95% of the time Iíll be using the camera in studio on tripod under controlled continuous lighting taking pictures of my paintings. Please remember, the important part here is the size and the quality of the print. Thanks a lot in advance for your help.

07-22-2009, 03:05 PM   #2

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Well of course a 6x7 will give you better 48x64 enlargements. That is really big. I'd want to use a 4x5 for that size. When you go over a 12X enlargement, the quality begins to drop off IMHO.
07-22-2009, 03:16 PM   #3
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Yes, I thought about going 4x5 format for a while. But those cameras just scare the heck out of me. I don't know anything about 4x5 format and have no idea what-so-ever how to use those cameras. BTW, it's not 64x48, I may need to print up to 36x48 inches. Most of my reproductions will be around 16x20, 20x24, 24x32, 24x36, 30x36 and 30x40 inches. I had a chance to handle the 645N for couple of days and I loved it. I was just hoping that it will be enough to do the job.

Last edited by artistcjconrad; 07-22-2009 at 06:17 PM.
07-22-2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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At those print sizes, 645 is a stretch. I would second the notion of a 4x5. No need to be intimidated, view cameras are really quite simple. A good used 4x5 will also be quite a bit less expensive than a Pentax 67II. If you're absolutely dead set against 4x5, go with the 6x7, even then at 36x48, you're really pushing it. A 4x5 original will give you a much nicer print at that size.

My suggestion would be to do some reading on large format photography to ease your anxiety. Since you would be doing reproduction, you wouldn't have to worry about learning the ins and outs of camera movements, it will be very straight forward.

Good luck.

07-23-2009, 08:12 AM   #5
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645 vs. 67

You haven't mentioned two other important variables in the quality of your reproductions--the scanner and the RIP used to print.

I agree that neither a 67 or 645 negative will match the quality of a 4x5 but if you are going to send the negatives out for professional drum scanning and lightjet printing I wouldn't worry so much about the difference in negative size.

I say this because I have managed to create decent 54"x36" prints from my K20D and that's only 14.5 MP and I'm certainly no pro. I just used Photoshop without a high-end RIP. A top-quality scan of a 645 negative yields ~50 MP.

A more important decision than the negative size might be which film to use; I'm thinking Ektachome 100G, perhaps, but others may know better choices.

One other thought: rent a digital medium format camera. You won't need to scan and you can check your results right away.

07-23-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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Other users in the forum can speak to practical experience blowing things up.

I'm also new to medium format and before I bought a camera I wanted to do some math coming from the digital world to see if it was worth it for me. If it helps I can put things into terms a digital photog would understand.

6x7 using velvia 50 lines per mm = 94.xx MP

Granted velvia is a very fine grain and not what you'd want for reproductions, but high quality natural color films would easily surpass 39MP digital backs . . . provided you scan them with a quality scanner. I have an epson 700 scanner and it does well enough for me, but you'll probably want a Nikon or better.

Expect fantastic results with a relatively inexpensive used 6x7, 67, or 67II. It will feel more comfortable to you than most medium format cameras as it works much like any SLR(only bigger). And all you really need is one inexpensive lens(55mm or 105mm??).

Good luck and keep us informed with the results.

07-24-2009, 09:30 AM   #7

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QuoteOriginally posted by awksedgreep Quote
Other users in the forum can speak to practical experience blowing things up.

I'm also new to medium format and before I bought a camera I wanted to do some math coming from the digital world to see if it was worth it for me.
I feel you will be disappointed if you are only looking at the math. In my experience people still shoot MF cameras because:

• They like the feel of shooting manual cameras
• They enjoy developing their own film
• They like BW on real fiber base silver paper
• They want REAL BW shots in lieu of the limited light range of imitation digital
• They want a different look than everybody else shooting digital in their color
• Exercise more photography skills beyond just composition
• Really long exposures
• Retain investment value. A $5000USD digital camera is going to be worth nothing 10, 15 or 20 years from now. No one will want to shoot it even the electronics still work and you can find a memory card for it.
• Easy to archive negatives than digital files. 50 years from now, most people will not have their digital files they took today let alone pass on to their next generation and expect them to maintain a rigorous backup system. Archiving on CD/DVD for long-term storage is a big mistake.

Last edited by tuco; 07-24-2009 at 09:42 AM.

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