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07-29-2009, 07:12 AM   #1
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Advice on Getting BACK into MF

I'm rather new to these forums, but so far, the advice and opinion I've received has been very good. So I'm back with a question regarding MF photography.
I used to do a lot of MF work both semi professionally and as a hobby. I still have a 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 Speed Graphic w/127mm Zeiss Tessar Lens. I can't seem to find lenses for this camera, so I'm thinking about getting either a 645 or 6x7.
Assuming that I'll be shooting transparency film, and getting prints made at either 16 x 20 or 20 x 24. I'm planning on making some poster size 30 x 40 on ocassion as well.
I'm currently shooting w/Pentax K10 and getting very good prints, but have not had any made larger than 11 x 14.
My question is: "Will the 645 be up to the task in terms of print size?" Additionally, how would they compare to digital image of same print size from the K10?
Thanks in advance, I know ya'll will have some good input for me.

07-29-2009, 08:19 AM   #2
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MF

I don't think you can go wrong with either a 67 or 645 system, both sizes enlarge very well. I'd think about what lenses you want and can afford. On the one hand, those 67 telephoto lenses get big, heavy, and expensive; on the other, the 645 doesn't have a fish-eye or shift/tilt lens.* The 645N and NII have autofocus, none of the 67 models do.

If you are going to print digitally, consider a good scanner part of the investment, unless you want to farm that out to a pro lab. I scan my 645 negs at 3200dpi which gives me about a 39 megapixel image.

With the right settings, your K10D can make nice 16x20 prints. I've made nice 36x24 prints--and even larger--from my K20D.

Buffy

* I think I've seen a Russian manual focus fish-eye, though.
07-29-2009, 09:43 AM   #3
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wait for Ron Boggs to reply ... just don't let him use the "X" word :P
07-29-2009, 02:12 PM   #4
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If you're going to 30"x40", you'd be much better served with 6x7, IMHO. For prints that size, 6x7 is the smallest format that will produce a quality print. The 645N and NII are smaller, faster, and have autofocus, if you were only going to 20x24, I'd say go that route, but the BIG prints are the deal breaker.

08-04-2009, 01:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
I'm rather new to these forums, but so far, the advice and opinion I've received has been very good. So I'm back with a question regarding MF photography.
I used to do a lot of MF work both semi professionally and as a hobby. I still have a 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 Speed Graphic w/127mm Zeiss Tessar Lens. I can't seem to find lenses for this camera, so I'm thinking about getting either a 645 or 6x7.
Assuming that I'll be shooting transparency film, and getting prints made at either 16 x 20 or 20 x 24. I'm planning on making some poster size 30 x 40 on ocassion as well.
I'm currently shooting w/Pentax K10 and getting very good prints, but have not had any made larger than 11 x 14.
My question is: "Will the 645 be up to the task in terms of print size?" Additionally, how would they compare to digital image of same print size from the K10?
Thanks in advance, I know ya'll will have some good input for me.
Bob, doesn't the small Speedgraphic simply use standard LF lenses in lens boards? There is a proliferation of very good lenses on ebay (and some not so good...) and you get Graflex lensboards easily, too. (Forgive me if I am wrong, I use a 4x5 Crown Graphic, not the smaller modell.)

Anyway. If you want to get really better prints from film, than from digital (and upgrading from the K10 to a K20 or K7 could be an improvement), I personally would suggest to go for a larger format then 6x4.5. The difference seems to be negligible. A 6x7 or even larger would certainly be my choice if I was to start again in MF. As it is now, I have a lot of Mamiya 645 gear lying around, that sees hardly any use (just took them off my gear list for the wedding next weekend...). But ofcourse this is to some extend a very personal opinion.

Ben
08-14-2009, 11:28 AM   #6
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Sorry for the tardy reply...salmon bite is on in Oregon, oysters needed harvesting in WA and had an 8 hr a day week-long hardcore wrestling camp to run in MT...no time for forums lately, nor much shooting (OK, a couple hundred family type shots gathering seafood and some business stuff for an Environmental Assessment contract my wife is working on).

Note that I can't comment on digital printing as I've never bothered to deal with the learning curve. I don't print my digital images, only use them for magazine/newspaper sales, research paper fodder for my wife's business or web posts. My film shooting is 6x7 (with 67II) as well as pano 35mm that k100d doesn't want me to mention.

YOU AREN'T REQUIRED TO SCAN FILM TO MAKE PRINTS! I only print to Ilfochrome (formerly called Cibachrome). I shoot on chrome transparency (slide) film and have direct analog chrome prints made at a custom lab--no scans, no internegs...chrome to chrome and the results are out of this world. (What you shoot is what you get...plus some minimal traditional darkroom work like filtering or dodging and burning, but the goal is to shoot it the way you want it to print in my workflow).

That may seem pretty foreign nowadays...or quaint as my print guru calls it. But I like having a "no computer needed" method of photographing and printing my work (yeah, yeah, there's some processing inside a 67II but it's not computer screen time).

UNDERDISCUSSED KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL LARGE PRINTS
Also note that to print 16x20 or bigger, technique and lens quality becomes ridiculously important. I pretty much only shoot from an oversized tripod using mirror lock-up and remote release. I only use the highest quality glass I can find...and still MOST of my images are not suitable for large printing--either artistic or technical shortcomings keep them below my personal threshold of excellence. Whether printing old-school analog style or new-age digitally, large prints require technical and artistic merit above and beyond the norms (or a viewer who doesn't mind looking at blurry prints).
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