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09-27-2009, 06:34 PM   #1
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Getting Started...

Hi guys, I have been all digital (K10D and numerous lenses) for a while now, but I keep getting tempted by a medium format set up (film photography has just seemed to better resonate with me recently). I was wondering what the minimum components and the reasonable price of a set up to get started would be (preferably with pentax brand stuff). Also, is a tripods always recommended or can you do handheld under normal conditions...

09-28-2009, 01:43 AM   #2
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For a Pentax 645, the minimum are the body, lens and film back.
- you can find the original 645 with a 75mm f/2.8 lens and 120 back for under $300.

Pentax 6x7/67, the minimum are the body, prism of finder and a lens.
- you can find a Pentax 6x7 (no mirror lock up for $100 if you look), I even found a 6x7 with mirror lockup for $100. As for the lens, you can pick up a used 105 f/2.4 for $150 and a non metered prism for under $50, totaling $300. You will have to dig around and wait to find that price for a body though - but they can be found. I almost bought another 6x7 with mirror lockup and non metered prism for $150 on the big auction site a few hours ago, someone else snapped it up.
09-28-2009, 01:44 AM   #3
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You can handhold. There was another discussion about that recently.
09-28-2009, 04:53 AM   #4
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The 67 is an interesting camera with lots of lenses easily available at moderate prices.
It is an upscaled 35mm camera and if bought with a metered prism is quite an easy start into MF. The 67ii is the most modernized but the most expensive but i feel it is worth it.
The 645 is a little harder to get and fewer lens choices but an outstanding camera as well.
Either one is worth whatever you pay 2nd hand, but i would suggest that you get familiar with them by reading a couple of articles like the one on luminous landscape and the others on net. Some great info in the articles.
Cheers Neil

09-28-2009, 05:45 AM   #5
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Are you going to send your film out to get it developed? Finding places that develop and do good scans of 120 roll film seem fewer and harder to find without paying through the nose. And if you're going to get serious with BW, you definitely need to develop your own film. So you may find the need for a good scanner in that expense list.
10-01-2009, 05:56 PM   #6
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Thank you for all of the comments folks. I am looking out for a good pentax 67 with a metered prism as we speak. The thought of buying a dedicated scanner scares me a little though...
10-02-2009, 10:41 AM   #7
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Epson 4490 or V500 will do, for not much money. And you can scan 35mm and other stuff with these as well.

Getting film developed - if you find a minilab (i.e. not in a drug store or similar) often they will be able to at least 'develop only' your C41 for not too bad a price.

For true B&W, developing it yourself is the low cost way... though for it and slides you can do mail order for not too bad a cost. I use Dwaynes for slides, and they do a good job.

Also, there are still mail order places set up for very low cost color development for the wedding etc market. A bit of googling will find you several.
10-03-2009, 09:26 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jess Quote
Thank you for all of the comments folks. I am looking out for a good pentax 67 with a metered prism as we speak. The thought of buying a dedicated scanner scares me a little though...
I'd add shooting a 67 with a metered prism is a lot like shooting a K1000 if you've ever used that camera except for the bulk and you may be reaching for a tripod or monopod more often.

Doing BW at home is not only more economical in the long run but mandatory if you get serious with it and are striving for better BW, IMHO.

The scanner is a dilemma. A good one can cost some money and means a commitment to shooting a lot of film in the future. But how many people do you know have purchased more that one higher-end DSLR over time and will no doubt purchase yet another one in the next 5 years? The sum of those costs add up fast too.

10-04-2009, 04:27 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the help guys. I've got the fever... but I just chickened out on an ebay auction. I have to admit that I've never used ebay before after one of my friend's got really burned a couple of years ago, and I couldn't quite bite the bullet. It looked like a good deal too, but for a 645 and I am really more interested in a 6 x 7. Does anyone have any experience with KEH for medium format. Their BGNs seem fairly high priced, but I would probably bite if I knew that the equipment actually worked and would for some time to come...
10-04-2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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Hi Jess, I haven't had any dealings with KEH but I know there have been quite a few people here on the website that speak very highly of them. I'm sure someone will speak up that have dealt with them.

Good luck.
Jim
10-04-2009, 06:59 PM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
Their BGNs seem fairly high priced, but I would probably bite if I knew that the equipment actually worked and would for some time to come...
All their lenses rated BGN should at least be "good" or "very good" - in conventional terms, not so sure about their other stuff.
They usually put BGN on stuff that's working perfectly, but has some scuffs, scratches, etc. All the BGN lenses I got from them had good glass, but some paint loss or scratches on the barrel. Apart from lenses I also bought a 220 back and a polaroid back (not for Pentax, though) in BGN condition for real cheap - and turned out, polaroid back had some residue left from some sort of sticker put on it; 220 back was just old - working, but with scratches and such.
10-05-2009, 12:48 PM   #12
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Jess
1) I bought a 645 this year off eBay. First camera did not work, the second did. The person bought back the camera that did not work.
2) I bought stuff from KEH including a 645 120 Macro. They are very good and you should feel safe buying from them.
3) After shooting 6-7 rolls of 120 film (I use Ross Imaging in CT to develop and scan) There is a difference in the images from 120 compared to my K10 digital. But I am not sure if I can say they are better.... for some reason the digital are sharper and appear to have more detail. And I did high and super high resolution scans which created files bigger than 30MBytes.
10-05-2009, 02:45 PM   #13
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Hi Jess,
There are ebay sellers which i would keep an eye on if you want to get a bargain and buy from a shop that has a good reputation.
Colubus camera group, shutterbug and samys camera. I have bought collectively $2000 worth of 67 gear from them, hassle free and to Australia.
The lenses were "as described" and the camera works perfectly.
Now Ebay is ok, and some stuff a real leap of faith but, if you deal with these sort of companies then you will be safe and happy.
A 67 is definitely worth it !
Cheers Neil
10-05-2009, 06:02 PM   #14
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I have purchased a lot of gear from KEH for the past 15+ years. Some for work and some for personal use. I have bought Pentax 645 and 6x7 gear from them. Their BGN is usually equivalent to very good condition on eBay/Adorama/B&H used gear, although I have had one lens (in transit now) that I have returned to KEH. They were very gracious in taking it back, no problem whatsoever, I just changed my mind about that particular lens. Collectively I have purchased many thousands of dollars worth from them and BGN gear is a bargain for the consumer in my book. Great outfit, great staff and truly a no hassle policy on returns.
10-05-2009, 08:57 PM   #15
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Thanks again folks, I will lurk on ebay for a few more days, and then if nothing comes of it I will probably order from KEH. With regard to your comments Spartan, I shoot with a K10D normally and frankly this is one way of getting me out of a rut. Its a long story, and it probably all boils down to me being indulgent, but I am an archaeologist, and so I use my camera a lot for artifact photography, museum and archival research, and site and landscape documentation. For these things, digital is invaluable, especially with regard to resolution, sharpness, and particularly the ability to amass large amounts of photos for archival purposes (after all, once a site is excavated, it is gone forever). However, this method of pixel-peeping and card-filling is spilling over into my other photography, and I am much less reticent to erase shots of my young son for fear that I am losing a memory. In the process, however, I am also losing my ability to judge the best of the bunch, and I am filling hard drives with photos that I don't have time to cull. I have also wanted to shoot medium format since college, and it seems that the prices have gotten reasonable enough that I should give it a go, and (re)gain some perspective, and perhaps also learn darkroom technique in the process. So, between those factors, and because of the fact that I have a few projects in mind, I am going for it (at least fairly soon)...
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