Thinking about going medium format..
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Old 11-26-2007   #1
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Default Thinking about going medium format..

and know absolutely nothing about it. Are then any good tutorials or online info I can look at to help me figure out which way to go? Any info will be welcome. Would use it for landscapes and portrait mostly. Which body, lenses etc.....
Thanks!
Steve

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Old 11-26-2007   #2
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

The good news is that it is cheaper than ever to get into medium format.

You could get a used Yashica Mat 124 G, which is a twin lens design. That makes a great portrait camera and is a great cheap way to get top quality results. A good cheap way into MF is with some Ukranian gear like the Lubitel 166B. I got one off eBay for around $40, and it takes nice shots for such a cheap camera. It is a toy version of the Yashica, but it does have a glass lens.

The Pentax 645 and 67 bodies and lenses are great deals as well, but you might want to start off with something simple like the Yashica and see if it is something you like.

Bob
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Old 11-26-2007   #3
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

Alot of photographers will say that "Film is Dead, Buy the latest DSLR DX1/mII-100" but I for one love my blad. I would like point out that a RZ67 system can be had for less than 1/3 of new if you look around. If size and weight are important, a good 645 Mamiya/Pentax/Contax system may be a good fit. A good kit of 50/80/150 lenses will do just about anything. Try to find a system with interchangeable backs and not just inserts if you think you may want to try to shoot different film stocks (Color and B/W) at the same time. Try to find someone or someplace and get the camera in your hand. I am amazed at how we photographers sometimes get so jazzed about a camera and when we get it in our hands we realize its a brick.
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Old 11-26-2007   #4
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

I am probably looking for something that uses 120 slide film. I live way out in the boonies in Mexico and I can easily develope that myself. Other them that I know nothing about the medium format gear. Is there anywhere online I can read up on it?

Steve
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Old 11-27-2007   #5
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

Sounds weird (I know).

Why do you want to go MF ?
If you don't know anything about it you also don't know the advantages.

Although I shoot digital with a Leaf A22 on the Mamiya 645AFD/II I also shoot some film and I love both.
HOWEVER I would not use film for my day to day commercial work for the simple reason that I PERSONALLY find the digital to be much better than my film.
The look of B&W is stunning but for color I love digital.

When you are switching to analogue only I think you are doing away with a lot of advantages of digital and paying a price that is probarbly too high for each photo.
I would in that case rather invest in a good 5D.

What alot of people forget is that although film and processing is not that expensive, getting the negatives in your PC is.
The best/cheapest solution is the Epson V700 flatbed which retails for arround $600.00 for anything less I would not even bother.
But if you want the absolute best you need a dedicated film scanner going up to $2000.00 (maybe second hand for half).

That said.
I absolutly love the DOF and 3D look you can get with MF.
I would however choose digital with film and not film only.

That said 2.
If you want a good system with options go for the Mamiya 645AFD/II.
It's an open system and you can add the cheap ZD back later on or the leaf series.
Also Phase one is starting a coop with Mamiya meaning there will be some interesting things developing next year (quicker than you think).

Also the Mamiya lenses can be had very cheap on Ebay.

I would not advise to hasselblad although I love the name
Lenses are more expensive and equally performing.
The new system is a closed system and the older (pre-H) are not AF.

Have fun and let us know what you decided.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 12-01-2007   #6
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

Fundementals of photography 4x5 to 35 mm are all the same, advantage of Med. format over 35mm larger image - meaning more room for cropping and more resolution in prints.

Have always loved Med. format (now use Mamiya RB67 & 645). Problem is smaller film loads (10 or 16 exp/roll) and the time and trouble of processing, proofing, & printing (use to love my time in the lab.

My equipment now ranges from 4x5 to 35 mm, but for commercial work it Sony A100.

Immediate images, photoshop corrections, and off to the printer.

Bottom line - Med. format film is great, but if you into comm/printing work, digital offers more opportunties.

I don't mean to "pan" Med format - still a beliver, but for comm. work this may not be the most cost effective venue.
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Old 12-01-2007   #7
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

To be specific.

"Normal Lens" for most 120 systems is 75mm. For portrait work you'll probably want a "small" tele - say 90mm to 105mm. Landscape you'll probably want a "wide angle" anything down to 50mm - beyond that it's "fisheye" and really expensive.

There are GREAT buys, now in the market - used camera store (say a complete RB67 rig with 2 back for $600), and the deals on Hasselbald on ebay are awesome.
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Old 12-01-2007   #8
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

Depends on the system.
I use the AFD/II Mamiya and the 35mm is one of the most used wideangles I own.
After that I use the 55-110 for walk arround lens.

In the studio it's 99% the 120MM Macro and the 150MM for when I need AF.
And sometimes for the real great DOF the 105-210MM which has GREAT DOF in the studio you can really through the complete background OOF on f11 (portraits)

I have to say that I cannot imagine me to be working on film for normal day work, I use a Leaf Aptus 22 digital back and with the ammount of work we do even that is alot of work, when I have to scan my work it would be killer and I would have to cut my schedule in half I'm afraid
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Old 12-01-2007   #9
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

Thanks everyone! This is just the info I was looking for. I am not a comercial photographer so having to waste time with processing isnt a problem. I live in a remote part of Mexico and the jungle and ruins around here just beg for high quality photos. I would like to try something that requires skill and patience to get good results. I want to get away from the spray and pray approch. Just knowing you only have 12 frames makes you do it right. I cant help but think the discipline learned from medium format shooting would really help me in my regular shooting. Thanks again!
Steve
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Old 12-02-2007   #10
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Default Re: Thinking about going medium format..

Just remember that when you shoot alot of HIGH CONTRAST scenes digital will give you better results due to a higher dynamic range.
When you shoot normal light situations film may give you what you look for.

However.
WHO tells you to pray and spray ?
Even with a DSLR I think about what I shoot


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