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Old 02-07-2008   #1
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Default First time to this corner of the Camel...

I think anyway.....

I`ve always wanted to get in to the larger formats, but the price always put me off.

Is the price of good used equipment very high? And what do you suggest. And lenses, I hear that they are very pricy......

Thanks for your help.

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Old 02-08-2008   #2
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The fun thing is that you can buy the lenses and bodies for rather low budgets.
The digital backs are a different story, but even they are coming down.
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Old 02-08-2008   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.A.F. Doorhof View Post
The fun thing is that you can buy the lenses and bodies for rather low budgets.
The digital backs are a different story, but even they are coming down.
It would be film for me.

Iíve never been truly happy with the results of any film other than ISO 25 color slide film in the 35mm format. 64 is ok.
The vast majority of what I shoot does not move all that much and I drag my tripod or monopod every where, and 99% of the time I manual focus. So I really do not need AF or IS or any of the high tech stuff of the new gen 35mm cameras. Tho I do like the ETTL metering. Iíve never used a hand held meter.
I don`t know, I`ve been wanting to go back to the old Canon AE1. But with it being over 20 years old I`m not sure that would be wise. And I would still be stuck with the same film options that I have with my Canon T2 (which it a good enough camera in it`s own right).

I hope to be working again by march. So maybe by june.
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Old 02-09-2008   #4
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I put together a Hasselblad 500CM kit out of used components for about $600 USD. Other commitments have prevented me from putting it through the stops and making sure it's fully functional and leak-proof, but I will eventually.

You should be able to get some other brands, such as Bronica or Mamiya, even cheaper on the used markets.
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Old 02-09-2008   #5
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I put together a Hasselblad 500CM kit out of used components for about $600 USD. Other commitments have prevented me from putting it through the stops and making sure it's fully functional and leak-proof, but I will eventually.

You should be able to get some other brands, such as Bronica or Mamiya, even cheaper on the used markets.
Thanks cyclohexane, Bronica or Mamiya, I`ve hear those names before. Are they about the same? Or is one a better bet than the other?
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Old 02-09-2008   #6
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Bronica or Mamiya, I`ve hear those names before. Are they about the same? Or is one a better bet than the other?
Hasselblad's the big name associated with top quality products, featuring Zeiss lenses and incredible build quality. Honestly, it's probably true as my Hasselblad stuff is quite a bit older than I am but still feels like it'd work like new.

My grandfather, who at one point shot professionally, used Mamiya and Leica in the same sentence in terms of quality. You can't really go wrong with Mamiya, as their products are top notch. They'll be cheaper than Hasselblad used, and their RB ("Rotating Back") bodies are larger. Of course, you mentioned that you pretty much have a tripod everywhere, so the larger size of the Mamiya shouldn't be a problem. I chose the Hasselblad 500CM over the Mamiya RB67 mostly because I knew I could still shoot the Hasselblad handheld.

As for Bronica, it will provide the cheapest option available. I hear the quality is as good as anything out there, but I haven't seen any comparisons firsthand. Haven't heard many negatives about Bronica, other than that the cameras don't say "Hasselblad" on them. =)

Of course, I'm only talking about 120 film SLRs. There are many other options for larger formats, so someone who knows more should chime in.
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Old 02-09-2008   #7
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Bronicas - Lots of options. The early range, the S2/S2a/EC all took the same lenses and are good value - however the S2s have a reputation for stripping the winding gears if you're heavy handed. However in 12 years with an S2 I haven't done anything like that. Various lenses available, the Nikkors are the best, others can be soft. Some rated the Nikkors as being as sharp as the Hassy lenses at the time. Some with old foam can have focussing problems. There are some even older models around, but they're rare and probably best left for collectors.

Other Bronicas to consider are the ETR series which is 645, SQ series which is 6x6 like the S2 series and the GS which is 6x7. Some dodgy lenses in some of the formats, so get advice before buying. Best bet is to stick to the 2 letter serial codes. Each series has it's own lens mount, so lenses aren't interchangeable between them.

Bronica also did a rangefinder MF with interchangeable lenses. Not many lenses, but top quality.

Fuji did a couple of rangefinder cameras, mostly 6x9 - so 35mm format, but in LARGE size. Very high quality results as their lenses are good. Last time I looked these were quite expensive. They also really controlled the market for 6x17 if you like panoramic format...

Plaubel Makina is a german MF, I don't know too much about it except they're scarce and use special Nikkor lenses.

Don't write off Pentax - the 645 was highly regarded for a long time and there's also the 6x7 which is a large SLR laid out like a 35mm SLR. Heavy, but many pros used them cos they worked so well. Good range of lenses as well.

Most of the TLRs like the Rolleiflex didn't have interchangeable lenses, however Rollei's 6000 series worked well and had excellent interchangeable lenses.

Probably the best thing to do is look around, try and get a feel for the different formats available... And the waist level finders where everything is reversed. When I got the Bronica it was difficult
at first, coming from 35mm. Then I relaxed, composed as I felt, with the intention of cropping afterwards. Haven't looked back since. I've got one shot cropped to about 35mm format that's blown up to 600x900mm (24x36"). Looks stunning.

Also get a feel for the different systems - backs, lens ranges, interchangeable finders (not on the Pentax 6x7) and so on. Some of the systems are a bit quirky in operation (Mamiya RB) and require special procedures before mounting/dismounting lenses and backs.

I've probably missed some, major cameras, but others will post, I'm sure.
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Old 02-09-2008   #8
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One other thing - with many of the cameras you'll also need a light meter. YOu can use your existing 35mm gear for that, a long zoom makes reasonable spot meter :-O). However I found that it was a bit of a pain and ended up buying one as well.
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Old 02-09-2008   #9
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Thank you cyclohexane and kevgermany for the wealth of info.
I have much to look in to.
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Old 02-12-2008   #10
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I primarily shoot large format, 4"x5" with a Linhof Technica IV. Years ago I could never have afforded to buy this camera but these days the prices are way down. On both bodies and lenses. I have several roll film backs, 6x12 and 6x9, so I can take advantage of roll film as well.

there are more choices out there for LF film now than even 6 years ago. The quality of the image is second to none. No amount of digi/PS'ing will even come close to a large format print from the negative onto traditional wet darkroom materials. Even scanned LF negs will blow your mind when printed out on a good printer.

You can even scan say 6x7 negs and make digital negatives to say make an 11x14 contact print. Lots of possibilities.


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