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FORUMS Other Digital Cameras Medium Format Digital Cameras and Backs
Thread started 12 Apr 2015 (Sunday) 22:54
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Cheapest way into Med Format

 
urbanfreestyle
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Apr 12, 2015 22:54 |  #1

I've not got anything against film but I've always been a digital kind of guy. I started off shooting when i was at school with an Olympus OM1 and used to wind my own b/w film. I don't know why but i love the idea of having a Has. I had a quick look around and have seen the 500 film series seem to be quite popular. To blad owners would you recommend getting a film 500 and then getting a digital back at a later stage?


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rgs
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Apr 12, 2015 23:13 |  #2

I shot primarily with a Pentax 67 or a 4x5 for over 20 years. Unless you have some burning need for film's visual qualities - or just want to learn film - stick with digital. You can match or surpass MF film IQ with a FF (or a good corp) DSLR. Although it has a unique look and a special charm, film brings with it additional expense, slower work flow, the need for either a good scanning service or an expensive scanner (and learning to use it), and some other problems.

Should you really want to continue with film, MF is the best route and most of the equipment can be bought VERY cheaply because it's commercial value is very low. If you think you may want to expand into digital MF, look for cameras for which digital backs are available. That may take some research but I think it will include more recent Hassy and Mamiya (6x7 and 645). There may be others as well (Pentax 645? Rollei? Fuji?).

Additionally you may find an actual MF digital camera more effective than a digital back attached to a film camera. I'm not sure how much this helps but I hope it helps you to think through it. Others may have better insight on MF digital.


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urbanfreestyle
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by urbanfreestyle.
Apr 12, 2015 23:19 as a reply to rgs's post |  #3

Thanks for the quick reply!!! it's 05:41 am here in the UK so wasn't expecting anything lol!

I already had a 5D Mark II (FF) with 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8 as well as the ever so nifty 50 f1.8 but i was thinking of getting the MF film for some more of my street shoot series and possibly run a 50 strangers with a 50 project.

I love the look of film but i think i would end up wanting the negs scanned and digitised so i can get the feel and look i want in LR.

The other bit is that i love the feel of certain cameras. That was the reason i bought the 1D MarkIII, purely on the basis of how solid it felt (and the higher fps)

I'm not so sure about developing my own film just yet. Possibly something i would look into in the future.


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rgs
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by rgs.
Apr 12, 2015 23:28 as a reply to urbanfreestyle's post |  #4

Unless you're near a custom printer or willing to learn the wet lab yourself, you will have to have negs scanned. Even the automated printing machines scan the negs and then print from the scans and you can't use them in any digital format without scanning.

If you do proceed with film, don't miss the wet lab experience. You will learn more than you can imagine about the photographic process and probably enjoy the tactile feel of making prints in a completely old, analog way.


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urbanfreestyle
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Apr 12, 2015 23:35 as a reply to rgs's post |  #5

I may have to get back into it all. Do you think the blads and the Phase1s are all a bit over priced? I have seen a few others:

ZENZA BRONICA ETRS
Mamiya 645 Super Medium Format Camera
Hasselblad 500cm
Hasselblad 503CX
and finally Pentax 645
(random search on ebay for med format film cameras.)

I think i wouldn't have an issue with having scanned negs but like you say i think getting the full film experience may help also.
I have no idea about med format film but i'm thinking 120 film is the one to go for?


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rgs
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Apr 12, 2015 23:49 as a reply to urbanfreestyle's post |  #6

Not overpriced but maybe more than is needed. Hasselblads are incredibly well made and ingenious cameras. I was very happy with my Pentax 67 which was a pretty reasonably priced MF camera. There was also a series of Fuji 6x7 and 6x12 rangefinders with fixed lenses that were incredibly well made and not to expensive. I recently saw one for sale for $400. For digital MF, I read that Pentax good start and also hear good things about Leica.

120 has a paper back and usually does 10-12 shots on a roll (16 for 645). 220 has a paper leader but no back and doubles the exposures of 120. Cameras with removable backs need different backs for 120 and 220. Cameras with fixed backs like Pentax and Fuji can be configured for either type. There are no other options for MF film. 620 is the same sized but a shorter roll, made for amateur use and long dead as is 127.


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urbanfreestyle
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by urbanfreestyle.
Apr 12, 2015 23:58 as a reply to rgs's post |  #7

WOW that's a lot of information to take in. From what i gather, 'Blads are the king in the build quality relm and are pretty hardy?

I guess to get started i should look at something with a fixed back or one with a choice of backs and make a decision weather i want 120 or 220 film.


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rgs
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Apr 13, 2015 00:06 |  #8

urbanfreestyle wrote in post #17514984external link
WOW that's a lot of information to take in. From what i gather, 'Blads are the king in the build quality relm and are pretty hardy?

I guess to get started i should look at something with a fixed back or one with a choice of backs and make a decision weather i want 120 or 220 film.

Hard to say. Cameras with removable backs have advantages and were always more popular, but a Fuji rangefinder or Pentax 67 may be a better choice for street work because they will handle much like your 5D - only bigger and the Pentax will be louder - much louder. The Fujis have leaf shutters so they are quiet. They are also very simple cameras. If you can find one of them, that would be my first choice. Hassleblads are fine outside but Mamiyas and Bronicas really are more at home in a studio. Any 645 will also be good on the go.


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urbanfreestyle
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Apr 13, 2015 00:15 as a reply to rgs's post |  #9

So it is worth doing a bit more reading and work out what i really want to shoot first before taking the leap. I have great inspiration by Cartier Bresson. But i think using film it would help me get out of the spray and pray mentality.

You say the bronicas are more at home in the studio, Is that due to poor changing light performance or due to build quality?

I have found a Bronica ETRS Medium Format SLR Film Camera Body Only for £69.99 online.

I will have a hunt for the Fuji 6x7 and 6x12 too, i think the Pentax may be out of my price range.


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KirkS518
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Apr 14, 2015 16:15 |  #10

First, let's solve the 120 vs 220; Realistically, 220 is no longer available. There are some still out there, but pretty much all the manufacturers have stopped production.

If you like the feel of the Hassys, look into Mamiyas Systems. A whole lot less money, and you can get Leaf Credo (digital) backs for them that are far more affordable then Hassys, which may or may not matter.

I prefer the Mamiyas as I like the 6x7 vs the 6x6, love the rotating backs, and the systems are much more affordable.

Developing your own B&W film is incredibly cheap and easy. See this post on what you'd need.

The advantages to removable backs are that you can pre-load them for quick re-loading, and you can load different types in each of the backs, so you will have a choice of what to shoot. I keep 3 backs loaded all the time - 1 Color 100 (or 160), 1 B&W of assorted breeds and speeds, and 1 color 400ASA.

Anyway, the Bronica is a good camera, but it's older then the RB/RB's, and with the Bronica you're limited to 4.5x6. With the RB/RZ, you can do 6x4.5, 6x7, and 6x6 (I think there is even a 35mm back/kit available). I had a Bronica (SQ), and while the build was good, the RB is worlds better. If you like the 4.5x6, look at the Mamiya 645 series.

I'm a bit of a Mamiya fanboy, but in reality, I don't think there is a 'bad' MF system camera out there.


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the ­ flying ­ moose
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Apr 16, 2015 18:35 |  #11

I'm loving my Mamiya RB67 Pro S. I just throw it on a tripod and I am good to go. All I have done with it so far is do portraits on the street of friends.




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Wilt
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Post has been last edited over 2 years ago by Wilt. 5 edits done in total.
Apr 16, 2015 18:55 |  #12

you say you want into MedFormat cheap...you cannot get much cheaper than paying $250 or thereabouts for a Bronica ETRS system with prism finder, 120 back and two lenses...that originally sold new for $3700! There is a guy on POTN right now selling one.

JimmyDude911 wrote in post #17517035external link
Item for Sale: Bronica Etrs with Bronica 50mm f2.8 and 75mm f2.8
Item Condition: Lenses are 9/10. Camera is 7/10, nothing wrong with the performance but there is slight paint flaking on the body.
Price: $250 OBO
Payments Accepted: PayPal
Possible Trades: Nothing at the moment.
Shipping Methods Available (Ships From): USPS (or your choice)
Shipping Available To: US
Item location: TX
Best Contact Method: PM
Reason for selling: I bought it for a college level photography course and fell in love with it, however, money is tight at the moment so i need to part with some of my toys.

but, to be honest, if you want to eventually attach a digital back, the Bronica is the least suitable among Hassy, Mamiya, Pentax. But, being even more honest, attaching a digital back to a film body means an awkward user interface...you really need a more recently updated version of the body which is designed to interface directly with the back, for the digital back to be a bit more transparent in operation than the kluge of mechanical body linked to electronic back.


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urbanfreestyle
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Apr 17, 2015 01:15 |  #13

Thanks for all the feedback! as for the format (4.5x6 etc) i have no idea what the difference would be in the final result as i've only ever shot 35mm film and canon digital. I'll keep my eyes out for the right camera and will have a look at that Bronica on the forum too! :)


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Ronin ­ Silv
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Apr 22, 2015 15:02 |  #14

I have a Rolleicord which I shoot with regularly and love it the image quality of MF film is s much better than 35mm which I also shoot. At the moment I want to get a Mamiya 645AF ii onto which I can attach either film or digital backs, 40 mega pixel being the biggest I think, I know someone who has who already shoots with one with a digital back and the IQ surpasses full frame digital plus the images have a different look due to the focal plane of the lens and the sensor and a higher dynamic range than a full frame sensor due to it's size.


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urbanfreestyle
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Apr 23, 2015 23:18 as a reply to Ronin Silv's post |  #15

some of the shots i have seen online look immense! i've decided i'll be keeping my 5DII for my main shooting but am hoping when i get paid i'll be able to buy a Bronica from a certain member on here :)


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Cheapest way into Med Format
FORUMS Other Digital Cameras Medium Format Digital Cameras and Backs


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