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FORUMS Other Digital Cameras Medium Format Digital Cameras and Backs 
Thread started 01 Oct 2015 (Thursday) 12:36
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Looking to try MF

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Oct 01, 2015 12:36 |  #1

I've had a hankering to try MF, but I'm not sure what to pick up. I suspect IQ's going to be similar in all cameras so it's really more a question of ergonomics.

Here's a list of things I'm looking for:
- TLR or SLR but not rangefinder or folding camera: I want the ground glass viewed from above experience.
- Preferably 6x6
- Shutter speed up to 1/400 or 1/500
- Leaf shutter (pretty sure that's a given)
- Integrated light meter
- f/2.8 or 3.5 max
- Integrated magnifying glass
- Reliable construction

I've got the following cameras shortlisted (in no particular order):
- Minolta Autocord
- Rolleiflex 2.8F
- Mamiya C330S
- Yashicamat 124G
- Hasselblad 500 CM
- Bronica Z or ETRS
Most of them are over-budget though, since I'm looking at maybe spending $3-400 on body + lens (75 or 80mm).

Any suggestions?

Fuji X-E2, 18-55 and 55-200 zooms, Samyang 12 (external link)

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Joined Jan 2008
Location: Panama City, FL
Oct 01, 2015 22:08 |  #2

Having experience with several MF cameras (Mamiya C330f, Hasseblad 501C, Mamiya 645 1000s and Rolleiflex 3.5f) I'd say find a camera shop that sells vintage gear and figure out which one provides the best experience, handling and above all, lens characteristics.

For me, the Hasselblad provided the best lens image quality and build. It focused too slow due to its precise and long lens swing which lead me to a Rolleiflex. Equally built like the Hasselblad. Beautiful optics and ease of use. The Mamiya is similar except mine had a dim viewfinder and it was quite clunky to use on the fly. It did provide beautifully smooth tonality though.

I'd recommend a Yashica 124G. It has a unique quality in its images. A sort of lens swirl and smooth rendering to it. It's cheap, handles similarly to a Rolleiflex at a fraction of the cost. Once you master the medium and decide to look for a solution to your ergonomical/format, you'll be able to find exactly what you want in a camera. Otherwise, play around!

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Rolleiflex 3.5F Planar

Cream of the Crop
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Location: Riverside,California
Oct 01, 2015 22:30 |  #3

Mamiya RB67! Beast of a camera. It's a SLR but with a waist level finder. Gorgeous lenses that are dirt cheap. My friend just got a whole Pro S kit from KEH for $250 in mint condition.

I would recomend getting a Polaroid back also, shoots awesome 7x7 polaroids. That's the main reason I use mine. You also get a negative with the Polaroids that you can scan.

- Alex Corona Sony A7, Canon 7DM2/EOS M, Mamiya 645/67
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Location: Louisiana, USA
Feb 13, 2016 10:29 |  #4

If you have a preference for the 6x6 format then the Bronica ETRS is not the one you are looking for as it is 6x4.5. A fine camera it is but you will need to look at the Bronica SQ series. i saw one on ebay that dsold for less than $200.00 with two lens, a speed grip and prism finder. The waist finders are difficult to find for the Bronica. :-):-):-)

"I am very lazy, a normal consumer"
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Joined Jan 2006
Location: Ajman - UAE
Feb 15, 2016 16:54 |  #5

I have several MF [one digital and maybe 7 film], and from all those i like 3 the most as quality regardless one of them doesn't work and prefer another one for handling or carrying:

As quality:
- Mamiya 7II
- Mamiya RZ67 [RB67 is just as the same i think]
- Fujica GSW690III [that 6x9 format size is insane, i can't imagine about 6x17 then]

As Handling or carrying around: Hasselblad 500 series is the crown, i have Hasselblad 501CM. The only issue with Hasselblad i face is the Waist VF, the focusing is really annoying even i used different focus screen glasses, so that i don't use it much, also the 6x7 killed that 6x6, i only keep it so one day i can think more art way for square images, nothing more nothing less.

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Reader's Digest Condensed version of War and Peace [POTN Vol 1]
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Wilt. (3 edits in all)
Feb 18, 2016 09:13 |  #6

You post an array of different kinds of 'medium format' cameras, with differences that can matter to the user!

  • interchangeable lenses vs. fixed lenses
  • waist-level finder only vs. option for prism finder (for 35mm-like handling and viewing)
  • SINGLE lens reflex (in which viewfinder always sees exactly what lens sees) vs. TWIN lens reflex

an SLR like the Bronica ETRS need not be expensive, I have seen $300 prices for a full kit with two lenses, which would have cost $3000 if new!

Refine your needs to cut down the choices, rather than shotgun spray pattern shopping!

You need to give me OK to edit your image and repost! Keep POTN alive and well with member support​hp
Canon dSLR system, Olympus OM 35mm system, Bronica ETRSi 645 system, Horseman LS 4x5 system, Metz flashes, Dynalite studio lighting, and too many accessories to mention

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Looking to try MF
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