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Thread: Buying film MF gear advice needed

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    Buying film MF gear advice needed

    Hi folks,
    I have decided to take the plunge into film and have been reading up a fair bit about it.
    I have all but decided to purchase into the Contax 645 system.
    I know the system has been discontinued and all but it seem to get good reviews all round. I'm looking to purchase it in its kit form with the 80mm f2 lens, and a grip if available and maybe adding the 120 or 140mm.

    I actually like the 6X6 format better and was looking at Hassleblad but the Hassleblad AF gear seem too expensive at the moment. I wouldn't mind manual focus only but I'm a little apprehensive, being only used to AF on my digital gear. So Contax 645 seem like a good stepping stone being AF as well as very good for MF from what I've read. The Zeiss lens are also highly rated.
    Otherwise maybe go with the Hassleblad 500 series and learn to MF and work with the waist level finder. I was in the shops the other day and had a play with the blad and the waist level finder takes some getting use to. I'm also not confident in getting my focus spot on.
    I think I will avoid 6X7 because all the 67 gear I've seen are massive.

    I'd appreciate any advice before I start going bid-crazy on fleabay.

    I was also thinking of picking up an F100 so I can use my existing F-mount lens but the advice I keep getting is go medium format. The other choice I have is 35mm but rangefinder style with an M6 or something but I'm still leaning towards the Contax.
    I prefer to spend <$2000 as an initial investment.
    Nikon FX

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    A Hasselblad is normally kind of hard to focus compared to other medium format cameras so don't let that put you off.

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    Swifty, manual focus is very easy, infact it can be easier than auto focus. if you want really hight quality build lenses, then you are stuck with manual focus. the Hassy 500 is THE hasselblad to get...it's what made them famous. the 645 is a beautiful piece of kit, and the a 2/80mm in medium format is crazy stuff. I have been very tempted in the past, and I know that Camera Exchange has one at the moment. the only problem is if the camera fails, you have no factory support. if you are doing it for fun, then the risk may be worth it, but hardly appealing if you are working with the camera. a hassy is a different beast to the contax and its design encourages you to slow down. they require more concentration, and it is not difficult to jam a hasselblad if you don't follow the correct procedure when using them. this may be appealing if you want to take your time with manual focus. also the hassy has been around for fifty years so parts and trained techs are in abundance. alot of wedding photogs are using the contax in the US because of its speed and size. tough choice. one other thing, the hassy uses german made zeiss lenses, and the contax uses japanese made lenses, for what it is worth. swifty, have you considered a rolleiflex...that will likely be my next medium format purchase, and although expensive, they are truly well made pieces of kit, up their with leica in their build quality. you will be able to hand hold the tlr's at slower shutter speed than the two slr's listed above. and whilst rollei have just shut their factory, their tlr's have been around much longer than even the hassy's, so repair is no issue, and like the 'blad's, there is no electronics to fail.

    remember, with a proper lens that has distance scales and dof markings Swifty, you don't even need to focus through a the viewfinder, just use zone focus.

    all the best with your new endevour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOM View Post
    Swifty, manual focus is very easy, infact it can be easier than auto focus. if you want really hight quality build lenses, then you are stuck with manual focus. the Hassy 500 is THE hasselblad to get...it's what made them famous. the 645 is a beautiful piece of kit, and the a 2/80mm in medium format is crazy stuff. I have been very tempted in the past, and I know that Camera Exchange has one at the moment. the only problem is if the camera fails, you have no factory support. if you are doing it for fun, then the risk may be worth it, but hardly appealing if you are working with the camera. a hassy is a different beast to the contax and its design encourages you to slow down. they require more concentration, and it is not difficult to jam a hasselblad if you don't follow the correct procedure when using them. this may be appealing if you want to take your time with manual focus. also the hassy has been around for fifty years so parts and trained techs are in abundance. alot of wedding photogs are using the contax in the US because of its speed and size. tough choice. one other thing, the hassy uses german made zeiss lenses, and the contax uses japanese made lenses, for what it is worth. swifty, have you considered a rolleiflex...that will likely be my next medium format purchase, and although expensive, they are truly well made pieces of kit, up their with leica in their build quality. you will be able to hand hold the tlr's at slower shutter speed than the two slr's listed above. and whilst rollei have just shut their factory, their tlr's have been around much longer than even the hassy's, so repair is no issue, and like the 'blad's, there is no electronics to fail.

    remember, with a proper lens that has distance scales and dof markings Swifty, you don't even need to focus through a the viewfinder, just use zone focus.

    all the best with your new endevour.
    Thanks Tom, I was hoping to get some advice from you after reading many of your other threads concerning film.
    Also thanks for the heads up on the Contax kit at Camera Exchange. I emailed them but they have a hold for a customer until Wednesday so I'll see what happens after that. Am monitoring the results off ebay too and may plunge in if there's a last minute bargain and pick up the grip at Camera Exchange if its still available after Wednesday.
    I think I will settle on the Contax for now. I'm only using it for personal projects so the lack of factory doesn't concern me as much. I'm also loving some of the results I've seen of the 2/80mm. It will be an experience when I get to try and focus it. Oh and the made in Japan or Germany thing doesn't really bother me.

    I have looked at the Rollei's but they are too expensive. If I decide to also purchase 6x6 later then i will look into it again. There seem to be a lot of variations in the Hassy 500 series and a little confusing for me but again, will research more about it if I go 6X6.

    Lastly, you don't have any more batches of roll film you're selling do u? Haha, I was eyeing your classified ad before but hadn't decided yet otherwise would've bought the whole lot.

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    The Contax is a great camera, don't get me wrong. The Carl Zeiss lenses are fantastic and at least a stop faster than most other medium format lenses. I do not have any more film that I want to part with at the moment, sorry. I hope that Contax is available for you from Camera Exchange, it's such a great place to deal with. I'm not sure if you know the guys there or not, but I deal with Paul and I couldn't ask for better service.

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