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Thread: looking for cheap entry to medium format

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    Member mclean8's Avatar
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    looking for cheap entry to medium format

    any specific camera recommendations? looking for kit under $1000, some sort of automated metering probably. shooting just generally around the streets, my son if he stands still long enough, abstract things.

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    I believe Pentax 645 and Mamiya AFD 645 are well regarded and can be had for under $1000.
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    What do you think you would prefer? a TLR, a box shaped SLR, a traditional SLR or steroids or a Rangefinder?

    6x4.5? 6x6? or 6x7?

    The Pentacon Six sells for way below its value and is an amazing performer with its Zeiss glass. You can get metered prisms for this camera. The same goes for the Mamiya C series TLR which has parallax correction. You would be looking at 300-400 for either of these cameras on a good day. Mamiya 645 and Bronica Esri kits can be found for 200-300.

    Steer clear from Russian cameras.

    There is an automated Fuji 6 x 4.5 Rangefinder/Point and Shoot which looks like a great performer.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    ***This is not and AD***
    Having just trawled the city camera stores, I can say there's a lot out there. But the prices weren't as rock bottom as I'd been hoping. In central Sydney Foto Riesel and Whilton's were quite interesting. On the I-net look up http://www.lapfoto.com.au/secondhand.cfm (Artarmon)
    There are others but... Am...

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    @Krzys: probably looking at 6x6, something about the square format is attractive, no rotating the camera or back for different orientations. rangefinder doesn't appeal, so will be big box SLR or TLR?

    pentacon six looks interesting. where to find one that is selling below value? ebay, or forums, or web based second hand dealer?

    @ameerat42: will be in sydney wed-fri, will check the stores mentioned, thanks for the heads up. trouble is coming in to the medium format area i am not sure what a reasonable price is.

    my main concern is not paying above going rate, and making sure that i get all the bits that i need. if i go with something like the pentacon six i need:
    - body
    - prism
    - lens

    TLR route needs the same pieces at a minimum? there is no separate back on the mamiya C series for instance?

    the bronica stuff looks attractively priced, but will i be disappointed with lens quality or selection? one for sale on ebay, 2 days left, about 300 is the bid, with 40 1.4 and 75 2.8, looks tempting initially.

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    The Australian "Photograhic Trader" magazine (Every two months at your newsagent) can be very useful for locating gear of this type. Prices continue to fall and supply is good.

    Prism and metering for a TLR can be hard to obtain in some cases. Handheld meter might be an answer. Left-Right reversal on TLR and some other MF kit can be difficult for fast-moving subjects like your son.

    TLR is silent for unobtrusive street work and because you are looking down, you often don't seem to get the same attention as eye-level shooting with a MF-SLR.

    $1000 will get you quite a bit these days unless you start looking into recent blads etc. I have a TLR, blad 6x6 and mamiya 645 SLR and they are all good in their own way for different reasons.
    Last edited by GlennSan; 02-11-2009 at 12:48pm.
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    Mamiya TLRs can be had for $120~150 at swapmeets depending on condition and haggling skills.

    No meter though, but you can just get a shoe mount meter and go from there.
    Cameras: Canon 20D, Canon A2, Fotoman 617, Hassy Xpan II, Mamiya C33 TLR.
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    You could always buy my Seagull TLR advertised on the forum here!

    Just joshing, but TLR is a good way to start in med format and most TLRs are now reasonably priced.
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    Amor fati!
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    cheap as chips? you could always go holga

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    Kiev 88 CM (Get the CM - newer version). Given the name Hasselbladski because it is an imitation of the Hasselblad. You can pick one up for $300 and get some good pentacon lenses to shoot 6x6 plus an external light meter and it will be less than $1000

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    Yes but its focal plane 1/15 flash sync and not leaf shutter...right?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    Yes but its focal plane 1/15 flash sync and not leaf shutter...right?
    Hmm. Intriguing. It's twice as good, Krzys. 1/30 sec flash sync! Here's a link on its specs. Am...
    http://www.rugift.com/photocameras/k...mlu_camera.htm

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    holga for arty soft shooting

    Roleiflex for the best of the TLR's

    Mamiya 7 for probably the best all round MF camera, some say one of the best cameras (period).

    Hasselblad for just over a grand, with a nice CS 80mm (standard) lens. Hassy's have a good rep, but that is largely due to their lenses. the newer hassy, the h series, aren't in the same league as the v series. this is good news, because the h is alot cheaper. but 'blads are slow camera's, and large. they aren't as intuitive to use as other cameras, and one wrong step in the process and you could end up with a jammed camera.

    mamiya 7 is likely to be over what you want to spend, so a good mamiya 6 would be my choice. you say you don't want a rangefinder camera.....curious to know why?

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    I think that the Mamiya 7 is great except for its aesthetics. Give it some chrome and leather and you will have a serious beast.

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    thanks for all the insights

    probably not keen on range-finder because i have never used anything like one. and looking for something a little contemplative, the composition on a focus screen intrigues me. the unobtrusive nature of use also appeals, as someone mentioned. range-finder needs composition at eye level yeah?

    any advice on where to buy? just keep checking the classifieds here, ebay, get the photo trader magazine thing? wish there were stores with more second hand gear.

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    Ebay, classifieds and the Photographic Trader. APUG, Rangefinder Forum and Large Format Photography have the best classified selections on the net.

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    Yes but rangefinders are fast to focus, much quicker than a TLR or SLR (med. format). a waist level finder will give you your images from waist level. This is not always desirable, but with eye level finders, you can always squat. You can hold a wlf above your head, but you are then limited to zone focusing really.

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    you can flip the camera upside down and look up into the wlf

    works in theory.

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    read my above post. as you say, it works in theory but it barely good enough for composition, never mind focusing, hence my suggestion that it is only really good if you zone focus.

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    Ahh I misread your post

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