There has never been a better time to dip into the second-hand market.
Modern DSLR cameras are masterpieces of design, technology and ergonomics, and the gap that used to exist between current and ‘last-generation’ models is narrower now than ever before. We've chosen ten top 2nd hand digital SLRs that we think represent great value for money on the second-hand market.
If you’re a keen film user, film equipment is very good value and it is possible to pick up a camera now for a couple of hundred pounds that might have cost more than a thousand just a few short years ago. We've picked out four of the best 2nd hand small-format film cameras. We’ve also included a compact camera, the Ricoh GR1, which was one of the best models around when it was new, and a great bargain now that it is no longer manufactured.
On the final spread we’ve selected four great 2nd hand medium-format cameras that represent amazing bargains, too. Years ago a medium-format camera would have been too expensive for many enthusiast photographers, but now the second hand market offers a chance to pick up a medium-format camera for an affordable price.
So whatever your priorities, and whatever format you’re interested in, read on, and if a camera catches your eye, visit the AP second hand directory where you find our nearest second-hand retailer, or visit our guide on camera fairs to find out how to pick up a bargain at a fair near you.
Top second hand digital SLR cameras
2nd hand Olympus E-410 and E-510
Features: 10 million effective pixels | Four Thirds mount | Highlight spot metering
These two second hand Four Thirds cameras are very similar, apart from a few differences that may make the Olympus E-510 a more popular secondhand choice for enthusiast photographers. Both cameras have the same Four Thirds-type Live MOS sensor with ten million effective pixels and are Live View enabled, so images can be composed on the 2.5in, 230,000-pixel LCD screens.
In addition, the two cameras benefit from Olympus’s Supersonic Wave Drive dust-removal system, which has proved itself to be an excellent performer. There’s also the useful highlight-centric spot metering mode to ensure the brightest detail is retained. However, the E-510 has a sensor-shifting image-stabilisation mechanism that enables blur-free images to be captured at shutter speeds around two stops slower than normal.
Another key difference between these two models is that the E-410 is smaller and lighter, yet just as well made. Though its small size makes it highly portable, some may dislike its lack of a pronounced fingergrip and wish for slightly better-placed strap lugs – the E-410’s always seem to get in the way. The E-510, on the other hand, is a little larger and has a deeper grip, which makes it more comfortable to carry in the hand. This camera also has shortcut buttons to aspects such as the white balance, metering, focus mode, sensitivity and AF area controls, which reduces the user’s reliance on the Super Control Panel on the LCD screen.
With the E-410, however, you are completely reliant on the panel for making setting adjustments, which can be frustrating for more experienced photographers, but is a bonus for novices.
A full test of both models can be found in AP 30 June 2007.
Good choice for: Four Thirds devotees, as these cameras don’t lag far behind the current E-420 and E-520
2nd hand Canon EOS 5D
Features: 12-million-pixel CMOS sensor | 9-point AF system | 2.5in LCD screen
The Canon EOS 5D (tested AP 5 November 2005) has only recently been replaced by the EOS 5D Mark II. During the course of its three-year life span it became one of Canon’s best-selling DSLRs, and for much of that time it was the only full-frame camera on the market aimed primarily at the enthusiast photographer. So good is the reputation of the EOS 5D among photographers that any remaining new examples disappeared from dealers’ shelves virtually overnight after the EOS 5D Mark II was released.
By 2005 standards, the Canon EOS 5D was hot stuff. A 12-million-pixel, full-frame CMOS sensor was its main selling point, but a very capable nine-point AF system and 3in LCD screen made it more than just a showcase for the sensor. Image quality, especially from raw files, is extremely high, and even three years after its introduction the EOS 5D is able to hold its own against current DSLRs (see our comparative test of the EOS 5D against the Nikon D700 in AP 6 September 2008).
It also produces very clean files, even at high ISO settings.
If you’re buying an EOS 5D now, watch out for signs of heavy use, especially chafing and scuffing around the edges of the body, and brassing around the lens mount. Although the EOS 5D is not shock and weather-proofed in the same way as Canon’s flagship ‘1’-series DSLRs, it earned a reputation for being tough enough for heavy professional use, and many were. Also, be aware that its LCD screen, although impressive when it was released, is significantly darker and lower in contrast than we would expect now, so don’t worry – it’s not a fault.
Good choice for: Landscape enthusiasts who want top-quality output without the bells and whistles
2nd hand Nikon D200
Features: 10-million-pixel CCD sensor | 11-point AF system |2.5in LCD screen
When we tested the Nikon D200 (AP 21 January 2006), AP’s then technical editor Damien Demolder awarded it a score of 90%.
The D200 replaced the D100, and improved on it dramatically, offering a higher-resolution CCD sensor and a range of handling and function improvements. Many of the stand-out features of the D200 were borrowed from Nikon’s flagship camera at that time, the D2x, including the large 2.5in LCD screen and the advanced 11-point AF system.
The multi-cam 1000 AF system still lives on today, in an adapted form, in the current D90 and D5000. Image quality is superb, and files contain a lot of detail at low ISO settings, although noise does become a problem at ISO 1600 and above.
No camera is perfect, however, and when we first tested the D200 we were disappointed that its metering system is so readily persuaded to underexpose midtones for the sake of highlight detail.
This is great news for raw shooters, but at its default settings the D200 can turn out quite dull-looking JPEG files. The solution is to set the ‘fine-tune exposure’ custom function to deliver a brighter midtone, independent of exposure compensation. This often overlooked custom function is one of the most useful featured by the D200, as is ‘non-CPU lens data’, which allows the camera to be programmed for use with an enormous range of manual-focus Nikon optics stretching back to the late 1970s.
The D200 was a hugely successful camera for Nikon, and its tough, hard-wearing construction and excellent ergonomics endeared it to enthusiast and professional photographers alike.
The D200 was replaced by the D300 in 2007, and second-hand examples abound. The D200 is a tough and capable camera, and in many ways it doesn’t really show its age. Battery life may be relatively poor, though, so budget for a spare EN-EL3e (or compatible) battery.
A good choice for: Everyday photography for the enthusiast photographer, or a back-up DSLR
2nd hand Nikon D70 and D70s
Features: 6 million pixels | 5-point AF system | ISO 100-1600
The Nikon D70 and its upgrade, the D70s, are the oldest cameras in this round-up, and we decided to include them because of an overwhelming response from D70 and D70s users on the Amateur Photographer online message boards.
Although it is a five-year-old design, the D70 remains a very popular camera, and many are still doing sterling service in the kitbags of enthusiast photographers today.
When we tested the D70 (AP 3 April 2004), we praised its handling and the incredible sharpness from its CCD sensor. Although it was originally marketed by Nikon as the ideal backup camera to a D100, we found that it outperformed the older model fairly comprehensively. Although its AF system isn’t as good as later cameras like the D200, it was on a par with cameras like the Canon EOS 10D, which represented the best of the competition when the D70 was launched. The D70s was a fairly minor upgrade to the D70, but some changes, like tweaks to the AF system and a larger screen with a clearer menu system, make it a more desirable second-hand buy. That said, a firmware upgrade was released for the D70 after the D70s was released, and it brought some of the improvements (most notably the improved menu system and faster AF) to the older body. This upgrade is still available from the customer services section of www.nikon.co.uk.
As well as making an excellent back-up camera, the D70 and D70s are much sought-after by infrared enthusiasts, because they are unusually sensitive to IR light. This means that unlike almost all other DSLRs, they can be used to take IR photographs (with a red filter attached to the lens) without the need for
Good choice for: Infrared enthusiasts who value high IR sensitivity without modification
2nd hand Canon EOS 30D
Features: 8.5-million-pixel CMO S sensor | 9-Point AF system | 2.5in LCD Screen
First tested in AP 22 April 2006, the Canon EOS 30D scored an impressive 91%.
Rather than a dramatic redesign, the Canon EOS 30D offers refinement on the
previous EOS 20D. The most notable upgrade is a 2.5in LCD screen, improved from the 2in screen of the earlier model. Perhaps the most useful improvement is the
introduction of spot metering to a non-professional Canon EOS DSLR – previously, 9% partial metering was the closest available option. Our original review noted that the exposure system was ‘a good deal improved over that used in the EOS 20D’. In fact, those thinking of buying a used EOS 20D would be far better off paying the extra £50-100 and opting for the EOS 30D.
With a shooting rate of 5fps for 30 large JPEG or 11 raw files, and a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000sec, the EOS 30D betters the current entry level
EOS 1000D and EOS 450D. Although it only has an 8.5-million-pixel CMOS sensor,
it produces good-quality images larger than A4-size, though images may require a little extra sharpening due to in-camera noise reduction. Entry-level photographers wishing to take action photographs will benefit from its fast shooting rate and
shutter speeds, though they may find it a little less user friendly than current entry-level DSLRs. Existing EOS users will find it to be a suitable and cheap
model for a second body.
Good choice for: Photographers and Canon users looking for an ideal back-up DSLR
2nd hand Nikon D80
Features: 10.2-million-pixel CMOS sensor | 11-point AF system | 2.5in LCD screen
Having only been discontinued by Nikon last year, replaced by the D90 and D5000, the D80 is one of Nikon’s best-selling DSLRs.
In fact, at the time of writing, the D80 is the second most popular DSLR camera on photographic website Flickr (www.flickr.com), behind the Canon EOS 450D.
The D80 is similar to the Nikon D200, in the same way that the D90 is to the D300, and as a result it is a well-specified enthusiast camera, with a plastic rather than magnesium alloy body. Featuring the same 10.2-million-pixel DX-format sensor and 2.5in LCD screen as the D200, the D80 scored 89% when we reviewed it in AP 23 September 2006. Our review noted that whilst the exposure metering system in the D80 is taken from the entry-level D50 rather than the D200, it performs perfectly well.
Image noise is well controlled, and doesn’t become evident until ISO 800. One point to note, particularly for those looking to purchase a D80 as a second body, is that it stores its images on to SD cards rather than CF cards.
Having a Nikon F mount makes the D80 camera compatible with the majority of Nikon lenses from the last 50 years, meaning there are some fantastic bargains to be found, particularly if you are prepared to focus manually.
With the layout of nearly all of Nikon’s entry-level and enthusiast DSLRs being so similar, the Nikon D80 should be perfect for those looking for a second Nikon DSLR body. However, it must be noted that it lacks the in-camera image stabilisation and dust-reduction of the similar Pentax K10D.
Good choice for: Enthusiast photographers and those looking for a back-up body
2nd hand Sony Alpha 100
Features: 10.2-million-pixel CMOS sensor I Eye-start autofocus I 2.5in LCD screen
The Alpha 100 was Sony’s first foray into the digital SLR market, having acquired Konica Minolta in 2006. Its technology is largely based on that of its predecessor, the Konica Minolta Dynax 7D. Based around a 10.2-million-pixel sensor, the Alpha 100 also has a 2.5in LCD screen, 40-segment metering and a nine-point AF system.
Also inherited from Konica Minolta is the Alpha 100’s Anti-Shake technology (renamed Super SteadyShot to fit the Sony brand) and a dust-reduction system.
One of the camera’s more innovative features is its Eye-start autofocus. This system utilises two infrared sensors below the viewfinder that activate the AF
system when your eye is held to the viewfinder.
Scoring 90% in its review in AP 22 July 2006, we were impressed with the sheer
number of features offered by the camera considering its initial price. As well as the
features listed above, it has wireless flash control and was one of the first cameras to feature a Dynamic Range Optimiser.
Nearly three years on since its release, the Alpha 100 still compares favourably with current entry-level cameras. It has since been replaced by the Alpha 200, and Sony now has a full range of Alpha cameras to suit entry-level and professional
photographers alike. As the Alpha mount is merely a renamed Minolta A mount, the
Alpha 100 is compatible with all Konica Minolta lenses dating back to 1985.
Furthermore, the Alpha 100 can use the current range of Sony lenses, including those manufactured in collaboration with Carl Zeiss.
This makes the Alpha 100 an ideal camera for the entry-level DSLR user, with plenty of scope to expand and build a camera system in the future.
Good choice for: Bargain-hunting Sony Alpha users looking for a second body, or first-time buyers
2nd hand Pentax K10D
Features: 10.2-million-pixel CCD sensor | 11-point AF system |Built-in image sensor stabilisation
Although just over two years old, the Pentax K10D still has plenty to offer, and it’s specification is comparable to a number of current entry-level cameras, such as the Nikon D60 and the Canon EOS 1000D. However, unlike these models, it has a magnesiumalloy body with a weather proofing that is claimed to match that of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II.
When Damien Demolder reviewed the K10D in AP 3 February 2007, he gave it a respectable 87%, ranking it amongst the best enthusiast cameras of its time.
What makes it stand out is the in-camera image stabilisation system, dust-reduction system, 22-bit raw capture and in-camera raw conversion.
One other useful feature is its ability to save raw images as either Pentax PEF or Adobe DNG files, making it compatible with a great deal of image-editing software.
With a Pentax K mount fitting, the K10D can make use of a huge range of both autofocus and manual K mount lenses dating back to 1975, making it worthy of even more attention as a viable second-hand camera.
Our original review noted that the Pentax K10D is able to capture a great deal of
detail, but images can suffer from slight underexposure, particularly in the midtones.
This is noticeable in the dynamic range curve of the camera, with midtones appearing 0.5EV darker than they should. Unfortunately, lifting the shadows and
midtones does increase the level of image noise.
Although it has now been replaced by the Pentax K20D, the K10D is still a great option for those wanting their first DSLR, or for K20D owners looking for a second body. With a huge range of lenses available (though some are manual focus only), it is easy to build a whole camera system, relatively cheaply, around the K10D.
Good choice for: Pentax users looking for compatibility with their collection of old lenses
See a camera you like? Before you buy see our guide on what to look out for when buying second hand cameras
Top second hand film cameras
2nd hand Canon EOS 3
Features: 45-point AF system with eye control | 7fps max drive rate (with PB-E2 drive attached) | Full weather sealing
The Canon EOS 3 is often hailed as one of the finest AF film SLRs ever made, and with good reason. Arriving on the market some time before Canon’s EOS film flagship, the EOS 1v, the EOS 3 (tested AP 13 February 1999) showcased much of the same technology. Some features, like a highly advanced 45-point AF system, remained unmatched by competitors for almost ten years, and others, like eye-controlled focus selection, were never bettered by Canon, either.
The EOS 3 was designed to appeal to enthusiasts, but inevitably, its rugged construction and compatibility with accessories designed for the EOS 1n and EOS 1v, meant that it was treasured equally by professionals. It is fully weather-sealed, and more than a decade after its introduction the EOS 3 is still known as one of the toughest and most reliable AF SLRs of its time.
Many photographers seem to have forgotten about Canon’s ‘eye-control’ AF system, but when it was debuted on the EOS 5 in 1992, it was truly futuristic technology. The EOS 3 represented its ultimate incarnation, allowing each of the 45 AF points to be selected by eye. Tiny sensors inside the camera’s eyepiece pick up the movement of the photographer’s iris, allowing you simply to look at the sesired point within the focusing array, then half-press to focus on (or at least near) this point. Although it is not a 100% reliable system, many photographers loved it, including us, and we secretly hope that Canon resurrects the technology for the digital age.
If you’re buying an EOS 3 now, check its external condition carefully for bumps and scratches. Also, be aware that the large removable rubber eyepiece is essential when using the EOS 3 in eye-control mode because it prevents stray light from fooling the system. Spare eyepieces can be sourced but they’re expensive. Finally, although it doesn’t have any impact on AF accuracy, check that the central red AF indicator in the viewfinder is properly centred. If it has shifted, the camera may have been dropped heavily at some point.
Good choice for: Film cameras don’t get much more advanced
than this. The EOS 3 is a workhorse
2nd hand Nikon F100
Features: 5-point AF system | 4.5fps continuous shooting | 22 custom functions
When AP first tested the Nikon F100 in AP 16 January 1999, we described it as Nikon’s ‘answer’ to the Canon EOS 3. Although not quite the technology showcase that the EOS 3 was, the F100 still turned a lot of heads when it was released.
Offering some of the key features of the then-flagship F5, including the same five-point AF system, the F100 soon became the camera that semiprofessional
and enthusiast Nikon photographers aspired to own.
In terms of control layout and handling, the F100 was the template for today’s high-end Nikon DSLRs. A fast, continuous shooting rate of 4.5fps (with AF tracking) and advanced exposure functions like auto flash exposure bracketing and ten-zone 3D Matrix metering make it very sophisticated, too, even by today’s standards.
The Nikon F100 is powered by 4xAA batteries – this was standard for Nikon at the time, but it does increase the weight of the camera, and with this in mind, lightweight lithium batteries are recommended.
Things to look out for on a used F100 include noticeable stiffness in the control dials and, conversely, excessive looseness of the AF selection joystick on the rear of the camera. Also, be aware that (as with many SLRs) the textured rubber cladding of the F100 can ‘bubble’ and come away from the camera’s metal chassis over time. Finally, early samples of the F100 had plastic film rewind ‘forks’ inside the film compartment that were notorious for snapping, so if you’re buying an F100, look for a later model with the improved rewind forks. You can tell the difference by their shape – the original forks have two triangular prongs, whereas the later ones have longer, squarer prongs.
Good choice for: The F100 is a great value camera, and a good choice for any Nikon user that shoots film
2nd hand Ricoh GR1
Features: Slim design| 28mm f/2.8 lens | Program and Aperture priority exposure modes
The Ricoh GR1 can truly be considered a classic compact film camera. Released in 1996, it’s slim design and sleek styling struck a chord with discerning photographers.
However, it is the 28mm f/2.8 lens, ±2EV exposure compensation and aperture priority modes that really make it desirable. When AP reviewed the R1 (AP 30 November 1996), it received 88%, scoring particulary highly for its handling and viewfinder, and performance and build quality.
The Ricoh GR1’s main appeal is that its magnesium-alloy body is slim enough to fit into a shirt pocket, but unlike other, cheaper compacts it has an aperture priority mode and exposure compensation. Added to this are average and centreweighted metering modes and a three-area multi-point AF system that make it a great everyday compact camera for those more used to using an SLR model.
Rather useful is the SNAP mode that locks focus at two metres, allowing for worry-free focusing, which is great for taking snapshots with the camera’s sharp 28mm lens.
The GR1 was so popular that three other film versions were made: the GR1s (which added illumination to the LCD display and the use of a lens hood and filters); the GR1v (all the features of the GR1s, plus a manual-focus mode, and three-frame bracketing at ±0.5EV increments); and the GR21 (which has a wider, 21mm lens). Ricoh has continued its GR1 series with the GR Digital and GR Digital II compact digital cameras.
Good choice for: The style-conscious and street photographers after a discreet, high quality camera
2nd hand Minolta Dynax 9
Features: 3-point AF system | 1/12,000sec top shutter speed |
5.5fps continuous shooting
The Dynax 9 (tested AP 30 January 1999) was Minolta’s last stab at capturing a share of the professional photographic market. Released in 1998, the Dynax 9 represented the pinnacle of Minolta’s AF SLR technology at that point, 13 years after the company created the world’s first practical AF system for an SLR camera in the Dynax 7000.
When we tested the Dynax 9, AP’s then technical reporter Chris Cheesman praised its AF speed and accuracy and was impressed by how useable the camera is in difficult conditions.
Minolta took a somewhat ‘industrial’ approach to the ergonomics of the Dynax 9, which won’t suit everyone, but it does mean that this is one of the few cameras that is genuinely useable with cold or gloved hands. It is also unusual for offering a built-in flash, despite being weather-sealed, which is very handy for fill-in or snapshot use.
Don’t let the flash deceive you though, in all other respects the Dynax 9 is a thoroughly professional camera, and features 100% viewfinder coverage and a carbon-fibre shutter with an exceptionally wide shutter speed range of 30secs up to a still unmatched 1/12,000sec.
The Dynax 9 was, and still is, a fine camera, and one that is tough enough to withstand heavy use. Unfortunately, it came too late for Minolta, and the company never made up the ground it had lost to Canon and Nikon in the professional market.
Today, the Dynax 9 may be of greatest interest to photographers using Sony Alpha DSLRs that want to experiment with fi lm. Bear in mind, though, that ‘straight out of the box’ the Dynax 9 is not compatible with the SSM lenses released by Konica Minolta from 2000.
At the time, Minolta offered a free hardware upgrade to make the Dynax 9 compatible, so if you’re considering buying a Dynax 9, try it with an SSM lens to check it focuses correctly. If you’re lucky, its previous owner had the camera upgraded, but if not, it is highly unlikely that you’ll find anyone able or prepared to upgrade it now.
Good choice for: Dynax enthusiasts or Sony Alpha users looking for a route into film photography
See a camera you like? Before you buy see our guide on what to look out for when buying second hand cameras
Top second hand medium format cameras
2nd hand Hasselblad 501CM
Features: 6X6cm format | shutter speed 1-1/500sec plus bulb | In-lens leaf shutter I Mechanical operation
Hasselblad cameras are regarded by some as the ultimate medium-format camera, and are still used by many professional fashion, portrait and wedding photographers. Many second-hand models will have seen professional use, but the cameras are very well built and designed to last a lifetime.
The 501CM has the classic 6x6cm format, though 6x4.5cm is possible and there are both 120 and 220 fi lm backs available.
As an entirely mechanical camera, the Hasselblad 501CM doesn’t require a battery, so there’s no need to worry about low temperatures adversely affecting performance, or having a spare to hand. Also, unless you can afford one of the metered prism finders, you’ll need a handheld lightmeter.
As the 501CM body is little more than a box with a mirror, focus and exposure control is provided by the lens. All compatible lenses have the same shutter speed range of 1-1/500sec plus bulb, while the maximum aperture varies between optics. As usual, the leaf shutter allows flash to synchronise at all shutter speeds.
Though a second-hand Hasselblad 501CM kit with an A12 back and 80mm lens can be picked up for around half its original selling price, those with a tighter budget might like to consider a model from Bronica instead – such as the SQ-Ai. This has the added advantage that accessories such as a metered prism finder are much more affordable. Though the SQ-Ai has a more economic build quality, its leaf shutter is electronically controlled (with speeds running from 16-1/500sec plus bulb) and electronic contacts enable off the-film metering with selected flashguns.
Good choice for: Portrait, wedding and still life photography
2nd hand Mamiya RZ67 Pro
Features: 6X7cm format I Revolving back I Shutter speed 8-1/400sec plus bulb I Rack and pinion focusing
Though the Mamiya RZ67 Pro first appeared in May 1982, it is a more modern variant of the entirely mechanical RB67 Pro, which began life in May 1970. The RB stands for ‘revolving back’, as the RB67 Pro was the first camera to feature a 6x7cmformat film holder that can be rotated for shooting in both landscape and portrait perspectives. This is an ingenious solution to the problem of turning a camera with a waist-level finder on its side to change the image orientation. Conveniently, when the back is rotated from landscape format to portrait, lines automatically move into place to indicate the frame.
Like the original RB67 Pro, the RZ67 Pro is a giant of a camera, and is best suited to life on a tripod or studio stand. While it has been used for fashion photography, it is a good choice for keen portrait, still life or macro photographers (with extension tubes). However, it is a modular camera and can accept a selection of different metered prism finders in place of the standard waist-level unit, and backs that accept 120 or 220 film, plus 6x7cm, 6x6cm and 6x4.5cm-format holders.
The main difference between the RZ67 Pro and its mechanical forebears is that it takes a battery, which provides the power to fire the electronic shutter. In addition, there is a single-stroke film wind and shutter cocking mechanism.
Unlike the Hasselblad, the Mamiya RZ67 Pro uses a rack-and-pinion focusing system to move the lens in and out.
However, the shutter is again in the lens, so flash synchronisation is possible at
all shutter speeds.
Good choice for: Tripod-based studio or landscape work
2nd hand Mamiya 7 and 7II
Features: 6X7cm format | Rangefinder | Comparatively small and light |Aperture priority and manual mode
Unlike the other cameras in this guide, the Mamiya 7 isn’t a single-lens reflex camera, but a rangefinder. As a result, despite having a 6x7cm format, it is
considerably smaller and lighter than the other models. This, plus the fact that it is ergonomically shaped with a non-slip coated fingergrip, makes it ideal for
the travelling or landscape photographer. Furthermore, a built-in lightmeter and aperture priority mode (in addition to manual exposure) makes the camera quick
and easy to use.
Shutter speeds run in the range of 4-1/500sec, with flash synchronising at each, plus bulb. In addition, exposure compensation is available to ±2EV in 1⁄3EV steps.
With its lens-based leaf shutter and lack of a reflex mirror, the Mamiya 7 is very quiet in operation. There aren’t many medium-format cameras that you would consider for discreet street photography, but it’s possible with the Mamiya 7.
Though it isn’t a modular camera, the Mamiya 7 can accept 120, 220 or even 35mm film with the appropriate adaptor, and there are viewfinder frame lines and optional masks for 6x6cm, 6x4.5cm and 24x54mm formats, with the latter being on 35mm film.
The Mamiya 7II version is worth considering over the original for its more refined handling during lens changes.
If you like the sound of a medium-format rangefinder like the Mamiya 7 you should
also consider the Bronica 645RF and the autofocus enabled Fujifilm GA645 Zi.
Good choice for: Travel or reportage photography
2nd hand Pentax 6x7 and 67
Features: 6X7cm format | Giant 35mm SLR-style handling |Large lens range I Viewfinder options
The original Pentax 6x7 dates from 1969, but in 1972 it was subject to some modifications, most notably the addition of a mirror lock-up facility. This is quite a plus point as the mirror flips up with a considerable bang – a feature worth looking out for. As many older models had mirror lock-up added retrospectively, serial numbers cannot be used to determine if it is possible or not.
Further upgrades were made in 1989, and the resulting camera – renamed the Pentax 67 – has an electronically-controlled shutter instead of a partly mechanical one. This helped to improve exposure accuracy.
In 1998, Pentax introduced the Pentax 67ii, which is still current. Though it features matrix metering and aperture priority mode through the AE pentaprism, it is very similar to the original 6x7.
Like the Mamiya 7, the Pentax 67 looks like an overgrown 35mm camera, but the 67 has taken a few extra steroids. It’s a solid beast and though some photographers are able to handhold the camera quite happily, others say it is too big and cumbersome, even with the addition of the optional wooden grip.
The solid build and super-sized 35mm SLR-style handling makes the Pentax 67 a popular choice for landscape medium-format photography. Though shutter speed can be set in the range of 1-1/1000sec plus bulb, the camera has a focal shutter
that limits fl ash synchronisation to 1/30sec or slower. There are, however, a few leaf-shutter lenses that allow fl ash synchronisation up to 1/500sec. Pentax has produced compatible metered and nonmetered prisms, as well as a wide range of lenses with the compatible 67 bayonet mount. Focal lengths range from 45mm to 1,000mm, and the optics can be used on Pentax 645 and digital SLRs via an adaptor.
Good choice for: Landscape lovers who want 35mm SLR-style handling
See a camera you like? Before you buy see our guide on what to look out for when buying second hand cameras