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A bit of a dilemma

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by David G, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. David G

    David G Member

    Hi All,

    I’m having a bit of a dilemma! Most of my 35mm work is generally around landscapes (including cityscapes), travel photography, and some portraiture. 80% is black and white, with the remaining colour transparencies. At the moment I have a Nikon F5 with a number of prime and fast zoom lenses (6 in total) that takes me from 18mm – 200mm and a wonderful array of Lee filters. I had a Bronica 645RF that was stolen and I liked it for all but landscape photography.

    I have recently sold my wet darkroom equipment due a need for more space, although I can still develop my own B&W negatives.

    I am considering buying a Mamiya 7II as a replacement for my F5. Why? Well, I want to downsize the amount of kit I use, lower the weight of what I carry and I would like the improved quality of a 6x7 negative. However, I am uncertain about how well I will manage with a RF camera and using graduated filters, I never used them on my Bronica… is it all about guesstimates? I’m not sure I like that idea too much, or is it just something I’ll get used to? I even contemplated a Pentax 67II, but that would defeat the object of reducing the weight I carry, but would certainly address my concerns about using filters.

    My other deliberations are; I also need a compact camera to keep in my pocket for the spontaneous candid family picture – you need big pockets for an F5. My dilemma is, do I buy a 35mm film camera such as the Contax T3 (very nice) or do I buy a compact digital camera (I haven’t a clue which)?

    I have been following threads on the future of film and the meteoric rise of digital in both 35mm point and shoot, and SLR, and the debate goes on as to the future lifespan of film, and I get more and more confused. Will roll film be around long after 35mm film… who knows? If I buy into the 6x7 am I buying into something that is not going to be readily available in a few years time and make my kit obsolete – anyone with a crystal ball?

    As I have sold my wet darkroom, I intend to buy a flatbed scanner or a dedicated 35mm scanner (I already have the PC and Photoshop) and a suitable printer. I am uncertain that if I scan 6x7 negatives/transparencies on a flatbed and dry print, that I will get anywhere near the quality of what I achieved through a wet darkroom. Now I’m not obsessed with perfect image quality – (perhaps I should as it would improve my phography), and I will only be printing images to A4 at the moment. I also realise that if I go down the digital SLR route, that image quality will not come anywhere close to the 6x7 – am I right?

    So do I:

    1: Keep the F5 and all my lenses (be disciplined on what kit I carry/use) and buy into the dry darkroom with a dedicated 35mm film scanner;

    2: The above option and buy a compact 35mm camera such as the Contax T3 or buy a compact digital;

    3: Sell all my Nikon equipment and get a Mamiya 67II, Cotax T3 and a flatbed scanner,

    4: Buy a Nikon digital body (such as the D2x), keep or rationalise my collection of Nikon lenses, and buy a flatbed scanner to scan all my old negatives and buy into the digital revolution;

    5: As above with a compact digital.

    Any other options?

    I really would appreciate any advice.


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