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Gear lust: Mamiya 6x7 format

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by downfader, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    I think I'm going to give up on saving for a D200, it will just take too long, plus I'm still curious about MF.

    As some of you know I had been looking at classic twin lens cameras, thinking these to be a cheap way into MF, which I now know to be a little wrong :eek: Oh well, still, other MF cameras seem to have plummited in price, and two I like the look of are by Mamiya: The RZ67 and the RB67. I have seen ads for "complete" sets (what ever that generally means??) for £250+.

    My local LCE also has an RZ67 with 90mm 3.5 on bellows for close focussing. I had a look today and really loved the way it felt. I have never really held or tried any MF gear before but am smitten by the 6x7 format. Why go for 645? I dont see the point, the price is negligible when 50 quid more seems to get you so much more :D

    The RZ67 outfit in the LCE was £600 though, and I hope that I can save enough money and not be sidetracked by anything shiny, lol! :D Oh and it seems to be in perfect nick (I say that carefully as obviously I dont know enough, but the lens was clean, the waistfinder popped up ok and its all nice and clean)...

    Anyway, watch this space, maybe I'll join the ranks of MF soon :D

    ...anyone want to buy my mother for 600 quid, she does the washing, cooking and cleaning to an excellant standard ;) :D
  2. chris000

    chris000 Well-Known Member

    It's a thought .. just a thought... that if you are going to spend a lot of money on MF gear (which I wholeheartedly agree with), you might have half on eye on the future and choose something for which digital backs are available? I know that they require a second mortgage (or maybe a first?) to buy at the moment but that may not always be the case <u>and</u> despite all the assurances I do wonder how long roll film will be <u>easily</u> available. I use very old and battered V system Hasselblads which were all bought at very reasonable prices but, if I chose or could afford to could all be fitted with digital backs.

    I await the hoots of derision from other forum members but as I said, its just a thought ...
  3. chris000

    chris000 Well-Known Member

    By the way, if you are going to lug RB/RZ kit around you will sweat a lot ... If I were you I would keep your mother for the washing if nothing else!
  4. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    Hehehehe! Maybe I should just hire Mum out :D Actually, from handling the '67 in the shop, yes it felt quite cumbersome, but wasnt really as heavy as I'd thought. My D70 and sigma 135-400 lens setup is a little heavier, I think :eek: :)

    I hear what you're saying about the digital backs, but the theory is that if you're gonna buy a decent digital back (that even a 6mp version is a couple of grand, I have seen a couple of ads here and there) then you would probably be investing a lot more into camera gear anyway, or have I not understood? To me this does not equate, if you can afford the higher end stuff at say 20mp then yeah, I can see the point in a different model.

    Thing is I have seen portraits, landscapes and still life all done on the mamiya 67 range, scanning would not be a problem, neither would be investing in a decent scanner which I also plan to do at a later stage as well.

    Like I said before, I know [expletive deleted ;)] all about MF... but from some of the posts I have read here the 67 range seem to be quite capable, a lot of people seem to be getting great images from them, even off flatbed scans. I love film, and even if what Ap's honourable Editor says will happen, happens, I think 120 and 35mm will still be around strongly in some degree. The chaff may infact be separated and maybe we'll be left with a few superb products :D

    I already use a Nikon D70. I upsize using PS to 18x12... its an ok image, but I want to experiment, play with film, chemicals, wear the rubber gloves ;) :D

    BTW, if anyone knows any serious issues regarding these cameras, let me know. If there are any problems I should check for before buying, etc?
  5. chris000

    chris000 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the Mamiya quality wise as far as I know, although I always found them very heavy.

    Take your point about the cost of dig. backs - I intend to use roll film as long as I can get it and hopefully that will be for ages yet ... BUT if the day comes when its not available I would like to have the option of a digital back - IF they are still too expensive so be it, I will have lost nothing in the meantime.

    I use a dedicated MF film scanner which cost me an arm and a leg about 3 years ago - I've not used a flatbed for film scanning but I know that the quality of scanners is getting better and better.

    Good luck with whatever you decide on.
  6. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    Cheers dude! I've still got to try and save the money, mind, lol! Mind you, now Christmas is over it should be easier :)
  7. Rhys

    Rhys Sasquatch

    RB67's are ok if you remember to wind the back on as well..

    I bought an old Pro S ages ago, bit battered - but even so it gives out decent results with its 127mm standard lens, though I would have prefered the 90mm.

    Being able to revolve the back is a great boon but does put a bit of bulk on the camera as a whole.

    The bellows focussing is handy as you can get quite close to the subject (there is a scale on the side to show what compensation is needed exposure wise).

    Winding on is a doddle, simple lever (but remember the back as well).

    Also a feature (only recently available on Blads) is a dark slide holder on the left hand side of the body so you don't need a shirt pocket..
  8. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    Cheers Rhys! Yeah he showed me all of that but didnt tell me about winding the back on... mind you, I was just asking simple questions (like how do you focus, hahaha!!)

    What is the purpose to the dark slide? Is it like a lens cap for the 120 back?

    I think I will have to get a good book and read up on MF, scour the web for pics by each lens, etc. :D I have been swayed to buy 2 lenses because of pics by journalists and other photographers in the past. Though I think (from the pics I have already seen) that the 90mm and the 50mm would be all I'd need, especially with those bellows on the 90 /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
  9. pilliwinks

    pilliwinks Well-Known Member

    I've got both RB and RZ. As far as weight goes, with what I carry around, it's lighter than my Olympus OM kit...

    The dark slide lets you change the film magazine without losing a frame.

    Points to watch:
    the older models have a smaller lens throat, so newer lenses would be out.
    the RZ returns the mirror, cocks the shutter and winds on the film with one stroke; the RB requires the film to be wound separately
    the RB doesn't need batteries
    the RZ won't let you stand around waiting for the light with the mirror up for more than a minute because it thinks you're draining the battery
    you will need a separate meter. The metering prism adds to the weight and has a smaller magnification than the waist level
    don't believe what you hear about the difficulty of lateral reversal with a WLF; I was quite happy following sports with a WLF.

    I found the handing very good, which is why I went the RB route in preference to a Hasselblad...
  10. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    Since the RZ takes batteries (and thats the model in the shop which I forgot to check about), what kind of battery does it take? For example is it like the modern rechargables, do you know? I have been trawling through mamiya.com but its all in american, lol! :D

    I'd love to try this camera on sports, but somehow I think I'd prefer the 35mm for the kickboxing :D /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

    The mamiya website makes great reading, though, and I've been reading the pdf's and the user comments on there from the pros. :)
  11. T_Sargeant

    T_Sargeant Well-Known Member

    I have to say I've been sorely tempted by an RZ myself, but since my enlarger only goes up to 6x6 I think I'm going to get myself a second hand 6x4.5 Bronnie, though I have to admit I do fancy a 'blad.

    Enjoy your trip into medium format, I first had a go at it a couple of years ago with a Mamiya TLR (lovely camera, wish I hadn't part-exed it) and it's very addictive, the only reason I let it go was because I didn't really have any decent 35mm gear and I wanted something a bit more versatile whilst I found where I wanted to be. Now that I'm doing more and more photography, I know I'm going to end up going down that route properly...
  12. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    I'm sure I read that you can get 645 backs for the RZ range...? Still, I do love Bronnies, thats about the only 645 format I would get :D

    My local LCE has a couple of cheaply priced Bronica outfits, both the SQA and the Zenza tags on them. I dont know the difference though, but I think the SQ range go up to 6x6 (..well, 5.6 cm)??

    I spent too long on that Mamiya site.... thats all I dreamt about last night :eek: :D
  13. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    There are Power Backs available for the RB aren't there. Presumably these wind the film on automatically, either after the mirror return lever is cranked, or after the shutter closes?
  14. pilliwinks

    pilliwinks Well-Known Member

    The RZ takes a silver oxide battery, one of the larger ones, not a button cell. I'll check later exactly what it is, but I've found them easier to buy than roll film...

    I have no idea if a rechargeable equivalent exists.
  15. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    Thats alright, I think I've found the battery type, and I think they do them in Currys and Comet. If not I know a local camera shop that has odd and hard to get batteries, so all should be well :D Cheers!!
  16. eryri

    eryri Well-Known Member

    Hi Dan

    Used an RB system myself for 7 years or so, and, despite moving to LF, I have always regretted selling it. It's a great system, possibly the best MF system ever made (IMHO), and certainly the best for landscape work. A few quirks sure, but you get used to them.

    I bought an Epson 1640 SU scanner (with the built in tranny hood) to scan the RB trannies. It still gives excellent service and results. I've been looking at the new Epson 4990 to replace it, but whilst the 1640 is still producing the goods, I'll stick with it.

    A good 6x7 system, a good scanner and lovely big trannies; what could be better :)
  17. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    I was just saying this to another photographer today :D Mind you, I did forget to check and see if he actually had a computer, lol!
  18. Ben78

    Ben78 Well-Known Member

    Just to answer an earlier question the Bronica ETR/S/Si are the 6x4.5 models, and the SQ/A/B/Ai are the 6x6 cameras. And Zenza/Zenzanon is the name given to the lenses used. Hope that helps!
  19. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    Ahh right so "Zenza" is a bit like "Nikkor" in that respect?
  20. Rhys

    Rhys Sasquatch

    Ever thought about a Blad? The older 500c can be had for under £400 - complete. Ffordes have a few, and am sure you can negotiate the prices down. After a while you can upgrade to a better body, or add another back/lens etc.

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