hey Nikon fans,
I love my nikon gear:
50mm f1.4D AF
60 micro f2.8D AF
80-200 f2.8D AFS
i am taking this color photography class. my classmates (canon people) and i always compete against each other. i always use Fujicolor NPS or Konica Impressa 50 to get the best grain size. Most of the class presentations are shown in 11x14.
Most of the time, my pictures are superior to theirs. but some of them use medium format which, quality wise of the pictures is superior to my poor 35mm system.
So i've been thinking of getting a used affordable medium format from ebay. I have No idea what to get. but my medium must at least has TTL metering capacity. i hate handheld metering...such a waste of time. I am willing to manual focus with these heavy things.
i heard mamiya is good, so i've been trying to find one.
I also heard that these are really famous:
Contax 645 series
please give me some advice on what to get...please include model series and its capacity.
thanx in advance,
#1. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 0Paul_Fisher Charter MemberThu 04-Dec-03 08:55 PM
There was a thread on this question in the cafe a while back. This should give you a start: https://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID38/1640.html
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#2. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 0Sat 06-Dec-03 02:46 AM
35mm is a great format, affordable and convienient. The advantage with medium format is that just about any medium format camera will produce a better shot than any 35mm. The comparison isn't actually fair, considering the massive negative compared to the tiny 35mm's negative.
The downside is the price of the glass.
”It’s light and nothing more…”
#3. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 2moonfleet8 Registered since 20th Jan 2003Mon 08-Dec-03 02:12 PM
I think it depends on a lot of factors. Most medium format photos I've seen aren't much better than 35mm ones, especially at the 8 x 10 or 11 x 14 size. In a perfect world, yes, MF is better simply because it doesn't have to be enlarged quite as much. But, the cameras are heavier and clunkier to use, the lenses are slower and many aren't as sharp as 35mm lenses, they reflex types have very large mirrors with mirror slap that is far greater than the almost non-existant one on a modern 35mm SLR, plus since the standard lens on MF is 80mm, it will inherently have less depth of field than the standard 50mm lens on a 35mm camera (so it is often necessary to stop down the lens a lot more than you would with 35mm - and this can be a source of unsharpness). Given careful handling of a 35mm camera, there may not be that much difference. A lot more difference is possible from just the processing (developing and printing) or the choice of film. Use ISO 100 film, use Ilford XP2 rated at ISO 200 in the camera, etc. Then there's the matter of displaying photos on the web. There, unless you can afford a super megabuck 120-film scanner, the 35mm format can even be better, because a 35mm slide or negative scanned on a relatively cheap 35mm film scanner will probably be better on screen than 120 film scanned on a flatbed. But yes, if both 35mm and MF are used optimally, MF beats 35mm. On the other hand, there are probably many photos taken with 35mm that you couldn't take if you only had a MF camera. The one area where MF sometimes is different - but not always - is that, even if it's no sharper than a 35mm photo, there can be a certain "smoothness" in colour and in B&W that is hard to describe, even though there is no more detail.
#4. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 0
Khoa, medium format can definitely give you an edge in quality, especially for some subjects (landscapes come to mind). Its slower, more methodical approach can also be satisfying (or frustrating depending on your personality type).
Before you make the jump, I would first think about how you are going to process the film and print the results. Medium format is more awkward than 35mm. Not every processor can handle medium format and unless you're willing to do your own darkroom or Photoshop work, it's hard getting results that are satisfying and that justify the expense and inconvenience. If you go the digital darkroom path, you'll need to invest in a decent scanner, printer, and a copy of image processing software. Those costs will need to be factored into your spending plan.
Having gone through some of that thought process, here's what I've settled on:
System: Pentax 6x7
Advantages: Relatively cheap to get into, lenses are high quality and inexpensive due to focal plane shutter. TTL meter. Eyelevel viewfinder. Excellent image quality.
Disadvantages: Big and heavy.
Scanner: Epson 2450 (discontinued, now replaced with 3200)
Advantages: Good image quality and resolution, inexpensive
Disadvantages: Not as good of resolution or sharpness as a dedicated film scanner. I would love to have a Nikon 8000 or the new 9000, but the price is quite high.
Printer: Epson 1280
Advantages: Excellent image quality, affordable price, prints up to 13x19 inches
Disadvantages: Images aren't quite as permanent as more recent Epsons.
Film: Slide film such as Velvia 50 or 100. I just have the film processed and returned - no mounts or anything. It's easy to see what I have on a light table and pick out the images I want to scan and print. In addition, the grain is very small and the image quality is high.
I definitely see an improvement in image quality in prints as small as 8x10's, but it really shows up in 11x14's and bigger.
I would like to have gone with a 645 format camera (mainly because of size and weight), but I think I would have had issues using a cheaper scanner. If I had one of the previously mentioned Nikon scanners, the 645 format would have been great.
Several of the systems you mentioned, the Hasselblad and Contax in particular, are quite expensive. If you want affordable quality, the ones I would look at are the Pentax 67, the Pentax 645 series, and the Mamiya 645 series. Those are all fine systems and their lenses are affordable. TTL meters are either integral to the body or available as part of prism finder accessories.
#5. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 0
My favorite is the Fuji 7, but like many other people, I hit a roadblock when you look at the prices of lenses. The only afforable option for me would be the Pentax 7 II. The Pental 6 & 7 have a pretty good 'thunk' when the mirror rises and the shutter opens. You need to use this camera on a tripod and use mirror lock-up for sharp landscapes. The new 7 II has TTL 6-segment, center weighted and spot metering.
Lens prices should help you decide I have not heard any good things about Bronica equipment although I have never used one myself.
|M a r k E|
M a r k . E
M a r k . E
#7. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 5Steve M Registered since 22nd Dec 2003Tue 30-Dec-03 08:39 PM
I have a Bronica SQ-A system, basically a Hasselblad copy. I bought it used because the cost was so low compared to just a couple of years ago and it's worth a fraction of the new price because so many people (wedding and event photographers specifically) are making the switch to digital. Haven't used it enough to really have much of an opinion about it and have heard of shutters getting stuck - supposedly there's a preventative and a fix for it but I've never had a problem personally. I have a metering prism finder that works like the meter in a Nikon FE, etc - standard center-weighted. I personally bought it to replace my FE for long shutter speed night shots and a bigger negative for B&W. I figure if you're going to have a half hour exposure, you might as well have a big piece of film!
With the Bronica SQ's, there are a few different models. Briefly, the SQ-A is the best deal on a used body - it has mirror lock-up and can be used with a metered prism but no TTL flash. If you need TTL flash, look at the SQAi.
Advantages: 6x6 format big square negatives, full system availability, low prices on decent used gear and easy to find, relatively small and light for a MF system - compared to 6x7's.
Disadvantages: 6x6 format square negatives (an advantage or disadvantage depending on your opinion), if you're using it professionally it might not be the most durable, probably won't find it at rental houses.
#6. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 0
You may want to peek at FAQs > What camera > Medium Format
Have a great time :-)
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Mainly at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story
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#9. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 0
Hi Khoa, here is one happy user of both a F3, a Rolleicord Vb and a Mamiya RB67. Be warned of two things:
- infrastructure gets very expensive once you add an other format. You need to archive 2 neg formats, scan 2 formats (scan with what ? neg scanners for mf are out of most peoples financial reach), develop 2 formats, and so on. In my case, total costs of my passion have risen that much not because of additional camera and lenses, but because of higher processing costs.
- deciding what to take out on a trip will keep you awake for nights to come ! I will go up into the mountains next friday, but I do not know yet what to take with me. It will be landscapes, so mf would be great for picture quality, since speed does not matter. But what if I need wider lenses ? What if some animal or fast changing weather crosses my way, and I am stuck there with my slow camera ?
From this point of view I would probably sleep better today had I decided to concentrate on my F3, adding a second body, a good scanner and such things and thus building a solid infrastructure for one system only.
On the other hand, no BIG enlargements with no grain and absolut sharpness would hang on my walls, no fun while working with the groundglass the size other peoples enlargments are printed. I think I would do it all over again, starting with a Rolleicord or Rolleiflex.
But you should eventually think it over, if you consider metering with a handheld meter a waste of time. MF slows you down, and slowing down is one of the good things about MF. Slowing down, using a tripod and thinking your picture over is responsible for at least 50 % of the difference in quality between 35 mm and MF. If speed is essential, I would probably rather invest in VR lenses and a faster 35 mm body. In comparison, MF is slow, no matter how many AF and P-modes your camera offers.
Holger - Nikonian in Switzerland
#10. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 9moonfleet8 Registered since 20th Jan 2003Wed 07-Jan-04 07:52 PM
I've been using a Rolleiflex lately. Terrific cameras. Only one lens though. But I find this make a good combination with a 35mm system. If I need speed or lenses that go beyond the normal lens, I just use the 35mm. The Rolleiflex isn't very large, so it's not hard to bring it along if that ideal shot comes along where smooth, rich tonality or colour is really what you would want. It's true what you say about infrastructure though. Processing is a bit more, maybe, but the cost of upgrading development tank, enlarger, scanner is considerable, so much so that I won't be doing my own MF processing for some time. I can't even scan it at present.
#11. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 10Fri 09-Jan-04 08:11 PM
I love my Nikon's! However, I do have a deep respect for my old TLR's at the same time. (Rolleiflex & Cord, Ciro-flex and Ricoh). Though none of these cameras have the "bells and whistles" of their modern counterparts, even the low end units will perform far beyond what you would ever expect.
The Ciro-flex does perform quite well, and generally available for around $40. US on ebay in good working condition. If you have your own darkroom or access to one, processing isn't a problem, otherwise expect labs to send out any 120 format work.
For me, I really enjoy using these old cameras. It's slow and methodical, but yields great results!
”It’s light and nothing more…”
#12. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 0
>but some of them use medium format which, quality wise of the
>pictures is superior to my poor 35mm system.
Don't call your system poor, be proud of having F5!
Look, the fact that you can make posters out of 6x7 does not
mean that they are better than F5. Each camera is good
for its own purposes. Looked the other way, Diane Arbus
was using 6x6 but her photos were quite blurry sometimes.
She could have easily taken them with Nikkormat or whatever
as well!!! It's not a camera that makes a great photographer
and that's the first thing they should teach you in the class.
#13. "RE: Moving Up..." | In response to Reply # 12Thu 15-Jan-04 01:48 PM
A very good and valid point, it isn't what you have between your hands but what you have between your ears that has the greatest impact on photography.
”It’s light and nothing more…”