First Medium Format Film Purchase

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Wyro, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Wyro macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2010

    I am looking to purchase my first medium format film camera and I was wondering if I could get some advice. I know this is a digital forum but I've seen some film shooters still running around.

    Three contenders: Mamiya 7II a 6x7 RF with 80/f4, Rolleiflex TLR 80/f2.8, and Hasselblad SLR 501cm 80/f2.8. Or would you choose another medium format film camera?

    Based on your own preferences which camera would you choose and why?

    I am leaning towards the Mamiya 7II. The Mamiya 7II has a incredible lens system and is extremely versatile with it's shooting purposes and easy to carry. I am also interested in trying out a range finder camera for the first time.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The hasselblad has an f/2.8 lens. That is maybe useful especially with a flash. It is part of a much larger system. The 2.8 lens is good for people shots

    But the 6x7 format uses a much larger negative because you have to crop the 6x6 down to 6x4.5

    Interchangable film backs are good to have. Only the hasselblad has those.

    But if you like WIDE only the Mamiya has that 43mm lens on a 6x7 format camera. You can make wall size prints from 100MP scans

    I have some prints from a Mamiya RB67 and they are much better then anything you can do with a small format SLR

    But 4x5 is better. I think if you are shooting people the Hasselblad is hard to beat. It handles fast, has fast lenses and the shutter syncs at every speed sp you can balance sunlight with flash by shooting at 1/500th.

    For landscapes and building and tabletop 4x5 will work better
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    You might want to add to your list (if you can find them) the Fujica rangefinders that are 6x4.5 imagines (vertical).

    I have one that has been stored for several years and may take it out again for fun. It has a slightly wide angle and having used Hassies in the past, this Fuji was amazingly easy to use and the lens was extremely sharp. Clients and other photographers were absolutely sure I took the shots with a Hassie.

    If I had money to buy a new medium format camera, the Mamiya 6x7 range finder is crazy sharp and it doesn't hurt having that size negative or transparency to work with. There are some old reviews on the net that have nothing but extremely high praise for this camera. The parallax correction is excellent.
  4. farbRausch macrumors member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Totally different systems. You have also to decide: Square vs 6x7.
    I don't know the Mamiya but here are some points for the blad and for rollei:

    - very pricey; lenses (except the 50mm,80mm,150mm) are ridiculously expensive, especially the fisheye.
    - great build quality
    - changeable backs, there are also polaroid and 645 backs
    - the price of those cameras seems to be very stable
    - removable finder, rewinder crank, focussing screen

    - very portable and significantly smaller than the hasselblad
    - great build quality
    - the price of those cameras seems to be stable
    - Probably easier to service

    Both are wonderful, famous and iconic cameras. Image quality is widely considered second to none on both systems. Hence, the questions are: Do you want to buy more lenses, accessories etc.? If you are patient and get a good deal, you can't really go wrong, because you will be able to sell with small to none loss.
  5. macs4nw macrumors 601


    I'm not criticizing here, but just curious why you would go the film route? What are the advantages, other than being able to pick up certain equipment dirt cheap?

    I can't comment on the Mamiya, but having worked extensively with the Rolleiflex, as well as a Rolleicord btw, and still owning a Hasselblad 500C/M (that's been collecting dust for the last 15 yrs. or so), for build-quality, available lenses and accessories, etc, I would go with the Hasselblad. But as noted by farbRausch above, their lenses and various accessories can even now, still get very pricey.

    This recommendation is also based on Hasselblad's virtual non-obsolescence of their product line, as well as the lack of interchangeable film magazines for both the Mamiya 7II and the Rolleiflex, as well as the fixed lens(es) on the Rolleiflex. Best of luck!
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    I was looking to get medium format a go and bought a Mamiya 645AFd. Sure the negative size is a little smaller but it's still huge compared to 35mm or digital, the camera offers useful automation and the lenses can be picked up reasonably cheaply. It has interchangeable film backs too...
  7. lizardofwoz, Jun 19, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013

    lizardofwoz macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2012
    I used the earlier Mamiya RB 6x7 Pro S for many years as a professional camera. It is robust and has excellent lens quality. After years of use - thousands of rolls of film - the camera is still operating perfectly.

    It DOES have interchangeable film backs, and has the advantage that the backs can be turned to suit portrait or landscape formats. You therefore use ALL the rectangular negative without losing size due to cropping. Composition usually takes place in the viewfinder and I found that most often I was printing the full frame without further cropping in the enlarger.

    It has a further advantage... it is completely non-electronic and requires no batteries.

    The Blads are not nearly as useful, but are beautifully made. Rather like an old-fashioned Rolls Royce... outdated but well-crafted.
  8. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Hasselblad 500CM owner here.

    All these shots where taken with it and a 150mm lens.

    I have yet to update the site but I have taken around 8 rolls in the last week on holiday with a mixture of 80mm and 150mm and I am really looking forward to the results.

    If you have any specific questions about the system then just let me know.

    To carry around I find it lighter and easier than my 6D with 50mm/85mm and the WLF makes interacting with subjects far easier!
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    The three are very different types of cameras, and are optimized for different shooting situations. You haven't mentioned what kind of shooting you want to do. i.e. Outdoor vs Studio primarily. Landscape vs people, etc etc.

    The Mamiya 7II is easy to carry around. It has one other feature as well, not yet mentioned. There is an adapter that allows you load 35mm film. Each frame is the normal height, but is ~70mm long.... so you can use the Mamiya as a 35mm panoramic system. Put the wide angle lense on with the pano adapter for the best results.
  10. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2011
    I've got a Pro SD which I love to bits. RB's are a great bargain these days, but many of the bodies on the used market are very, very used. It's definitely worth paying a little extra to make sure you get a good one. I would have loved to have a 7--way more portable--but it was beyond my budget, even used. Mamiya's lenses are as good as any you'll find out there in MF. The RZ is also worth looking at if you don't mind dealing with batteries.

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