Medium Format 120 film - Users?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sdashiki, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    Behind the lens
    #1
    Who uses, has, or had, a medium format film camera?

    Im thinking of getting one, just to have another tool in my kit.

    Of course I know of Holga's, which seems like a nice choice. But possibly too artsy, in terms of not being able to control anything really.

    Now I dont want to spend a crap-ton of money either, this isnt for professional use, just for my own.

    What should one look for? What do you like about yours?
     
  2. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

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    #2
    I've got a Mamiya 645 that I've been shooting with for a little while.

    It's a pretty good camera, and I got it for relatively cheap from ebay. It's sturdy and reliable, and pretty portable for a medium-format camera. The biggest problem area for you is going to be lenses- expect to pay about 2x for the equivalent ranged 35mm lens. Do you develop your own film?
     
  3. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

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    Chi-il
    #3
    I have a Hasselblad 503-CX with incomparable Zeiss lenses. I absolutely love this gear and nothing can touch the lenses. Sadly I haven't been using it as much since I went digital and I haven't had the need to invest in a digital scanning back.

    I've been slowly scanning a 20 year backlog of 35 mm & 2 1/4 slides/negs with a Nikon Coolscan 9000ED. It's nice having all my old stuff in digital format.
     
  4. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #4
    i have a bunch of Holgas, a Seagul and an old Yashika 635 (which i rarely use.)

    i think that the seagul, despite what many will say about them, takes great images (i have the highend TLR model - i think its the 109?) The holgas are a bit more fun in that i tend to abuse them and take images i find difficult to take with the seagul (namely extreme multiple exposure, as in dozens of exposures on a frame). if you want a little higher end, you can look at the Kievs.
     
  5. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    Ireland
    #5
    Unfortunately I think film has had it's day. :(

    Most pro's are using digital backs on medium format and also large format 5" x 4" and 10" x 8"

    Look at the price of darkroom equipment ..... you can hardly give it away.
     
  6. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    #6
    that is only true of commercial photography; film is still widely used for fine art photography.
     
  7. Sdashiki thread starter macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #7
    Black and White equipment, yes its going "for cheap" but I think $200+ for a decent enlarger without a lens is not cheap. maybe some do.

    as for color home darkroom, thats another story, and the costs are still similar as they used to be only the tech is slightly more automated and easier to control. but color at home, is a rarity AFAIK.

    Anyway.

    A digital back is/was/will be for some time $$$$$$$$ and I do mean $$$.

    How can you say "Film has had its day" and then your only solution is digital backs. All of which cost $10,000 and up.

    Ill keep my AE-1 thanks.

    I was looking for medium format, NOT a digital back.
     
  8. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2006
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    Wenonah, NJ
    #8
    Film isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

    I have a Hassy 500CM and a holga. There's nothing like looking at a 2 1/4" slide on a lightbox. Used medium format prices are dropping through the floor. Hell, you can get a Mamiya rb-67 pro-s kit from keh for around $200 in bargain. that's the body, waistlevel finder, 90mm lens, and 120 back. Thats frickin amazing.

    Throw in the stuff to develop b&w film and you're looking at maybe $250-275 tops. or, if you prefer color, find a lab that will do or send out 120 slide film.
     
  9. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #9
    I rented a 645 for a couple of trips "more than a few" years ago and enjoyed the compactness, general ease-of use and of course, the actual film output, although I never really ended up doing all that much with it. I have a couple of images that I've digitized, but it was from back in the day of 300dpi flatbeds and low dynamic ranges.

    One of the things on my to-do list is to take some of my 120 slides/negatives and see how they'll digitize on my current (much better) flatbed scanner.

    And I know its always dangerous to ask this....but:

    How 'relatively cheap' are they getting?


    :D

    -hh
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    I sold a Mamiya RB67 system to fund an underwater video system. If you are not backpacking the RB67 is a great value. It shots 6x7cm format which is nealy wtice the size of 4x6 or cropped 6x6. The hasselblad is more versitle and lighter weight and can be hand held. The RB is a tripod camera. Go with either of these depending on needs

    But if I were to get back into film I'd want something my digital camera can't do and will not ever be able to do. I'd go with 4x5 view camera. Look into 4x5. view cameras have "movments" and can get perspectives you can't otherwise get and are versitile to shoot either studio closeups or big landscapes. Once you scan the film you can make prints up to about 5 feet wide and still have good detail and decent grain. View camera can be cheap too, or quite expensive. If you are goinf to do film you might as well do "big film".

    But my current Mac is not big enough now to hadle even my scans from 6x7cm I tried it and my G4 Mac just chokes. It takes _hours_ to do anything. So make sure you computer is up to the task of processing 100 megapixel files You'll be looking at a Mac Pro and a big disk and plenty of RAM.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    I sold my RB67 system just before the prices dropped, managed to get nearly $2K.
    as I had some lenses and close up tubes and so on.

    If you can process B&W you can process E6 transparencies. You don't need any more equipment, just different chemicals. "Frestyle" in Hollywood CA sells the chemicals. It's good to do your own E6 processing so you can see your work in less then an hour after shooting. Put the best frames in the scanner and be working in Photoshop almost as qiick as digital.

    Also you can push or pull and therefor control the contrast if you do your own E6. It's not expensive and you save some money too over the lab. All you need is a simple daylight tanks and a reel.
     
  12. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Wenonah, NJ
    #12
    I thought E-6 needed more precise temperature control. As it is now, I just let the chems sit at room temp for a few hours before developing and guess with the wash water.
     
  13. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Wenonah, NJ
    #13
    While I get where you're going with this, Cambo makes a dSLR attachment now that turns your 5D or such into a view camera. I'd never buy or use one as I doubt it's anything near a real 4x5 or bigger, but still, you can do the movements like on a real view camera.

    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/CB4600K11/
     
  14. Sdashiki thread starter macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #14
    I dont know if im more interested in larger negatives, or what a Holga crapbox can do "artistically"

    I like 35mm and scan what I need, print what I like, and archive the rest in boxes like a good American.

    If I was to go 120 I wouldnt be doing it to replace my 35mm, more as a second tool to get different effects...

    So perhaps RB67 and anything Hassly is gonna be way more than Id care to spend on a hobby of my hobby.
     
  15. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

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    Jul 21, 2003
    #15
    An easy way to get into medium format photography is the old twin lens reflex cameras. I needed one to learn with so I picked one up cheap at a pawn shop. It was a Yashica and I paid less than $50 bucks for it. I learned and moved on to Bronica cause they were cheap. There are a ton of options but I would opt for the second hand twin lens reflex to start. Then you can move onto another nicer system.
     
  16. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

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    #16
    Just did a quick check at KEH and a Pentax 645 body and 45 mm lens would be just over $400. If you were going to ditch your 35mm gear this could help offset the cost. I still would check on the dirt cheap system first and hold onto the other system just in case things don't work out. A quicker check on eBay showed several Yashica Mat bodies with a buy it now for $99.
     
  17. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #17
    I just got a Holga for a class I'm taking, and I am having serious trouble loading the film. :(
     
  18. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    May 1, 2005
    #18
    I was just recently generously gifted this camera but have yet to shoot w/ it. Just wondering, does it have any built-in correction for parallax? (My school's Mamiya C-something does, but I dunno about the Yashica.)

    TIA :eek:
     
  19. PBGPowerbook macrumors regular

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #19
    i just got a 645 bronica system put together for DIRT cheap, it is so satisfying and fun to use, plus really hand-holdable outdoors in daytime.
     
  20. Crawn2003 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 8, 2005
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    Santa Rosa, California
    #20
    Lol, that's true. Except when you've had experience like the one I had. We were out on a shoot, another guy that's been there about 10 years and myself. We had everything set up, etc. etc. He goes to put the Phase One back on the 4x5 and.... ooopps.... Drops it.... 25,000 dollars down the drain in a heart beat! We looked at each other, went crap, and pulled out our back up film holders and shot film.

    We commercial photographers may be going digital, but film still saves are butts sometimes!

    ~Crawn
     
  21. MacAnkka macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #21
    My fave 120-film camera would have to be the Moskva-5 folding camera. It shoots in 6x9 and has a 105mm f/3.5 lens. Focusing is done by a pretty nice range finder and it folds quite nicely in to a small size.

    Can be had for about $40-80 from eBay. Being a Russian, Soviet Union era, camera, getting one with a good quality lens is hit and miss, though. But if you happen to get a good one, it can shoot some pretty nice quaity pictures.
     
  22. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    Ireland
    #22
    The Uni where I work has all but given up darkroom photography. I agree many fine art students still use film, but very soon they are going to need their own darkrooms as Uni's and even FE colleges are making better use of their "old" darkrooms by filling them full of computers with Photoshop installed.
    Like it or not, most Graphic / Design / Photography students leaving uni and going into the work place will be using nothing but digital.
     
  23. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    Jan 1, 2007
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    #23
    I agree the price of medium format digital backs is mad and only pro's can afford them.

    Here in the UK / Ireland the biggest chain of camera stores is Jessop's, about two years ago they stopped selling all film cameras.

    Medium format cameras are being used less and less and second hand prices are falling at an alarming rate.

    Even Ireland's largest film processors no longer print from anything other than digital or 35mm. If you want a medium format neg printed you either paid large amounts of money to have it hand printed by one of the shrinking number of specialist or you do it your self.
     
  24. bartelby macrumors Core

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    Jun 16, 2004
    #24
    They still do a large range of medium format cameras.
     
  25. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #25
    If I'm wrong, sorry. Just students informed me that Jessop no longer sell film cameras. perhaps they were referring to 35mm ?

    Do they actually have medium format cameras in stock? or are they ordered up when required?
     

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