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Recommendations for medium format SLR

Depends on the camera.
I don't suppose a Speed Graphic (2 x 3 or 4 x 5 model) could accommodate 90mm and 47mm lenses?

Out of curiosity, if you were shooting 120 roll film with a view camera like a Graphic etc, how would you compose for 6 x 7 or 6 x 9 on the ground glass screen? I guess drawing markings on the screen would be one option though would there be any accessories that you could buy that would aid in framing the shot?
 

MartinN

Member
MY solution for a cheap and excellent camera was the Mamiya RZ. It is very reliable but has of course electronics. The only thing needed fixing has been the film back light seals, which I have fixed myself. The good thing has been that professionals are ”dumping” their RZ gear, and I personally can’t see the point in preferring the RB. The RZ has been a real bargaing, but who knows when this secret is found out and the prices start rising.
 

Oren Grad

Member
Ive checked out prices on eBay for that 47mm lens. With the US prices, they are a fairly pricey but converted to AU dollars (my local currency) they are very expensive at over AU$1000.
Look specifically for the 47mm Super-Angulon, *not* the 47mm Super-Angulon XL, which is designed to cover 4x5 and is more expensive.
 
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Oren Grad

Member
I don't suppose a Speed Graphic (2 x 3 or 4 x 5 model) could accommodate 90mm and 47mm lenses?
90 is no problem. 47 doesn't work on a Speed, because of the extra depth in the body required for the focal plane shutter. A 47 might be workable on a 2x3 Crown or Century Graphic.

Out of curiosity, if you were shooting 120 roll film with a view camera like a Graphic etc, how would you compose for 6 x 7 or 6 x 9 on the ground glass screen? I guess drawing markings on the screen would be one option though would there be any accessories that you could buy that would aid in framing the shot?
Of course on the 2x3 Graphics it's not an issue. On the 4x5 models, the easiest way to deal with it is indeed to put markings on the ground glass. If you don't want to do that you can print them on a transparent overlay and mount that on top of the ground glass.

Some 4x5 cameras have framing marks for roll film formats incorporated in their standard ground glass screens.
 
Look specifically for the 47mm Super-Angulon, *not* the 47mm Super-Angulon XL, which is designed to cover 4x5 and is more expensive.
Ah thanks for the clarification. Ive just had another look on eBay. Price is not as steep as before but still, the 47mm Super-Angulon is more or less double the price of a Mamiya Sekor 50mm for the RB.
 

Oren Grad

Member
I don't suppose a Speed Graphic (2 x 3 or 4 x 5 model) could accommodate 90mm and 47mm lenses?

Out of curiosity, if you were shooting 120 roll film with a view camera like a Graphic etc, how would you compose for 6 x 7 or 6 x 9 on the ground glass screen? I guess drawing markings on the screen would be one option though would there be any accessories that you could buy that would aid in framing the shot?
Actually, let me also suggest three other information resources which may help in sorting out the pros and cons of a Graphic compared to a medium format SLR and figuring out which might best meet your needs:

1. Graflex.org - rich source of information about Graphic cameras, though it can be confusing for a newcomer to navigate. Includes a Q&A discussion forum.
2. Photrio discussion board (Photrio.com Photography Forums)
3. Large Format Photography Forum (Large Format Photography Forum) - note that on the LF Forum, roll-film applications are off-topic for the main discussion subforums, but questions about using roll film on view cameras are welcome in the Lounge subforum
 

Oren Grad

Member
Ah thanks for the clarification. Ive just had another look on eBay. Price is not as steep as before but still, the 47mm Super-Angulon is more or less double the price of a Mamiya Sekor 50mm for the RB.
A valid consideration, for sure. I'd just advise you to figure out the total system cost, weigh that against the functional pros and cons of each option and your overall budget constraint, and make a decision on that basis. It may well be that when you've done that the RB will end up being a better choice for you, but you'll have made a well-informed decision.
 
90 is no problem. 47 doesn't work on a Speed, because of the extra depth in the body required for the focal plane shutter. A 47 might be workable on a 2x3 Crown or Century Graphic.



Of course on the 2x3 Graphics it's not an issue.
Ah cool. Though I admit I know almost nothing about the 2 x 3 format. According to one source, it's actually 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. And something that has confused me is that someone on another forum reckons that 6 x 9cm is larger than the so called 2 x 3 format. So that does seem odd that you could compose for an image area on a camera's ground glass that is designed for a smaller format than the one you're composing for. Unless what I read was misinformation?
 

Oren Grad

Member
Ah cool. Though I admit I know almost nothing about the 2 x 3 format. According to one source, it's actually 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. And something that has confused me is that someone on another forum reckons that 6 x 9cm is larger than the so called 2 x 3 format. So that does seem odd that you could compose for an image area on a camera's ground glass that is designed for a smaller format than the one you're composing for. Unless what I read was misinformation?
"2x3" is just widely-used shorthand for 2 1/4 x 3 1/4. Sorry for the confusion on that.

But also, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches is the same thing as 6x9 cm - those are alternative nominal designations for the same format. But the actual image area on 120 roll film is 56x84 mm, give or take a mm here or there because of minor variations among different brands of roll holder. The actual image area on 2.25x3.25 inch cut sheet film will also vary by a few mm here or there, depending on the holders.

The bottom line is, if your applications require that you be able to visualize the capture down to the exact last millimeter at the edges of the frame, you'll have no choice but to measure the actual image area and positioning that you get from your roll film holder or sheet film holders, and mark that on your ground glass. But other than that, a standard 2.25x3.25 ground glass should serve fine.
 
A valid consideration, for sure. I'd just advise you to figure out the total system cost, weigh that against the functional pros and cons of each option and your overall budget constraint, and make a decision on that basis. It may well be that when you've done that the RB will end up being a better choice for you, but you'll have made a well-informed decision.
Exactly. Got to take the cost of the whole camera system into consideration as well as the other aspects like pros and cons. I have been pondering that. Looks like the Century Graphics are considerably cheaper than the RB67 bodies. I do know that once in while, very cheap RB67s pop up on eBay but're likely in rough condition.
 
But also, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches is the same thing as 6x9 cm - those are alternative nominal designations for the same format.
I actually had the suspicion that was the case. But some info I read on another forum seemed to contradict that. Glad I know the truth now.

The bottom line is, if your applications require that you be able to visualize the capture down to the exact last millimeter at the edges of the frame, you'll have no choice but to measure the actual image area and positioning that you get from your roll film holder or sheet film holders, and mark that on your ground glass.
Lol no need for that. As most people know, just about all SLRs don't show 100% of the image area on the viewing screen though I believe there was a Nikon model that was an exception to this. So yea I'll be more than happy with what the 2 x 3 GG shows me.
 
MY solution for a cheap and excellent camera was the Mamiya RZ. It is very reliable but has of course electronics. The only thing needed fixing has been the film back light seals, which I have fixed myself. The good thing has been that professionals are ”dumping” their RZ gear, and I personally can’t see the point in preferring the RB. The RZ has been a real bargaing, but who knows when this secret is found out and the prices start rising.
That is interesting to hear that the RZ can be had cheaply. I was expecting it to fetch higher prices on the used market compared to the RB due to the electronics. Though I did hear someone else say the RZs are more expensive though I guess that might depend on where you look for one. Though as I will mainly be using my outfit for time exposures, a mechanical shutter makes more sense.

By the way, Ive been viewing sample images online that were exposed with the Mamiya Sekor 50mm f4.5 wide angle. I don't know if it's my imagination but it almost seems like the version of this lens that is designed for the RZ seems a little wider with more dramatic distortion compared to the RB version. Ive just watched a youtube video where a guy was shooting with an RZ and a 50mm and the images reminded me of my Canon FD 24mm f2.8 on my Canon 35mm SLRs. And I certainly like that look. By comparison, images from the 50mm RB version look more subdued and 'tamer' for lack of a better word (even when used close to subjects.)

I wonder if Mamiya owners could confirm if this really is the case.

Actually, I may as well link the videos here.

RB 50mm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0piH7BgUGzQ

RZ 50mm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS4IzOsdnZE
 
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MartinN

Member
I have the 50mm RZ but no RB version. It's the widest non-fisheye, and there were two versions, ULD and standard. The ULD is expensive, the other more affordable. Sorry but can't compare to RB.
 
Ive checked a wide selection of photos taken with the RB 50mm on Flickr and it looks like this lens does have a decent amount of distortion that is pleasing to my eye. So my faith is restored. Though oddly, there a few other images on Flickr that looked like they were taken with a standard lens but it's stated that they were also shot with the RB 50mm. And there was also an RB67 image on there of a sunset over an ocean which was shot on Fuji Velvia and the sky was quite grainy. A very big surprise there. I have a fairly large print of a sunset from a 6 x 7cm Fuji Velvia tranny that was pushed half a stop and it looks pretty much grainless.
 
By the way, there is one particular thing that people often comment on the Mamiya RB67 and that is it's weight. People keep saying how heavy it is. Well a number of years ago, I came across an RB67 at a camera market and had the chance to hold it. I was surprised at how light it was! It didn't feel heavy at all.

There was also another RB67 next to it at the same stall which had a massive telephoto lens mounted to it. I'm not sure what focal length it was but it was gigantically long.
 

anyone

Well-known member
My vote is clearly for Hasselblad. Not only because I'm biased because I'm shooting one since a long while, but I think it's a very good system - sort of future proof, excellent lenses, servicing without issues, lots of second hand offers. It is not the cheapest out there, but a really nice camera system.

If that is too expensive, there is a very inexpensive system with nice lenses: Pentacon Six. The problem here is that bodies seem to be more unreliable, and I do not know how many service technicians can deal with that tech across the pond. Here (and possibly in Russia, since Kiev cameras seem to be compatible), service is not an issue.

The other cheap + good system you already pondered about, Bronica. I have shot a couple of films with a friend's 6x4,5 body and it was a neat, lightweight system, and the image quality seemed to be good. It contains electronics though.
 
Anyone, the Hasselblad would indeed be a very nice camera system. I think the square format can really suit certain images but more often than not, I would be cropping to a rectangle. losing some real estate in the film area. And honestly, I would prefer having a larger film area to begin with like 6 x 7. And of course there's the high cost of the Hassy system too.

Yea Ive heard of the Pentacon Six before. Though the reliability aspect does put me off this one. There's a guy on youtube who had three of these cameras and he said two of them had issues.

By the way, Ive done some more research on the Graflex press cameras (at least the 4 x 5 models.) And it seems that they're even more limited with their tilts than I first thought. It seems like cameras like the Speed Graphics can't to front tilt, only rear tilt. One of the things that attracted me to these kinds of cameras in the first place was using the Scheimpflug principle to get a landscape sufficiently sharp front to back. I know there are ways around the limitations like dropping the bed but apparently, this won't work with all lenses. I'm guessing the Graflex 2 x 3 cameras have the same limitations regarding tilt? I don't suppose the Century Graphic 2 x 3 can do front tilt with the front standard?
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I don't know the Graflex press cameras, but my old Linhof Technika 23 had the drop bed, front tilt and shift, a bit of back swing capability, and came with a rangefinder coupled and cam-matched 47mm ultra-wide lens (as well as two others). There's a complete set of the camera with all three lenses on Ebay right now for $1500 - all you need in addition is the roll-film back (A couple of those available too: Linhof 23 roll-film back "Rollex" around $156-200). It's a superb camera, beautifully made and finished. If I were buying this type of rig now, I'd snap it up in a second; I miss that camera a lot!

G
 

4season

Member
The two obvious choices for SLRs with that particular film size would be the Pentax 67 and the Mamiya RB67. Unfortunately, the prices are still insanely high on the used market.
I think your original idea isn't bad, but if you want to get the P67 w/MLU and wide angle lens for significantly less than 1200 USD, or the RB67 with same for much below 750, you may need to be patient, persistent, and look beyond eBay. Learning how to fix cameras is another way to save a lot of money, as there can be hefty discounts to be had if you shop for "as-is" cameras and lenses.
 

Oren Grad

Member
By the way, Ive done some more research on the Graflex press cameras (at least the 4 x 5 models.) And it seems that they're even more limited with their tilts than I first thought. It seems like cameras like the Speed Graphics can't to front tilt, only rear tilt. One of the things that attracted me to these kinds of cameras in the first place was using the Scheimpflug principle to get a landscape sufficiently sharp front to back. I know there are ways around the limitations like dropping the bed but apparently, this won't work with all lenses. I'm guessing the Graflex 2 x 3 cameras have the same limitations regarding tilt? I don't suppose the Century Graphic 2 x 3 can do front tilt with the front standard?
That's correct. Front tilt is a major hassle with a Graphic.

FWIW, I can't recall ever using front tilt when shooting 6x7 and 6x9 with my Horseman VH and VH-R cameras. It's very difficult to use effectively with such a small ground glass. Mind you, I very rarely use tilt, or swing for that matter, even with much larger sheet film formats - for the kinds of things I want to photograph it usually causes more problems than it solves. But even discounting for my preferences, medium-format film is not an ideal choice if you want to make heavy use of tilt or swing.

Also, a note on terminology: Although "Graflex" was the company that made both of them, saying "Graflex camera" invites confusion, because the Graflex camera is actually a big SLR, an entirely different beast from the Graphic press camera. There was an entire line of Graflexes in many different formats, and an entire line of Graphics in many different formats, and almost everything about the handling and usage of these respective camera types is different.
 
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