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Thread: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

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    WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    I was thinking of buying a MF camera to use for my portraits on a Wedding.
    I would add a Digital back to it( Aptus 22...on a budget). I dont want to spend more than $4,000 for the camera and the Aptus.
    Not sure which system to get. I need Autofocus too. Can you offer any suggestions. I currently use a Canon 5D MK2. I was told that the MF and the Aptus 22 Image quality is much better than my 5D MK 2. My email is:
    [email protected]
    Also, where can I purchase it? Thank you, rollsman

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    I would add a Digital back to it( Aptus 22...on a budget). I dont want to spend more than $4,000 for the camera and the Aptus.[/email]
    Up front disclosure since you are new: I am Head of Tech Services for a large medium format dealer in the US.

    At $4,000 you are at the very low end of the budget needed to get into the low end of medium format digital.

    At this price range neither an H1 nor Contax is a good match as both are likely to burn through half of your budget just for a body and lens and I think everyone on the forum would agree that a $3.5k budget left for a digital back would get you a LOT more bang than $2k left for a digital back.

    A Mamiya 645 AFD1 can be had from around $300-$500 depending on condition, warranty, and if you're buying it from a dealer or taking your chances on eBay. We have AFD1s (and compatible lenses) on our Black Friday list for $399.

    At the range of $2-$3k for a digital back your best bets are probably Leaf, Kodak, Sinar, and Hasselblad. There are no Phase One backs which can shoot to a CF card in that price range. The Aptus 22 is a good bit out of your price range, but a Valeo 22 or Valeo 17 might be had. If you can give up autofocus then a Hasselblad 500 can be had for similar pricing.

    My personal suggestion is very very selfish, and I'm being very up front about that: buy something from a dealer. This and other forums are full of first time buyers who buy from eBay or Craigslist etc and are incredibly frustrated trying to figure out how their system works, receive broken items, find they bought a camera that does not match their needs, bought incompatible accessories or lenses (very tricky sometimes) or otherwise end up with a really poor experience. Especially for these lower end backs the only real support you're going to get is from a dealer that knows the product well. A respected forum member (i.e. one with many posts and a long history) in a private sale here is also a good option; though that works better for adding items once you have and know a system than for a first time entrance to the entire world of medium format.

    Medium format, even at the low end, is very high quality image quality that should be enjoyable to produce. If it's not you're doing something wrong!

    By the way: I also shoot weddings. Formals with a digital back as often as possible!

    http://www.doug-peterson.com/tj-and-jesss-formals/





    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Keep your Canon 5DMK-II, and start saving your money. About $8,000. to $10,000. will get you something with a good user experience, decent longevity/service, and excellent image quality.

    You may be able to find a Hassey V or Mamiya 645 camera and get a Kodak ProBack for it for $5 to 6K ... but the issue with the ProBack is finding batteries for it.

    -Marc

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    A good proback will normally cost no more than 1800 euro and batteries do not have to be a problem. I still have 12 batteries that i maintain in perfect condition for use with my IR proback. Everybody told me the batteries do not hold energy very long but in my experiance, they perform extremely well. Last week i had to shoot with my Proback hassy-H and i had forgotten to take fresh batteries with me... i only had a battery that was in my car for 2 month now but it performed perfectly. I think a proback is a good choice for when there is enough light and batteries should not be a problem.

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    I never had battery issues when I had a Kodak Proback 645M. There are also available power cords to power your Proback with an alternate battery such as a Quantum battery pack. I had the Quantum cord but never used it because I always just used the batteries.

    Beautiful files, and I wouldn't mind having another "just for fun" in studio. But if for your first/only back, I think there are better options now albeit at a higher price of entry. I'd save up to bolster the MFDB budget and keep tabs on deals for used/refurbished MFDBs that Capture Integration may be taking in on trade-ins, etc. A Mamiya 645AFD series with P30 would be a great combination...

    ken

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Hello rollsman44,

    I recently got myself a decent old digital medium format system and I can only encourage you to do the same. No matter whether it is now or in a few years. It is a nice feeling and I wouldn't want to miss this.
    But keep in mind that if you are buying from an official dealer you may test a lot of gear first to make sure to find exactly what you need (no first hand experience though). I couldn't resist the temptation and got my gear via ebay. So I spent app. 4300$ for my refurbished P1 645AF + ZD Back + 45mm lens. The ZD Back was a good way to get into MFD for me. Unfortunately I'd only recommend it in combination with a well coated "D" lens as I discovered lately.
    If you're considering ebay as an option make sure to ALWAYS (yeah, I have to stress this...) pay only via Paypal. It will defintely save your day.

    So what I'm trying to express is: With such a budget you can get some decent gear but if you want to do the serious business, save the money and wait a little bit. A nice refurbished P30+ will still be great in two years.


    Max

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    To be clear ... I didn't say the Kodak ProBack batteries didn't work well ... I said they are hard to find. The ProBack batteries were proprietary to that camera, and unless something has changed, they are no longer made, and haven't been made for some time now.

    Phase backs, Leaf Aptus, Hassey CFV and CF backs use non-proprietary batteries ... for example, the batteries needed for the CFV and CF backs are commonly found Sony camcorder lithiums.

    -Marc

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Thank you all.I was hoping to get a MF during my slow season( Dec-Feb) and try it out. Can you recommend a Dealer that can explain how all this MF Digital works? I wont buy from Ebay. Is the Mamiya 645 AFD( I, II, III) a good way to go and then Buy the back when I see a good deal? I see a lot of good things on the forum about getting the Contax 645 system.??? I do Need AF. Thanks, rollsman

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    ... Is the Mamiya 645 AFD( I, II, III) a good way to go and then Buy the back when I see a good deal? I see a lot of good things on the forum about getting the Contax 645 system.??? I do Need AF. Thanks, rollsman
    I recently started to look into getting back into the MF world. Years ago, I used a Bronica, but I wanted something different.

    I looked at the Hassy V system, H system and the Mamiya 645. Indeed it comes down to personal preferences.

    Based on my style of shooting and camera system, I went with the Mamiya. I purchased a AFD II and currently use it with film (I also needed a system that works with both film and digital backs). What I liked about the Mamiya is that you can use backs from different manufacturers making it a little bit more versatile. The earlier H system (H1/H2; but not H2D) would work with film backs and third party digital backs.

    My suggestion is to go to a dealer (Calumet is fairly common) and rent/try a camera system and see which one works for you.

    What helped me make the decision is to make a list with the things that I like/want in a system. Then have a side by side pro/con list with the 2 contenders and make the decision based on that. I'm very happy with my decision but at the same time others are very happy with theirs in choosing a different one.

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    I like your reasoning. I am somewhat hesitating on getting a MF due to lack of knowledge. I mean what additional software do I have to get and learn.
    My next thing was to just buy the Mamiya AFD II and shoot some film until I am able to get the extra $$$ to buy a reasonable Digital back. I have only $ 4,000 to invest right now. I put money into a Canon 5D Mk2 and 5D system and have little $$ to play with. I shoot mainly weddings and I wanted to use the MF pretty much for my Bridal portraits on location ( I have no studio)
    Any suggestions for me?? Greatly appreciated. rollsman

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    I like your reasoning. I am somewhat hesitating on getting a MF due to lack of knowledge. I mean what additional software do I have to get and learn.
    My next thing was to just buy the Mamiya AFD II and shoot some film until I am able to get the extra $$$ to buy a reasonable Digital back. I have only $ 4,000 to invest right now. I put money into a Canon 5D Mk2 and 5D system and have little $$ to play with. I shoot mainly weddings and I wanted to use the MF pretty much for my Bridal portraits on location ( I have no studio)
    Any suggestions for me?? Greatly appreciated. rollsman

    There are some people that use the MF system at weddings. I currently use the 5DII and I have no reason to use a MF camera. I see no advantage of carrying (and worrying) about another system just for the portraits.

    My re-introduction for the MF is to use it for engagements, bridal, portraiture. It doesn't fit with my shooting style at an actual wedding. My 5d + 70-200 2.8 combo is heavy. The Mamiya 645 + 210mm it puts it to shame in terms of weight. Also, because of the slower focusing, it's not suited for action. You take in consideration the high ISO performance, and there is no competition (at least at this point).

    When you take in consideration the cost of a MFDB, it doesn't make sense (business wise) to start using it at weddings and not charge extra. You need to introduce a product that will make you more money. The problem is that it's hard to convince people to pay more for wedding coverage just because you bring MF. It's easier to introduce a new product around the MF advantages, that will bring you money. That's what I'm currently doing, but with film in the mean time.

    I've been trying to find out how much (approximately) a P30+ back sells for (used) and it seems that it's a secret . So, I can't tell you if your budget allows for something decent or not . Nobody wants to give a range, not even the guys from dealers that are in this forum.

    As far as software, I already own C1 and LR, the two most used ones for RAW conversion. Hassy and Leaf have their own software but I don't know if it's included or you have to buy it separately.

    Try to find a place that have both systems (Hassy and Mamiya) and see which ones feels right to you.

    I do know that Hassy is not cheap. I found an H2 with the 80mm (no back) for $3k. Even the film back is not cheap.

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    I really understand that. I know I would NOT use the MF at5 a wedding. I was interested in using it for families, groups and Bride & Groom portraits and get the BEST color and resolution. Otherwise I would use my 5D MK 2
    I guess I have this BUG that is telling me to buy one and see the difference.
    Thank you and if ther is anything else you can offer me it is Appreciated.

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentin View Post
    Hassy and Leaf have their own software but I don't know if it's included or you have to buy it separately.
    A new Leaf back comes with both Capture One and Leaf Capture.
    If you already have Capture One PRO it will support the files from any Leaf Aptus or Aptus II back, old or new and the files also work in LR.

    rgds, yair

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Phocus, and all subsequent software upgrades to come, are free RAW processors for any Hasselblad user.

    Medium Format Digital used at weddings is a quality choice not a necessarily an immediate additional money maker. Having MFD is usually predicated on using it for other applications ... either personal and/or commercial. If quality is the primary consideration, then MFD is the natural choice ... just like it has always been.

    Without a doubt, I've made more money with my Medium Format equipment than I ever have with 35mm ... film or digital. Strange as it may seem, before retiring early from a heavy concentration on commercial work, I paid next to nothing for all of my MFD gear.

    Like most studios, we charged a digital capture fee and/or rental fee based on the going rental rates in our area. An additional $500. to $700. line item per day was common. 45 to 50 shoot days paid for a $30,000. MFD system. So, the gear was paid for in 2 years or less. After that, the fees either paid for MFD upgrades or became pure profit.

    My style of wedding photography is primarily photojournalist, with best "gear" expression of that being a Leica M IMO. I also use a 35mm DSLR for certain types of wedding photography where it is more convenient, or AF speed in more difficult conditions is required. However, nothing equals the dynamic range of 16 bit files and sheer quality of a large CCD sensor for wedding images where it is appropriate or desired. This includes a lot more than just the formal portraits once you learn how to use MFD.

    I began offering newer, high end wedding products for certain premium clients that has enhanced profits from weddings. While one cannot charge additional fees for shooting a wedding with MFD, you can add profitability with the output. How you do that is for me to know and you to find out ...

    -Marc

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Marc, well said. I agree that you cant charge more BUT I would like to see my groups and portraits STAND OUT and hope that there wil be extras ordered( no guarantee of course). That said. I need to venture into another TOY and get WOW Results, of course its going to cost me. I want to try and get a good system now that I can get those WOW results with under $5,000.
    So, I was thinking of the Mamiya AFDII or AFDIII and 1 lense to start and a Dig. Back that is a GREAT deal. Any ideas as to where I should look to make the purchase? thank you, rollsman

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentin View Post
    ....
    When you take in consideration the cost of a MFDB, it doesn't make sense (business wise) to start using it at weddings and not charge extra. You need to introduce a product that will make you more money....
    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    ....

    I began offering newer, high end wedding products for certain premium clients that has enhanced profits from weddings. While one cannot charge additional fees for shooting a wedding with MFD, you can add profitability with the output. How you do that is for me to know and you to find out ...

    -Marc
    Marc,

    I always look at the best ROI while trying to achieve the same thing .

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    Re: WHICH ONE:Hassey H1 or Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by rollsman44 View Post
    ...
    I guess I have this BUG that is telling me to buy one and see the difference.
    Thank you and if ther is anything else you can offer me it is Appreciated.
    I do things different: I try before I buy. The ideal scenario is to have somebody in your area that you can go and shoot with. The next thing is to rent a system. It runs you about $5-600 for a day. It's not cheap, but it's better than spending thousands of dollars and find that it's not what you think (and loose more money in trying to sell back). Another option is to talk with one of the dealers that deals with any of these systems and arrange a few hours to test drive it. Or see if Hasselblad has any workshops going on that you could go to and try it.

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