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6x4.5 Choosing a Camera!

Rohnan Black , Jul 16, 2013; 10:05 p.m.

Hey guys, i'm asking this on behalf on my fiancee.

She want's a 6x4.5 camera with the following:
Metered 'slr' type prism viewfinder
Waist Finder (switchable with the prism)
Good grip (the one that attaches to the side)
Film backs (switchable backs, to change from color to B&W, not catriges).
Around $400-$500.

Any recommendations? Google comes up with a good number of options, some making the requirements, other's not so much (some are a complete package, with just the lens being changeable).

If you can recommend something that has a built in grip, that's fine, but the changable waist finder/prism is very high on the list. The film backs, not as much.

Thank you!

Responses


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Ray Butler , Jul 16, 2013; 11:02 p.m.

Sounds like she looked up the specifications and design of a Mamiya 645 Pro (or 645 Pro TL or the slightly older 645 Super), and then composed the list of requirements to match it! I'm kidding of course, but it does fit the bill perfectly.

Also the Bronica ETRS or ETRSi would match these specs.

The main difference between them being that the Mamiyas key you into a huge range of lenses, often with faster apertures, and also adapted lenses from several other medium format cameras; while the Bronicas only work with their own more modest range of leaf-shutter lenses.

The Contax 645 and Hasselblad H1/H2 "fail" on price, and a non-detachable grip.

The Pentax 645 series and the older Mamiya M645/M645J/M645 1000s "fail" on non-interchangeable backs, only inserts.

Rohnan Black , Jul 16, 2013; 11:26 p.m.

Much appreciated Ray Butler ! This gives us something more concrete to look at than names on a list and 10 years old forum posts!

Thanks!

Dave Redmann , Jul 17, 2013; 12:41 a.m.

I agree with Ray, a Mamiya M645 Pro appears closest. I seriously doubt you find a full system with all the items you (she) wants for $500. However, for that price you may be able to find a body, one 120 film back, either a metered prism or a waist-level finder, one lens (probably an 80mm f/2.8, although the 55mm f/2.8, 150mm f/3.5, and 210mm f/4 are about equally cheap and available), and a basic grip. I would start by looking at K.E.H.

Note that the M645 Super is considerably cheaper than the M645 Pro, and also has removable backs, but at least some of them are subject to reports of major reliability problems. Also, the M645 Pro TL is a little newer and nicer, but costs a bit more.

The Bronica ETRSi is indeed your other option. It is not nearly as common as the Mamiya. but not rare. Whereas most (not all!) of the Mamiya lenses use the body's focal-plane shutter, and therefore can only flash sync up to 1/60 s, but can shoot non-flash pictures up to 1/1000 s; all of the Bronica lenses have leaf-shutters, which lets them flash-sync at any shutter speed, but limits the highest non-flash shutter speed. Really, I think this is a non-issue unless she wants to shoot a lot of daytime, outdoor pictures will fill-flash.

Jose Angel , Jul 17, 2013; 03:31 a.m.

I think for a 645 my choice would be a Hasselblad.

Ray Butler , Jul 17, 2013; 06:00 a.m.

I think for a 645 my choice would be a Hasselblad.

Which type? H series (natively 645) or V series (natively 6x6 but 645 backs available...or manual cropping)?
Excellent cameras, but I think that both of these are above the stated budget.

Jose Angel , Jul 17, 2013; 08:11 a.m.

The OP mentions film, and mentions the convenience of using several magazines. So my choice would be a "V" model, a spare third party grip, a metered prism and the usual waist level one, and a 645 back (in order to get more shot per roll).
The possibilities are open to use a 6x6 film back and to buy the original motorized grip.
Anyway, I`m not a Hasselblad user (I have Mamiyas), but if I were buying another medium format camera (not likely), I think it would be my choice.

Rohnan Black , Jul 17, 2013; 10:27 a.m.

I have owned both a Hassy H and V for a few years. The H was for studio work with a digital back, while the V was for personal use.
I did not like using the H, it's a nice/good camera, but it felt ackward to use.

What about the Bronica SQ series for 6x6? I stumble upon those, and i am a big fan of 6x6.

Q.G. de Bakker , Jul 17, 2013; 11:31 a.m.

"She want's a 6x4.5 camera".

If Bronica, the ETRSi is a perfectly fine choice. No need to step up to an SQ-A.
I have no personal experience with the Mamiya 645 Pro, but do have one of the older M645 models, an given a choice between one of those and the Bronica, i'd go with the Bronica ETRSi.
The M645 is rather clunky, not very 'ergonomic'. Lenses are o.k. Not great (not on par with much of what Mamiya offered for their other MF cameras), but not bad at all.

Jeff Adler , Jul 17, 2013; 11:55 a.m.

I have a Bronica ETR and three ETRS cameras. I do not use any of them with a metered finder but metered finders are available. The most advanced metered finder was made for the ETRSi and costs more. In addition to the Bronicas I now have a Mamiya M645 1000S and a Mamiya M645J. These Mamiyas do not have removable backs like the later Mamiya models and the Bronica ETR series cameras but they do offer the higher 1/1000 top shutter speed. I have the 70/2.8 Mamiya leaf shutter lens and consider it a good semi-wide standard lens. Where shooting comfort is concerned the Bronica Speed Grip for the ETR series cameras makes using the camera a lot easier. Adding a power winder to either the Bronica or the Mamiya solves this problem while adding cost and weight. I use the Mamiyas with the PD-S meter prism finder and that works well. What about the later Mamiyas with interchangeable backs? They cost more and do not have the best reputation for reliability. If you consider the non-motorized choices Mamiya offers for the older 645 cameras, I don't think they are very conmfortable for hand held use. I might have added a motorized winder for my ETR cameras but I recently got a Bronica SQ-AM in good condition for $27. My recommendation would be an ETRS with a Speed Grip, prism finder, 120 back and 75/2.8 to start out. The Bronica 50 and 150 lenses are very reasonable in price and can be added later.


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