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120 / 220 film RF's 120 / 220 format rangefinders including Fuji, Koni-Omega, Mamiya Press, Linhof 6x7/6x9 cameras, Mamiya 6/7 among others, but excluding the 120 folders and the Voigtlander 667 cameras that have their own forums.

View Poll Results: MF Rangefinders and Alternatives
Fuji GS645x 37 12.21%
Fuji GA645x 54 17.82%
Rob a bank, get a Mamiya 7 74 24.42%
MF SLR-s are not heavy. It's all in your head! 23 7.59%
some TLR 42 13.86%
that 1950's folder X is so great (I will ignore these, I think) 14 4.62%
It's all madness, just shoot with what you have. 59 19.47%
Voters: 303. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-26-2013   #121
Spanik
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I re-read the whole thread and what is really strange is that rarely people answer the question(s) posed. In this case the thread starter wanted a modern camera, prefered an SLR, prefered rectangular format, "wide angle" and lightweight. Yet the whole thread is littered with folders, tlr's, typical 50mm eq, loads and loads of 6x6 and the heavier the merrier.
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Frank, let me add this....
Old 01-10-2014   #122
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Frank, let me add this....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
The meter less Fujis have no issues in the cold, at least as good as anything else in the same conditions. I've lost track of this thread but being patient and waiting for a good buy on a Fuji Rangefinder would be a solid strategy.

My experience with meters in ALL the medium format cameras is that they are crude and primitive compared to their 35mm counterparts. Most are just broad average weighted akin to a 1970s SLR, nothing to get excited - or trusting - about.

And apologies to others but the 6x4.5 format never seemed worth the effort... 6x6 or 6x9 to be worthwhile.

Great post, summing up the Fuji rangefinders.

I tend to agree with your assessment on the 645 not being the best choice. While I shot 645 for sime time, I eventually did the math, and 645 is really not a significant increase in acreage over 35mm, at only 2.7 times the coverage.

I finally concluded that if you are going to go "big" go "BIG" at 6x9. Also personally I dislike square. I never used square as a final format and 6X7 was noted as being the "magazine" format.

NOW, on your comment about cold weather operation. I did learn from a buyer of one of my GS645 folders, that the shutters in the GS series are not friendly to extreme cold weather shooting. I learned that when he sent the folder to Frank Marshman and Frank told him he could not improve that aspect of the shutter, and the GS series 645 folders were prone to failure or missing shots in extreme cold.

I have since talked with Frank M, and he's fine with all the GA and BIG Fujifilm Fujica shutters. Not adversely affected by cold.

I aganin prefer the Fujifilm 6X9, not just for the format, but the ability to scan and stitch for 6X12 and 6X17. I truly like panoramic images on 120 roll film. However I am not likely to spend from $3000 to $5000 for dedicated roll film panoramas up to 617 and 624. The scanning is likely to happen anyway and the stitching is not that much work if you watch your tecnique and exposure on the overlap.
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Intersting observation...
Old 01-10-2014   #123
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Intersting observation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
I re-read the whole thread and what is really strange is that rarely people answer the question(s) posed. In this case the thread starter wanted a modern camera, prefered an SLR, prefered rectangular format, "wide angle" and lightweight. Yet the whole thread is littered with folders, tlr's, typical 50mm eq, loads and loads of 6x6 and the heavier the merrier.
I didn't get that. It looked to me by the vote poll that all comers were invited.

Money was clearly in the outline as a consideration.

If the OP wanted a modern SLR in MF...that limits the opportunities.

In fact, many of the folders and TlRs and early SLR's will outshoot most of the modern offerings for much less money.

While the thread seems to be a re-hash of previous MF threads, it seems to be consistent, and it also offers NEW information for those who have not read the older threads, and who are considering film @ Medium Format.
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Old 03-13-2014   #124
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I believe that another factor is the type or purpose of this camera.

If the desire is to use it for general picture taking, I'd say just stick with a 35mm film or digital camera.

To my mind, the 6x7 thru 6x9 cameras are used mostly for planned captures, where maximum enlargement possibilities are desired. They are the cameras I prefer, simply because my main purpose is to preserve memorable events and people.

But, in fact, everyone's purposes are different and most avid photographers utilize multiple camera types and variations:

- walking around cameras - XPan, Widelux, Bessa L, OM-D
- sports/wildlife cameras/action - telephoto 35mm SLRs, DSLRs, and digital mirror less
- portrait and landscape cameras - medium format 6x6,6x7,6x9,6x12,6x17
- astronomy - all types possible

Of course, many times I mix groups - generally only if I'm hoping for a memorable enlargement possibility.

So my camera plan for each day depends on what the end use of the pictures will be - Internet, photo book, or wall hanger.

That's why it's so difficult to recommend just one camera.


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Old 01-04-2015   #125
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Except for the weight a Koni-Omega 100 would be the camera. Heavy and robust, it's the only one of the bunch that if someone tried to steal it you could knock them out with the camera and keep taking pictures without any problem. Think of the Koni-Omega cameras as a Kamaz Truck, not pretty but will go through anything.
I have both GS 645S and GS 645W and a Koni-Omega 100 & 200. The Fuji lenses are multi-coated great sharpness and contrast but the bodies are not know for being super strudy plastic/nylon gears vs metal. I got the GS 645W cheap because it had advance problems, this was back when Fuji repaired them and I think it only cost around $100 to fix, but I don't shoot in very cold weather either. Someone talked about a Linhof 220, bulky camera to carry around as it has a Rollie style pistol grip attached to the bottom of the camera that cannot be removed and it shoots vertical like the Fuji 645 cameras so it's a really long camera. It's wonderful in the hand when taking pictures but a pain to carry.

Look up Greg Weber on line for repairs and he sells overhauled Koni-Omega cameras and lenses great guy to deal with.
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Old 01-04-2015   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottluuk View Post
SWC? Awesome. But saving up to a point where I could comfortably spill something like $2000 on what is essentially a wide-angle lens (excellent as it may be) with a shutter and detachable film back... I just don't see it. I've got to eat, you know. Seriously.
I found the SWC too wide for most shooting but you might be different.

You may have to go with something like a Pentax 6x7 and 55mm lens. Decent users are very cheap as are lenses. Ive owned three and they're excellent but heavy and noisy.

A Mamiya C22, 220, 33 or 330 with a 65mm or something similar might be in your budget. They're pretty cheap but large and heavy.

I had a Fuji 645zi and wasn't impressed.

Bothe the Mamiyas and Pentax give a lot of bang for the buck.

I've also owned 3 of the Fuji 690 cameras with the wide lens and they're not that heavy and the lenses are extremely sharp. They're very find cameras.
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Old 01-04-2015   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outfitter View Post
To this one could add the Linhof 220. The Graflex XL roll film adapters leave a lot to be desired by way of film flatness while the Koni-Omega has among the best film flatness but weighs a ton - too much for a backpacker with a bad back.
I used a Linhof 220 where I worked in the 70's. It was a beautiful camera but I found it a bit awkward and top heavy. The results were good but nothing special. Also a technician told me its was extremely comes and difficult to work on. My preference when shooting MF was my Hasselblad not the 220.

Before I considered something like this that had very limited production I'd call a Linhof repair center to see if parts are available I know parts are no longer available for some of the older geR like this.
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Old 01-04-2015   #128
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Re reading this has been interesting.

Over the years the best medium format camera I have ever owned (and I own and have owned several) is the Pentax 645Nii. This is solely based on the number of keepers I have had with this camera.

It is an SLR and to many that equals heavy. It is a bit heavy and bulky but my experience has been that the weight just kind of "goes away" when I am shooting. The viewfinder is big and clear and the exposure results are terrific.

Several of the lenses are very, very good, and others are quite amazing. If you want a wide the 35mm is one of the best medium format wides ever built. The 75/2.8 is very sharp right from wide open, though of course the depth of field can certainly be a factor at the aperture setting. The 45-85/4.5 zoom is one of my favorite lenses even though I actually do not like many zoom lenses. Finally, the 150/2.8 autofocus lens is probably my favorite portrait lenses.

Of course, packing just those lenses, two or three film backs, some film, and a camera makes for quite a load. Which is probably why my Leica's or Contax's usually walk out the door with me far more frequently than the 645Nii.
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Old 01-10-2015   #129
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Since starting this thread, I've tried a couple of things. First, I tried bypassing the whole problem by getting an old Leica and making do with 135. Looking back, that was a very good idea. The M system is wonderfully low on annoyances and, looking back, my "need" for a larger format was pretty questionable. But I couldn't quite shake the idea, either.

So I tried a Kiev 6S (6x6, Pentacon Six derivative) system that kind of fell on my lap. Well, the "overgrown 35mm SLR" kind of medium format cameras are not my cup of tea. The form factor makes them really awkward to pack and they still have all the usual SLR ills (mirror slap and VF blackout, bulky and/or mediocre wide angle lenses).

I tried an old folder which was cute and portable but ultimately had too much quirks for everyday use.

The latest contender is a Rolleiflex 3.5 C Planar. It breaks the original budget but a decent Tessar-equipped alternative or a Japanese imitator wouldn't. I took this camera to the northern part of the Ural mountains and used it in pretty tough conditions. I can now say that a good TLR makes a lot of sense in the context of my original question. The Zeiss Planar on my 'flex is pretty amazing. And 75mm actually feels quite wide on 6x6 – to the point where it can be difficult to avoid boring/empty skies and foregrounds. The camera is reasonably light, quick to use and is very easy to pack. Very importantly, it can ride along in a normal, slim daypack – all without requiring a great song and dance to fish it out, set up, take a photo, stuff it back in, move on. Really important when you've spent the better part of a day hiking in cold wind and persistent drizzle and your companion gives you the evil eye each time you want to stop and take a photograph of nothing much in particular.

Ultimately, a Mamiya 6 would probably beat the Rollei in some ways but at roughly twice the cash for a kit with the equivalent 75/3.5, well... The big Fujis have become a lot less tempting simply because of their bulk and form factor. And of course, the reality that moving up a format doesn't necessarily make one's pictures any better...
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Old 01-10-2015   #130
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Good to know you can be content with a Rolleiflex ;-).

If you come across a nice GA645, though, it'll give you results like this on virtually every frame--you'll just have to endure the sound of the lens-motor near your ears.



Not better than a good old Planar, but amazingly good. Having a medium format P&S is not a bad idea.
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Old 02-05-2015   #131
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The GA645 series is really the only thing that is in the price range (well, it is now) and does what the OP needs it to do. I'm not sure about -25 C, but I've definitely shot it to -18 C (0 F). The lens is as sharp as any 645 ever made, there is no bellows to go bad or front standard to get bent, and they run forever without maintenance.

People get so bent out of shape about automation, but it's nice to have an AE option and data imprinting. The AF and AE are pretty much perfect. The auto wind-on also makes it very quick to reload. In 500+ rolls, I've only fat-rolled one (because a paper 120 band hung on the takeup spool spring (and that could have happened with anything). It's also nice to have a small onboard flash for when you need a tiny bit of fill.

Uniquely, it's also the only 645 that you can operate completely one-handed or completely blotto on vodka, ouzo, grappa or arak.

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Old 02-06-2015   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
Uniquely, it's also the only 645 that you can operate completely one-handed or completely blotto on vodka, ouzo, grappa or arak.

Dante
thumbs up for that extra bit of info
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Old 02-21-2015   #133
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thumbs up for that extra bit of info
I won't say how I know that!

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Old 02-22-2015   #134
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I voted TLR but really would suggest a 2X3 Century or Crown Graphic. You can get
in the habit of always advancing film after a shot - or just before taking the shot.
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Old 02-24-2015   #135
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Liked my GA645 - great, sharp(!) results, would have loved it, but I never really made friends with the auto-focus - esp. for people pictures. It's not something you'd see in a web size image, but looking at high-rez scans of the negs it was obvious. Dante said it was 900 steps, but I had my doubts after using the thing. I freely admit the possibility of user error. It was great that the frame lines showed the parallax AND the FOV change, but I probably wasn't confirming the final position of the AF point - which moved with the frames - or should have! Much happier with my Medalist with it's super accurate RF...you get 100% of TRi-X goodness on 6x9, too - push it all you want! I know the OP wanted wide-ish - the Medalist also feels a good bit wider than a 50mm on 135 film more like a 43mm... Alas - light and ergonomic it is not - unless compared to a Koni or Simmons Omega, or a Mamiya Press. Or a Nikon F with winder and flash.
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Old 11-27-2015   #136
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The Fuji GW or GSW690 series are about as heavy as your 40D, don't get why people think their size is related to weight. It's all hardened plastic. Also Mamiya TLRs start at 55mm, interchangeable lenses too.
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Old 11-27-2015   #137
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Quote:
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The Fuji GW or GSW690 series are about as heavy as your 40D, don't get why people think their size is related to weight. It's all hardened plastic. Also Mamiya TLRs start at 55mm, interchangeable lenses too.
You know you rely to a post made in 2010?
Also, my Canon EOS 30D with a 24/2.8 lens is about 1 kg, my Fuji GW690 II is 1.5 kg - as the 30D and 40D are comparable, I don't think they're about as heavy.
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Old 12-26-2018   #138
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Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
I've never seen a Fuji GS645 folder with an original bellows that did not have light leaks. The original bellows was a synthetic material that failed frequently. When I find one of these, I try to buy it cheap enough to allow for bellows replacement ($125 to $150-CameraWiz)

I quit buying them when I found out the GS series shutters were all subject to malfunction in extreme cold.... the folder, the GS645S and the GS645W.

OTOH, I had a GA6454Zi with a shutter count of 34,250 and running well up til I sold it. I've had three of the Zi, and consider that camera the best of all the 645s from Fuji.

The dilemma with the rangefinder 645's including the Bronica is the portrait mode vs landscape mode of viewing. Takes a bit of getting use to.

Someone mentioned the Mamiya 645 SLR, which I have had a number of and find them quite durable, with great glass.

But before I would buy another 645 Mamiya, I would buy a Bronica SLR ETRSi.... for two big reasons. Leaf Shutters and there are backs for that MF camera allowing you to shoot panoramic 35mm at 56mm long, and to shoot 35mm film in the conventional landscape mode.

The Bronica ETRS or ETRSi, is lighter and slightly smaller than the Mamiya. The pricing for the Bronica's is low for excellent rated cameras. The glass is exceptional. Have had four of these in the ETR, ETRS and ETRSi models. They can be had within your budget. The unique accessory (35mm film) backs come up on eBay more frequently than one might imagine.

Do not buy the GS645 folder unless it has a documented replacement bellows, and even then, I've been told nothing can be done IF you get one that suffers in extreme cold. In fact, the extreme cold issue should be a consideration on any older leaf shutter lens. Old lube and cold weather do not cooperate well together. (Besides... who shoots in weather as cold as you mention.... Oh... OK, you do.)
The Bronicas.... they were the most advanced MF slr cameras in their day ans very expensive. I remember tests where the lenses would be on par w/ hasselblad zeiss while bronica handling is much better.
I donīt know anyone who bought them because of the tall price.

The meter prism is wonderfull. The backs are tight. Much, much better than the Mamyia which was preferred for itīs low cost.

I would look for the 6x6 model... but would get along fine w/ the 645.
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Old 12-26-2018   #139
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I don't know why I am responding to this ancient thread but...

If I were looking for a medium format camera based on the original poster's specs, I would pick the Pentax 645N.
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Old 01-05-2019   #140
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travel medium format camera

I'm sure you understand that there exists no medium format camera which meets all of your specifications. That said, I think the Fuji GS645S or GA645 are closest to meeting the majority of your requirements. Your size, weight and cost limits will eliminate all of the 6x7 cm medium format cameras others have mentioned, except for the Koni Omega. The KO has the additional advantage of interchangeable lenses of excellent quality; but it is bulky and heavy - not my pick for a backpack travel camera. The Makinas are so delicate as to be little more than museum pieces. The Graflex XL system is bulky and fragile - plastic focus mounts now too brittle to function properly. Among 645 format cameras, your budget is the major limit. The Bronica 645 system is over budget, and it has function problems Bronica didn't have time to sort out. Of the Fuji GS series, only the GS645S meets your specs, and does so well. However it has a very weak focus/lens mount which is often damaged. Hard to find in good condition??? It has a reputation of shutter problems in extreme cold; so keep the camera from freezing - simple. It's mechanical except for the meter. Of the Fuji GA series, The GA645Zi is over budget, but the GA645/GA645i can price in budget. Contrary to urban legend, the GA645 doesn't have focus problems, most often stated in the form of limited autofocus zones. The autofocus is virtually seamless (932 zones), but the manual focus user override option does manually focus in 10 or so zones - not a problem given depth of field. 60mm f4.0 lens (same as GS645S) is roughly 35mm equivalent in 35mm format - universal focal length for fixed lens travel camera. For a one camera, fixed lens travel camera, excluding the GA645Zi, I'd go with a GA645, or GA645i (newer) if priced right. (I own or have owned and used most of the foregoing cameras or one of a series, except the Makina and Bronica.) If you give on the weight and a bit on bulk and price, a Pentax 67 (SLR) with 90mm 2.8 lens (equiv 45mm) isn't out the question.
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Old 01-06-2019   #141
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The GA645 is such a low cost camera that everyone should have one in their collection.

You will never find a sharper lens and 645 IS substantially better than 35mm. The difference can be seen in prints as small as 4 x 6. The tonality is far better than 35mm film.
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Old 01-06-2019   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
645 IS substantially better than 35mm. The difference can be seen in prints as small as 4 x 6. The tonality is far better than 35mm film.
+1 (esp. tonality)

Folks who spent on a 67 camera need self-justification, hence their dismissive comments re 645.
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Old 01-06-2019   #143
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Quote:
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+1 (esp. tonality)

Folks who spent on a 67 camera need self-justification, hence their dismissive comments re 645.
i have both 645 cameras and 6 x 7. The difference between those two formats is much smaller than the difference between 35mm and 645. Much smaller.
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Old 08-13-2019   #144
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The Rolleiflex is light, portable, easy to load and use.
A modern bright screen makes focusing easy.
Great choice.
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