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120 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.

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Marshal Press 6x9 w/ Nikkor lens!
Old 05-03-2012   #1
Tveljus
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Marshal Press 6x9 w/ Nikkor lens!

Howdy everyone!

I acquired this rare camera earlier today from a Swedish auction firm, and as the info on the camera is really scarce on the internet I thought I'd start this thread.

Firstly, I would like to invite all Marshal Press owners to add to the thread, whether correcting me or linking to pictures taken with the camera.

Secondly, I thought I'd start off by writing about how to use the camera in the most basic way, and later I'll add some photos mainly to display the optics quality on different apertures.



So, how to shoot with the camera:
  1. To load the camera, lift up the metal latch on the right side of the back; the back door will swing open. The empty spool is put on the LEFT side in the back, and the unexposed roll to the RIGHT. This is the reverse compared to most other cameras. The camera takes both 120- and 220-film – select correct format on top of the film-reeling dial (see moment 2).
  2. After closing the door and lowering the latch back again, you reel the film by turning the film-reeling dial on top and to the left on the camera back clockwise. On the lower edge of the dial you'll see an "S" when you've just loaded the camera, and as you turn the dial you'll get to the numbers 1-18, signalling what frame you are currently on.
  3. Composing and focusing is done via the viewfinder/rangefinder window. You focus with a horizontal wheel on the back of the camera, to the right. (You use your right thumb)
  4. Now it's time to set the exposure. Set shutter speed by turning the toothed metal ring around the lens. Set the aperture by moving the metal knob below the lens, which in turn moves the aperture ring.
  5. After setting exposure, cock the built-in leaf shutter by pulling the metal lever on top of the lens from right to left (as seen from above, camera facing in the same direction as you). This works the same way as most lenses on large format cameras.
  6. Now, make sure the ON/OFF-dial at the shutter trigger on top and to the right on the camera back is switched to ON. If it's switched to OFF, you can't trigger the shutter.
  7. Press down the shutter trigger, and SNAP! You've taken your photo!
  8. To use the film-reeling dial to reel the film to the next frame for exposure, you must first push the little lever (on the back of the camera in the top left corner) inwards and to the left – this is the double-exposure prevention lock. There's an etched white arrow above it indicating the correct direction. After this is done, you can reel the film to the next frame and continue shooting!
  9. As always, when you've shot your number of exposures, continue to reel the film until you are sure that the spool is completely rolled up. Open the back by following moment 1's instructions, and restart.
There you go! Next post will be photos of the camera and the optics, and then I'll try to upload some photos I've shot with the camera – providing it's working of course.
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Old 05-04-2012   #2
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Here's a first photo of the camera, with detail shots to come:
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Old 05-04-2012   #3
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That looks like one amazing viewfinder!

Does it show a 65mm field of view? Looks to be about the same size as the separate finder for the Mamiya press.

I saw a site on this camera once - impressively, the rangefinder prism is driven by a miniature motorcycle chain. Is the zoom function a mask that makes the view smaller, or does the lens actually zoom.

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Old 05-04-2012   #4
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Man, that finder is like a seventies television set all by itself!

Looks seriously cool !
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Old 05-05-2012   #5
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Dante_Stella: the looks lie! The actual view in the viewfinder isn't that big at all, my Nikon FM3A has a greater finder, surprisingly. The field of view is for the 105mm lens - there are no brightlines, you frame by the edges.

The viewfinder does really zoom though, and the view also moves down to the right as you focus closer, providing exact compensation.

buzzardkid: It sure has the looks! Everything about this camera looks big, but it's actually very light compared to it's size. After you have set shutter time and aperture and cocked the shutter, you can actually shoot it with just your right hand!
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Old 05-05-2012   #6
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I just tried to upload my detail shots of the camera together with short captions, but then I got logged out.

So if you are interested, visit my Flickr-page. Here's a direct link to my "Camera Gear"-set, with the latest uploads being of the Marshal Press: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tveljus...57625844705237
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Old 05-07-2012   #7
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IIRC, there was a nice writeup by Jason Schneider in Shutterbug. I think I have it somewhere, I could dig it up and scan it if you are interested.

Cheers,

Abbazz
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Old 05-07-2012   #8
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That would be wonderful, please do if you can!
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Old 05-07-2012   #9
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I don't ever recall having heard of that camera before. Reminds me of the earlier Mamiya Press cameras. But they tend to be a little heavy. And all the backs I have use a lever to move the film to the next shot. Look forward to seeing the shots and seeing a comparison with the other cameras you have.
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Old 05-08-2012   #10
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Here are the scans from Jason Schneider's review (from Modern Photography and not Shutterbug, apologies):







To all of you interested in vintage cameras, I warmly recommend reading Jason's articles from the old Modern Photography magazine. These articles have been gathered in three books, which unfortunately have been out of print for years but can still be bought used:

http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Schneide...dp/0870691422/

http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Schneide...dp/0870694197/

http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Schneide...dp/0870694286/

Cheers!

Abbazz
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Old 05-08-2012   #11
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Abbazz, that's an excellent text you've uploaded, many thanks for that!
As far as I know, there's only one Internet site covering the Marshal Press as thoroughly, nikomat.org, and the translation from japanese to english there isn't always clear. Your text spells it all out for us gaijins. : )

Here's a first test shot from a roll where the focus didn't end up anywhere I wanted it to, but that could be because of my Marshal's very dim rangefinder image (in addition to bad idea of aiming it at the cherry blossoms with the same pink colour).

It is shot wide-open at ƒ3.5 and at shutter speed 1/500 on Ilford HP5+ film. I've brightened the midtones with the Curves tool and added an unsharp mask, but I assure you that original image had good contrast and excellent sharpness.

I will add links to bigger versions of more samples on my Flickr when I've got them developed and uploaded.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MarshalPress1_1C.jpg (108.0 KB, 65 views)
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Old 05-08-2012   #12
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I can add that the negatives measures 8,3cm in width, so the camera probably should be adressed as an 6x8, not a 6x9!
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Old 05-11-2012   #13
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Aabazz - thanks for the article. I guess it had a resemblance to the early Mamiya Press cameras for a reason.

Tveljus - Looks like it is a good photo taker. How is it to use?
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Old 05-11-2012   #14
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As I said above, apart from the rangefinder image being a bit dim (and completely useless when shooting anything in nuances of pink) it's really smooth to handle. It loads very easily. The focus wheel is fantastic to use – you can turn it fast but there's still resistance, although not a "strangeling" or stiff resistance. It's like you feel sturdy gears turning inside the camera.
It's not a very fast shooter though, as you have to cock the shutter manually on the lens before every shot, and you have to look at the lens to set time and aperture. The viewfinder is a bit small – smaller than my FM3A's – but it's workable. And, as I also said above, the camera is actually so light that you can hold and shoot it with just one hand!
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Old 05-11-2012   #15
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Thumbs up

I can further report that behind the silver screw on the back of the rangefinder housing – up and to the left in the image I attached – there is, maybe obviously to the experienced rangefinder users, the rangefinder adjustor.



You just unscrew the silver screw which covers a smaller screw that when turned adjust the rangefinder image. With the help of a ground glass placed where the film would be (luckily my Plaubel Makina I's ground glass worked like a charm for this, being of 6x9 dimensions and all!!) you can focus the camera on a subject and then adjust the rangefinder image to match up properly.

Also, I have uncovered that the big arrows (the 'start mark') on the roll should be showing at the right (full) spool, not at the left (take-up) spool for the film to wind up properly from the S-mark to no. 1 on the frame counter dial.

Once I'm sure that the camera is fully calibrated, I think I will fall seriously in love with it! It's so simple to use, definitely of sooo much better build quality than any medium format camera I've owned, has a great Nikkor lens that covers a big-but-not-too-wide format of 6x8 and is very portable despite it's size. Gah, I'm so happy I got it!
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Old 05-20-2012   #16
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nice write up and a great looking camera!

do you mind if i ask how much these are going for?

i ask because i remember seeing one in a camera shop round here, but they tend to be a bit pricey,...i've only just started getting into the mamiya press cameras, and this looks interesting.
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Old 06-07-2012   #17
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Sorry for my late response!

First of all: thanks!

About the price; I got mine for 3150 Swedish Kronor (equaling about 440 US dollars). That was without any guarantee of function, and it also turned out to be having focusing problems. As you can see on my pictures, the leatherette is also pretty loose. Still, I think it's a very good price for such a rare camera and I'd gladly pay it again.
What are the prices you have seen?
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Old 06-07-2012   #18
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Here's a new, aaaaalmost correctly focused, shot with the latest test roll from the Marshal: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tveljus...in/photostream

I've been trying to calibrate the rangefinder, but when I set it up correctly for infinity it isn't right at closer focus ranges and vice versa. Will probably let a mechanic take a look at it tomorrow!
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Old 06-07-2012   #19
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cheers for the reply!

actually, when i posted the question it was around the US$550 range, but the price has come inline with your price, its just under US$400 here. not many mamiya collectors round these parts i guess :P

arrrgh! decisions, decisions!

those pictures do look great though, especially the seperation between the in focus and out of focus areas,... i might just have to jump on it.

any idea what the minimum focus distance is with those bellows?
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Old 06-07-2012   #20
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nevermind, the article says minimum focus distance is 3ft.
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Old 06-10-2012   #21
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If you have the money to buy it but just feel unsure, I'd say buy it!
It's an interesting and scarce camera, and as you say the Nikkor lens seems to have some real qualities to it.

Also, I'm sure you can sell it for the same price or higher either here in the classifieds or on Ebay. I would gladly buy it from you if you decide not to keep it, I just need back some money I'm missing.

EDIT: About the minimum focusing distance, you must understand that the bellows allow close-up shots – but there's no way to focus correctly without the ground glass mentioned in the article. And then there's the problem of loading film and having to shoot a whole roll on the same subject at the same distance and framing...
The 3 feet is when focusing coupled to the rangefinder (so the bellows are of no extra use there).
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Old 06-10-2012   #22
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haha, I've pretty much decided that i will pick it up, but cheers for the encouragement! I'll head down there next week and take it for a spin.

at the moment tho, i'm playing with a polaroid 600se and a mamiya universal with the f2.8 lens and a polaroid back,... too many things to play with!

but this oddity looks too good to pass up.

sometimes not having the cash makes life easier :P
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Old 06-10-2012   #23
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did some reading of the nikomat.org website so i thought i'd share, my japanese is not the best but:

- nikomat.org reckons that the Marshal's Nikkor Q 105mm is pretty much the same as the 105mm used on the Bronica system, the 105mm f3.5LS. of course there might have been some changes, but they are essentially the same.

so since there are very few samples of the Marshal Press online, i guess searching flickr for bronica 105 would give you a good idea of what the Marshal Press could do?

the original page: http://nikomat.org/priv/camera/medni...l/compare.html

the google translated page: http://translate.google.co.jp/transl...e.html&act=url
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Old 07-29-2012   #24
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Yes, I have read that too, nikomat.org being the most informative site I've found so far. Supposedly it would share a lot with some of the Nikkor large format lenses as well.
The thing is the leaf shutter 105mm lens for the Bronica S-system isn't that common, so there are not a lot of good samples around. For instance, I don't think I have seen a single good example of the bokeh at wide open aperture. But I intend to change that as soon as I get my Marshal back from the repair!
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Old 12-07-2012   #25
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Hello again everyone!

The Marshal Press have after several months returned from one of Swedens most experienced camera repairmen – unfortunately only with an apologizing email and no repair.

But! After a short but very rewarding mail conversation with Mr Shinsaku Hiura who is the owner of the site Nikomat.org, I have discovered that there's this 'film aperture plate' that is missing from my camera!

It's kind of like a format mask, only its function has to do with normal use of the camera (contrary to when shooting close-ups with the add-on ground glass and one-shot film insert).

What we're guessing that this aperture plate's abscence does, is that it lets the film pressure plate push the film a few extra millimetres towards the lens – resulting in the beyond-infinity focus.

So, now I have a plan to try to create a substitute for the aperture plate of some sort, my first try is going to be in cardboard. If it seems to work for the focusing, I might try to get some more handy person get me the same thing in plastic.

Wish me luck!
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