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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.

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Rangefinder on a low budget
Old 11-16-2016   #1
DFigueira
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Rangefinder on a low budget

Hi guys,

I'm a guy who shoots a lot of 35mm and I'm thinking about getting a medium format camera. Either a TLR or a Rangefinder.
Why? Because shooting a roll of 36 is too long for me and for printing quality too.

Problem here choosing a rangefinder... the budget. Max budget will be 200€ buying online (because vintage in my country means doubling the price).

Is there a non folding RF under that price?
Or I should forget the idea and go straight to a TLR?

Oh, and the budget is already stretched to the limits..

Thank you all
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Old 11-16-2016   #2
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Welcome to RFF. A location would help a bit. The sort of imaging you tend to do wouldn't hurt, either but not to worry. I think you'll struggle to find a really decent RF in that price range that may not need some remedial attention to be a reliable shooter. You can, admittedly, say the same thing about other types of medium format cameras as well including TLRs, but I suspect you may have better luck with a TLR. Everyone has their own preferences here. Personally I think a Rolleicord V is pretty hard to beat as an entry level MF camera. Great build; great lens; great durability and; from the greatest TLR manufacturer and the one that most others copied.

There are many, many, many, discussions about the point you've raised here at RFF let alone elsewhere on the web. Do not spare the search functionality--you will not wear it out. We can advise you, but you are ultimately in charge of your own investigations, and know best, what your own needs are.
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Old 11-16-2016   #3
DFigueira
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Welcome to RFF. A location would help a bit. The sort of imaging you tend to do wouldn't hurt, either but not to worry. I think you'll struggle to find a really decent RF in that price range that may not need some remedial attention to be a reliable shooter. You can, admittedly, say the same thing about other types of medium format cameras as well including TLRs, but I suspect you may have better luck with a TLR. Everyone has their own preferences here. Personally I think a Rolleicord V is pretty hard to beat as an entry level MF camera. Great build; great lens; great durability and; from the greatest TLR manufacturer and the one that most others copied.

There are many, many, many, discussions about the point you've raised here at RFF let alone elsewhere on the web. Do not spare the search functionality--you will not wear it out. We can advise you, but you are ultimately in charge of your own investigations, and know best, what your own needs are.
Cheers
Brett
I'm sorry. I'm from Portugal.

I've used the search functionality for around 2 months now. To gather info on what I really wanted based on my likes and dislikes of 35mm. What type of cameras, etc.
My purpose with this post is to see if there is an underrated camera that I couldn't find and it's fine for this purpose or some other gem out in the wild.
It all came to these two options.
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Old 11-16-2016   #4
Jake Mongey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFigueira View Post
I'm sorry. I'm from Portugal.

I've used the search functionality for around 2 months now. To gather info on what I really wanted based on my likes and dislikes of 35mm. What type of cameras, etc.
My purpose with this post is to see if there is an underrated camera that I couldn't find and it's fine for this purpose or some other gem out in the wild.
It all came to these two options.
My suggestion for a diamond in the rough TLR is the Minolta Autocord, Amazing lens, relatively small and great build quality and very cheap usually

For a Rangefinder you could find a mamiya press but they are very big and heavy.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Exc-Mamiya...gAAOSw5cNYKYmw
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Old 11-16-2016   #5
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You might check out Ffordes.com, I've bought a few things from them and they have been exactly as described. At the moment they have a couple of Koni Omegas under Film Cameras -> Collectables/OtherBrands. Obviously they weigh a ton so shipping from the UK may be expensive.
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Old 11-16-2016   #6
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If you are looking for an underrated TLR try a Flexaret. Cupog on ebay usually has a few which he has CLAed at prices which are well with in your budget.
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Old 11-16-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFigueira View Post
Hi guys,

I'm a guy that shoots a lot of 35mm and I'm thinking about getting a medium format camera. Either a TLR or a Rangefinder.
Why? Because shooting a roll of 36 is too long for me and for printing quality too.

Problem here choosing a rangefinder... the budget. Max budget will be 200€ buying online (because vintage in my country means doubling the price).

Is there a non folding RF under that price?
Or I should forget the idea and go straight to a TLR?

Oh, and the budget is already stretched to the limits..

Thank you all
The printing quality of MF is overblown by gearheads dominating photo forums, IMO. Jane Bown (photographer) switched from Rolleiflex to OM and "never looked back". I have book with her portraits. Zero difference between MF and 135.
And for 200 you not going to get camera with good quality MF lens and RF.

For 200, you could buy Delta 100 bulk (30.5) film, film loader and reusable cassettes to load 12 frames. Within same 200 you could get sexy, retro but working SLR with sharp lens on it.

On-line you could get Mamiya 645 series SLR with lens, all working, well under 200. It is relatively small 645 SLR.
I have one to try and didn't find it significantly over 35 film in good camera with good lens. I will put it for sale on-line .

RF MF if retro is going to be problematic and not worth of the 200 price, IMO.
Just get clean, simple, working retro MF folder and have fancy, retro looking external rangefinder. Like FSU Smena eRF.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1950th-GOMZ-...oAAOSwNRdYB0iV
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Old 11-16-2016   #8
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I went through a similar search earlier this year. I quickly ruled out MF RF's due to price and focused on TLR's. Since I had shot a few different TLR's already (Rolleiflex 2.8 & 3.5, Rolleicord V, Autocord, and Ikoflex), I had developed a fairly narrow set of requirements so it made my search easy: lightweight (under 900g), triplet lens, 1/500s top shutter, bayonet 1 filters (I already have a few), and preferably flash sync. The 'Flexes are too expensive, the Autocord and Ikoflex were both too heavy ,and the 'Cord V is a Xenar (tessar lens), so I hunted for a Rolleicord IId or IIe with the Triotar lens (see here for more info on Rolleicords) and I ended up with a IIe which I love. The auto frame counter on the later Rolleicords would be nice, but I can live without it.

If you don't want a triplet, any of the Rolleicords from the III through Va weigh less than 900g, have a top shutter speed of 1/500s, auto frame counter, and parallax correction (which, I believe, the only other TLRs that have parallax correction are the Rolleiflexes), and flash sync.
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Old 11-16-2016   #9
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I can think of a few RF in your budget, but you haven't specified your preferred format? (Are you sticking yourself to 6x6?)

Koni-Omega, various models in chrome and black. A few good lenses to collect even! Cheap as it gets for a fully capable Rangefinder.

Fujica G690, for when you want BIG negatives, they do call these Texas Leicas, and there are also a handful of lenses you can hunt down.

Both or these cameras can easily be purchased for about 150$USD which leaves you room for film and processing.
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Old 11-16-2016   #10
sevo
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Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
Both or these cameras can easily be purchased for about 150$USD which leaves you room for film and processing.
Where? Hereabouts (in Europe) the best prices seem to be from Japanese sellers, more like 350€ up, and that does not include shipping from Japan and import duties (which will add up to another 100-150€).
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Old 11-16-2016   #11
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Mamiya c330 are pretty nice cameras. A quick look on ebay show some of them at $200-300. Glass quality is pretty nice and have interchangeble lens.
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Old 11-16-2016   #12
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My pick for a budget medium format camera is the venerable Yashica TLR series. I have had a 635 (which I still own) and a 124G (Which I traded) and both are superb. Not super fast or sexy, but compact, they work, and if you make sure to get a Yashinon lens version like mine were, the results will be quite lovely. You'll get that medium format "Look" you're likely after, and 12 frames per roll of delicious square format.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
Mamiya c330 are pretty nice cameras. A quick look on ebay show some of them at $200-300. Glass quality is pretty nice and have interchangeble lens.
I traded my 124G to someone else, because I do have a C330. If you can get a nice one in good shape in your budget, it's awesome. But I would still say the Yashica will likely be cheaper for similar condition, and the Mamiya is no lightweight compact, it's a beast!



The C330 is not unmanageably large, but you can see how big it is next to a more conventionally sized Rolleicord. I adore mine, and the interchangeable lenses are amazing, but the fixies win on size and weight.

I went to the renn faire recently with my M2 and a TLR. I wanted to bring my C330, but it wouldn't fit in my chosen bag. The Yashica slipped in like the bag was made for it
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Old 11-16-2016   #13
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+1 for the Mamiya Universal or the Fuji GW699.

And you will find a difference in the printing and rendering of the images.


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Old 11-16-2016   #14
Peter Wijninga
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Budget and all....buying a Czech camera last made in 1970 will present issues... How expensive they'll be to fix in Portugal, I don't know.
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Old 11-16-2016   #15
DFigueira
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There's a lot to think here...

I've thinked about the Mamiya Universal, but carrying a beast like that - it's not the weight that troubles me, it's the size.

I didn't want folders because of one thing - bellows. I have a very bad luck with them. I always treated and cleaned my cameras but if there's one thing that gets trashed and I don't even know why, it's bellows. If the Mamiya C didn't had bellows, I would go for them.

Here we have a solution to repair cameras with a low budget. Either I repair myself or I buy a new camera. This whole "vintage" thing here is very troublesome.

Buying film is not a problem though... It's a lot cheaper than 35mm - and I will be developing it myself. Not right now, but In the future when I change to another house.

The negatives size. I'm used to the normal 35mm widish size. So any size up to 6x7 will do for me - including 6x6, which I like very much from the works I've saw till now.

As mentioned above, is the Mamiya 645 a good shot? Can it use a waist level finder (I'm used to them).

And thank you all for the suggestions. Keep 'em coming
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Old 11-17-2016   #16
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I'd highly recommend a late model Rolleicord such as the Va or Vb. I picked up my Vb for around £150 and it's a superb camera.

1. They are built almost as well as the Rolleiflex (i.e. beautifully)

2. The lenses are outstanding (most people will struggle to see any difference between a photograph taken with a Rolleicord and a Rolleiflex 3.5F when viewing the final print)

3. They are lighter than most 'flex cameras (under 1kg) and easy to carry all day

4. Accessories are cheap and plentiful (don't over-look this as you could end up paying more for a couple of filters, hood etc than the camera itself)

5. They are relatively simple, with separate winding and shutter cocking actions which means they are reliable and easy + cheap to repair (and being a Rollei, there are people all over the world who can work on them)

6. They're lovely to handle, beautiful to look at, and simply a joy to use.

A few examples from the Rolleicord...








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Old 11-17-2016   #17
DFigueira
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FujiLove View Post
I'd highly recommend a late model Rolleicord such as the Va or Vb. I picked up my Vb for around £150 and it's a superb camera.

1. They are built almost as well as the Rolleiflex (i.e. beautifully)

2. The lenses are outstanding (most people will struggle to see any difference between a photograph taken with a Rolleicord and a Rolleiflex 3.5F when viewing the final print)

3. They are lighter than most 'flex cameras (under 1kg) and easy to carry all day

4. Accessories are cheap and plentiful (don't over-look this as you could end up paying more for a couple of filters, hood etc than the camera itself)

5. They are relatively simple, with separate winding and shutter cocking actions which means they are reliable and easy + cheap to repair (and being a Rollei, there are people all over the world who can work on them)

6. They're lovely to handle, beautiful to look at, and simply a joy to use.

A few examples from the Rolleicord...
Seems nice and a great option. Are they well build - reallly easy to repair?
And from what I understood, both the cocking and firing is under the lens (the lever and the button). Is that it?
Is the viewfinder bright? That's one of the problems I have when using WLF. The camera I have, has a very small WLF, it's easy to focus with light, but if it's a little dark, I need to use the magnifier.
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Old 11-17-2016   #18
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Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
Budget and all....buying a Czech camera last made in 1970 will present issues... How expensive they'll be to fix in Portugal, I don't know.
I own a Yashica D (40-50 euros in a street market) and a Flexaret IIa (offered); each one was repaired and CLA'd in Lisbon for around 50 euros. The problems with both cameras arise if they stand on the shelf for a long time (slow speeds malfunction).

Regards

Joao
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Old 11-17-2016   #19
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I've been doing some digging around the same end. I want small like a folder to be my every day carry camera. I was MF as I can scan it on the multi-function printer I have.

For a older folder I've focused on is the Mamiya Six, not the Mamiya 6. The 6 is a fine camera but well out of my budget and will tempt me to get more glass (I'm on a less is more kick still). Over here on Evil-Bay there are many good examples from Japan that are priced reasonably.

While I love the way the Fujifilm GS645 closes and looks, the Retina IIIc I have take a second or two to open and I'd rather spend that time adjusting focus & exposure. BUT the GS645W is just a bit bigger and zone focuses like my all time favorite street lens (CV 25 Snap-Shot LTM).

There are TLRs that come up from time to time. I've used the "Fixies" from time to time as well as the Koni-Rapid, C330, Crown Graphic and others but they all feel to big to carry everywhere.

I've had a Mamiya 645 and while not a 4X5 negative, it feels like enough of a step up over 135 that makes it worth the cost.

Hope this helps.

B2 (;->
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Old 11-17-2016   #20
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I had a Yashica MAT 124G some 40 years ago and loved it. I also owned a Rolleiflex but couldn't bond with it. Probably partly due to having a Mamiya Super Press 23 by then. The 6x7 negatives were more convenient to me than 6x6. At the time, the Press didn't seem so heavy. 40 years on, it seems a little more so, but not as bad as for 3 or 4 years ago when I had an unrelated back problem. You can also get 6x9 backs or sheet film holders. But beware, the Press 23 has a bellows back, but you need not use it except for perspective control or extreme closeups, so it shouldn't bother you.

What I rather prefer now is a wooden bodied 9x12 with RF. Less weight, can be used with roll film if you buy an appropriate adapter, or with sheet film if you have proper cut film holders (with sheaths). Again, they have bellows, but of some 10 9x12 cameras I have, not one of them has a bellows problem.

I know a lot of people swear by 645. I personally am not a fan. It just isn't big enough above 35mm in negative size to suit me. Maybe if I had one of those before I got 6x6 and 6x7, I would like them better. But 6x6 and above gives one a lot more negative to play with imho. Especially 9x12 as it is almost 4x5. 6x9 is a very interesting negative size as well.

Good luck in your search, and let us know how you make out or if you have further questions.
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Old 11-17-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
I've been doing some digging around the same end. I want small like a folder to be my every day carry camera. I was MF as I can scan it on the multi-function printer I have.

For a older folder I've focused on is the Mamiya Six, not the Mamiya 6. The 6 is a fine camera but well out of my budget and will tempt me to get more glass (I'm on a less is more kick still). Over here on Evil-Bay there are many good examples from Japan that are priced reasonably.

While I love the way the Fujifilm GS645 closes and looks, the Retina IIIc I have take a second or two to open and I'd rather spend that time adjusting focus & exposure. BUT the GS645W is just a bit bigger and zone focuses like my all time favorite street lens (CV 25 Snap-Shot LTM).

There are TLRs that come up from time to time. I've used the "Fixies" from time to time as well as the Koni-Rapid, C330, Crown Graphic and others but they all feel to big to carry everywhere.

I've had a Mamiya 645 and while not a 4X5 negative, it feels like enough of a step up over 135 that makes it worth the cost.

Hope this helps.

B2 (;->
Bill - I have a very small bag, I guess originally for a P&S of some kind. I keep a Weltini and a Mamiya Six in it along with a Gossen Luna Pro SBC. That seems heavy. Rangefinders seem to add a lot of weight. My non-RF 6x6 cameras, and my Welti don't seem heavy at all besides their RF brothers. Actually, they sure are light beside my Super Press 23, and smaller too.

If you get a Mamiya Six, I think you would like it, but I have found that non-RF and scale focusing work pretty well. Of course the film plane focusing is neat. Be sure any you get have the slide to use to hold the film in, and just as importantly, the two springs that move the film plane. But I carried a Welta Welti for 4 years in Vietnam and used it as a crime scene camera as well as a personal camera, with good results.
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Old 11-17-2016   #22
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I own a Yashica D (40-50 euros in a street market) and a Flexaret IIa (offered); each one was repaired and CLA'd in Lisbon for around 50 euros. The problems with both cameras arise if they stand on the shelf for a long time (slow speeds malfunction).

Regards

Joao
Where did you got them repaired in Lisbon?

Considering all of this, I might skip my rangefinder idea to a year to save money and invest on a proper TLR now.
Going to wander around all the suggestions here, but keep 'em coming.

Thank you all
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Old 11-17-2016   #23
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For a classic RF folder in your location and price range, look for an Agfa Super Isolette - but chances are that you will need to clean and relube, maybe even change the bellows.

I would suggest a TLR unless you need the smaller size of a folder. Easier to have them well repaired, and more robust. Besides you will have a really different experience from a 35mm RF, and every bit as classic. And classy too, they make great conversation pieces.

I have used Rolleicord Vb, Minolta Autocord (my favorite), a few excellent Yashicas, and an Ikoflex Ib. Any of these would do well. Try to get a Tessar-type taking lens, some of these might come with triplets, which are very good, but too dreamy wide open.
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Old 11-17-2016   #24
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Where did you got them repaired in Lisbon?

PM sent with details

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Old 11-18-2016   #25
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I've owned quite a few of the cameras under discussion here. I also do not think you are likely to get a MF rangefinder or folder that will produce reliably good images for 200 euros unless you are quite lucky in the purchase. The Fuji GW690s have incredibly good lenses, but again, the price is not realistic for them. I do agree that a TLR like the Yashicamats and Rolleicords may be the best option. They are also relatively small and light cameras.

But...I bought a Rolleicord Va and found the viewfinder so dim it was almost impossible to use indoors, and the mirror was not dirty. I had a Maxwell screen installed and the camera became much more useful, and the Xenar lens is very good. Another advantage of Rolleicord Va and Vb cameras is that you can get a 16 exposure kit and shoot 6X4.5, or close, with them. Yashicamats, Autocords and Ricoh Diacords have much less dim viewfinders.
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Old 11-18-2016   #26
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I've owned quite a few of the cameras under discussion here. I also do not think you are likely to get a MF rangefinder or folder that will produce reliably good images for 200 euros unless you are quite lucky in the purchase. The Fuji GW690s have incredibly good lenses, but again, the price is not realistic for them. I do agree that a TLR like the Yashicamats and Rolleicords may be the best option. They are also relatively small and light cameras.

But...I bought a Rolleicord Va and found the viewfinder so dim it was almost impossible to use indoors, and the mirror was not dirty. I had a Maxwell screen installed and the camera became much more useful, and the Xenar lens is very good. Another advantage of Rolleicord Va and Vb cameras is that you can get a 16 exposure kit and shoot 6X4.5, or close, with them. Yashicamats, Autocords and Ricoh Diacords have much less dim viewfinders.
How would cost the exposure kit and the maxwell screen?

And what other TLR's would be recommended?
The rolleicords in good condition are over the budget but maybe I would wait for a "find"
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Old 11-18-2016   #27
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I picked up my Fujica bl690 with the 100mm lens for about $140 and enjoyed it, but it is a lot of weight to lug around. I also got the Fuji GS645s which is a lot lighter then the ladder and packs pretty well. Has a 60mm fixed lens. I got that for just under $200
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Old 11-18-2016   #28
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6X9 is too much...

How's the GS645?
Seems nice, even if it has bellows...
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Old 11-18-2016   #29
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...

How's the GS645?
Seems nice, even if it has bellows...
Read this:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=111929

This one is to stay away from it, one of the reason is your "favorite" bellows.

But, check this one. He often sells MF folders with new bellows and serviced.
http://stores.ebay.ca/certo6
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Old 11-19-2016   #31
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Too bad for the GS645.. i was looking forward to it...
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Old 11-20-2016   #32
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So alright guys. It seems it's not this time I'm going to upgrade to medium format. Had an accident today and I broke my glass's . Right now, part of my budget had to go for them. So I guess I will only upgrade in terms of camera (my camera is dying) and not format. I'll see you all around the forums. And thank you all for the help!
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Old 11-21-2016   #33
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Great to see my Rollei/Mamiya photo popping up again. :-)

The photo doesn't really show the weight difference though. :-)

Ronnie
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Old 11-21-2016   #34
unixrevolution
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Originally Posted by ronnies View Post
Great to see my Rollei/Mamiya photo popping up again. :-)

The photo doesn't really show the weight difference though. :-)

Ronnie
It's an extremely useful photo!
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Old 11-21-2016   #35
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Depending on how you intend to use the camera, if out of focus effects aren't something you strive for, then how about using an accessory rangefinder. They clip into the cold shoe. You can then focus any old folder at f5.6 or greater. I've even used it to good effect with a box camera, since I knew the box camera was focused to 14 feet. Speaking of box cameras, you can get into medium format pretty cheaply with a Box Tengor or Gevabox.
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Old 11-21-2016   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnies View Post
Great to see my Rollei/Mamiya photo popping up again. :-)

The photo doesn't really show the weight difference though. :-)

Ronnie
I could have bought the C220 for 200€ +/- almost mint. The big problem isn't the weight at all, but the bulkiness... It's too much to carry everywhere and to travel around the world in future. And the bellows :P
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Old 11-24-2016   #37
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I can recommend the Flexaret.

It's a Tessar-type lens with a Compur-like shutter but pretty well-respected for all that.
Buy from Cupog on Ebay. He'll sell you a CLA'd camera, and offers a good choice at realistic prices.
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Old 11-24-2016   #38
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I can recommend the Flexaret.

It's a Tessar-type lens with a Compur-like shutter but pretty well-respected for all that.
Buy from Cupog on Ebay. He'll sell you a CLA'd camera, and offers a good choice at realistic prices.
What's the thing with Flexarets? Not he first time it has been talked about.
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Old 11-25-2016   #39
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What's the thing with Flexarets? Not he first time it has been talked about.
They are a nice camera, plenty available, and inexpensive. The build quality is good, and the 3.5 Belar lens is capable of first rate results.

It's a good idea to look at TLRs if you want to try MF. They are, in general, a lot of camera for the money.
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Old 11-25-2016   #40
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Anyone have any experience with the Aires TLR with a Nikkor on it?

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