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Pentax 67 Gas!
Old 06-02-2010   #1
Keith
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Pentax 67 Gas!

I have it … and I can’t help thinking about those BIG 6x7 negatives shot from a camera that will more than make up for any inadequacies in certain body parts!

‘le vrai rdu’ has it also I’ve noticed in one of his recent posts … not sure about his perceived inadequacies though … that’s probably just my issue!

As much as I like my Hasselblad I prefer to be able to shoot at eye level and in spite of reports of the big Pentax being far from ideal for hand held shooting I’ve seen images that suggest otherwise. Some advice and reports from happy users whether tripod mounted for landscapes or brave hand held street shooters would be much valued.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-02-2010   #2
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Funny you mentioned street shooting. a lot of times people think I'm using a video camera when I hold that camera up to my face.
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Old 06-02-2010   #3
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Keith, I used a Pentax 6x7 for a little over 20 years, from the early 1970s, and it was superb. I'm moderately heavily built, with large hands, and I found its ergonomics to be excellent. Its weight never bothered me, although I appreciate that others have a different view. I bought the grip, but never used it seriously because I found the 6x7 so easy to hold by itself. Of course, you put your left hand under the body and the right one on the side, reaching over to the release. I found that particularly comfortable, hour after hour.

I used the 90mm, 105, 165 and 200mm lenses a great deal, and occasionally used the 400mm EDIF and 55mm lenses. For the first four lenses in this list I seldom employed a tripod, because I needed to work fast. In fact, the weight of the camera is an asset here--it resists sudden camera movements. Because my subjects were often moving reasonably fast I usually employed shutter speeds of 1/250 or 1/500, but even at lower speeds, down to 1/60 for slow-moving subjects, I seldom had problems with mirror slap. The mirror swings back at the same time as it goes up, and that makes the problem less serious.

However, I find it hard to envisage using the camera for street photography. It's size is only a part of the issue--the noise it makes when the mirror comes down is not what you'd call discreet!

Make sure you get the metered prism. Back in the 80s the second-hand market was saturated with used unmetered prisms. Everyone who bought one seemed to trade it in quickly on the metered variety. I found the meter very accurate, not least because its averaging mode was easy to predict. (With centre-weighted meters I tend to have difficulty figuring out what it's reading.) I always had the older 6x7 bodies and metered prisms, not the newer, matrix-patterned prisms and 67 bodies.

For a while I even used two bodies, holding 100 ASA and 200 ASA transparency film respectively. I'll agree that the weight then was significant, but it was not too bad. I could run fairly fast with a single 6x7 and a 90 to 200mm lens, but with two it was more of a challenge ;-) Nettar
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Old 06-02-2010   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I have it … and I can’t help thinking about those BIG 6x7 negatives shot from a camera that will more than make up for any inadequacies in certain body parts!

‘le vrai rdu’ has it also I’ve noticed in one of his recent posts … not sure about his perceived inadequacies though … that’s probably just my issue!

As much as I like my Hasselblad I prefer to be able to shoot at eye level and in spite of reports of the big Pentax being far from ideal for hand held shooting I’ve seen images that suggest otherwise. Some advice and reports from happy users whether tripod mounted for landscapes or brave hand held street shooters would be much valued.

Thanks in advance.
Seem to be plenty of them around, Igor has a couple. Price is good enough so you can try it and sell if you do not like it. People I know who like them love them, others not. J
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Old 06-02-2010   #5
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I can't say I'm particularly struck by the looks of the camera or any Pentax for that matter but I like what I read it's capable of. The range of focal lengths available and the ability to shoot quite close interests me ... this is where my RF645 falls down somewhat!

I thought briefly about a prism finder for the 500cm but I've heard it's far from ideal and makes the camera rather unwieldy.

le vrai rdu described the sound of the Pentax's shutter as being similar to someone falling down stairs!
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Old 06-02-2010   #6
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I recently traded in my Mamiya 6 for a Pentax 67ii with AE prism and 90mm lens and am pretty happy. The 90mm lens is compact and light, and has a lovely signature. Of course, compact and light doesn't mean much when the body and prism weigh so much. Everything feels wonderful, from the solid body to the smoothness of the focusing. Close focus is 0.65m, which I use a lot. The viewfinder is big and bright, and there are no problems acquiring focus. I'm growing to like 6x7 format too.

I shoot handheld only, and have achieved satisfactory sharpness (for me) on at least one shot at 1/25 s, so the mirror slap issue has been a red herring. What has been more of a problem has been the weight. It's heavy to carry around. Once raised to the face, it handles brilliantly, but I have to say that when shooting in portrait orientation, I think my hands are less steady than they might be, so I tend to opt for landscape orientation.

I'm verging on ecstatic. This is a wonderful camera. The only other criticism is the max 1/30 s flash sync with most lenses, but I don't use flash.
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Old 06-02-2010   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wintoid View Post
I recently traded in my Mamiya 6 for a Pentax 67ii with AE prism and 90mm lens and am pretty happy. The 90mm lens is compact and light, and has a lovely signature. Of course, compact and light doesn't mean much when the body and prism weigh so much. Everything feels wonderful, from the solid body to the smoothness of the focusing. Close focus is 0.65m, which I use a lot. The viewfinder is big and bright, and there are no problems acquiring focus. I'm growing to like 6x7 format too.

I shoot handheld only, and have achieved satisfactory sharpness (for me) on at least one shot at 1/25 s, so the mirror slap issue has been a red herring. What has been more of a problem has been the weight. It's heavy to carry around. Once raised to the face, it handles brilliantly, but I have to say that when shooting in portrait orientation, I think my hands are less steady than they might be, so I tend to opt for landscape orientation.

I'm verging on ecstatic. This is a wonderful camera. The only other criticism is the max 1/30 s flash sync with most lenses, but I don't use flash.

That setup that you have is the exact one that interests me and it sounds like you're very happy with it!

As much as I like my RF645 I'm tending to see less point in the 6x4.5 negative these days so I think the Bronica may go to fund a Pentax because of this ... between it and a Hassy I should have medium format covered.

What did the Pentax setup cost you incidentally? ... I would hope that my RF645 with 65mm and 100mm lenses would cover the cost or a possible trade for someone who wants to venture into RF land with MF and a lighter camera than the 6x7 SLR.
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Old 06-02-2010   #8
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Definitely give it a try Keith.

You can shoot at 1/60 handheld with the 105mm.

It's just a giant SLR so you'll feel at home.

For about $300 you should be able to get a 6x7 + 90 or 105.

I don't think the P67II is worth it. When you're shooting 10 frames a roll you don't need a rapid fire camera.


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Old 06-02-2010   #9
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i had one for a while, and like many others found the vibration issue to be a myth. you can handhold it to 1/focal length just like any other classic slr. the first time i saw one, i was surprised by how small and light it really is. the only reason i sold it was that i didn't really need a 6x7 slr, and i wear glasses so i couldn't see the whole viewfinder screen (it's huge). that was before i knew that the 67ii plain prism has a lower magnification and can still mount on the older versions. had i known, i might not have sold it!
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Old 06-02-2010   #10
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Thanks for the example pic Ari, very nice ... the last 6x7 with mirror lock up I saw sell on eBay Oz went for around $700.00 with a couple of lenses from memory.

The problem with these things is that if you buy them out of Oz you know the post is going to be a killer because of the weight and bulk!


This would be nice if it stayed at the current price of around $1400.00 LINK
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Old 06-02-2010   #11
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I suggest you to go BIGGER, Keith. Why not go 612 or 617? That should ease your GAS for quite some time, I hope !
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Old 06-02-2010   #12
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Quote:
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I suggest you to go BIGGER, Keith. Why not go 612 or 617? That should ease your GAS for quite some time, I hope !


Not familiar with 612 or 617 so I googled ... Not a lot of shots per roll though I gather!


I do seem to have this thing for large cameras though ... my Crown Graphic is one of my favourites and I have to confess to actually liking the bulk and weight of my D700!

There's no hope for me!
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Old 06-02-2010   #13
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Quote:
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I thought briefly about a prism finder for the 500cm but I've heard it's far from ideal and makes the camera rather unwieldy.
It's perfectly fine if you get a 45° prism. A 90° prism can be a bit awkward, though.
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Old 06-02-2010   #14
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Well, Keith, sounds like you've heard the siren song! How about selling-off the Hasselblad and keeping the Bronica? That along with the P67 would make for versatility.

As a long-time fan of the 6x7 series, I have two of them, plus two of the newer P67II, and most lenses up to 300mm excluding the fisheye and tilt-shift. Neither of the leaf-shutter lenses either, as I don't do flash. But I do also have the 55-100 zoom, weighs a ton. The 90 is most compact, though the newer and less common 75mm f/2.8 Aspherical is my favorite walkaround lens.

My original 6x7 has no mirror lockup, so I'm not in the habit of using that feature, even on the newer bodies. Have not used a tripod since I did a "Van Gogh moonrise at sunset" project with the 200mm. Fire scene below with the 75/2.8

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Old 06-02-2010   #15
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The 6x7 negative is indeed nice. I discovered it over 30 years ago with my Mamiya Super Press 23. It is probably not as heavy as the Pentax, but naturally not as light as a 35mm SLR. And it doesn't permit viewing through the lens as an SLR does. You can do it but must use a ground glass. It doesn't have the selection of lenses of the Pentax, and it's getting harder to find the 50mm. It does have interchangable backs (can use 220), extention tubes, and a surprisingly 35mm like ease of use. Again, they are getting hard to find, but it is capable of sheet film use.

It is not an SLR if that is what you wish in 6x7, but is worthy of consideration.
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Old 06-02-2010   #16
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Pentax 67s are for girls. *Real* men shoot Mamiya.
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Old 06-02-2010   #17
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The RB/RZ 67 is surely a hunk! The P67 is just Shirley?
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Old 06-02-2010   #18
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I love my pentax 6x7. Love love love it.

I can shoot at 1/30th to 1/60th all day.
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Old 06-02-2010   #19
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Something completely OT for Doug from one of the world's funniest men!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhyCL-ELRxg
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Old 06-03-2010   #20
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@Keith - I traded my Mamiya 6 with 50mm lens, and paid £100 on top to get the Pentax 67ii with AE prism and 90mm lens.
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Old 06-03-2010   #21
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Dn't get an early one. In the place I worked in the late 70s we had 3 in order to keep 2 in circulation. Can't remember what the probems were: I almost never used the thing, though I did try some street photography with it. It was... OK.

Street photography with a Linhof Tech 70 is quite fun, and it's a bigger '6x7' too (72mm long - I seem to recall that the Pentax is 68mm).

Cheers,

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Old 06-03-2010   #22
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Have you considered staying with a rangefinder and go with the lighter Mamiya 7? Great lenses as well so not a bad package if you ask me... (can you tell I'm tempted to get one myself?)..
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Old 06-03-2010   #23
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Quote:
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Have you considered staying with a rangefinder and go with the lighter Mamiya 7? Great lenses as well so not a bad package if you ask me... (can you tell I'm tempted to get one myself?)..

I have considered that option occasionally but it comes back to the P67's ability to focus down to .65 meter, I think that's right ... and the amazing range of lenses available.

The frame lines on my RF645 are not much better than my M8 IMO ... vague at best when trying to frame accurately and I would assume the Mamiya's would be much the same?
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Old 06-03-2010   #24
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I was just thinking about getting a 67. Where do you suggest would be good place to look (other than ebay)?

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Old 06-03-2010   #25
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+1 in favor of the 67. It's an amazing camera and I love the 105mm (My Norita handles the same as the 67, but the lens flares like a ...).
I love big cameras, also out on the street, big rather than discrete can produce some interesting photo opportunities.
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Old 06-03-2010   #26
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I have to admit the GAS is here, not yet the money

a friend lend it to me for a few days, quite an impressive camera but very easy to use, just a bigger SLR than usual

I while developpe the uninteresting pictures I made with it (the last horse race I shot with the P67 II was completely boring )
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Old 06-03-2010   #27
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I hate to brag.... but what the hell I got my series 1 6x7 for $60aud and the 105 takumar for $40aud in a secondhand camera shop in tokyo. It works flawlessly and is in great condition.

It's probably the most pleasurable camera to use that I've owned so far and the one lens that I have - an early 105mm f2.5 takumar, is just gorgeous. The negatives are quite staggering in term of detail and the bokeh from the 105mm is so lovely. I shot a roll of neopan 400 in Tokyo, and at 1/60th shutter speed, shooting out of a hotel window, the details in my scan (scanned with a lowly epson v600) are pretty crazy. I might post it up in a sec...
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Old 06-03-2010   #28
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I feel like changing my Rolleiflex T (after 2 years and 100 rolls) for some MF with AE. Had briefly Pentax 645N with 45-85/4.5 at home (returned it because of some problems) and now have really hard time to decide which way to go - 645 or 6x7 (P67II) or "just" some RF (Mamiya 7 or RF645).

Anyhow - I do like the AE option so it seems that in the case of P67 I woudl have to get the "II" version. However these seem to be hard to find. I have seen a few with AE prism and 105mm lens for £1000 what seems a bit too steep to me.

So - what is actually a fair price for the P67II with the AE prism and 105mm lens today?
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Old 06-03-2010   #29
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Hey Keith I have had the exact same thoughts as you for a long time. There have been some really cheap P67 kits on APUG recently...$150ish for beat up bodies and lenses. A good way to test out the beast I'd say.
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Old 06-03-2010   #30
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Irv L, a friend of mine had nothing but troubles with his early one. Put it in several times and it never stood up to light professional use. YMMV.

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Old 06-03-2010   #31
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I wonder whether the problems mentioned in connection with the big Pentax need to be put into perspective. Cameras today are significantly more reliable than before, owing partly to new materials as well as new technology. When I used Pentax 6x7s, in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, they were about as reliable as any other reflex medium format camera at that time. I had three bodies in all, and no problems with any of them--in particular, no problems with the shutter, meter or wind-on mechanism. (I heard of potential difficulties with the latter, but never experienced them.) On the other hand, I had friends who had no end of bother with their Hasselblads--a much more complicated system in many ways, and simply more things to go wrong. Nettar

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Old 06-03-2010   #32
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Quote:
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Street photography with a Linhof Tech 70 is quite fun, and it's a bigger '6x7' too (72mm long - I seem to recall that the Pentax is 68mm).

Cheers,

R.
Most of the 'street' photos I capture with mine seem to be of people tripping over themselves because they're too busy staring at the Linhof to look where they're going.

Londoners are a funny bunch.
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Old 06-03-2010   #33
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I have many 6x6 cameras and for some reason my 6x7 is the 'one' I like the best. I do like square format but when you see that 6x7 negative or especially a transparency it is heaven. I handhold even though everyone thinks it can't be done, C-41, handheld:

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Old 06-04-2010   #34
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this 55 mm f4 isn't a crappy lens, it is full of details
The pentax 67 can be easily used as a street camera, too bad your subject get deaf once you made your picture

Too bad I have to give back this lens to its owner but my bessa R system is kept as an hostage
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Old 06-04-2010   #35
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Quote:
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this 55 mm f4 isn't a crappy lens, it is full of details
The pentax 67 can be easily used as a street camera, too bad your subject get deaf once you made your picture

too bad I have to give back this lens to its owner but my bessa R system is kept as an hostage
I have now joined the Pentax Forum and will hang around there a bit more often and study the MF threads.

I'm also watching that 67ii system on Oz ebay to see where it goes ... and my Bronica RF645 is looking nervous along with some other gear that doesn't see the daylight too often!
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Old 06-04-2010   #36
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it looks like a 28 mm on 24x36 but off course, you have more vertical space, the comparaison between these two format is therefore limited

I will try to pick up a pentax system as soon as I get some job (studies ends in a month or so )
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Old 06-04-2010   #37
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I agree the camera is easy to handle, all the controls are just where you want them and focusing and shooting is just like a 35mm slr. I bought the wood grip but returned it because it was more hindrance than help. Of course you can shoot it in the street. I got great results at 1/30th hand held with the 90mm lens. It's loud - so what. So is the street.

I don't use mine much any more because I much prefer the square format. And I'd sell it if it were worth real money but they go for so little now, I'd just assume hold on to it!
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Old 06-04-2010   #38
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Quote:
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I wonder whether the problems mentioned in connection with the big Pentax need to be put into perspective. Cameras today are significantly more reliable than before, owing partly to new materials as well as new technology. When I used Pentax 6x7s, in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, they were about as reliable as any other reflex medium format camera at that time. I had three bodies in all, and no problems with any of them--in particular, no problems with the shutter, meter or wind-on mechanism. (I heard of potential difficulties with the latter, but never experienced them.) On the other hand, I had friends who had no end of bother with their Hasselblads--a much more complicated system in many ways, and simply more things to go wrong. Nettar
All of the issues i heard about with regard to P67 reliability were from fashion photographers who really abused the wind mechanism, trying to shoot rapidfire.

When i was trying to shoot fashion, i had a Pentax 67II and an older model. The older one was fitted with a dedicated Polaroid back. I never understood claims that the older body was as nice to use as the II. The II is very much more refined and comfortable to handle. The older body just feels primitive. But, even after the II was released, you'd still see superfamous fashion photogs using those older bodies, usually with that big wood grip - another item i just never understood....

Of course you can handhold the Pentax. In daylight, especially. The problem comes at a specific shutter speed range, when even on a tripod, the vibration is an issue. Above 1/60, i think you're okay, and faster is definitely better if you want critical sharpness.
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Old 06-04-2010   #39
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Its resemblance to a big 35mm SLR drew me to the 6x7 in the first place. The Pentax left-side wood handgrip doesn't match that style, and I never felt comfortable with it. Though with a focus-assist lever clamped to the lens, and a big flash unit in the grip's shoe, it might make for a useful working tool.

I found a guy on eBay selling his home-shop made right side wooden grips, that fit close to the body, for a feel similar to the 67II's built-in grip. I don't know how many he made, but I got two, and I don't see him around any more.

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Old 06-04-2010   #40
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This is the first time I've heard the Pentax described as small and light. I've never held one, but one day the local camera repair person went to the back of his shop (cave) and came back w/ one. My eyes bugged out. He tried to hand it to me but I wouldn't take it. It looked immense, and I am sure it is darned heavy, even when compared to your 'blad. The image quality is surely great, but a Hasselblad is about as big as I want to go for a walk around camera.

I second Krosya's idea of just putting a prism on your 'blad. I have one on mine, and while it adds a lot of bulk and weight to the camera the view through the thing is just incredible. But you've probably already thought of this, and nothing but the Pentax is going to do it for you. At the prices they're selling for, just buy one. If it turns out to be not your cup of tea, sell it and you should only take a small hit. Might even break even.
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