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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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Old 02-13-2019   #41
Ko.Fe.
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It doesn't matter if you like TLRs or not.
If you like MF and really want to use film for it you will come to TLRs. Just because all of those Fujies are failing...
Alternative could be classic Hassie. If you save and wait
If you don't want to wait, don't mind seals change get Mamya 645. They are cheap, used to be plenty and fresh enough. I had one. It was my last MF purchase, before I sold it all and keeping two scale focus folders.
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Old 02-13-2019   #42
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I've got a GW690 and it's great. 8-exp a roll makes it easier to burn through a ton of 120, or 220 should you have it.

I like the idea of a TLR. Minolta Autocord or perhaps a Rolleicord. I feel the 'cords sit optically equal with the Rolleiflex Automats with Tessar or Xenar. Same lens type basically.

Ko brought up the Mamiya 645. I notice those are very cheap. Some 645 SLRs can be gotten for a bargain. Mamiya 645, Pentax 645, Bronica ETR(si). It can get expensive with modern iterations, and don't dare to look at Contax 645.
I saw P645's as low as $250-300 with lens and insert, from Japan in ebay. Almost tempting to get one and fill in the half frame of the 6x9 I have.
Edit: Browsed the earlier posts and someone mentioned RB67. A basic kit can be gotten quite cheaply, and the most pound per buck you can get in MF!
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Old 02-13-2019   #43
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I use my 6x9 Crown Graphic a lot. Several options on film format: 645, 6x6, 6X7 and 6x9 backs work.
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Old 02-13-2019   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
My heart says GA645,
Be aware that you cannot tell what the point of focus is when using the GA645's autofocus, so it can be very hit and miss with closer, portrait-style distances.

With MF's reduced depth of field, when the GA645 misses focus, it misses by a lot. The camera produces great results, is fantastic and easy for landscapes, but the trouble with closer distances made me give it up.
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Old 02-13-2019   #45
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Get a Busch Pressman model C. Stick a graflock back on it. Get a bunch of Graflex RH8 backs and have fun. You can find one of these with a good lens in a working shutter for just the cost of the lens alone. Even if you have to have the shutter serviced, it is well worth it.

You could always get a Baby Graphic as well, a Century Graphic then you won't have to do the Graflock back mod (as long as you get one that is later. I like the Busch Pressman, personally. I think it is better built than the Graphic.

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Old 02-13-2019   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
Woo hoo! Yellow or Red would be cool.

The covering's removable, yes. I thought what was asked was whether the grip could be removed. My mistake.

I just might have to have one of these again. It was such a nice camera to use.

G
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MF RF Rec.
Old 02-13-2019   #47
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MF RF Rec.

Knowing your planned uses would make this a lot easier, but here it goes: For their considerable features and ease of use - The Fuji GA645 series. My personal favorite, GA645Zi, but all three fit the budget. If you prefer a manual focus and wide angle lens, the GS645W. Probably not the GS645 (which I love), hard to find one with good bellows and now hard to repair. Also, the the GS645S, as they have easily damaged (unrepairable) focus mounts made of plastic. One option not yet mentioned: Koni Omega M, or Rapid M, or Omega Rapid 200. Five lenses from 58mm to 180mm, four of which are quite cheap and easy to find; 6x7cm format. Mid-roll interchangeable film backs. Easy focusing; extremely durable. Con: heavy. Except the 60mm, the lenses are superb quality. Good body & three lens might fit the budget.
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Old 02-13-2019   #48
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Worth mentioning that many of the cheaper TLRs (Rolleicords, 124G, Autocord), as well as many early Rolleiflexes, take Bay I (Bay One) filters/accessories - such as the excellent Rolleinar 1, 2, and 3 close up lenses, which also compensate for viewfinder parallax. If you like headshots or close ups to around 12", the Rolleinars are superb.
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Old 02-13-2019   #49
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The various Fuji 645 are attractive. But... I had to fix my GS645W (front assembly falling apart) and my brother's (auto film advance and counter). So, as much as I love my GS645W, I would hesitate to recommend it. On the other hand, my C220 bought new 1980 only required servicing (CLA) of shutter(s) after 30 years. And although I never had one, I could conceive that a late-model Rolleicord (make sure viewfinder is luminous and focusing straightforward) is a viable alternative if one can live with just one focal length (freedom from the necessity to choose).
I realize that my experience rejoins that of Ko.Fe. in post 41 above.
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Old 02-14-2019   #50
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Graflex Xl Camera With Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 Lens by Nokton48, on Flickr

Just an idea, the Graflex XL is a modular, not too expensive, heavy weight RF camera with great lenses. This one is $350 on Ebay with the superb 80mm F2.8 Planar. You can shoot 6x6, 6x7, or 6x9 with the right accessories and lenses.
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Old 02-14-2019   #51
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Mamiya c -series of TLR are superb.
Bellows is not what OP meant in this case..
Rolleiflex also have "bellows" but its metal..
I miss the lenses of Mamiya but weight (for me) impossible.
The 645 format also good, though i never used.
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Old 02-14-2019   #52
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So, one camera i’m shooting right now is a Koni-Omega 200. It the goofiest looking thing, but it handles really well for a 6x7 RF and the negatives and resulting images are beautiful - think gouge your eyes out sharpness with beautiful bokeh in OOF areas (more like a LF image than most MF image). AND, they are cheap... good luck and I look forward to seeing you post you MF images.

Quote:
Originally Posted by randy stewart View Post
Knowing your planned uses would make this a lot easier, but here it goes: For their considerable features and ease of use - The Fuji GA645 series. My personal favorite, GA645Zi, but all three fit the budget. If you prefer a manual focus and wide angle lens, the GS645W. Probably not the GS645 (which I love), hard to find one with good bellows and now hard to repair. Also, the the GS645S, as they have easily damaged (unrepairable) focus mounts made of plastic. One option not yet mentioned: Koni Omega M, or Rapid M, or Omega Rapid 200. Five lenses from 58mm to 180mm, four of which are quite cheap and easy to find; 6x7cm format. Mid-roll interchangeable film backs. Easy focusing; extremely durable. Con: heavy. Except the 60mm, the lenses are superb quality. Good body & three lens might fit the budget.
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Old 02-14-2019   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randy stewart View Post
...Probably not the GS645 (which I love), hard to find one with good bellows and now hard to repair. Also, the the GS645S, as they have easily damaged (unrepairable) focus mounts made of plastic. ...
What are "focus mounts"? Do you mean the lens' focusing helicoid? I never had any problems with that on the GS645S I had.

G
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Old 02-14-2019   #54
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+1 to the fuji gw690. i have the II model, no shutter isshues, works like a tank, beautiful 6x9 slides and big 6x9 negs full of detail.
You get only 8 shots before you need to change the film (16 if you use 220, that was nice for some slides i shot in brazil), but reloading is a breeze. Otherwise, fully enjoy shooting it.
Some folks look at you like *** is that. It is that huge.
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Old 02-14-2019   #55
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or if u need a reflex you could get a serviced and guaranteed OK kiev 80 for that money. You have the option for lens swaps as well. It's like a hasselblad it just doesn't speak zeissisch.
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Old 02-14-2019   #56
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Since you have a GRDii kit....here's a question it might be worth asking yourself: what style of medium format work do you plan to do? C330s, Pentax/Pentacon/Kiev, Graflex, Busch are big cameras. Do you plan to travel with it? Is size and ease of use a consideration. Avedon did amazing work with a Rolleiflex...so did Doisneau. You can be pretty much invisible with a TLR. Are you printing in a darkroom? 6x7 fits well on a sheet of 8x10. 6x9 has lots more real estate than 6x6...and it shows in big prints. Portraits? Landscapes? street stealth?
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Old 02-14-2019   #57
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Lots of travel,

The convenience and size of the 645 cameras is nice.

The large negative of the 67/68/69 is alluring.

I like portraits and land/city scapes. No in the face street stuff for me.

I have actually owned most of the cameras mentioned.

My hope for this thread was to pile up recommendations and come back to them as I get closer to my budget.

No urgency and again no preferences other than the listed criteria in my OP. Oh! And I’m not planning to build a entire system kit. One body one lens. I don’t need more, I want less.
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Old 02-14-2019   #58
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Portraits? What kind? Since you want a 50mm or 35mm-e lens, I’m assuming you’re talking about environmental, documentary style portraits like Mark Steinmetz or William Eggleston.

And if you’re into travel, how important is size? If you want something small, I’d recommend the GS645 even though it has bellows for the compactness, ruggedness, and longer lens.

If ultimate compactness isn’t a must, think about 6x4.5 SLRs.
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Old 02-14-2019   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
Portraits? What kind? Since you want a 50mm or 35mm-e lens, I’m assuming you’re talking about environmental, documentary style portraits like Mark Steinmetz or William Eggleston.

And if you’re into travel, how important is size? If you want something small, I’d recommend the GS645 even though it has bellows for the compactness, ruggedness, and longer lens.

If ultimate compactness isn’t a must, think about 6x4.5 SLRs.
The GS645 bellows is a well known weakness, and I don't know who does bellows repair/replacement any more for it. That's one reason I prefer the GS645S and GS645W models ... they're simpler with less to break.

I hate the fact that this thread has fired up my 'want' bug again. I really enjoyed the GS645S when I had it, and might have to go buy another now.

G
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Old 02-14-2019   #60
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Spot on Aizan!

645 SLR really is the best bang for your bucks these days.

I see the Mamiya Pro/Pro TL are really stupid cheap at 400-500$ with the 80N, Motor Winder, 120 back, and Prism. Not to big, not so heavy, great glass!

Surely a contender as I digest everyone's comments.

I feel at that same price range you can score a GW690II Possibly III on a good day.

That makes things interesting!
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Old 02-14-2019   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post

I hate the fact that this thread has fired up my 'want' bug again. I really enjoyed the GS645S when I had it, and might have to go buy another now.

G
Doooooo it!

Then gloat to me about how nice it is here!

I noticed ebay has leatherette kits for the wide models. Fire Red included!

YOLO
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Old 02-14-2019   #62
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If you haven't looked at it yet, the Arax 60 is worth your consideration. It's an upgraded Kiev 60, so you get the great camera and access to lenses without the headaches that can come with the Kiev 60. I have 3 MF cameras: Arax 60, Agfa Isolette III (a folder, but maybe one you should consider, I really like mine), and a Minolta Autocord TLR. The Arax 60 is just a fun camera to use, and if I need something portable, I use the Agfa.

There is plenty about the Agfa that doesn't meet your criteria. It's a folder and it's an uncoupled rangefinder. I only mention it because it's what I use. Still....it's a fun camera to use

All are 6x6. Since my enlarger doesn't go larger than that, it's a nice format for me to be in. It might be something to consider if you ever think you'll venture into darkroom printing.
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Old 02-15-2019   #63
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After reviewing all the comments I think I have narrowed it down to two.

Mamiya 645 (Super/Pro)
Or
Fuji GW690

With an emphasis on the 690.

Thanks everyone! Feel free to keep adding to the list we haven’t got em all yet!
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Old 02-15-2019   #64
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If I bought a M645 I would want the 80mm F1.9

Fuji doesn't have that
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Old 02-15-2019   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
After reviewing all the comments I think I have narrowed it down to two.

Mamiya 645 (Super/Pro)
Or
Fuji GW690

With an emphasis on the 690.

Thanks everyone! Feel free to keep adding to the list we haven’t got em all yet!
I have never used a 690, but it looks very desirable to me. I like the idea of the 6x9 negative, and (not surprisingly) love rangefinders.
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Old 02-15-2019   #66
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Mark, let’s both save up and grab one! Now where are the buddy pack deals!?
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Old 02-15-2019   #67
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Time for a group buy, perhaps! I've been sort of thinking that if I decide I need another MF camera, it needs to be 6x9. I have enough square-format cameras already!
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Old 02-15-2019   #68
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Bronica SQ-AI is a cheap budget option for a Hasselblad style 6x6 with great cheap lenses available, often within your $600 budget for a 2 lens kit.

Otherwise you could find the older Fuji 6x7's and 6x8 / 6x9's (the GW690ii for example) sometimes under $600 also, but they are kind of huge.


For TLR bang for buck the Yashicamats are hard to beat since they are also so portable, and for more flexibility for macros / portraits, the Mamiya TLRs like the C330 should be within that budget.
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Old 02-15-2019   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
Mamiya C330 w/80mm will do everything you want and more.
I believe you. I had on on lay-a-way in Korea before I got a good deal on a Super Press 23. It also has a bellows, on the front, allowing close focusing. Like my Super Press, if is a little heave as I recall.
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Old 02-15-2019   #70
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It could be said that for 600$

If your looking for the P&S experience in MF patience will find a GA645

If your looking for negative real estate you can find a GW690

If your looking for a system camera Mamiya 645 Pro/Pro TL is the one
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Old 02-15-2019   #71
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[quote=B-9;2869362]It could be said that for 600$

If your looking for the P&S experience in MF patience will find a GA645

If your looking for negative real estate you can find a GW690

/QUOTE
My favourite P&S results were with a GSW690 w the 65mm.. TriX ...hyperfocal distance. & the 67,68,69 Fujis are reliable and stunningly sharp.

I lugged these round everywhere travelling in the mountains....in the end the svelte Rollei turned out to be the go-anywhere-do-anything camera....for me
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Old 02-27-2019   #72
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Doooooo it!
Then gloat to me about how nice it is here!
...
Evil people on this forum.

I bought one, at a very low price out of Japan. Just the camera and lens cap, nothing else. It arrived a few days ago and is absolutely beautiful condition cosmetically and in most ways functionally (everything works beautifully, except I found a minor problem with the rangefinder—it's sticky. So I'll have it serviced before I start putting it to work.

Handling the GS645S Wide 60 brings back a ton of great memories of when I had one before. It's kind of like a Leica M6 with a 35 or 40mm lens on it, but with a negative that's almost 3x larger. Same wide-open DoF character as a 35mm f/2 wide open.

I suspect this camera will get a lot of use, which is why it's worth putting the extra money into giving it a complete CLA/overhaul. It will then have cost me the average market rate I find on Ebay for them, but I'll know that it has no problems at all.

onwards, G
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Old 02-27-2019   #73
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Great news G!

Sounds like a good deal and with the CLA a shooter for many years to come!

I have been drawn into the Super Fujica 6 folding 6x6... lol it’s basically the opposite of all my criteria. It’s a beautiful camera and I like beautiful things like most anyone. I just have a real fear of getting that deep into a folder after a few bad experiences. BUT they are cheap enough that I could basically buy on right now with what I have saved already.

Better order that Fire Red leather kit before your kit gets back!
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Old 02-27-2019   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
After reviewing all the comments I think I have narrowed it down to two.

Mamiya 645 (Super/Pro)
Or
Fuji GW690

With an emphasis on the 690.

Thanks everyone! Feel free to keep adding to the list we haven’t got em all yet!
I have owned a full 645ProTL kit with a bunch o lenses/prisms, drives etc and the Fuji GW690III.

I sold the Mam, kept the Fuji. To be fair I replaced the Mam with a Hassie H1 system, because the VF is so much larger and brighter on the H1. I found the Mam dark and kinda hard to focus. I also had the famed 80 1.9 lens, but guess what? They are notorious for outgassing hazing. Abd my perfect one that I paid big bux for did just that! And couldn't be repaired as the hazing occurs between the glued elements.
None of my other Mam 645 lenses did that.
The Fuji 690iii is great, crackin lens and killer negs. One thing to be very careful about is fat rolls i.e. film rolls that end up loosely wound. You have to be very careful to maintain tension on the film as you load it and close the back. This is the only MF camera that I have had this happen with, and it has happened a few times. One tip is when you shoot the last image on the roll, immediately complete the wind on and remove the film from the camera. Having it sit in the camera on the spool increases the chance of loosening on the spool and fat rolling.
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Old 02-27-2019   #75
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Great news G!

Sounds like a good deal and with the CLA a shooter for many years to come!

I have been drawn into the Super Fujica 6 folding 6x6... lol it’s basically the opposite of all my criteria. It’s a beautiful camera and I like beautiful things like most anyone. I just have a real fear of getting that deep into a folder after a few bad experiences. BUT they are cheap enough that I could basically buy on right now with what I have saved already.

Better order that Fire Red leather kit before your kit gets back!
LOL! No intent on changing the leather for me. I kinda like my cameras to be somewhat plain looking.

Oh yes: I looked in my miscellaneous bits drawer and found two nice metal lens hoods that should work fine on it: a B+W "wide" metal hood that might be a little too tight, and an Olympus hood for their 28 that will be a little wider than needed but will certainly not vignette.

Super Fujica 6 :: That's kinda like a Fuji version of my 1952ish Voigtländer Perkeo II. I've had the Perkeo II a long time, had it overhauled to work perfectly too.



It's a great camera. I have a Voigtländer rangefinder accessory and a clip on meter for it too.

What I love about the GS645S is that it has a built in meter and the FoV is wider. It's a little easier to use overall, particularly loading.

I love these old medium format cameras. There's something truly charming about them that later cameras seem to be missing.

G
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Old 02-27-2019   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
After reviewing all the comments I think I have narrowed it down to two.

Mamiya 645 (Super/Pro)
Or
Fuji GW690

With an emphasis on the 690.

Thanks everyone! Feel free to keep adding to the list we haven’t got em all yet!

I've owned about everything mentioned in these posts and I agree your choice of the Mamiya's or Fuji is probably your best bet. The Mamiya 645 advantage over the Fuji GW690 is interchangeable lenses, better metering with the proper prism and you can assemble 2 or 3 lenses, prism, and body for about the same price as the Fuji. The Fuji gives a much bigger format and has (maybe) a nicer lens.
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Old 02-27-2019   #77
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Hey Devin, how about the Mamiya 645 1000s (does anyone still sell the 1/500th-limited non-s?) option? Lens info relevant to Super/Pro too, but my A$0.02:

I'd love a 80/1.9 too but the two 80/2.8s that I had were both fine standard lenses, the N versions are "newer" plasticky feeling ones with generally cheaper helicoids I think, they match the later 80s cameras (Pro/Super) visually, optically there is debate about whether they changed (if so only coatings): had one of those and one of the older "Sekor C" ones - go the old school. Most people who get the 1.9 seem to have buyers remorse or, at best "it's better than my 2.8 but not by enough".

An alternative might be the 55mm (I have an N version, not sure if there was a 70s original), which I find quite capable. Since giving away my 80 on my spare body (wedding 'tog payment!) it's been my usual lens, and I'm happy with its handling, view, and negatives. In fact I think my favourite 645 shots were from that lens. It's a bit longer but not much heavier (if at all) than the 80, and mine was a good deal cheaper at the time.

For metered prism finders, the PD finder seems the one to get, and mine is plenty accurate, pattern I like etc. Bit on the bulky side and can be hard to find for less than the camera+lens from time to time though! Plain finder's sleek enough to stick in a consumer-grade camcorder pouch, and not that dim (though I've never Hasselbled to compare). There exists a waist level finder if you want the TLR feels but they're rare, though suuuper slim/light (wow, a few metal flaps and springs fold flat? amazing! ). No idea how this compares to the later cameras, but the plain prism is definitely lower profile than the Pro style.

Finally: the strap mushrooms are not Hassy sized, but I recently learned they are (allegedly) Pentax (6x7 & 67) sized - confirmation anyone? Ebay knows only of the latter . Again, might have changed later, I doubt it.

You don't even want to change lenses, do you really need interchangeable film backs? The old cameras are tough as...

Oh, and an afterthought: they're very tinkerable to my eyes: I think I've found a service manual somewhere online (never used it) and things like the focus screen height, prism standoff etc. are all obvious and doable with minimal disassembly. Mine was a school photographer's workhorse and that makes sense looking at how it's built. Magazine seals might well be an issue as mentioned (they were on my spare body) but 10 minutes with a foam strip kit off the 'bay sorts it.

Not light but.
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Old 02-28-2019   #78
Rob-F
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Rolleiflex T with the 75mm Tessar is a really nice camera, and not too expensive.
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Old 02-28-2019   #79
FujiLove
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When you start shooting medium format, you soon realise there are no ‘perfect’ cameras. Every one forces you to compromise in at least one way: cost, weight, size, build quality, close focus, lens quality etc. It’s much easier for the average photographer who only shoots MF to own two systems: a portable travel kit (or you could think of this as the casual photography kit) and a ‘flexible’ kit. The portable camera could be something like a Fuji GA645 - light, small, built in meter, fixed lens, fast and easy to use. The flexible one could be an SLR such as a RZ67 or Hasselblad V series camera. Much more flexible, with a wide selection of lenses and accessories enabling practically any type of photography, but much heavier, bulkier and expensive, when you have put a full kit together. I’m not saying that you can’t travel with a RZ67 on your back-many people have, but you’re making life hard for yourself! Better to keep that kit at home for portraits, still life etc. or throw it in a car and only lug it short distances for carefully composed landscapes.

You can tie yourself in knots trying to find one perfect MF camera. Better not to try :-)
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Old 03-24-2019   #80
Godfrey
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An update on my "new" Fuji GS645S Wide 60:

I sent the one I purchased (cheap) from Japan to Frank Marshman on March 8 for examination and service. Two days ago, I received a note back from him that he'd been through the whole camera, found it basically sound, cleaned everything, lubed the rangefinder and calibrated it for accuracy, same for the shutter, etc etc, and it is ready to send back.

I Paypal'ed him the pittance he asked for, it's now on the way back to me.

I can't wait for it to arrive, and to go out and play with it!

I'll post pics of it soon as it arrives back so I can satisfy B-9's desire for me to gloat about it... LOL!

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