Monday, June 2, 2014

12 Cool Medium Format Film Cameras to Buy

Nowadays, when people start their journey into analogue photography, most of them will begin on a 35mm film camera. If you're already someone who got in analogue but never try on medium format film photography, here's a list of 12 cool medium format film cameras for you to give it a try. There are many options of medium format film photography and below the cameras were listed by alphabet which included from cheap to expensive, some for professional, another ones for amateur photographers that you can find easily on the internet.

Bronica SQ-A

Photo by by Casey Murphy

Bronica was a Japanese brand of medium format roll-film cameras first appeared in 1958, when the company's founder, Zenzaburo Yoshino, introduced a camera of his own design, the Bronica Z rollfilm camera, at the Philadelphia Camera Show.

The Bronica SQ series is a line of 6x6 medium format SLR camera system introduced in 1980. In 1982 the SQ-A, a refinement of the SQ, was released with mirror lockup and a new view finder system now supporting auto exposure. The newer AE finders are not fully compatible with the older SQ cameras, they are unable to mount properly because there are now more electronic connector pins. The film back dark slides are now locked when not attached to the camera. The new dark slides are now grey in color.

In addition to shooting 6x6 negatives, the SQ-A can also be fitted with 645 and 35mm backs. The Bronica SQ series cameras are currently around only option for people who want a machine for the 6x6 format but they are not satisfied with the machines of eastern origin (Pentacon Six, Kiev 88), but can't purchase of top equipment by Hasselblad.

Contax 645

Photo by ym32

The Contax 645 AF is a 6×4.5cm medium-format, autofocus film camera, introduced by Kyocera under the Contax brand in 1999 with a range of interchangeable lenses. The camera system was discontinued in 2005.

The camera uses interchangeable film backs with dark slides, with inserts available for both 120 and 220 film. The back has a film-reminder memo holder. The film loading is automatic with bar coded film and will automatically advance to the first frame. Non coded film requires aligning the backing paper start indicator. Bar coded film ISO can be read automatically with a range of 25 to 5000 ISO. It can also be manually set from 6 to 6400 ISO. The film transport system is motorized, with automatic advance of up to 1.6 fps. It is powered by a 2CR5 battery.

Fujica GW690

Photo by Easy Skywalker

The Fujica GW690 Professional was the first to be released by Fuji in November 1978. It is based on the GL690 — a leaf-shutter rangefinder camera for 6×9 exposures on 120 or 220 film — from which it differs most importantly in having a fixed lens.

Features (such as interchangeable film backs) normal among medium-format cameras of the time, and others (such as exposure meters) almost universal among cameras in general are missing in the GW690 and its successors, which look rather as if a black Leica M3 with a particularly large lens (perhaps 85mm f/1.8) had been made to a much larger scale, they are therefore often called the "Texas Leica".

Hasselblad 500C

Photo by Emcee Grady

The Hasselblad 500C is perhaps the most iconic model of Hasselblad camera, introduced in 1957 by the Victor Hasselblad AB. It represented a move away from the (sometimes troublesome) focal-plane shutter used in the Hasselblad 1600 F and 1000 F, and launched a lens system with optics by Carl Zeiss which included a sophisticated leaf shutter in the barrel of each. The original model stayed in production until 1970. It was replaced by the 500C/M (M for modified according to the factory), featuring an interchangeable focusing screen and an improved automatic back, the A-series film magazines.

The new Hasselblad camera gained a reputation over the years for its robustness, mechanical accuracy and for having a wide range of high-quality lenses, making it the medium-format camera of choice for generations of professional photographers. Victor Hasselblad AB reinforced this reputation by making the most of the fact that their camera had been chosen by NASA for use in space, although not without modifications.

Kiev 60

Photo by Victor Serri

Kiev 60 is a medium format SLR film system camera manufactured by Arsenal Factory, in Kiev, Ukraine, former USSR, and produced between 1984-99. It is similar to an enlarged 35 mm SLR, based loosely on the Pentacon Six and using the same breech-lock lens mount. This camera was originally called the Kiev 6C with a shutter release button activated by the left hand, and accepting both 220 and 120 film. The current Kiev 60 has a more conventional right-handed shutter release, but does not take 220 film. The Kiev 60 has a simpler frame-advancement mechanism than the Pentacon Six but it is often poorly adjusted at the factory resulting in incorrect frame spacing. This problem can be fixed,

The low price of the Kiev medium format cameras has attracted many amateur photographers wishing to enter the medium format camera market on a budget.

Mamiya RZ67

Photo by Casey Broadwater

The Mamiya RZ67 is a medium format single-lens reflex system camera manufactured by Mamiya. There are three successive models: the RZ67 Professional (first model released in 1982), RZ67 Professional II (released in 1995) and RZ67 Professional IID (released in 2004). RZ67 is a modular camera system, meaning lenses, viewfinders, ground glasses, film winders and film backs are all interchangeable. It is primarily designed for studio use, but can also be used in the field. The RZ67 Sekor lenses have built-in electronic leaf shutters which are cocked and triggered from the body. Focusing is performed with a bellows on the body instead of the lenses.

Mamiya RZ67 is a true multiformat camera. The camera accepts 6x7, 6x6 and 6x4.5, 120 and 220 film magazines and Polaroid as well as Quadra 72 4x5 sheet film backs. The film speed is set on each RZ back via a dial. There are two versions of the 6x7 and 6x4.5 backs, the model II versions have a second film counter to always show the film count on the top. The RZ67 operates on one 6 V silver oxide 4SR44 battery, or 6 V 4LR44 alkaline battery. It can be used in emergency mode fully mechanically with a fixed 1/400 sec shutter speed. Multiple exposures are possible in the M-mode. Mirror flip up is supported. The body has one standard flash hot shoe on its left side, one plug for a standard remote shutter cable release, and a socket for an electronic shutter trigger.

Minolta Autocord

Photo by Tim Clark

The Minolta Autocord series was an effort by Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko, K.K. to compete in the premium-quality segment of the twin lens reflex (TLR) market. The Autocord series went through a large number of minor variations during its lifespan between 1955 and 1966.

All shared a number of desirable features: crank film advance with automatic shutter cocking and frame counting; a highly regarded Tessar-type 4-element Rokkor f/3.5 lens; self-timer; slow shutter speeds, down to 1 second; and an override button, allowing the advance crank to rotate backwards and cock the shutter without advancing the film, permitting double exposures. Early Optiper shutters only had speeds to 1/400 sec., but this was increased to 1/500 in later versions.

These features compared well with a Tessar-equipped Rolleiflex of the day, yet Autocords sold at a subtantially lower price. Both meterless models and ones including a light meter (originally selenium; later, CdS) were offered in parallel throughout the series.

Pentacon Six

Photo by Betsu-na ka na...

The Pentacon Six is a single-lens reflex (SLR) medium format camera system made by Pentacon from 1956 to 1992. It has been called an "SLR on steroids". The Six accepts lenses with the Pentacon Six mount, a breech-lock bayonet mount.

A basic kit consists of a Carl Zeiss Biometar 1:2.8 80 mm lens, a simple matte screen and a waist-level finder. This is a system camera and lenses from a 30 mm fisheye to a 1000 mm mirror objective are available. Excellent Carl Zeiss Jena and Schneider lenses can be found at reasonable prices from the usual used-camera sources. A variety of viewing screens, from simple matte to grids or fresnel screens, are available. The waist-level finder can be replaced by non-metered or metered prism finders. The metered prisms were introduced in 1968; from this point onwards, the camera was called Pentacon six TL. Nothing had changed in the camera itself; the only thing new was the availability of a metered prism allowing TTL metering.

Pentax 6×7

Photo by Guy Sande

The Pentax 6×7 is a Japanese medium format SLR roll film camera launched by Asahi Pentax in 1969. It produces 6×7 images on 120 or 220 roll film.

The Pentax 6×7 is quite similar to a regular 35mm SLR camera. It uses either 120 or 220 roll film, which produces ten or twenty (twenty-one for the 1969 version) 6×7 format exposures respectively, with each exposure of 56×70mm area. A small knob on the right-hand side of the camera selects the film type, and also the film pressure plate inside has positions for either type, the thickness of the films being different. The standard equipment includes the Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMAR/6×7 1:2.4 f=105 lens and the removable pentaprism finder that shows exactly the exposed image. A very useful addition is the separately available left-hand grip with accessory shoe.

The camera is completely battery dependent. It does not work without film, unless the film counter dial is rotated away from the empty position and closing the back while still holding the dial.

Rolleiflex 2.8F

Photo by Kevin-Xu

Germany 1949, four years after the end of WWII and the country is still in ruins. A 1944 bombing raid had destroyed the Braunschweig factory. Francke&Heidecke, who introduced their successful Rolleiflex in 1928, start a series of improvements on the well appreciated camera. The Rolleiflex 2.8A sees the light of day. In 2002 F&R introduced the last version Rolleiflex 2,8 FX, now produced by DHW Fototechnik.

The Rolleiflex 2.8F model K7F of 1960 was available for 20 years with four minor revisions up to the K7F4 of at the end of 1981. The F versions removes the EVS system. The first revision K7F uses Planar lens and uses 120 film and has the 12 frame counter. K7F2 was released in 1965, like most 120 film camera revisions released that year it was because of 220 film and provided a new 12/24 frame counter. K7F3 is nearly the same but simplifies the back and no longer takes the flat glass adapter. The K7F4 typically has the Xenotar lens. Later limited production camera runs became available such as the Aurum and K7FP Platinum edition (1984) and the K4FPA till about 1989. In about 1988 the 2,8GX series was released.

The 2.8F has a Compur shutter with at least B, X-sync and speeds from 1-1/500s. It also has a winding lever that stops at the first exposure.

Rolleicord III

Photo by by Dejan Slavkovic

Rolleicords were introduced by Franke & Heidecke (Rollei) as a lower cost solution for those wanting a Rollei TLR, but unable to afford the ever-increasing price of a Rolleiflex. Costs were cut for the Rolleicord by using a knob instead of a handle to wind the film on, using cheaper internals, and most importantly, using cheaper optics. The Rolleicord III was introduced in Germany between Nov 1950 and July 1953. It came with the Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar lens f/3.5 75mm. The shutter is a Compur-Rapid with speeds from 1 sec to 1/500 sec, plus B and auto-stop film wind.

Yashica Mat G-124

Photo by Gonzalo Villar

The Yashica Mat-124 G was made from 1970 till 1986 and was the last TLR produced by Yashica. Even if this type of camera seemed to be obsolete at the time of its appearence, the 124 G was a success in that time.

The 124G has a four-element, 80mm F3.5 taking lens, of the better "Yashinon" variety. Focusing is via a ground glass screen, with a 3x diopter loupe for critical focusing, as well as a sports finder. The focusing screen is used with the camera at waist-level. The sportsfinder, incorporated in the focusing hood, is operational by pushing the front cover backwards. According to the Instruction Booklet, it comes in handy for snapshots or when shooting fast-moving objects at eye-level. No screen to check focus in this set-up though. The Copal shutter features speeds 1 to 1/500 sec., plus B.

The 124G can handle both 120 and 220 film. It also features a coupled match-needle exposure meter, although it uses now-discontinued 1.3v mercury cells. Suitable air-zinc replacements and adapters for modern alkaline or silver oxide batteries may be obtained at camera stores and on the internet.

*Infomation from Wikipedia and Camera-wiki.

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