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Thread: Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

  1. #11

    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    Is it operating speed or light weight that you want?

    You can get lightweight field camera setups that probably go below 12# including a tripod. That's less than half the weight of my superlight 8x10 setup. A field camera will never be as lightweight as a Mamiya 7, but you'll have movements, lens options, TTL viewing, and bigger negatives.

    If you've been seduced by the operating speed of the Leica, why don't you sell it instead for the Mamiya 7? All you'd really lose is the fast aperture normal and short tele lenses which always work best at around f/4 anyway . . . (Just an ex-Leica user tempting someone else to leave the fold, too.)

  2. #12

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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    I used to worry a lot about having all these different formats running in my work until it dawned on me that experimenting with different cameras is part of the process and enjoyment of being a photographer. Also I found that by mixing the formats up, it helped me overcome the doldrums and slow spots - something new always motivates me to go shooting.

    The secret is to dispassionate about the camera equipment and more passionate about the photos. A 30x40 print from a Leica or a Holga can be a beautiful thing, just as a 6x6 cm contact print be as well.

    Personally, my advice is to get one good camera that you can have a passionate affair with, shoot a lot of stuff, and then dump it. Forcing your self to move on is often a healthy thing.

    Why not concentrate on the Leica for awhile, since it suits your current lifestyle? I never cared for the plastic Mamiyas, as I used to have a Mamiya 6 system - sharp as a tack but not very elegant or fun to use.

  3. #13
    Steve Williams_812's Avatar
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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    Thanks for all the comments, they have been helpful.

    I have considered carefully the loss of movements that comes with a hand camera. While I have used movements on occassion the way I work just hasn't called for them much. Basically I was after the big negative.

    When I acquired the Leica about 6 years ago it was a revelation for me. It just fit me perfectly in a way that no SLR ever did. And it continues to work. But I do still need a better negative for some of my work.

    One of my play Websites shows the difference between what I do with the view camera and the Leica. Click on my right eye....

    http://www.personal.psu.edu/staff/s/f/sfw3/sfw3/index.html

    John---no tempting me away from the Leica. I use it a lot. Keep wearing out the counter gear.

    Frank, thanks for the thoughts about having the affair, shoot a lot, and then dump it. Basically that is what I always do but I have trouble with the dumping. I had a long passionate affair with the view camera but it is time to move on.....

    thanks,

    steve
    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  4. #14
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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    Steve, I think your Leica stuff is great. Looking at your LF work too, I also think that, if you're not committed to contact prints, aren't making huge enlargements and are willing to adapt to the frameline nuisance, you could accomplish a lot of the things that you're trying to do with the 8x10 by putting a Mamiya 7 on a tripod and working carefully with a film like TMX or Delta 100.

  5. #15

    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    Keep the big cameras and go for a less expensive medium format camera. A decent Koni-Omega Rapid can be found for around $200. A great, professional quality, rangefinder camera in 6x7 format. You can always sell the LF gear later...

    http://members.aol.com/PAugello/Cameras/Koni.html

  6. #16

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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    Hello Steve;
    I went through a similar process several years ago, but with a Koni-Omega - same 6x7cm format.
    But for me the shooting process was the same, basically setting up on a tripod, and if I was going to do that, why not 4x5, and if 4x5, why not 8x10. So the Koni-Omega went. For hand-held event or family photos, I use a Rollei TLR, and just got a Canon S70 digital. But for what I consider "serious" work, its the 8x10, and the contact print. Cameras are tools, you use them to achieve the desired result, though sometimes use of a particular tool and process is part of the desired result. And sometimes its just about getting a decent picture to record the moment, or maybe a fresh prespective by using a different camera or format after using only one, and having it get a little stale.

  7. #17

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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    If you don't want to mess with LF, don't mess with LF. Find a better or more fun tool, and use it.

    The 3 Fuji's and 2 Mamiya's would be good choices. As are the Mamiya TLR's, which are the best value for a MF camera with changeable lenses, IMHO. Downside is they are bulky and very heavy. My choice for a handheld MF is the Brooks-Plaubel Veriwide; a little restrictive with its wide 47mm SA, but a nice big 6x10 neg you can easily crop from.

    No one has yet mentioned those Polaroid conversions to 4x5, such as the Littman. They seem awfully pricey to me, but they are compact and light, with a huge negative.

    I agree with Frank that changing cameras is a good way to stir up the creative juices.

  8. #18

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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    Steve,

    After shooting mostly LF for the last five years, I "rediscovered" my Mamiya 7 system last year. Sometimes hauling around that huge LF backpack just took the fun out of a trip, and to my eye the M7 yields 16x20" prints closely comparable to those from the 4x5. Use Delta 100, TMX, Acros or maybe even Efke 25, and I think most folks won't see much difference versus your 4x5 work.

    If you're down to only fifteen LF shots per year, then clearly this format no longer works for you, and it's time to move on. The nice thing about the vibrant used market (Ebay, etc.) in camera equipment is that you can usually sell items at or near your original purchase price, so if you elect to switch back from MF to LF down the road, you can likely do so without taking a big financial hit.

  9. #19
    darr's Avatar
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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    I have never shot with an 8x10", but did have a 5x7" until recently and my biggest reason for letting go of it was its weight. I am a smaller built female (5'3") and close to 50 years-old, so I accept it as wanting to lighten my load. But, I have been a professional photographer and visual artist all of my working life, so I had to find an alternative because producing work is what my life is all about.

    I decided it was time to clean out my gear since I had an idea of where I wanted to go with trading up or down. One set of tools that I decided to let go of was my Nikons. I have grown to not care for the smaller 35mm format and I wanted to replace it with a medium format that I could use as a street camera. I shot Hasselblads professionally for 20+ years and got use to their optical quality, so I knew what high quality optics from a medium format system could produce. But, as an artist I have always preferred the 6x7/6x9 and 4x5/5x7 formats, so I decided the Hasselblads would go as well.

    I concluded that I wanted a medium format that operated as close to my Nikons, but without the extra weight and it had to employ first-class built in metering capabilities so I could leave the meter at home and bracket if necessary. The optical quality had to be as good as the Hasselblad. This is when I bought my first rangefinder, the Mamiya 7II. About three years ago, Mamiya had a promotion going on for the 7II and I saved close to $450 on a new body. I then purchased a used 65mm and 150mm w/optical finder off the auction site. I immediately found disappointment with the 150mm (retired portrait photographer so I may be picky on telephotos) and sold it back with no financial lose. But the 65mm I use operates as good as or better than my Hasselblad with a 50mm on it.

    I had to get use to using a rangefinder due to it being non TTL, but the advantages I found quickly outweighed this disadvantage. I grew to appreciate one usage of the rangefinder design was the ability to use a Red 25 filter with infrared film and not having to deal with the usual visual dilemma that follows. In closing I can say that I am very happy with the Mamiya 7II as it has filled the spot of my fast street shooting camera that produces superior 6x7 transparencies; sharper than my Pentax 67II. The metering has always responded to my likes and it is by far the lightest medium format camera out there. BTW, I traded in the 5x7 for an Ebony SV45U and love it as well as it is half the weight of my past 5x7".
    Website: photoscapes.com
    Photo Blog: darrlene.com

  10. #20
    Steve Williams_812's Avatar
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    Giving up the view camera---am I nuts?

    Thanks Oren for the compliment and suggestions for the Mamiya 7. I think you are right, I can adapt to the framelines and I don't make big enlargements. I have to admit the reason I first moved from 4x5 to 8x10 was I fell in love with the contact print. I have an 8x10 enlarger but I don't use it. I can't duplicate the feel of the contact print. Unfortunately I might be too lazy to use the 8x10.

    I like to integrate the camera into my life (take it with me all the time) and I just can't (or won't) do it with the view camera. I recently bought a Vespa scooter and I see a lot of things while I am riding and want to have the camera with me. I've been shooting informally with a little pocket digital but want to begin a new project related to riding. Some of the stuff can be seen on my BLOG:

    http://vespalx150.blogspot.com/

    I don't consider myself a careful craftsman when it comes to photography. I do what I need to do to get what I want. I went through all the zone system testing and used it for awhile but just didn't care to do it. I consider myself a careful observer and need a tool to carry along.

    David: A good friend and fellow 8x10 user had one of the Koni cameras for years and loved it. I never warmed to it, just seemed too clunky for me.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    steve
    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

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