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Which medium format camera ??

FrankThomas 13 2.8k United Kingdom
16 Feb 2003 10:11PM
I'm thinking of getting myself a second hand medium format camera. I've narrowed the list down to either a Bronica ETRSi or one of the Mamiya 645's. The Mamiya's seem rather more expensive than the Bronica but is there any real difference between them ??

Any comments, good or bad about either camera would be greatly appreciated


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J-P 13 396
17 Feb 2003 12:33AM
Depends what type of camera you want. Mamiya definately have the technological edge - digital back compatability, AF etc. Bronica are more traditional.

I use a 645e, it has a fixed prism and back, TTL. aperture priority AE and manual, mirror lock up and takes all the Mamiya lenses and costs about 700-800. Definately use the speed grip if you get one. It's not as well built as their pro range however.
FrankThomas 13 2.8k United Kingdom
17 Feb 2003 11:29AM

Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure that the lack of a digital back for the Bronica is that much of an issue. I'm not a professional and most if not all Digital backs are way beyond my means. The AF is nice but I'm also after exchangable backs so it's looking like the Bronica is going to shade it at the moment. Either one of them will probably be a bit of a culture shock. We shall have to wait and see
cool cat 14 145
17 Feb 2003 2:35PM
Hi Frank,

I can really recommend the Mamiya Super. It has the interchangable backs, mirror up etc. There are lots in mint condition going on ebay at the moment at very reasonable prices.

You can also find a lot of accessories arround.

timbo 14 595 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2003 9:28AM
I have used both the Mamiya 645 and Bronica ETRSi extensively over the past few years and both have produced excellent results.
If I had to pick one over the other it would be the Bronica purely because it has a leaf shutter lens system whereas the Mamiya has a focal plane shutter (although they do make leaf shutter lenses for them they are a little pricey),which means that you have flash sync at all speeds. Other than that there's not much in it
FrankThomas 13 2.8k United Kingdom
18 Feb 2003 11:08AM
Thanks to all who have replied. I think I'm probably going to go for the Bronica. I kind of like the idea of going back to a less technological camera. I have an AF and autoexposure 35mm (which I can use as a spot meter for the Bronica if needs be - expensive spot meter though) and a perfectly good digital camera. With a bit of luck, it will slow me down and make me think a bit more about what I'm doing rather than just sticking to P and firing off a roll.

Again - thanks for all your input


ukmjk 13 1
18 Feb 2003 1:28PM
Bear in mind that because Bronica lenses always have a shutter in them, they can be more expensive.
At least with Mamiya you have the choice!
The non leaf Mamiya lenses can be very cheap as they have been around for a long time and there are always loads of s/h around.
Hence you may find the Bronica option more expensive in the future, especially if you are going to get a system together over the next few years. It would be wise for you to work out what you intend to buy over the next few years and price it all up, not just the camera!
If you are UK based, check out both at Focus at the NEC next week, or even better, hire both types for a week from a dealer like Callumet and see which you one you like the feel of best. Buying a camera can be a very 'personal' thing.. what one person thinks is good is not always what is OK for you - hiring will let you find out.
FrankThomas 13 2.8k United Kingdom
20 Feb 2003 12:17PM

Thanks for the comment, the leaf shutter is actually something that I'd want to use to let me sync the flash at higher than 1/60th second or whatever the X sync speed is - I want to try out using different fill flash ratios and things and having a wider choice of shutter speeds will be useful I think. I guess I'll just have to keep saving for the lenses heh
railton 14 304
22 Feb 2003 11:29AM
Tip: Buy your film in bulk, you are on 15 shots/roll with 645. John.
dbltap 13 2
22 Feb 2003 11:50PM
Before purchasing 645, I would evaluate what my photo objectives are: do you do your own processing, what type of film do you use, do plan to display your prints, etc. i looked at 645 long and hard, but ultimately settled on a Bronica GS-1 6 x 7. Reason: 645 isn't a whole lot larger than 35mm, which i had been using. Recently did my first shoot with this camera for a cd cover of a jazz musician. felt justified in my decision to spring for this format.
FrankThomas 13 2.8k United Kingdom
23 Feb 2003 8:35PM

I hadn't actually thought much about going over 6x4.5 - I'm not planning on doing my own processing, I'm kind of looking to possibly sell some transparancies as a freelance and most of the entries in the BFP handbook specify "medium format" rather than an actual size. Having taken a quick look around the second hand pages, the prices don't seem to be too much more expensive for a GS-1.

Something else to think about I guess - just when I thought I had it all figured out heh

Thanks for all the comments so far
Colin_A 14 32
24 Feb 2003 9:41PM
Moving up to a 6x7 camera will give a big improvement in image quality (I bought a Pentax 67), but have you consided the Pentax 645. This camera handles like a 35mm SLR and has won many tests in photo mags. Older bodies can be bought cheap, but the autofocus bodies are excellent.
UserDeleted 13 3.6k
26 Feb 2003 10:20AM

I am in the same situation as you - freelancing and looking to get cover shots as well as inside. As a dedicated Canon EOS 35mm user, I was a Medium Format newbie.

I managed to pick up a Bronica complete with a set of lenses and backs off eBay very reasonably and it'll sort out my MF needs for freelancing magazines as well as being a better Social Photography camera as well. Early results are amazing !!!

If you are going second hand either buy from a recognised store or collect if buying on eBay - you'll need to know what to look for !
FrankThomas 13 2.8k United Kingdom
26 Feb 2003 11:29AM
Thanks to all for the most useful replies.

I have just bought myself a second hand ETRSi. One of the reasons behind this is that this will allow me to get my foot in the door so to speak. If it proves that the 6x4.5 format isn't suited for my needs, then it will be easier (in theory) to upgrade from the ETRSi to something like the SQAi or the GS1. I am quite keen on trying to simplify the way I take pictures, it's too easy with my current camera's to just stick to P and fire away. I'm not even going to get a metering prism yet, I have a light meter and if all else fails, I have a 35mm SLR that I can use as a spot meter.

I am now awaiting delivery of the camera with bated breath! I'll be sure to post any decent pictures on here for you all to comment on

Once again, thanks for all your valuable help and time
collinf 13 1.2k
11 Apr 2003 2:03PM

I assume you've received the camera now?

What do you think? I'm in exactly the same position, weighing up the differences between the Mam 645 Super and the Bron ETRSi.

I just want mine for better quality rather than as a freelance, but, it's a possibility :o)


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