Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/06/01

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Subject: Re: [Leica] OT: Alternative Formats to 24X36mm
From: "Henning J. Wulff" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 17:02:36 -0700
References: <>

At 11:22 AM -0400 6/1/00, M.E.Berube - GoodPhotos wrote:
>At 12:01 AM 6/1/00 -0700, Jim Brick wrote:
>>Professional photographers, usually use multiple equipment formats, 35mm,
>>MF, and LF.
>Which brought to my mind..."Hey I wonder what other Medium or Large Format
>Leica Photographers prefer."
>So how about it? Good topic?
>I have sold all of my pro MF equipment to help feed my newly found
>expensive leitz camera habit. (I had an RB67 Pro S and a C330 outfit.) I
>now shoot almost exclusively 35mm (finding it hard to give up my SLRs for
>Macro and extreme tele work, but once my M system is gathered, I'm thinking
>now about getting into an R system as well to replace my venerable small
>"m" Minoltas.)
>The only MF that I have now is my trusty Yashica 124G. On occasion I have a
>call for a large negative but the Yashica is difficult to wield with any
>speed, so I am looking forward to checking out the new Fujifilm GA645Zi
>camera so that I don't have to mess around collecting a lot of new
>equipment. (It's an all in one autofocus/exposure RF 645 with a built in
>55-90mm (slow) zoom.) As I would rarely have call to use MF professionally,
>why not have something completely convenient?
>What do you Leica shooters (trying to stay somewhat on topic) like for MF
>work when forced away from a 24X36mm image?
>Carpe Lumen,
>Michael E. Berube

Well, here is something I can get my teeth into!

MF: Mamiya 645 system with most lenses from 35 through 300 for a lot of the
8x10 to 16x20 color prints that need a bit more detail and quality than
35mm can provide, and handling that is not much worse than most 35mm SLR's.
It has a miserable 35mm lens, so I quickly added a Hasselblad SWC. Didn't
go for the rest of the Hasselblad system as the lens quality in the 50 to
200mm range didn't convince me re: the price difference, AND Mamiya has a
fine 50mm shift lens. Also, for aerial work, you can pop pre-loaded film
inserts into the back faster than reloading 35mm, so you keep right on
shooting with 20 or so inserts. They pay for themselves the first time you
do a helicopter shoot.

Mamiya 6 - great lenses (not so good bokeh, but I tend to stop down more
with these) and very compact for 6x6. I took one and its lenses with me
into the Annapurnas in Nepal, along with the Noblex and a couple of Leicas.
I dropped the Mamiya once 5 ft. onto rock, adjusted the rangefinder on the
spot and it still hasn't gone into the shop. Sturdier than it looks.

Noblex 150U - finally, a panoramic camera that, while a little fragile,
produces outstanding results consistently. No banding, a super sharp lens
and the pictures sell.

LF - Started with a Speed Graphic 35 yrs ago, then got a Cambo and a
Linhof, and got Sinars about 25 years ago. Now there is a synergistic
system! Every piece you add multiplies what you can do. Now I basically
have a Sinar-p and a Sinar-f and enough pieces to make another camera, plus
caseloads of little and large items. Got rid of the 8x10 Sinar stuff since
noone was willing to pay for 8x10 anymore. Even 4x5 is getting less
interest. Lenses on the Sinars are 58, 72 and 90 SA-XL, 120/8 SA, 150, 210
& 300 Sironar and 480 Apo-Ronar.

I also have an Ikeda wood field; a 2.5 lb. 1.5in thick 4x5 that fits in a
small Lowepro Orion with 3 Graphmatics, a 58mm SA-XL, 90/8 Nikkor, 135/5.6
Fujinon and 240/9 Apo Ronar, light meter, dark cloth, etc. etc. Add a #1
Gitzo that I fixed to stand 72in. without the center column, and I have a
smaller and lighter LF outfit than I ever have using a 35mm SLR.

I also use two CamboWides, one with 65mm and one with 47 SA-XL (shortly to
be supplemented with a 35 Apo-Grandagon). These cameras see roll film a
lot, with 6x7 and 6x12 backs. These are the cameras I use often if the
client doesn't want me to use 4x5. A lot quicker to set up, and I don't
need tilts for most of my stuff anyways, and the cameras do have shifts. If
I do architectural models and need tilts, it's back to the Sinars or the
35mmTS or 24mmTSE Canon lenses for 35mm. If I'm using the Sinars for the
tilts, I shoot 4x5 because most of the cost of using these cameras is the
setup time, so I might as well be exposing the largest film area I can.

When LF and MF come up, tripods rise up with them. I have about 6 Gitzos, a
Manfrotto and a Linhof (and a teeeeny Leica table top). The big Gitzo, a #5
Geant Cremalliere with extra section (6 total) is part of a set with a
stepladder, as it goes to 12ft. It looks a little strange with a Leica with
a Hologon on it, but it has happened. Usually when it gets to go outside,
it has a Sinar on it. his item does not know that pictures exist more than
500ft. from a road. If they actually do, a Gitzo Mountaineer gets the call
by preference.

When (if) I stop shooting professionally, I'll get rid of the Mamiya 645
and the Sinar stuff first. The wood field is all I need personally for 4x5,
but I take the CamboWides out more, so the wood field might go as well.
Most of my Nikon and Canon stuff will be gone by that time as well.

   *            Henning J. Wulff
  /|\      Wulff Photography & Design
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