Readers have written me asking if they just got ripped off spending $800 for a full medium format SLR system. Each time a professional photographer friend or neighbor who has gone digital finally gets rid of his film gear. They wonder if film cameras are obsolete and if they'll be able to buy film in a few years as the sellers warned.
Yes, professional use of medium format film is just about gone, and yes, I rarely use mine either, but by all means if you have a full system or parts to dump on me for a deal please take advantage of me! I'd especially love to get a SWC or Veriwide or 612 or 617 camera.
I haven't been looking for those deals but would like to find one. Most of these pros have hung onto their film cameras and a year later sell them when they realize they haven't used them at all. When you shoot for a living making three trips a day to a film lab isn't productive.
Medium format cameras primarily were used by professional portrait, event and wedding photographers.
Today most of these photographers have converted to digital for obvious reasons. Large format cameras are doing OK because they were mostly shot for fun, but medium format has been hit hard because it used to be a heavily used professional format. In fact medium format is in such a tailspin that Bronica's US importer gave up and no longer sells them. I forget if Bronicas are even made any more, or just a casualty of progress. Contax has also stopped making cameras as of March 2003 as you may read here. Heck, Fuji is discontinuing Velvia in 2005.
Of course medium format cameras are still great for landscapes and art if you're not using 4 x 5," which you should be.
The reason professional medium format cameras like Rollei and Hasselblad are so cheap today simply is because there are far more sellers than buyers as the pros liquidate their gear but only hobbyists are buying. Unfortunately there are no bargains on rangefinders like Mamiya 6 and 7 because they've mostly been bought by artists like me all along.
I rarely use my Mamiyas anymore, and even when I do I don't get excited enough even to file the film. I've already printed and shown the same shots I made at the same time with my digital cameras, so why bother scanning all day to make a print only so slightly better that only I appreciate the difference? (Actually the reason is art, but I don't seem to have the time I used to for that.)
Anyway, if you're wanting to jettison a top drawer medium format system I'd like to give it a home. Specifically I'm looking for a setup starting with a 38mm SWC or 40mm lens as well as the usual 80mm and 150mm. (I've already got a Mamiya 6 with the much more common 50mm lens.) Not that I'm going to give it much use either, just that it's something that I've always wanted so if you're looking to give a friend a bargain on your unused equipment I'd like it. Just as $100 hard drives have replaced 24 track tape recorders that used to cost as much as a house for studio music recording and $100 GPS receivers have obsoleted those huge ship's compasses that some people like to put in their home as decoration, I'd like to go play with some good medium format gear. Likewise I've always wanted a Linhof, Fuji or Horseman 612 or 617 or good old fashioned Plaubel Veriwide 100 if you have a spare. I rarely use my Noblex panoramic since I can get the same results more easily with my point-and-shoot digital and the stitching program with which it came.
Just drop me an email and thanks!