Medium format camera – a hefty companion?

A moderately biased comparison of medium format cameras.

In the next few lines, I’d like to make a brief summary of the sizes and weights of different medium format (and smaller/larger) cameras. A lot of people asked if and how heavy the medium format equipment is. Well, it has some bulk, that is true, but is it that much? How does a “full format” camera compare to a medium format camera?

Let’s get the table, shall we?

CameraLensWeight [g]FormatNotes
Hasselblad 500C/M80/2.8 Planar T*14146×6
Mamiya 645 Pro TL80/2.8 Sekkor NL15746×4.5Leaf shutter lens, heavier
Pentacon P680/2.813816×6
Fuji GW69090/3.515256×9Fixed lens
Olympus OM-2n50/1.4760135
Canon EOS 1n50/1.8 plastic1031135
Canon 5D II50/1.8 plastic1040135Digital

What we’re comparing here?

Let’s start with the big boys, shall we? I chucked in the Fuji GW690 for comparison of size, but otherwise, it cannot match the versatility the SLR medium format interchangeable lens design brings.

All of these can chew down a portion of 120 or 220 film with different count of exposures, depending on the format.

  • Hasselblad 12@6x6cm ratio 1:1
  • Mamiya 15@6×4.5cm ratio 4:3
  • Pentacon 10-20@6x6cm (joking aside, it is designed to have 12@6x6cm) ratio 1:1
  • Fuji GW690 can do a whopping 8 exposures @ a monsterous 6x9cm and is the only one to have a 3:2 ratio
From left: Fuji GW690, Pentacon Six TL, Mamiya 645 Pro TL, Hasselblad 500C/M – and down there, an McBokAir-like touchpad.
And once more, from the front

Hasselblad 500C/M

Who would not know the legendary camera with the name “Hasselblad” on it’s side? Well, I was quite reluctant to add it to my list of owned cameras for a long time. Why? I think I just like to piss against the wind. The 500C/M is a classic that has all the functions you need for top notch photography (aperture and shutter), comes in a very handy package and will set you back some 200-300 Eur used, in questionable condition. I got mine for 200E, but the condition is quite bad. Lens included.

That being said, I never grew accustomed to the way it operates. Maybe it is just me and the T* series lenses, but it seems to me a little out of place.

This one shoots a 6x6cm (actually 55x55mm), has interchangeable lenses and film backs.

Weight measured with the shaft, no prism: 1414g

And the WInner is?

Surprisingly, the allwinner from the perspective of weight just IS the Pentacon Six TL, although having a reputation of being a soviet tank. Well, if it could only take pictures, that’d be great.

No seriously, the P6 is a great camera, but it lacks in some aspects. Neverhtheless, I love it still. And I bet I’ll be taking it out far more often, when I see the weights shifting in it’s favor.

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