Buying the Cheapest Medium Format on eBay

Have you ever wanted to shoot with a medium format camera, but you can't justify the cost? Well, you're not alone. The question is, what would the cheapest medium format on eBay be like?

I can pinpoint when I first became obsessed with medium format cameras. A photographer I knew rather well — we were in the same online community and he'd started a few years before I had — bought a Hasselblad. I remember at the time thinking the price tag was utterly unjustifiable, but then he started to share his results. Even the snaps looked like still from a movie and I quickly became transfixed on getting something medium format one day.

There is some debate about digital medium format cameras today, including about the one I own and whether or not it is truly medium format, but it scratches the visual itch I want it to. That said, there is one side of medium format I haven't yet tried and this video has not helped with my desire to: medium format film cameras. Although film is more expensive than ever, the process of shooting it is still as great as it once was and the results from this Pentax are superb. Then again, I might be biased about the subject matter!

Have you shot with a medium format camera before? What was your experience?

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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I have one and I'm going to sell it. I don't have the resources that it costs to reap its benefits.

send me a dm. Im looking into getting a n or nii

I have a Mamiya 1000S with 80mm 2.5.

I have 2 of Bessa 66, and have enjoyed using them with mono and colour film. My friend has a Balda with, I think, a better quality ,coated, lens. Both these are pretty cheap on eBay. I suspect the Balda is the best bargain since it is a less well known make.

I recently ventured into medium format (Hasselblad 503cx). It has changed my workflow considerably. Coming from digital, where you simply snap snap snap, it has forced me to rethink, compose and rethink again before actually pushing the trigger. I found that the 6x6 format initially is a bit unusual, but now prefer it to the 6x4.5 format. 6x6 somehow triggers a wow moment for many viewers. I have that much more sky I can work with. And suddenly the subject has far more space around it to shine.

It seems that Fstoppers articles are just a way to lure people to YouTube videos. I was once an enthusiastic reader of the content posted on his website but if I want to watch a video instead of reading an article I will use YouTube or Vimeo directly.
That said, I look forward reading a full bodied article on this subject:)

I just wish camera companies would stop price gouging on medium format digital cameras. Give us something along the lines of the Fujifilm GFX 100S for around $1500.

Get the pricing under control, and it will likely replace ~35mm full frame sensor cameras.

I shoot medium format with (mostly) Mamiya TLR cameras. It’s a lot of fun to use the waist level finder, but not easy. There really is a ‘medium format look’ to the images.

I have a working 1964 Linhof Technika 70 "press camera". It has tilt-shift, a Schneider 100/175, Compur shutter, two backs.
At 6x7, the slides are amazing, but it's just too hard to get film developed around here, especially 120.
Looks like it's worth a lot more than what i bought it for, so i think i will sell it off.
And, by the by: it's a lot cheaper than the most popular mid formats, right now.
Moreover, the image format is considerably larger, especially in comparison with digital mid-format, which is not really mid-format at all.
The Pentax 645 is 32x43, the Linhof is 60x70, roughly 3+ times that...

This can be a good way to get a nice camera on the cheap...even if you have to do some 'doctoring'. I bought a Nikon As Is and it turned out to be in good working condition. As for getting things cheap, around 2006 or so i started buying all the camera gear I've always wanted when the digital move was in full swing. I got a Hasselblad 500 CM body for only 115 with 80mm planar for 76, 150mm for 175 and later a 50mm for 195. Got the Nikon F5 for 220 and a Rollei 6006 for the same. Check out the prices now. If you're lucky, As Is can be a good thing.

As an old geezer (58) I started working in a studio where about 60% of the work was shot with a Hassleblad 500c/m. About 30% was shot with 4x5 and at best,v10% was shot with 35mm. When I went out on my own, I had to have a 'blad because it was a workhorse of the time. I only shot 35mm when I was a newspaper photographer. I had a Canon PowerShot G3 for some work before they cut the photo department and relied on submitted photos, wire and reporter's photos. It wasn't until 2006 I had any real interest in digital photography. To me, this all sounds weird. I spent the first half of my career shooting film,, then moved on.