Mamiya 6 or 7 or even 645

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by pcooklin, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. pcooklin

    pcooklin Member

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    Hi - Id like your view of the Mamiya 6 and 7, or maybe even the 645.
    Im looking for a small and lightweight 120 camera which I can use whilst travelling.

    I currently own a few systems, one of them ebing a Bronica ETRSi with a few lenses. Its great, but with the prisms and speed grip it's quote big and heavy.

    The only downside I can see to the 6 is the lack of speed of the lenses, 3.5 being the fastest? Im also new to rangefinders, but Im ok with it, I think.

    If you can offer any advice, please do.
    Thanks,
    Paul.
    www.paulcooklin.com
     
  2. richard.harbud

    richard.harbud Member

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    I used a Mamiya 6 some years ago. I found it good as a travelling camera. It was very quiet (no mirror to tell you that the shutter had fired) and robust. There were two things that irritated me: I was dependant on batteries and the rangefinder was slow to use. I did not find the speed of the lenses to be a problem - mostly I was shooting landscapes or subjects that needed a large depth of field. To be honest I'd go for the Mamiya 6x7 format today - perhaps a better format for most people.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    pcooklin

    pcooklin Member

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    Thanks Richard - I like 6x6, but that said, my Broni' shoots 645 and Im used to that. What I like about the Mamiya 6 is that it seems small enough to travel with, I think the 6x7 might be a bit big. But thanks, Im going to do some research on the 6x7 now.

    -Paul.
     
  4. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I very much doubt you will have any weight advantage by going for a Mamiya 645. I have 3 and would not condsier any of them particularly light compared to the Bronica (which I have handled but not owned).
     
  5. OP
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    pcooklin

    pcooklin Member

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    Yes, I agree, I think it's going to be the Mamiya 6 or nothing. The 7 seems OK, but doesnt have the collapsable lens. How do you find the not so fast lenses? Im used to 2.8 or faster. But I wondering if the lack of mirror slap (i.e Bronica etc) might allow me to handhold the 6 at lower speeds which would equal a 2.8 in the same situation, if you see what I mean - i.e I might gain a stop.
     
  6. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I have the Mamiya 7II system. A friend has the Mamiya 6 system. Both are excellent for travel. Lightweight and quiet. Really comes down to your way of seeing: square verse rectangle.

    I do like the 35 mm panoramic adaptor for the Mamiya 7. The optics of both the 6 & 7 are great.
     
  7. GM Bennett

    GM Bennett Member

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    And the button cell batteries in the 6 last a long, long time.
     
  8. delphine

    delphine Member

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    Paul, I own both the Mamiya 6 and the Bronica ETRSi. The Bronica did not become redundant when I got the Mamiya 6, far from it. Both cameras do complement each other beautifully.

    With the Mamiya 6 I gained a more portable camera, lighter weight, and above all, silent picture taking. This said, it is very slow to focus, and it can never beat the speed of use of the Bronica (mine is coupled with a metered prism and motor winder). I never suffered the lack of a faster lens on the Mamiya 6, I can handhold it down to 1/8s with the 50mm on, without problem.
    Also, I regret that the focusing distance is so long that I can't really do portraits. Or when I do, I feel I am constrained by the focusing distance of the lens.
    As to the retractability of the lens on the Mamiya 6. I would not put it down as a decision factor as you do. Yes it is nice. I personally never retract it to preserve the bellow. Those babies can't be easily serviced, if at all, they need TLC.

    A nice travel and compact rangefinder that you might want to consider is the fuji GA645Zi. It is compact, very lightweight, autofocus and its lense is very crisp. I own this one as well. It is not very convenient to use in manual mode, but it is dead fast to use, and the lense is very sharp. Every time I enlarge a picture taken with it, I am amazed by the crispiness I get from this small glass.

    Good luck.

    Delphine
     
  9. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I have travelled and hiked with my Mamiya 7 camera and found it great. Its just like using a slightly bigger 35mm SLR.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I have the 6 and I consider it to be the ultimate travel camera. The whole kit (with 3 lenses) fits into a very small bag. I retract the 6 all the time, the bellows are easily replaced if it ever came to that, but I see absolutely no wear on the bellows. If you do your research, you will see that there is only one complaint about the 6, namely that the winder mechanism reportedly can break. I have seen no sign of that though, and I am not exactly gentle on my gear. I will admit that if things are important then I will take two bodies... probably an overabundance of caution, but it allows me to load two different films and switch quickly.

    I used to have a ga645zi and 645w. I liked them both, and I think you'd want a similar pairing if you did go for the fixed-lens Fujis. The only knock against the ga645zi is that it is definitely not a stealth camera- it's oddly coloured, quite noisy and bulky, so there are some situations in which you just wouldn't get to use it without being noticed. Also, the zoom isn't exactly what you might think, it's really just for fine tuning a composition. It's not really much zoom range at all, hence I typically had a wider Fuji with me as well. Nevertheless I do think it is a very good camera.

    Consider also the new folder, if you've got the bucks!
     
  11. hughitb

    hughitb Member

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    You might also consider the Bronica RF645. Great travel camera .... 645 format ... rangefinder ... really well built ..... great lenses .... a little smaller than the Mamiya's (though not much).

    They are hard to come by these days though ..... unless of course you buy mine from me , which I am trying to sell :wink:
     
  12. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    The Mamiya 7 is a fantastic camera. Lightweight, quiet, and the sharpest lenses of any system I own. (I own a few good ones.) I've had mine a year, and I'm on my second battery after probably a hundred rolls, so battery life is not a huge concern. All the battery has to do is power the meter and regulate the shutter, so it isn't taxed like it would be if it also had to advance the film and move a mirror around.

    As for the square-vs-rectangular business: the 6x7 is nearly square; there is so much real estate on that huge negative/tranny that you can easily shoot it with square in mind or crop afterward. The fact that parts and service are available for the 7 is a deciding factor over the 6. And both are so compact that it's hard to see the collapsing lens being that useful; it's just another thing to wear out on a camera that can't easily be serviced.
     
  13. Daniel Larsen

    Daniel Larsen Subscriber

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    I totally concur with Keith Williams' comments about the Mamiya 6, to include the comments about durability. I have experienced no problems with the bellows and retraction or with the winder mechanism. I've never had any problems with the lack of faster lenses. My Mamiya 6 is everything I need or want in a travel camera. If I'm not carrying it, I usually carry a Zeiss Mess-Ikonta or Super Ikonta III. Good luck with the decision.