« Patriots! (Newman!) (And Some Followups) | Main | Open Mike: Shebang »

Tuesday, 07 February 2017

Comments

This Mamiya 7II was my absolute favorite camera and my last film camera. I used this camera during a trip to the Baltic, Denmark, and Paris. I climbed to the top of Notre Dame cathedral and took photos of the gargoyles with it. Those are some wonderful memories.

Speaking of used prices, wow. In a fit of nostalgia Just a few weeks ago I decided I too wanted to do some film shooting. I browsed online fully intent on buying another 7II. Needless to say I came back down to earth quickly. I think the used prices are more than the camera cost new even corrected for inflation.

Before the Mamiya I toyed with a smaller rangefinder style Bronica but it couldn't hold a candle to the Mamiya. The camera that was the impetus to move to medium format from 35mm was the exquisite Fuji TX-1 that was also rebadged by Hasselblad as the XPan. The TX-1 was a jewel of mechanical beauty. It was a 35mm camera that took panoramas. Not by cropping the negative but by actually expanding the film gates so that the negative was about two frames wide. It worked flawlessly and the lenses were equally superb, at least to my amateur eye.

Those cameras are highly sought after as well and command high prices like the Mamiya. Because of the memory of that TX-1, I just received a brand new Fuji X-T2 just yesterday. While I enjoyed the images from my Sony NEX-7, that camera was just too soulless. The X-T2, with it's 'analog' knobs and dials, has soul! AND due the high price of nostalgia, is as close as I'm going to get to the manual controls of the 7II or T-X1.

Mike,
I read your review in the Darkroom Mag and based on your recommendation I brought the camera. I still got a copy of your review and the lovely camera.Many thanks.
Bob

This post just upped my GAS considerably. I've been drooling over a Mamiya 7 (or 6....and a Bronica RF645) for years now. I know I'm probably way in the minority of your readership, but I love film photography. Theres something about the process (and the gear) that just hits home for me. I love these "analog" posts, keep them coming! I just spent my photography budget on a 4x5 Speed Graphic (to go with my Crown Graphic - clearly I have an issue with GAS) and two brass lenses so I'm off to go drill out some lens boards and load up some Fomapan 200.

The first picture in this post was taken with it.

Very nice. Made from the Connecticut Avenue overlook near the National Zoo?

[That sounds right. It's been about 28 years! --Mike]

Lord knows how much mental arithmetics I've done as to whether to upgrade a digital camera or to get a Mamiya 7 instead.

The expense doesn't help the Mamiya's cause, but in the end what kills the whole deal is the thought of sitting by a computer and doing one of my least favourite things: scanning negatives. I so hate scanning and it'd take up a lot of valuable time I could instead use to do the actual taking pictures part of photography.

But a relatively compact 6x7 camera that's made for handheld shooting and has an 80mm lens would, I imagine, very much be my bag. I'd just need an assistant who does all my scanning.

Very nice ! The 7II was one of my "dream cameras", those cameras I'd buy if I won the lottery or something (not that I couldn't afford one, but my photography could never justify one). The Nikon FM2 was another one of those cameras I always wanted. I do have a Rolleiflex 3.5f that I keep around in case I ever get the itch to shoot film. Meanwhile, my daughter is about to put my old Minolta HiMatic to use in school.

The most mouth-watering article of the year! I'll be impatiently expecting your impressions as well as your photos.

Still my favorite camera! I bought it in the twilight of the film era (2003) as the biggest camera I was willing to carry while mountaineering (I was stronger back then; now I carry a Ricoh GR and a Panasoic GM5 with two primes). Many of the photographs I have taken with the Mamiya 7II and its fantastic lenses (I've used the 43, 65, 80 and 150, and have kept all but the 65, which was as good optically as the others, but whose angle of view didn't seem to be here or there for me) have made their way onto my walls and into my portfolio. MAC (which became MamiyaLeaf, I think) no longer services these cameras; I have had good experiences with Precision Camera Works of Niles, IL. In addition to the light meter issue Mike mentions, I would note four "features" of the system. (1) The rangefinder baseline is on the short side for focusing the 150. The rangefinder mechanism is also rather fragile. I have had to send the camera in to have it recalibrated four times in 14 years. (2) The plastic tab that one must flip out and turn in order to close the cloth darkslide is rather flimsy. There is an eBay seller from Italy that occasionally lists a replacement machined from brass. (3) Being a rangefinder, this is not a useful camera for close-ups. But if you must, there is a solution I adopted from an article in the defunct "Magnachrome" e-magazine. I attach a doublet close-up lens (58 mm thread) onto the 80mm, and focus and frame with the help of a contameter (sold many years ago by Zeiss for framing close-ups with the Contax II/IIa 35mm rangefinders). It is clunky, but less so than the close-up kit manufactured by Mamiya. (4) The light meter is a near-spot design, and its area of sensitivity does not correspond to the center of the finder (or the rangefinder patch). One must locate it empirically and remember where it is. The camera has the drawbacks intrinsic to being a rangefinder, and the lenses are on the slow side. The results keep me very happy, however.

One of my favorite cameras in my favorite film format. The camera and lenses were light enough that they weren't a burden to carry and the format gave such smooth tonal transitions in prints, both black and white and color. Enjoy Mike!

Mamiya, name of a long deceased, once familiar C330 TLR.
And like you Mike understand/understood then superb quality and too something different to be really good. I had the normal 80 mm lens, and the telephoto. Gosh I miss the camera, if only for the superb mechanical action. The commentary at the time differentiated between German constructed cameras i.e. Leica or Rollei that sounded a "click" when fired and Japanese that went "crick." That C330 was my "click." The digital devices of today simply do not come close!
Enjoy your heirloom Mike!

That is such a gorgeous beast. Always lusted after one of those but never took the plunge.

The Mamiya 7 is so well thought of, I’ve considered selling my RB67 and 4 lenses, my Mamiya TLR and 5 lenses, and my Mamiya 645 and 3 lenses just to get a “7” and one or two lenses. But whenever I say that out loud, it just seems silly …

(Alas, I still covet one.)

oooooh. preeettyy. I owned one of these for about three years in the early 2000's. I bought it used, which at the time brought the cost down to something affordable. The speed of the lenses and the close focus limits kind of spoiled it for me. I was used to faster, and used to getting closer. This was one of my "only if" cameras, because in terms of weight and image quality, it was just about perfect. But, cut to all these years later, I still have my beast of a Pentax 67 and the M7II is long gone. A local camera shop had a used one for sale about five years ago and I allllllmost weakened. But my existing MF equipment isn't getting enough use as it is. Nice looking gear, Mike. Make some pictures worth of it!

Ben

"Mamamiya! My my, how can I resit you?" (taken from somewhere in the web)

Researching about Medium Formats, the M7 (not Leica) is the appex, reaching semiperfection in a compact and modern package. Kid you not, the prices on it have actually risen from the used average from about a couple of years ago. Indeed renaissance is soaring above other systems that don't have the caché. Legitimated by Mr. Rockwell, who named it the world's best camera.

[Irony should end here]

I am a "millenial", 22 college graduate that has a fondness towards film photography. Even was able to shoot a bit of the last Kodachrome. I have seen the turning of film as an obsolete passé medium towards something alternative and timeless; Somehow I believe that it's due to a generational change and knowledge of each medium. Thankfully the times of spilled ink about film vs digital passed and we are onto pragmatic times. Both lines of blood merged to become one, seeing the success of labs like FIND, Indie, RPL et al. (mail order film processing, receive scans on the cloud)

Back to the M7, it is an interesting concept. I have an overdue trip to SE asia and always wanted to be back with medium format film. This camera would be fantastic but out of reach because of the prices. Instead, I am happy with the no-frills Fuji 6x9 series... And still have enough dough to buy film, and to fulfill expenses.

By the way, out of nostalgia a few days ago I reached for archive.org and went to see some film store websites, year: 2010
220 film at $7 a roll, Cheap Ektachrome, Acros at $2.95. My bad, wasn't it cheap back then!

Prices for MF (and 35mm) gear is spurious. Cult models (Mamiya RF, Contax 645, Rolleiflex) have soared. Less "stellar" gear is cheap.

Perhaps I can get me a NIB Nikon N80, which, resembling a DSLR has no glory nowadays... And is cheap.

PD: If you must dispose the M7, here's a volunteeer.

You're in good company...Mary Ellen Mark with her Mamiya 7II

You are tempting me. I was looking at Mamiya 7's on Ebay the other night after reading the post on analog. But then reality hit me, I have 2 very good 35mm film SLR camera that I have not gotten out of the closet in several years. I must learn to be satisfied with my current toys and not lust after what I don't have. I suggest you do an article on the Nikon F100 so I can get jazzed up to shoot a roll of film on something I already have.

The Mamiya 7 has been an object of lust for me ever since I first read a piece you wrote about it a long, long time ago. It is perfectly suited for my style of shooting. Except that it is expensive and analog and buying one would be foolish for me. Then again, that's never stopped me from buying other expensive and foolish cameras...

;-)
Adam

Gosh - I wish I still had mine. Actually liked the 6 (square) better, but both were an absolute joy to use.

Congratulations on re-unboxing the Mamiya 7II.

At one point I had all three cousins: 6, 7, 7II. Took them in turns for hiking and camping in Tasmania. They are wonderful and capable cameras.

Despite the persistent rumours that manufacturers are developing medium format mirrorless (now Hasselblad have done it, but for how long??), a simple digital back would be great update for these cameras....

In 2012, I sold my Hasselblad system (503cx body and 50, 80, and 150mm CF lenses) and bought a Mamiya 6 with all three of the Mamiya lenses for it. Same focal lengths I had with the Hasselblad.

I've had serious health problems all of my life, and was getting to where I couldn't carry the Hasselblad stuff anymore. I was only 36 at the time, but the Hassy was just too heavy.

The Mamiya system was so small and light I can carry all of it in a small messenger bag all day long. I could handhold the camera, too; and the lenses are incredibly sharp. I lost nothing but weight by switching. Oh, and I made a big profit; the Mamiya 6 system cost me $1000 less than I sold the Hasselblad stuff for!

I shot this handheld on Ilford HP5, developed in PMK, using the Mamiya 6 and 50mm lens.


What's that big lever thingie for on top of the camera???

The Mamiya 7ii is one of my all-time favorites, and I am still using mine (though I'm pretty far behind in developing the film). I don't have the 210 mm lens, but I'm pretty sure that it came with an auxiliary view finder, similar to the ones for the 43 mm and 50 mm lenses. There was also a version that had bright lines for the 150 mm lens as well as the 210
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/213317-REG/Mamiya_215_511_Optical_Viewfinder_for_150mm.html

David

Meh, I got a Zeiss Box Tengor, who needs a Mamiya 7II?

Mike, it's good to hear that you're keeping your hand in with film and exercising that lovely Mamiya 7II and 80mm lens.

Although I mostly use 4x5 now, I've hung onto the 7II as the best film camera for remote landscapes and travel. I even took two 7II cameras on an arduous trek and climbing expedition that took in Makalu base camp, Sherpani Col, West Col and Amphu Labsta in 2011. The beautiful 16x20" B&W prints on my wall were made on Fuji Acros and look very close in quality to 4x5.

The 80mm lens is a superbly crafted rendering of the totally symmetrical Schneider Symmar design, where the rear set of elements is the exact reverse of the forward group, and undoes any distortions imposed by the forward set. The 43, 50 and 65 wide angles are 'almost-symmetrical' designs similar to the Zeiss Biogon or Scheidner Super-Angulon. To my hand, the lenses all mount with an unusually precise fit. And the total lack of mirror or shutter vibration means that all that image quality makes it through to the film.

Hope your results stack up and get you all enthused again.


Ah, the Mamiya 6. By far the best film camera I ever used. It was close to perfect. If I went back to film, I'd have to get a Mamiya 6. And if one of those was impossible to find, it'd have to be a 7ii. The lenses are great, the handling excellent, the results terrific.

All that said, I have to admit that my Sigma DP2 Merrill outperforms my old Mamiya 6. By a long way.

Enjoy the 7ii and be sure to post some images taken with it.

My father still shoots and loves his, he lovingly refers to it as the "Texas Leica".

Mike, I am sitting here in my tropical haven, Rabaul in the New Guinea Islands, and I am practically weeping with envy. I started my real photographic life here 54 years ago -- a 21 year old journalist sent to this tiny foreign outpost by Reuters and Australian Associated Press. I thought I was a hot shot writer -- and I was pretty darned good -- but I simply could not capture the place in words. Back in those days, the world was a very big place with very big spaces between them. Internet? The local "cable" office sent my stories to Australia by radio teletype, and on slow nights, by radio morse code (they wanted to keep their hands in).

Look at the banner of this site to see Rabaul today. The volcanoes have pretty much finished the town in 1994 but a bit remains. The town used to cover virtually the whole flat area hou can see. http://rabaulpng.com/

So I thought that if I couldn't describe it, I could take photographs, and bought a good camera, a Miranda 35mm SLR. I rapidly discovered you needed more than a good camera to take good pix and set about teaching myself photography from books and magazines. I upscaled to 6x6 TLR with a Yashica, and then as I got serious and actually professional, a Mamiya C3 TLR. Finally, two Mamiya C330.

Loved those Mamiyas, and I was actually strong enough then to carry them up and down mountains and shoot all day!

But this 6x7 -- that kind of camera was my dream. When it finally appeared, I had long gone from medium format and a few years later, I moved into digital.

I have been looking at people here and on DPReview forums talking about dong a bit of film and quietly laughing at them. But Mike, the laughing stops here -- I looked at your camera and I instantly had almost a hallucination of loading a roll of 64ASA Ektachrome and setting off up a mountain I am in training to climb with my daughter in April for a landscape photo spree -- a mountain I never did climb, but should have, with my C3 or C330 back in the day.

I'll be climbing that mountain with my GX7 and maybe a G80/85 Panasonic and my tripod so I can do panoramas, but when I get to the top I will raise my water bottle in a salute to Mamiya, their great cameras, their beautiful lenses (talk about sharp with wonderful transition between tones), and your camera -- my ideal Mamiya which came too late and I never owned.

By the way, I finally nailed Rabaul in words (I think) when I visited briefly in 2006 after 30 years away. http://pngtimetraveller.blogspot.com/2010/05/rabaul-great-place-to-visit-and-i-would.html (ignore the idiot joyriding in the comments!)

And now I live here again.

Reviewing my post, not so much laughing at the flm dreamers but chuckling indulgently. :)

Cheers, Geoff

The Mamiya 7 lens are so good. The images almost rival those from 4x5.

Ah, the camera I always wanted, but did not want to pay for...
Ended up with two Fuji GW690's (90mm and 65mm) at half the price at least.

Enjoy Mike!

I had a Mamiya 6 with a couple of lenses. It was one of my favorite cameras. I think that the build quality was supposed to have been even better (and more tank-like) than the 7.

Rectangular format, bah!

My Mamiya 6 (actually I own 2 of them plus the superb wide, normal, and tele lenses) adheres beautifully to the Apple attributed form and function ethic "It just works".

I went through quite a number of medium format film camera systems before finally settling on the Mamiya 6. I'd have happily stepped up to the 7 series had the 7 series retained the collapsible "rigid bellows" feature. I agree that the collapsible bellows doesn't trim huge amounts of volume off the camera ergonomics, but when backpacking or motorcycling with two camera bodies and three lenses, every inch of storage space is at a premium for me.

I have no rational argument for this, but I've always thought a 6x7cm negative was the perfect piece of film. Unfortunately, the cameras that make them -- even the comparatively svelte Mamiya 7 -- are too big for me. The physics of my ideal universe would allow a Leica to make a 6x7 neg.

This jewel of a system you have sitting in your closet is a finer tool and better system than all the digital cameras you have ever had, put together. Get your butt in gear and use it or sell it to someone who will, it is too nice to sit in a closet. It gives up nothing to any digital camera, that lens renders 120 lp/mm wide open and the aesthetics, results, and usability of that system trounces anything else in MF or digital. I know, since I have a 7 and 7II, all 6 lenses, the closeup adapter, the panoramic adapter, and the polaroid back. It is as good as cameras get.

Lovely cameras. I bought a Mamiya 6 and 75 when they came out, and shortly after got the 50. I then decided to go whole hog (this was, after all, for work) and got the 150 as well as a second body. I'd had a Hasselblad SWC for quite a while, and they complemented each other well. It was a great setup for handheld construction documentation, which included a lot of climbing in and around unfinished buildings, including onto construction crane booms. It was a light outfit and didn't get in the way. Later, it went to Nepal and the Andes and many times to the Rockies with me.

I still have all of that, and occasionally still shoot some film, but it's a bit much now and I should just let it go, but it is such a delight to use that it's hard.

I took a class last summer with Rania Matar, one of today's hottest photographers. She shoots all of her amazing work on the Mamiya 7 with the 65mm wide angle. If you haven't featured her work you should.

I bond better with a Pentax 67. Or a Hasselblad. Or a Rollei F 2.8

But all of these cameras give you spectacular performance. For whatever reason the Pentaxes are considerably less expensive today.

I shoot 90% digital these days. But 50% of my keepers are still on film. For me at least digital wins nearly every time in color. But film can easily pace digital when it comes to B&W.

In related news former super-model Christie Brinkley has just made the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition...at age 63...with her daughters.

Funny, I tried the Mamiya 7 and Bronica RF645 almost back to back (a full roll each), before buying the Bronica.

Did not like the Mamiya much at all, from a user perspective, despite the good results. It just felt too cold (literally due to the metal body and figuratively) and the focusing patch seemed dark. Those interlocks you speak of also seemed quite archaic and clunky compared to the simple and elegant dark slide mechanism for the Bronica (as you twist off a lens, it slides into place at the same time, automatically).

The Bronica also seemed to have more of a 3d look to the lenses, plus the 16 exposures seemed like a luxury, relatively speaking. In any case, I fell in love with the Bronica right away, and even more so after seeing the results.

You've inspired me to take my Bronica out for a spin, if it wasn't for some awful weather we're having.

I still dream about getting a 7II. My good friend Pericles Lavat had the chance to shoot a Mexican jail just days after all the prisioners were transfered by surprise at the middle of the night to a new facility. He used a Mamiya 6 and color negative film. The exhibition prints were about 1 meter square. Amazing quality.

This is the link to those. http://v1.zonezero.com/exposiciones/fotografos/lavat/indexb.html

It's been nearly two decades since I last shot a roll of 120 film. The 7II is a beautiful camera as are the lenses. I remember the time I walked into a camera store and asked the clerk to let me see it. I hemmed and hawed for about twenty minutes running the math. I ended up buying a hundred feet of 35mm T-Max instead. My Nikon F3 was hungry.

Nice. I recently acquired a 'new' Mamiya Universal Press.
My mother's neighbour picked it up for a friend in 1979 and stored it for him. The friend never collected it.
The neighbour moved house and gave me the camera on long time loan on the understanding that if the friend, who has not been heard from in forty years, wants it back, he can have it.
I was expecting the shutter in the 127mm lens to be seized... but it works perfectly.
It came with 6x7, 6x9, Polaroid and cut film backs, all in a nice Billingham bag with an extra bonus of a Pentax spot meter in one of the pockets.
I put its first ever film through it just after Christmas. It's a fine piece of machinery.

The Mamiya 6 is by far my favorite camera. I sold my digital Leica M, and a new-in-box Mamiya with all 3 lenses cost me about the same, but was a massive step-up in quality and sheer joy of use. The lenses are super-humanly sharp, and the viewfinder is a Brobdingnagian version of the Leica finder. I truly love it - a day walking with this camera is a zen-like immersion in photography, totally removed from how I use digital cameras.
As others have said, it's a crime that such a wonderful and usable camera should be boxed-up and sit on a shelf. Sell it to someone who will use it (I'd be tempted to make an offer myself).

I still have a Mamiya 6 and set of lenses in my cupboard, unused since 2005 when I took it trekking in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan.
Porters
I had a 5MP digital SLR even then, time but left it behind in favour of the Mamiya and my Contax RTSII. I still keep the Mamiya because I know I'll use it again soon. No really. Maybe this summer. Or next, or once the kids have left home and I have more time for scanning...Ho hum.

It's a beautiful camera.

I am sure it will bring you lots of pleasure shooting with it and for those who can handle the 6x7.

My Kaiser MG enlarger is good up to 6x6. And even that, 6x6 enlarging is just on an occasional basis. As we all know, 120 films are hard to find.

I'm looking forward to the day you show us a photograph taken with a lens without a camera behind it. I think you know that when people talk about 'equivalence' they are talking about the lens/camera system. Thus the Mamiya 80/4 on the Mamiya 7 is roughly the equivalent to a 40/2 on a Leica M, in respect to it's angle of view, focus isolation, and grain/noise for the same film or sensor. The biggest difference will be better tonality on the larger film/sensor.

[No, it's equivalent to a 40mm ƒ/4, because aperture is a control for the amount of light the lens passes through it. "Focus isolation" is dependent on many other factors besides aperture choice, some of which have nothing to do with the lens/camera system, and some of which have to do with subjective evaluation. It's not a stable property that can be measured. --Mike]

I know you love XP2, you wrote a post on it.
I used to love Tmax films and when I went to start a new project two years ago I assumed that that was the go-to film for detail, acceptance and fine grain. My local camera store disabused me of that notion quickly- Fuji Acros was now the reigning king. What I had not considered and perhaps you have not considered is that film technology has changed considerably since the "film daze"- the newest films like Portra, Acros, are so much better than the films we were used to it is not even close. I tried the Tmax and the Acros and at 100 ISO the Acros was like 4x5 in the Mamiya7 and the Tmax looked like 35mm. Having used the newest Portra and comparing it to the thousands of rolls of the previous versions I saw the writing on the wall, the newer film were heads above. Better also in terms of scanning, which is where my film does end up. So do yourself a favour and get some Acros and since I assume you are sending it out to be developed send it to a good BW lab with a hand line. D+D for BW is too energetic in my opinion.

:also spell check does not know Accutance - it makes it Acceptance:)

Seriously, Mike, that's a nice-looking camera. It looks nearly new! (Like 63 year-old Christie Brinkley in her current SI swimsuit cover!). The price it would fetch will never be better than it would be TODAY. If you're not ever going to use it earnestly again (honestly) it could be exchanged for a camera or lens you'd love to use today. Give some other guy a chance to keep it in his closet for a few years!

------
I'm in the process of deaccessioning nearly all of my film cameras, so this hits home. Recently while preparing my black Contax G2 kit for sale I began wondering if I'd maybe use it again. "NO!", I yelled to myself. Sell it now!

I've owned my Mamiya 7 since 2008. It's the only camera I've kept for that long and haven't had second thoughts about at any point. It's just dead simple and make amazing photographs with the tack sharp leaf shutter lenses.

As excited as I am about the new Fujifilm GFX-50s, I still dream of a 'digital Mamiya 7'. Maybe Fuji will simply make a larger X-Pro2?

The future is unclear but, I know that I'll continue to get this camera CLA'd and rangefinder adjusted as long as possible to keep it going.

Mike,

very much looking forward reading your views about shooting film in 2017. Since there is interest for analog photography from even Kodak, your quest is very promising.

I have thought for some time that the M7 would be a perfect platform for med format digital mirrorless. The mechanics are done, the ergonomics are done and the lenses are excellent. Why does ot someone pick this up and run with it?

As I was looking at the unboxing pics I caught myself wondering, just for a split second, what the back of the Mamiya with it's menu buttons might look like. Mind you, this from a 28 year film photographer ('75-2003.) Sheesh, yes, I chuckled at myself.

Sold my 7II setup a few years ago, but enjoyed it while I had it. Hoping the new digital mirrorless offerings may come close, but I do have my doubts (will not be the same user experience).

Today I shoot a roll of Tmax through my Nikon F3T and 50 f/1.2 when I feel the need. I really enjoy the sound of its shutter and feel and weight of the body in my hands. There will always be a little bit of analog in my photographic heart.

The closest I'm getting to that camera is owning a picture made by it. How 'bout it, Mr. Editor - print sale?

I got caught up in the Mamiya 6 mania as well, and being flush from annual reports I went out and bought: Three Mamiya 6 bodies, all three lenses, the close focusing gizmo, and the NPC Polaroid ProBack. Sight unseen, before any real user reviews had been published.

I hated it. Which is odd because I love using Leica and Fuji rangefinders but the Mamiya had a Gyro Gearloose grinding film transport, the viewfinder is only a crude approximation, the rangefinder was dim and flared like mad. It was utterly unusable for careful composed work even with the close focus device and Polaroid back. And the lenses were too slow for anything other than good light. The 150mm made portraiture risky as I couldn't trust focusing a long lens with a short rangefinder. And the meter was 1960s-state of the art. I forced myself to use it for four months and was thrilled to swap it out at the end of my self-imposed photo waterboarding.

It is the perfect serious amateur tourist camera where you photograph static scenes at medium to far distances slightly stopped down. If that's all you do then it's great.

[Hi Frank, I think you might have bought the wrong camera. Sounds like their RZ67 was the one for you. Bellows focusing, rotating back, large selection of lenses. For portraits and nudes such as you shoot it was the bomb. Annie Leibovitz used one for years. --Mike]

Shot with M7's from 1996 through 2006 when I jumped to digital. The 43mm was a gem, provided almost distortion free architectural images and the 80 was a nice "wide" normal lens. Even though I had the 65 and 150 in my bag, they rarely saw the light of day. And yes, I did read that someone at Mamiya tried to mimic some cosmetic features of the Leica. Focus is in the same direction as a leica lens as is the aperture rings rotation. I still have both bodies and the 4 lenses. Couldn't part with them. The color from the lenses was excellent but the black and white negs seemed to have a little less contrast than those from Zeiss...not a problem, just an observation. In fact I thought the Mamiya color rendering superior to the lenses on the Hasselblad. All told, a fabulous camera.

Nearest thing yet to making TOP a porn site...

I remember loving the look and feel of the Mamiya's at their time though, even used, they were way out of my league and I made do with old 6x6 folding cameras instead (a FSU Iskra (their version of the Agfa Super Isolette) is very nearly as good for a fraction of the price. Should never have sold it...)

I've pondered seeking out a 6 now but I think that if I get any of the neat & beautiful last generation of medium format cameras, the Fuji GA645Zi is the most likely. Combined with a nice large pile of Arista Edu Ultra ISO 400 film and a fresh box of Diafine for scanning rather than enlarging, it would be in a certain way the best of all worlds.

I don't think Mamiya gets the credit it deserves as being maybe the best camera designer ever.

I'm pretty much out of the game now but I would come back in if someone made it so I could shoot a Mamiya C330 with a 6x6 digital back. Not likely but...

Your discussion of the Mamiya 7II put me over the top. A mint, virtually unused 7 outfit (3 lenses + finders) recently came my way. I'm planning an Alaska road trip in June and have been undecided as to which camera(s) to take. Decision made... thanks.

My new-found love for MF has lead me to adding a non-square and now you have added fuel to the fire. I'm thinking more along the lines of 6x9, as I grew up with 35mm/2x3. (My comfort level with square/6x6 is mystery to me.) So now I'm scanning for Fuji GSW690s. Thanks. I think.

Let's see. I've got a 36 mp full frame Pentax K1, manual focus 35mm Zeiss f2.0 Distagon T* ZK on it, and can post process in Lightroom to simulate XP2. But it's not the same is it? No film smell - which I miss. Is that a thing by the way?

I re-discovered film photography a couple of years ago and have fallen in love with the colour palette and tonal range of Fuji 400H and Portra 400, which is very hard to reproduce with digital.

I now have two Mamiya 6 bodies and all 3 lenses. For travel, documentary and reportage work I think there is simply no better film camera. Small and light (no bigger than a 5D) but with stellar lenses that are quick to focus, and the leaf shutters mean you can handhold at slow speeds.

However for portraits (where I am controlling the situation) I'm finding a Hasselblad with 80mm lens and a 45 degree prism is killer. It's easier to focus on off centre subjects on the ground glass than using an RF patch, and the slower more deliberate style of operation gives plenty of time for interaction with the sitter. And the focus falloff from sharp in-focus areas to soft OOF areas is simply beautiful. But forget handholding at speeds below 1/125th - I find I'm usually on the tripod.

But with these two systems I really feel I have the best of both worlds.

I had one of these for a while when their prices cratered in 2008. Thought I would love it, and boy was I wrong.

1. Frustrating to use on a tripod because of the back latch on the bottom of the camera.

2. Framelines are pretty dim, making night work really really hard (on the 7 model).

3. The meter is great in bright light but you really need a handheld meter for reasonably long exposures (i.e., if you attach a red filter).

Probably just me, but much as I loved the light weight, I really disliked the ergonomics in actual use.

[Hi J., The back latch isn't on the bottom of the camera, but the lens-change darkslide latch is. I assume that's what you meant.

Like most RFs, it's not really meant to be a tripod camera. Remember that Mamiya's bread-and-butter camera with the many portrait and fashion photographers who used Mamiya back then was the RZ67, and, before the RZ, its precursor the RB. So the Mamiya 6 was conceived as adjunct to those cameras and a complement to them. It was assumed by Mamiya that the typical buyer of the 6 would already have an RZ. (I'm not guessing at this; it's what I was told by Mamiya at the time I wrote the review of the 6.) The RZ would have been the better tripod camera, with a more precise SLR viewfinder. --Mike]

Still have my Mamiya 6 bodies and all three lenses. Haven't shot them in years but have no intention of selling. That kit went with me to the summit of the 13th highest peak in the world, rafting down the Grand Canyon, and many other adventures. The folding bellows is why I never considered going to the 7, plus never having to rotate the camera for verticals. (BTW it works just fine on a tripod using ARCA plates). Prior to the Mamiya's, I was an Olympus fan and still have an OM-1n and a couple of 4t's but only kept a few of the choice lenses. Some companies just get it.

Money --> mouth

(Thanks for the motivation!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQVdTgRFbCI/

The comments to this entry are closed.