Hasselblad 500cm vs. Mamiya 7

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ambar, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    So I'm down to either getting a Hasselblad 500cm and a Mamiya 7. Both with their respective 80mm lens.
    I do quite a bit of lowlight photography so my question is.. Will the extra stop make a HUGE load of difference between these two?

    My rationale is based on the fact that the mamiya is a range finder and "therefore should suffers less" with camera shake when firing the shutter.. (Does it? I know theres some technique involved but once you get the hang of it....) Would I be able to gain back that extra stop simply in the fact that I can hand hold it at lower speeds? How does the mamiya's viewfinder fare in low light? The 6x7 format is appealing but not a real dealmaker.

    As for the Hasselblad.. How low can you go (shutter speed) and get printable results on 8x10ish paper?

    I'm also about to endeavor into the world of flash photography.. The Mamiya's hot shoe is a big plus in that respect. How limiting are my options on the Hasselblad for flash? I don't even understand where a flash goes on the 500cm!?
    Any help on that department would also be very welcome!
    Thanks alot!
     
  2. postalman

    postalman Member

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    I've got a hasselblad (200 series - close enough) so I may be biased :smile:
    The camera vibration during firing is very low for a mirror that big. Sure it's a fairly imposing noise, but not much movement. Also, you can lock the mirror if you're really worried and there is no movement at all anywhere except the teeny-tiny shutter in the lens. The mass distribution may or may not help too; I'd be inclined to say it will help since it has a larger moment of inertia in pan and tilt directions. I have never actually used a mamiya 7 so I can't give a comparison, and I haven't printed that large so I don't want to quote a number. But it's less of a problem on the hasselblad than you think.

    As for flash - I have a grip with a cold shoe on it and use a pc-shoe adaptor when I want flash. It's a pain in the ass and I really wish hasselblads came with a cold shoe somewhere. The lack of one is a monumental design cock-up in my opinion, and I simply don't understand how something so well designed and at the top of the market can have such a stuff-up. A cheap 3/8 screw in grip that I got for free (but would have cost less than $5) does the job just fine. Here is a fancy one that costs all of $19
     
  3. jhw

    jhw Subscriber

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    I have both... Low light outside, no tripod, I'd take the Mamiya, even though the slower lens is kind of a hassle; for me, it's just easier to carry around in hand and take quick shots. If you're getting into flash photography, follow what postalman says and go Hasselblad...the accessories just make it easier to use as a studio/flash system. Depends on what kind of shooting you're looking to do. (Also, if you go Hassey, just lock up the mirror, and the shutter's just as calm as the Mamiya.)
     
  4. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    On the other hand, there is no shutter vibration to speak of with the Mamiya. The problem I have had, and you might too, is being used to more shutter release travel and therefore pushing the camera while pressing the button. Once you overcome habit, this is a non-issue.

    I'd go with the Mamiya, but then I already did.
     
  5. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Both are great. You forgot to throw a Rolleiflex TLR into the mix! The latter great for hand-holding low-light. Hassy to Mamiya the differences in handling are so huge that it's a personal choice for that. I shoot my Hassy a lot in low light but use a tripod. The Mamiya for hand-holding down to 1/15 is much better vs hand-holding the Hassy.
     
  6. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    I would think that one big difference is that generally with the Hassy you will be using a waist level finder whereas with the Mamiya you will be using it eye level. Of course you can get a eye-level finder for the Hassy but due to the weight and shape it is quite a different experience than with the Mamiya. Just a thought.

    One more thing... you are changing two things at once... camera format AND stepping into flash. If it were me I'd experiment with flash before buying another camera to make sure just how important that may (or may not) be to your new format descision. Both are great cameras, but very different.

    Keith Ostertag
     
  7. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I have both, and I'd take the Mamiya 7 for hand held low shutter speed shots, especially outdoors. The problem with the Hasselblad isn't the shutter, but the mirror. I estimate the Mamiya gives me 2 stops better results than the Hasselblad. For 8x10 output, with an 80mm lens on the Hasselblad I try to keep the shutter speed above 1/60th (ideally 1/125th), but with the Mamiya 1/15th to 1/30th is as slow as I would go. Also keep in mind that you are going to enlarge (and crop) the Hasselblad image more than the Mamiya 7 image for an 8x10.

    To me you should really be looking at how the lens draws it's image. I think the Hasselblad is much nicer when used close to wide open. But the Mamiya 7 is sharper, more clinical looking. I really like both systems.
     
  8. Ambar

    Ambar Member

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    postalman - Thanks for the flash info! I've been a little lost in the woods looking at a Hassey and not seeing any flash mount.

    jhw - I don't really expect to be doing any studio flash, but rather a handheld style for more of a snapshot situation.

    degruyl - Thanks for thee heads up..!

    rich815 - I did consider the rollei but I wanted something with an interchangeable system. I have plans to expand this system beyond the 80mm. I've also played quite a bit with medium format already. I've used a borrowed Yashica flex for quite a while and had loads of fun with it.. I've also borrowed an old Ensign 6x9 that I'm fixing up, but the it's time to buy my own stuff! Flash isn't a SERIOUSE thing that i'm looking into.. for now it's more of a curiosity for new possibilities. I just want to be able to do it in a reasonable way.

    L Gebhardt - Thanks for sharing your experience with low shutter speeds! It's very informative, and my suspicions were such. The way the lens draws is in fact a VERY big curiosity of mine.. and I am well aware they are very different from each other.. I've been googling around to try and find Mamiya shots at f/4 but it's really hard to tell if you are looking at the real thing. I suspect that the Hassey will satisfy me more in this regard but this could be the marketing devil on my shoulder. It's complete speculation at this point.


    Thank you all for sharing your experiences!
     
  9. film_man

    film_man Member

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    Where exactly is the hotshoe to go on cube where:
    1. the front has the lens
    2. the top has the finder
    3. the back has the...back
    4. the right side has the crank
    5. the left side is where your left arm is
    6. the bottom is where your hand is to hold it

    :smile:
     
  10. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    BTW, I once forgot my tripod after driving 450 miles into the backcountry of Utah. Crap! I thought.

    But then I remembered how silly perfect the shutter on the M7II is and how even the shutter button is so smooth, I could probably go without.

    Check out my gallery uploads, the Petroglyphs, the Chaco shots, and many other's were handheld down to 1/15th. Go for the Mamiya only if you prefer RF though, since some may not.
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Veery different cameras. Apples and oranges, really. If you need the versatility e.g. to do tight portraiture and landscape, then you have to go with the hassy or a similar MF SLR. But for scenic, documentary, landscape, travel, the 7 is very hard to beat.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2012
  12. postalman

    postalman Member

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    I agree, it wouldn't fit on the current design. But that doesn't mean a shoe is a bad idea, it means the design is wrong :wink:

    Although, to be fair to hasselblad, I'm not sure I'd want to have a flash hanging cantilevered off the side like a 6008, but it'd be great for my radio trigger. I'm just venting in frustration is all. Coldshoes are just so useful to have when you need one. (and yes, I realise the V series was invented way before radio triggers were). And my hasselblad is far too beautiful to deface by gluing a coldshoe on the side
     
  13. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I went from Mamiya 7 to Hasselblad, but I think for you, Mamiya is the choice. You're talking about low light and flash, which I think the Mamiya is *a lot* better for. I assume you're talking handheld, not tripod, so, for me it's Mamiya every time.

    If you're shooting on a tripod, then I think Hasselblad is probably nicer. The ground glass works well on a tripod, and of course there is the accuracy of the SLR vs. range finder. Many Hasselblads have mirror lock-up, so camera shake is not a worry. For hand held use, which it sounds like you're after, Mamiya all the way.

    If you're happy with a fixed lens though, check out GF670 from Fujifilm, it's probably a tad cheaper than a Mamiya 7II with lens, and folds up to be very portable. It's a beautiful camera with a fantastic lens.
     
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  15. jhw

    jhw Subscriber

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    Though I'll grant that the micro-contrast, 3d look, etc. are smooth butter happiness with my Hasselblad, I think the Mamiyas - though not wonderful - get somewhat of a bad rap on the background rendering. I was just looking at several rolls of the 50 & 80mm shot wide open, and was pleasantly surprised that the background oof areas were actually pretty nice. Now, there was a bit of distance between primary subject and non-busy background, so both those factors help...but we're not talking Etch-a-Sketch bokeh here; though meant for super sharpness, the soft parts aren't bad either.
     
  16. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I agree that the Mamiya's optics are razor sharp, that and the larger negative will do you well for landscapes.

    OTH, if you can handhold the Mamiya at 1/15 or 1/30, you can handhold the Hasselblad at that speed and still get good shots (or not).
    Either way, at such slow speeds, most people are skating on thin ice for getting really sharp results. Though there are almost always alternatives for bracing if you don't happen to have a tripod.
     
  17. jcoldslabs

    jcoldslabs Member

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    I shot weddings with a Mamiya 7 for years, and much of that was handheld using available light. I never had a problem with the look or feel of the images wide open or camera shake at slow shutter speeds. Attached are some rather poor scans but they should give you a sense of the 80mm wide open. Can't recall what the films or exposures were, though. Likely in the 1/8th to 1/15th range I would think.

    EDIT: In case you can't tell from the image, the hairs on the bride's forearms are tack sharp in the negative.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    Wow! Weddings with a mamiya 7 - I am super impressed!! Makes me love mine even more!
     
  19. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I think the big thing that helps me shoot the Mamiya at lower shutter speeds is that nothing happens in the viewfinder as the image is shot. I am pretty sure I slightly flinch as the viewfinder goes black with an SLR. It's also so quite, that there isn't even noise to anticipate as you squeeze the button.
     
  20. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Honestly, I hook up a cable release and handhold shoots. Works out wonderfully. I haven't seen that the mamiya is any better or worse than the has in terms of bokeh or anything. Im pretty well convinced the lenses are optically perfect in nearly every respect.
     
  21. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    The Mamiya certainly has advantages for low light. I don't remember if it has been mentioned, but focus will be quicker with the rangefinder. I was going to say "easier", but that is not so true with the waist level finder (w/magnifier) on the Hasselblad (but the lens focus is still one of the slowest around, at least on the old CM lenses-not sure about later ones). If you want eye-level viewing, I also think the Mamiya wins out (to me the Hassleblad is at its best with a waist level finder). And I agree they were a favorite of many wedding photographers (probably more the 6 than the 7 though for that use).

    Still, I never quite warmed up to the look of the Mamiya lenses (I owned the 6, but also got to shoot with the 7); they are some of the finest lenses ever made, but I still like the look of the Zeiss lenses better. I also like waist level finders, so guess I'd be in the Hassleblad camp. It really is a wonderful and sold camera with great optics. And lately they seem to go begging at below rock bottom prices. I don't need any more cameras, so do my best to ignore the bargains I hear about.

    BTW, I'll second the suggestion of a Rolleiflex w/2.8. I think they beat either of the others for low light, and still have that great Zeiss (or Schneider) look. The late models also take a wonderful prism; that is my favorite setup.
     
  22. ctsundevil

    ctsundevil Member

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    Both cameras could work in low light, but in different ways. The Hasselblad with a waist level finder and a neck strap is pretty steady. The Mamiya can be hand held at at 1/15 sec. pretty easily. Flash with the Mamiya 7 is manual only, there is no flash automation built in. It can, however, sync at all shutter speeds.
    I just recently picked up a Metz 54MZ-4 to use with my Mamiya. It works great on manual and auto.
     
  23. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    iworked with both and would pick the mamiya anytime due totheir comprtitionless optics
     
  24. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Another good option for low light is Mamiya C3 series TLR. Same idea as Rolleiflex 2.8, but a lot less expensive.

    I've shot a lot of wedding on Mamiya 6. I have two of them, and I always had them with different lenses on. Many people mentioned mirror vibration, but for church ceremony, indoor reception, etc., the problem is more to do with the subject's motion blur. You're more likely forced to use flash with medium format than with 35mm, where you have f/1.4 lenses available.
     
  25. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    oh yes,mamiya 6: grat camera an d similar outstanding optics, esir to fofus than hasselblad too!
     
  26. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I also prefer the 6 to the 7, in spite of concerns about a fragile winder and so forth and the lack of the superfreakignwide lens. The other slight letdowns of the 6 are the lack of multiexposure and the 75mm lens isn't fast. But the collapsibility of the 6, and the square format make it my favourite camera of all.