Mamiya 6 Durability?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Stewart Skelt, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. Stewart Skelt

    Stewart Skelt Member

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    I travel quite a bit for work and when I do I can't really take either my Hasselblad kit or my Horseman 45 due to their bulk. But I hanker after something bigger than 35mm, so my search for a small(ish) MF continues. I have a couple of old Zeiss folders, and at one stage had a Fuji 645zi which I sold as I didn't like the plasticky feel and the pseudo-zoom. Looking at what is available I could try another Fuji 645 (prime lens this time) or something a bit bulkier and pricier like a Bronica 645 or one of the Mamiya RFs. I have to say that in terms of the specifications, the Mamiya 6 seems very appealing: good lenses, retracting lens mount for compactness, and I like 6x6. I was almost across the psychological rubicon when I read some posts that spooked me - along the lines of the M6 having an under-engineered film wind mechanism that was prone to failure and could not be repaired.

    I must say that the prices these things go for are pretty high for something with that bad a problem. Are there any experiences out there that can guide me?
     
  2. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Aside from being a touch smaller, I cannot think of a good reason to get a Mamiya 6 over a Mamiya 7. Will the retracting lenses cutting about an inch off the front to back dimension make much difference to you withwhat you have in mind?

    Personally I would go for a Mamiya 7 for general travel if you must have a lens longer than std (and take care to ensure your RF mechanism and 150 can be made to agree) and a RF645 if std and a wide will do you fine. Both are great and currently supported (the rf645 for another 7 ish years I suppose now that Bronica is dead). Neither strip gears that I have heard of. Mamiya 6s can also be really pricey. At least 7 kit is easy to find if you decide to add another lens.
     
  3. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    The Mamiya 6 and lens is significantly cheaper than the 7.

    Matt
     
  4. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    One advantage that the Mamiya 6 has over the 7 is that it is 6x6, which I prefer over 6x7 and that Stewart said he wants. I bought mine lightly used and while I don't use it heavily, I must have run about 200 rolls through it in the last 18 months with no sign of problems. Before I bought it I spoke to a well respected repair person who works on these cameras and he assured me that he has not seen any significant problems, including the film winding mechanism, with the M6. I have ben very happy with mine and find the retracting lens very nice as it does make the camera quite a bit more compact. The only thing I am not crazy about is the meter which tends to underexpose on my sample, so I just use a hand held meter when I have time.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  5. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    They are cheaper but not by much. The original Mamiya 7 Mk 1s can be picked up very cheaply now on ebay. A good Mamiya 6 + 75 in the UK tends to go for about 500-550 GBP (or more!). A 7 Mk1 + 80 can be had for 600-700 GBP. A used M6 150 is about 400-500; about the same as a m7 150. However, one cannot find a M7 50mm for much less than 750GBP whereas the m6 50 comes in at 400-500; quite a lot cheaper.

    Th deals on new Mamiya 7 IIs are increbible in the UK (Robert White) and US (Popflash).

    Not suggesting a Mam 6 is a bad move at all, but unless the square format is critical, a 7 can be had for only a little more.
     
  6. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The mamiya 6 is a square which makes it somewhat unique. The lenses are really good. As for the Mamiya 7, some find the 6x7 an unremarkable format, but it has most everything the 6 has -- except the very nice retractable lens mount. The six has problems with the film advance which is driving up the price of the bodies.
     
  7. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    If you are thinking between 6 and 7, that's a good evidence that you are not in love with either of them...

    I have two sets of new Mamiya 6 bodies and 3 lenses. Most of the time I have a 50mm on one body and a 75mm on another. I've read some uneven film advance problems, which are notoriously difficult to get fixed even by Mamiya America technicians. But fortunately mine didn't develop such problems.

    At the same time, I may add that with modern films (Fujifilm Acros) and modern developers, I can make grainless 20x24 prints from 35mm negatives pretty easily. Comparing between Canon EF 35mm f/2 and Mamiya 6 50/75mm lenses, the Mamiya still has definite advantage of greater rendition of details at the same print size (using same film and developers for both formats), but that's something only you'll notice.

    http://wiki.silvergrain.org/wiki/index.php/New_Mamiya_6

    I recommend new Mamiya 6 over Mamiya 7 if:

    * you are a lens fetish (a serious mental disorder) and need some control
    * you are a square fetish (which is not the same)

    and perhaps less enthusiastically recommend if:

    * you don't want to hold a camera in the vertical position.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2006
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    It might be helpful in choosing a camera if you are able to get a 15 day trial negotiated before commiting to purchasing a camera. Not having to turn the camera and having a more secure hold, if that is the way it seems to you, could be very influential in choosing the 6 over the 7.
     
  9. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I think it's possible to hold new Mamiya 6 at a "vertical" position but the degree of comfort is not like a 35mm SLR with a vertical grip attached to it. I don't know if there's a vertical grip for 7, but I doubt it. If you routinely shoot in vertical position, 645 may be a better choice. I had a Fujifilm GA-645i for some time but it wasn't for me for various reasons, so I sold it and bought second set of new Mamiya 6. No regret in that decision, although I see the guy who bought my GA645i taking lots of good pictures with it.
     
  10. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Another consideration is whether you'll use a flash bracket. I don't know if there's any Custom Bracket or other high quality brackets for Mamiya 6/7 available now, but if you use them, vertical holding needs a bit more consideration. Don't expect Mamiya 6/7 to work with generic brackets, because film spools need to stick out while changing films. Brackets designed for these cameras have holes in those areas, for example, and they also have anti-twist measures. The bracket I use (the name escaped my mind- will report later if interested) works fine with 6 but it'll be a bit more PITA with 7 when vertical position needs to be considered. Custom Bracket would be fine if you can get a proper base plate for M6/7.
     
  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Why would you want to hold a square format camera vertical?

    There is a spacer available for the 6/7 that allows a flash bracket or tripod head plate to be attached to the bottom of the camera allowing access to the curtain and room for the spool ends to release the film.

    FWIW I have the six and have traveled extensively with it (many thousands of rolls and miles). I long for the 43mm available for the 7, but prefer the 6.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2006
  12. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I wouldn't. I'm just telling how it would be to do it with a 6 and implying not much difference for 7.
    I think that spacer is for tripod. Not good enough for bracket because of lack of anti-twist measures.

    By the way, I wouldn't say anything close to "Mamiya Six" in this context because that's a different camera.
     
  13. micek

    micek Member

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    The Bronica RF645 is compact and rock solid, an ergonomical delight, lenses are great, lightmeter accurate and pricewise it's a bargain. If you are looking for a MF travel camera and lenses outfit you could do much worse than this.
     
  14. Matthew Gorringe

    Matthew Gorringe Member

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    Get a Mamiya 6 in good condition.

    If you buy it from a dealer you can be sure of having a working film wind when you get it.

    Last time I had mine CLAd I asked the tech about the wind mechanism. He said it was all stainless and wasn't flimsy at all. If you don't abuse it it would be hard to break it. It does occasionally get stuck but it's no problem as you just press a little button to unlock it.

    The real reason to get the 6 over the 7 is the viewfinder, it deals with 50mm, 75mm and 150mm in the camera. Use a 50mm lens on the 7 and you've got to use an accessory finder. Plus it's more compact and feels a lot better built.
    Despite its cult status I still think it's an underated camera.

    Matt.
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    I battled with the same question but was lucky enough to have a friend who had both and trusted me with them. I tried both and settled for the Mamiya 6.

    Reasons:
    1. Same format as my Hasselblad (don't have to think how to hold the camera).
    2. All negs fit easily in to my negative files (3 and 4 frame strips, never know what to do with the tenth frame on the 7).
    3. The lenses are superb (also true for the 7).
    4. The whole package is very small (the lens retraction of the 6 helps).

    I bought the whole set of lenses from different sources and paid a total of roughly $2000. I also ended up sending camera and one lens (150) to Mamiya for a focus adjustment. Optically, I have no better camera. While travelling, this is the camera to have (did some great images of French cathedrals this summer). But in the studio, my Hasselblad just works a lot better.
     
  16. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    My Mamiya 6MF has been 100% reliable and I'm very happy with it, but I have heard a rumour that the non-MF version isn't as robust - the rumour had it that the body can crack beneath the lens mount and that was corrected in the 6MF. How much truth there is in this I don't know - anyone else heard that rumour?
     
  17. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    All cameras can be broken