Mamiya 6 rangefinder landscapes

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mporter012, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Hello!

    I was originally leaning towards picking up a hasselblad 500 or 501, but have recently been looking at many images made on Mamiya 6's and 7's and the sharpness of the photos are spectacular. Here is one great example http://www.brucepercy.co.uk - I really, really like 6x6 (which eliminates the mamiya 7's). I'm typically out carrying my camera for hours at a time, so the Mamiya would be ideal for weight/size. That said, I have never used a rangefinder, only slr's, so it kinda freaks me out that I won't be looking through the lens. I suppose I'm afraid I'm afraid of framing wrong on distant shots, ect. I think I am quite reliant upon looking through lens and having magnification to know precisely what's happening. I use a grid focusing screen b/c i like to know where the middle of the image is, so it would certainly be a change.

    Is it an easy transition to shooting a rangefinder? How conducive is it to landscapes?

    Thanks!
     
  2. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    I think more experienced people than me will be able to tell you what rangefinders are really good for. Personally I find that, especially w/ landscapes, I've sometimes included things along the edges of the picture I didn't realize I was including.

    I've only heard great things about the Mamiya 6 and 7 though.
     
  3. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    a lot has to be said for TTLphotography, butthe mamiya 6 with a 50mm lens is an excellent choice, and you're right, the maamiya optics are spectacular. i have the 50,75, and 150, which all beat my czeiss lenses hands-down.
     
  4. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I had a Mamiya 6 for many years. As you state, the lens quality is excellent. However, i eventually sold it as the hasselblad system is all I need, and perfectly adapted to the way i shoot. I liked the Mamiya system a lot, and believe it is one of the best systems out there, but is VERY fragile. The winders are the things that go, and spares are not available. If the gears strip, you are done.. The usual recourse is to find another body, or your lenses are useless.. For me, it was a no brainer switching back to the hasselblad. I liked the lightness of the Mamiya, but it did not work for all scenarios, like close-ups, and i preferred the SLR for ease of composition in the cases. Hasselblad also has tons of spares and parts available, whereas the Mamiya doesn't.
     
  5. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    The Mamiya 6 is one of my favorite cameras. I have two bodies and use them constantly for all my work, much landscape as well. First of all I would not worry about framing a distant landscape wrong, you simply crop if you need to. I find the framelines close enough for my work. If you're one of those people who think cropping is absolutely a no-no then do not ever get a rangefinder! :wink:

    As Ralph said, the optics are amazingly sharp. I believe the sharpest optics in MF. But some say the bokeh is not flattering. RF's aren't the best choice for head and shoulders portraits, environmental portraiture absolutely, but not in tight. And you can forget about close up photography. There's also no super long tele, though I find the 150 so sharp that I can crop my negatives a great deal and still get wonderful results. I find focusing with this system easy and fast. With the 50mm I will just use the scale on the lens. The lenses are slow though, f/4 at the fastest.

    All that said, this system fits my style perfectly. I prefer to work quicker and lighter and this system allows me to do so and still shoot MF. And when I want to slow things down I just put the camera on a tripod, which I try to do for most shots, but to be able to use it so easily handheld is a huge benefit.

    I honestly wouldn't worry about the parts thing. I've had two bodies for years, used them hard, and make sure I have Bob at Precision Camera works CLA them every once in a while and I'm good to go. They feel great!!

    If you have any questions about this system feel free to PM me. I have lots of experience with this camera and highly recommend it.

    Here's a brief pros and cons list:

    Pros:
    Easiest MF to shoot handheld (because it's square)
    Lightweight
    Small for MF
    Sharp Optics
    Fast to use and focus
    Quiet
    Easy to focus in very low light
    VF doesn't black out at moment of exposure
    Filters can be used and not obstruct the view through the VF

    Cons:
    Slow Lenses (A con for some people)
    Lenses do not focus close
    Only 3 lenses in the system (again, a con for some people)
    No really long tele
    Meter is not the greatest. I use a handheld meter most times
    Cannot see TTL (this doesn't bother me either)
    Some filters are hard to use (Grad ND filters)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  6. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Real PITA if you intend to use Grad filters...
     
  7. rbender

    rbender Member

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    Borrow one or rent one if you can find one or even a M7 to see if a rangefinder is for you. I borrowed a M6 for a few months and just could not get comfortable with a rangefinder and ended up with a Hasselblad. All a personal preference, though it would make a great second kit if you wanted to afford it.
     
  8. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Thanks for the advice so far. I have attempted to find a place to rent a mamiya, or anything film for that matter, and I can't find a thing.
     
  9. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    I have the Mamiya 6MF variant and could not be happier. I have all three lenses, they are spectacular. I have never had any issue with anything breaking (knock wood). I think some of the fragility issues were addressed when they released the MF version.

    Some complain about the extra marks in the viewfinder of the MF variant. Personally I like them, I use them as I would a grid.

    I find that you can trust the framing lines (which adjust per lens). The only time I've ever been misaligned was when trying to shoot something closer than closest focus (filling the lens with a grey card for film speed testing). But that is outside the scope of the design...

    The two things you will need to adjust to are using the focus patch, and perhaps lack of a depth of field preview capability. You'll get over the latter, and only use will tell you if you can work with the former.

    The camera is extremely light and compact for MF. It is smaller and lighter than my Nikon SLR, very nice for hiking, and very, very quiet.
     
  10. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Putting your location in your APUG profile often will spur members near you who might have this camera to reach out and perhaps offer you a try in such postings like this. But since your location is set for N/A most who might check might just not bother.
     
  11. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I use both range finder and TLR at the moment, and used to use Hasselblad. For accurate, close up focusing. I much, much prefer range finder focusing. I find it so much easier than either relying on my eyes to see focus, or even the split screen, which are good, but I do struggle a bit with them.

    For tripod work, I much prefer ground glass/SLR, not just for looking through the lens, but the convenience of looking down on the screen, not crouching to look through the finder.

    So for me, carrying it around? Mamiya every time. But if I'm using a tripod 99% of the time, I'd take the Hasselblad. I will say that often range finders have more accurate framing than you'd think, and unless you *really* want to include details at the edge of the frame, accuracy may not be that important.

    It's a personal choice, but I find I like both for different things, and RF and SLR each have their place.
     
  12. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I have the Mamiya 7 and I love it. There's a lot of plastic in it so it picks up scratches and general battering marks really easily. It's my workhorse camera. I mostly use the 43mm lens (which is not available on the 6). I am going on one of Bruce's workshop courses in April which I am very excited about. I will use my Mamiya 7 & 43mm and my Hasselblad & 50mm so that I can do both BW and colour.
     
  13. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I have used my Mamiya 6 for traveling - usually with all three lenses. If I really want to travel light I have a little Fuji GS645s. The Mamiya 6 actually fills the same bag I used for a C330 with comparable (55, 80 or 105, 180) lens set. A little lighter, though.

    I like RF cameras when I am in unfamiliar and busy places. Better general awareness. I prefer to compose on a camera screen, but it does not seem to make much difference to the final results.
     
  14. SFC

    SFC Member

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    I have both Mamiya 6 with 3 lenses and a Hasselblad. The Mamiya is much easier to focus, especially in near-dark conditions. The issues of using polarizers or grads are non-issues to me--when mounted on an SLR the grad line is impossible to see anyway (even with the lens stopped down). I mark the dividing line on the outside of the filter and just estimate it. You can just bracket for precise position also.
    The issue of rangefinder viewing and accuracy are very overblown--I have never been bothered by the final image. Perhaps you OCD types who insist on always printing the whole frame will care--in which case it's time for your meds. I have not found the Mamiya 6 to be fragile, and take it hiking regularly. I believe the reason for winder breakage is the fact that some rolls by some manufactures are spooled on very tightly and won't come off the reel at the film end. In that case, just don't force it. Anyway, I very much doubt the winders break with no reason. It is true, though, that there are no spare parts, and even bargain bodies now are going for near $1000. It is much riskier than a Hasselblad in that case. The Mamiya 50 is simply the best lens I've ever used. Period.
     
  15. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    You wanna know a neat little outfit? It was the Kowa Super 66. The lenses really were pretty good. And it had innovations that aren't in a Hasselblad. Kowas fire much more smoothly. But the brand really never caught on. I think if Mamiya had been making a Hasselblad copy all these years, Hasselblad would not have the following they've had. Mamiya is TOUGH stuff. And has a reputation of unquestionable repute. Mamiyas are good stuff, period.