Mamiya 645 identification

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by markthew, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. markthew

    markthew Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Coral Spring
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I just was offered a Mamiya 645 body, prism finder, 120 back w/ 80mm 2.8 and 210mm lenses for $200.00 US. Condition rough with some light scratching on lenses which may not be too signifigant for my use. I want to get into MF cheaply. Serial number on the body is L77940. I can't figure out which model 645 this is. Can anyone advise me on which model this is and maybe how old?
     
  2. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Does the film back come off or does it only have a film insert?

    Does it have black leatherette on a metal body and prism or is it plastic?

    Does the prism come off?

    Is it heavy or fairly light with the prism attached?

    If it is plastic on the prism and fairly light, it should have Super/Pro/ProTL or 645e printed on the body. If it uses a film back and prism that comes off then a Super/Pro/ProTL. If a metal body with heavy prism and just a film insert it is one of the older bodies and should have 1000s on the side, or it is a J model or earlier which may not have markings.

    I'm guessing it falls in the Super/Pro/ProTL range since you said film back.
     
  3. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's really too much money for one in rough condition with scratched lenses. You can find a Mamiya 645 kit with unscratched lenses for that or not much more. It'll be worth it to keep looking and find a better deal.
     
  4. markthew

    markthew Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Coral Spring
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It's black leatherette on metal, removable prism, fairly heavy (5 or 6 lbs-ish). I don't know if it's a back or an insert. The top of the prism has "SM" on a plaque on it. I didn't notice any other model indications. Based on some web browsing I was guessing the L serial number pointed toward 1000s
     
  5. markthew

    markthew Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Coral Spring
    Shooter:
    35mm
    chris,

    I never see these over here in South Florida. We have no soul. It's all digital and newish. I was just up in Boston and saw a body with finder only for $399 at Calumet. About the same conditiion.
     
  6. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just bought a 1000s complete with an 80 2.8, a CdS prism, and a 120 back (no 210mm lens though) for around $175 shipped (shipping was $13) from KEH about a month ago. Just for comparison.
     
  7. mwdake

    mwdake Member

    Messages:
    612
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    FL, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It sounds like either a m645 or a m645 1000s. If it is it will just say m645 or m645 1000s above the winding crank.
    However, I think the model name is just part of the leatherette so if the leathetette is missing then then model may be missing with it,
    The only main difference is the m645 has a top shutter speed of 500 and the 1000s has a top speed of 1000 hence the name.


    Any of the other models such as Super, Pro, Pro TL etc are marked as such.

    I have a m645 and I enjoy it a lot.

    What kind of prism is it?
    The metered PD can be quite pricy if working and in good order.
    Check KEH.com for reference prices.

    good luck
     
  8. markthew

    markthew Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Coral Spring
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks all. The fellow is asking $200. I'm thinking that some negotiation is in order but figure to buy it tomorrow or Monday. Not always necessary to get the lowest possible price and at $200 it's already cheap. I figure once I've got it it'll be easier to decide exactly which model it is.

    By the way, I've never used KEH, only Adorama and B&H and am happy with them both. Should I give KEH a try?
     
  9. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    KEH is awesome. Everything I bought for my Mamiya system was "bargain," and honestly it is in better shape than ANY other gear I own.

    The only thing I was able to find wrong was some velcro on the prism, and a scuff mark on the lens barrel. The velcro was removed and the scuff mark is only noticeable when one is searching for it.

    I very highly recommend KEH. Oftentimes cheaper than eBay.
     
  10. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,650
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    Manitoba, Ca
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If i's a 1000s the shutter speed will max out at 1/1000th.
     
  11. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Seriously, $200 is NOT cheap. the lenses are scratched. Ruined. Worth nothing. M645 lenses are dirt cheap in flawless condition, in such bad condition that the glass is scratched they are worth nearly $0. Brofkand bought the same set, minus the 200mm lens, for $175 in MUCH better condition. The 210mm lens is not expensive if you really need it, but you'll use the 80mm 95% of the time most likely
     
  12. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The 1000s is labeled very clearly with a chrome 1000s on the side, as well as the 1/1000 shutter speed. If it is beat, pass. Especially if it is only a m645 or 645J model. You can get Super and Pro models with winders in that same price range and shed a few pounds. That said the 1000s is a nice camera, I have one and a Super and a Pro.

    The only good thing abut an older body that is a little beat is that you won't feel guilty about ripping the leatherette off and putting down some nice leather in your favorite color. My 1000s is still in too good a condition to do this.
     
  13. brofkand

    brofkand Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As is mine, Greg. Maybe in a decade or two.

    If the glass is scratched, I'd skip them. If you can get the body itself for $50 or so, get it. Then buy your lenses from other people. KEH clearly marks scratched lenses as Ugly. They are much cheaper than Bargain or other ratings, because of all things you can do to a camera, scratching a lens is one of the (relatively) few that will damage your image quality. A missing winder knob or a broken meter won't ruin your photographs.

    You're in Florida, so buy from KEH. It'll probably take two days to get to you from their offices in Atlanta. I'm near Charlotte, NC and it takes two days for me. eBay is another option, but people on eBay that buy these things dirt cheap at estate sales tend to know nothing of photography and rate everything as "MINT!" So it's a crapshoot.
     
  14. claudermilk

    claudermilk Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I agree with the others. Take a good look at what KEH has. I put together an entire 645Pro outfit there for $350--all pieces rated BGN. The gear had scuffs as you'd expect a well-used pro camera to have. Functionally it's all been perfect.
     
  15. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,333
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    OK, I'm going to pipe in here just quickly.

    Why is it that the Mamiya 645, in the relative scheme of things, is a cheaper MF camera? Is it just because there are so many around?

    Just asking
     
  16. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I think it is the fact that very large numbers were made. These were EXTREMELY popular with wedding photographers, and lots of hobbyists and fine art photographers bought them too. They were less expensive than a Hasselblad when new, and the lenses were cheaper than Bronica lenses because Mamiya's lenses didn't need the leaf shutter, and were FAR FAR less costly than the ungodly expensive Zeiss lenses of the Hasselblad and Rollei SLRs. So, yeah, they're common. They're also GOOD. Much of my work seen on my website was done over a 15 year period with a Mamiya 645 Super and the four lenses I have for it. The lenses are sharp, reliable, built solidly, and the bodies are very reliable too.
     
  17. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,333
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks Chris.

    I had promised myself that I wasn't going to do MF yet....I need to upgrade my enlarger....but jeez, I love looking and now my wallett is starting to burn a hole in my pocket.

    Instead of creating a new thread, how 645 super rate, with a 80 f1.9 lens?
     
  18. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I had a Super and it was great. I have heard stories about reliability, but I had no problems. The Super will use all of the various Pro accessories such as motor grips, finders, and backs, so your can also find yourself upgrading from Super to Pro bit by bit, which I ended up doing, for no particular reason. I have never used the 1.9 lens, but as you know, it is really fast for MF.

    Paul
     
  19. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Super and pro prices are not that different, just go with the pro. The super apparently has a less reliable shutter that costs twice as much to have replaced if it goes bad. No problem with mine so far but it is something you should consider.
     
  20. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have the Super with 80/1.9

    The lens is sharp. I rarely used it at 1.9 because the focus screen in the 645 Super is dim and hard to focus in the kind of light you'd use an f1.9 lens in by comparison to the screens in most 35mm SLRs (but thats true of all MF cameras I have used). I would, in retrospect, probably go for the f2.8 lens, because the 1.9 is big and heavy and suffers from some distortion that occasionally showed in architectural work.

    The problem the Super suffered was with the wind gears not the shutter, if used day in and day out with the winder, they can fail. I've used mine with a winder since I got it (Bought it new in 1994) with no problem but I do not shoot every day all day like a portrait/wedding shooter might. I'm a fine art photographer only.
     
  21. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,333
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for your responses. I really don't need to buy a MF camera....actually, I probably couldn't afford one, but the 645 is all of a sudden sounding very attractive. I have a project in mind which I was going to shoot in 35mm, but if this is what I can get a 645 for.....well.

    Hmmm, I wonder what the household minister for finance will say....