Never-ending Mamiya 7 problems, need advice!

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by blankk, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. blankk

    blankk Member

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    Okay guys, so this is a bit of a long story but I'll make it as brief as I can.

    Almost four months ago I decided to buy a Mamiya 7 and an 80mm lens. I bought the camera from a reputable camera broker on ebay with a warranty, and bought the lens from KEH. When I first got the camera the calibration was ridiculously far off. I couldn't even make the two images line up - the patch image was either a lot higher or lower, I can't remember. So I called the ebay seller and they told me to send the camera to them and they'd calibrate it.

    I get it back a couple of weeks later and it's still totally wrong, not even much better than before. So I get the seller to agree to pay only half of the bill at a local, very reputable camera repair shop in San Diego. I give it to them and get it back not quite right, but much better. So I give it back, they agree it isn't quite right, and try again. Still not quite right. I give it back again and they see the problem but can't figure it out so conclude that something must be wrong with the rangefinder and tell me to send it to Mamiya. They refund me my money and the ebay seller offers me a refund on the camera.

    So I found a replacement, a newer 7ii in like-new condition. The seller said he wouldn't agree to have it calibrated if it needed it but insisted it wouldn't. When I got it, it definitely did need to be calibrated - it was quite a ways off. So I decided to send it out-of-state to what is supposed to be one of the most reputable repair shops at least for this particular job. They do a very quick job and send it back and it's still not right - the infinity adjustment had definitely slipped since the guy had set it, there's no way he could've been this far off. He was very surprised but offered to do it again.

    When he got it back he said there were some parts that needed to be replaced, which he did free-of-charge. He was surprised at what needed to be done but was confident it was fixed. I wanted to pick up the camera while I was visiting the state the shop was in but our schedules didn't end up working out so he sent it back after I left and I got it last week.

    It's still not right. I wasn't totally sure when I first got it back because we had a hazy evening that day, but I definitely saw that the infinity adjustment isn't set right today. I can turn the lens back away from infinity and get the images to line up better - and my lens does stop at infinity like it should. Now, I only have to move the lens verrrrry slightly away from infinity to make it line up better, so am I just being too picky?

    I have no idea what to do, because I've sent this camera to the most reputable shop anyone could name for repairing Mamiya 7's TWICE and it's still not right. Has anyone had anywhere near this much trouble? I have very good eyesight so I'm wondering if I'm just seeing things more clearly than the repair men, but I asked him and he said that the infinity adjustment should be spot-on.

    What's going on? Sorry for the long post but I'm totally out of ideas. Thanks.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    IDK about that, but wait until the back falls open while shooting and the roll of film falls out! I've seen that happen much to the dismay of the photo student involved! Actually, IDK how common that back problem is. But, she had purchased the camera new.

    PE
     
  3. rphenning

    rphenning Member

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    On my 7 and 80 combo I have to turn the lens a MM or so away from ∞ too. I have always gotten sharp images from my setup.

    I read in the manual or somewhere that this extra space in the focussing was for IR photography.
     
  4. blankk

    blankk Member

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    Yeah, I thought a mm wouldn't be a big deal but the guy who calibrated it said it should be "spot-on". I emailed him back so I'll see what he says.
     
  5. j_landecker

    j_landecker Member

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    The Mamiya 7 lenses typically focus a little past infinity - that's how it's set up. The question is - when the images in the viewfinder line up, is the image on the film plane sharp? It sounds like you haven't actually shot any film in the camera. Either do some tests on film with the lens wide open or put a piece of ground glass across the film rails with the back open and check the coincidence of rangefinder and film plane.
     
  6. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I'm not sure about the M7 lenses, but all the lenses on my M6's focus on infinity when turned all the way to infinity.

    I'm wondering if it's not something with your eyesight. Have you held your eye up to the camera at different viewing angles to see if that helps? I know that sometimes if I'm not looking into the viewfinder at exactly the right angle I cannot focus correctly. If you had the camera adjusted that many times it's hard to believe that it's not fixed. Sometimes the patches aren't in perfect alignment, meaning sometimes one patch appears to be slightly above the other. My Bronica RF645 is like that and it still aligns vertically perfectly. I think this is common.
     
  7. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    Exactly right!
     
  8. blankk

    blankk Member

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    Maybe most of my problem is this: the patch image is always higher than what I'm trying to line it up with. It's not much but it's definitely noticeable. And I know it's not correcting itself as I go over the object because I can clearly see it start on one side of the object slightly higher and if I move the focus ring so that the patch image crosses over and goes to the other side of it, it's still slightly higher.

    That makes focusing difficult because even when things are lined up, they often look slightly soft.
     
  9. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Maybe it's just my 'practical' sense, but I wouldn't worry at all about vertical alignment. It's the horizontal coincidence that gives you the range.
     
  10. blankk

    blankk Member

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    Yeah, I mean, if I need to I'll just accept it this way, but I'd rather have it 100% right on since I did over $100 + shipping a few ways back and forth. Plus, it does make focusing a bit more of a chore.
     
  11. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Theoretically that's right in a sense, but focusing is easier when there is no vertical misalignment. The absence of a double image is easier to detect accurately.
     
  12. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    From what I see you saying it has been calibrated by a repair shop n it is still out of alignment?

    Did you check the film plane vs the viewfinder? Do you wear glasses? Do you need reading glasses?

    It sounds more like you need a diopter, not a calibration.

    The repair shop would have calibrated it on a collimeter and that should be spot on as well as coinside with the film plane focus. If it is still out then user error is suspected.