Some Mamiya M645 Questions...

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Max Power, May 10, 2005.

  1. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    I'm looking to get into a MF system and in a Kiev thread, someone mentioned that the Mamiya 645 system might be an option. I went on a bit of a search, and the Mamiya may very well be an answer. Briefly, here's what I'm looking for in a system:
    1. Focal-plane shutter,
    2. MLU
    3. SLR
    4. Good glass, reliability and functionality at a reasonable price.

    Although a 'true' 6x6 would be the holy grail, I simply cannot justify the price. To boot, I usually don't use all of the 'information' in a 6x6 negative, so 6x4.5 might not be too much of a sacrifice.

    KEH seems to have excellent prices on 645s and gear, and I'm specifically leaning towards an M645 1000s in VG condition.

    So, before I actually think about taking the plunge, does anyone have any thoughts, tips, or alternatives to the M645 as a system?

    Cheers,
    Kent
     
  2. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I've used a Mamiya 645 Pro for many years now and have been very happy with the results. It's reasonably light in weight, the lens are very good I have the 35mm, 80mm, 150mm and 210mm, all excellent. I have 4 backs which I find very useful and the whole system cost me a fraction of what I would pay for the top end pro systems.
     
  3. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Member

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    I agree with Les. It is a great system and the optics can't be beat for the price. I have the 45, 80, 110, 150, 210, and 300mm. I have not had a problem with any of them. The 45mm is a 67mm thread. It would be nice if it was a 58 like the rest of the lenses. Oh well nothing is perfect.
     
  4. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    I have been using the 645 for the past year and a half and have had three bodies so far. I might suggest that you look at the Super instead of the 1000s. I don't think it will be too much more, and it has interchangable backs along with better metering prisms available. It is also of a more modern construction, which of course means some plastic, in case you are averse to that kind of thing. I think your chances are a bit better since it will be a newer camera. I find the interchangable backs to be very useful if you are shooting something where you want to switch films quickly.

    My lenses are the 45mm, 80mm, 150mm and 210mm. I don't use the 210 all that much any more with what I do and the 45 seems to get the most use. If you buy a 45mm, make sure that you get the S or N models, the older C models are a 77mm thread for filters, as if 67 isn't bad enough...

    Also, if you plan to do much hand held work, get a grip or motor drive for the camera, they are kind of hard (for me at least) to get a good grip on without.

    Have fun!

    Paul.
     
  5. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Three bodies!?!?

    Might I ask why? Problems with them or just trying them all out? Funny, the reason I was thinking of a 1000s instead of a Super or a Pro was specifically because it has inserts and not interchangeable backs. I had heard that there were problems with the Super because the internal gears were not robust enough for the winder and they tended to fail after a bit of abuse.

    Honestly, I'm not too worried about either the accuracy of the meter in a finder or even having a winder. The principal use of the camera would be landscape/architecture.

    Kent
     
  6. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    The first was an eBay ripoff, some loser didn't even use packing materials when he shipped it to me, he just threw it loose in a box, and I was kind of stuck with it. It did work for a while, but eventually died. I then got a 1000s and I liked it, but when a good deal on a Super came up, I got it because I wanted the backs. I was dealing a lot on eBay back then and I was kind of trading in my cameras with an alarming frequency. Except for the first, which was the original 645, the cameras have functioned perfectly.

    The winder is wonderful because it allows you to take a picture and not have to remove your hands to use the crank before you take your next shot. If it wound like a 35mm I wouldn't want it either. The other thing it does on the Supers and Pros is give you a very good grip for your right hand. It makes the camera more like a 35mm in handling.

    As for the gear problems, I have heard that Super backs are not as good as Pro backs, but both of my backs are fine and I have only heard that as sort of a rumor. I have not heard the same about the bodies, just the backs. So far I couldn't be happier with my Super and can't see the advantage of spending a lot more money on the Pro. If you don't want interchangable backs, then the 1000s is great as well and probably a few dollars cheaper.
     
  7. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Member

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    My first Mamiya was a 1000 and it worked fine. I was sorry that I didn't have exchangable backs. When I upgraded to the Pro it was because I could change backs. If you give it some thought and don't see it as an advantage then a 1000 would work for you. I had the most recent camera for 12 years now without a problem. I did send it into Mamiya for cleaning at the 10 year mark. Their service was great.
     
  8. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    I have a 645 and 645E along with 80, 150 & 210 lenses. All up I am extremely happy with the results. The 645 is heavy and built like a tank but I like the options of ground glass or prism. The 645E is light and plasticy but very easy to use.

    If you go M645 of whatever version I'm sure you'll be happy with the purchase.

    Glenn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2005
  9. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Glenn,
    If I understand correctly, the 645 has shutter speeds up to 1/500, no MLU and no self-timer; is this correct? I know that the Super, Pro and E require a special cable adapter for a shutter release cable, but does the 645?

    Thanks,
    Kent
     
  10. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I have a 1000s and a Pro TL. I bought the Pro for the interchangable backs. There's a couple of features on the 1000s that I like that aren't on the Pro, the DOF lever ( youmust use the lense Auto to Manual switch to achieve this on the Pro) and the second shutter release on the 1000s is much nicer to use when holding the camera in portrait mode. I have a power drive for the Pro and really only use it when taking pics of my boys in a semi-studio (the kitchen!) setup. Out in the wild, I'm happy to crank. The 1000s takes a std cable release (nice) but the Pro needs some electronic gismo (which I don't have). Regarding the interchangable backs... because you only get 15exps on a roll of 120, it's not a huge problem unless you regularly want to shoot the same scene in multiple films. It's come in handy a few times but for the couple of years I only had the 1000s I managed to get around it, but I hardly wanted to do this anyway.
     
  11. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    Kent, the 645 does have MLU, but no self-timer. there is a 645 1000s that has a top shutter speed of 1/1000s. I do wish there was a ST!

    Luke
     
  12. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    Kent, Luke is correct. The 645 does have mirror lockup and multi exposure capability and takes a standard threaded cable release. Top shutter speed is 1/500th. No self timer but this doesn't bother me at all. I really like the dual shutter release buttons as Nige mentions.

    Funnily enough, the mirror slap on the newer 645E is noticeably louder than on the older 645. I guess there is less metal in the new one to dampen the sound.
     
  13. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member

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    I have a 645 Super with 3 lenses and LOVE it! I primarily make Polaroid 665 negs in the field. It is a lot of fun clearing the neg in the field and it's become my favorite film by far. I use a spot meter and make sure I don't blow the highlights and the negs are always spot on.
     
  14. William Parrish

    William Parrish Member

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    Hi,
    I've got the M645, and I'm not sure if its a problem unique to my camera, but it doesn't like to go out in the winter time. Get it below freezing for any length of time, and the shutter won't fire.

    Also, if price is a concern for 6x6, consider the Mamiya C330. Last time I looked, they were going for less than the 645's, and the lenses are less, as well. TLR is not all that bad.

    Bill
     
  15. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Restricted Access

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    I am using the M645 pro for over ten years together with most lenses.
    At lower temperature it still works till -25 degrees C were my EOS stopped around -20 degrees C.

    Both related to a battery problem.

    Together with the power drive and the AE prisma a very good camera in medium format for multiple purposes and the SEKOR optics are also OK.

    Certainly at the moment with falling medium format prices a much better choice compared to a Kiev.

    Robert
     
  16. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    OK, let me see if I understood correctly,
    The original M645 does in fact have MLU and a regular threaded cable release capacity...The only thing it is missing when compared to the 1000s is the self timer and 1/1000 shutter speed...

    Apart from that, how does everyone feel about 'losing' 1.5cm off of the top of the frame? Is it a big deal?

    Cheers,
    Kent
     
  17. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    I think you have the differences down OK now.

    I like rectangular format over square as my mind sees better that way. No waste of that 1.5cm for me. YMMV.

    One thing to note with the early 645 like mine; It's a pain in the neck to try and shoot portrait mode using the ground glass. Luckily I also have a prism for it so then it's easy, but I have been caught out once or twice when I only had the waist level finder on the camera and saw a portrait mode opportunity.

    Glenn
     
  18. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I don't have a WLF so haven't experienced that! Not having owned a square format, I don't miss the bit you crop off in printing anyway :wink:
     
  19. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    Having both 6X6 and 645, I can say both are an improvement over 35mm in terms of sheer size.

    Luke
     
  20. William Parrish

    William Parrish Member

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    Another way to look at it is that you get three more exposures per roll. I usually end up printing in a rectangular format anyhow. So its just a question of at which step of the process do I lose the 1.5.

    Bill
     
  21. sp_maher

    sp_maher Member

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    After using various 6x6 TLRs over the years, I bought my used M645 a few months ago and I love it--got it dirt cheap. I'll be adding some lenses over the course of the year. I have the non-metered prism. I use a small digicam with manual mode to meter my exposures--digital does offer some benefits. Pick up the left hand grip for easier handheld shooting. It makes for a heavy set up, but it's very well-balanced. I shoot a ton of APX 100 with this camera and NPS for portrait work. As of yet, I don't miss the faster shutter speeds lacking on this camera. The MLU is a must have though. Don't forget that Mamiya offers a few leaf shutter lenses if you need them. Enjoy.
     
  22. thebanana

    thebanana Member

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    Is there a motor winder for the 1000s?
     
  23. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    There is a motor handle that will work on all the M645 styled cameras without the removable backs, the new ones with the removable backs also either come with the grip or you can purchase a grip for them..

    Dave
     
  24. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    I recently bought a 645 Super a couple months ago and have loved it in the short time since. I would check out KEH. I pieced mine together from different components in order to get exactly what I wanted. IMO I would spend the few extra bucks for a model with interchangeable backs. The ability to shoot the same scene with different films by quickly changing midroll is something I never gave much thought to until I bought my Super and now I can't imagine buying a MF camera without that feature. With MF gear at its cheapest ever, I'd try to avoid something like a Kiev if at all possible. Quality control can be sketchy and I've heard both good reports on them and then the opposite so you never know whether you got a "good one." Mamiya cameras and lenses on the other hand are well known for being quality products.