Swapping Leica M for Mamiya 7 ??

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jmooney, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. jmooney

    jmooney Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm thinking of swapping my Leica M6 for a Mamiya 7. The obvoius gain is in negative real estate but what are the downsides? Has anyone made the switch? How did it go for you? My main use for the M6 is my everyday carry camera to shoot whatever may come, sort of my notebook of my life. It takes me about a month to go through a 24 exp roll of 135.

    I pretty much only shoot with a 35 on my M so I was going to go with the 65mm lens and add the 150 in case I need something to get in close.

    I'd appreciate any insight anyone can give.

    Take care,

    Jim
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    The lenses on the Mamiya 7 are slower than lenses for the Leica, so low light photography is harder to do with the Mamiya. You can use 220 format film with the Mamiya, though it can be a little hard on the cameras film forwarding mechanisms, there are a wider variety of films in 120 format. So, in other words, you'll be changing out the film a lot more. And it's a little cumbersome to change it on the Mamiya 7, though with practice it get's easier and more fluid.

    That said... your negatives will be stunning! Not that Leica negs aren't, mind you. It's a different, slower way to work.
     
  3. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    I have/use both. Different kind of cameras, different pictures, different approachs.
    you cannot use the 7 as if it were a overgrown leica, if that is what you're looking for, unless you're under pretty good light. Anything under 1/30 is not useable in the 7 handholding it, with much less DOF in larger apertures. Said that I love as much my 7 as my m6
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Jim, let me suggest also considering the mamiya 6/6mf. I have a couple of those and prefer them, ergonomically, to the mammie 7 just because of the collapsing lens mount. The only things I miss on the 6 are the multi-exposure and of course that one superwide lens! Anyway, for photography on the go, these are just wonderful. They handle just like a 35mm... with a giant viewfinder. But Suzanne is right that the lenses aren't fast enough for some available light stuff. Though I can report that pro z shot at 3200 or delta 3200 shot at 3200 are quite nice, if you want to do really low-light stuff, 35mm is going to win on lens speed alone. I have a 50/1.2 and some 35mm bodies that I use when I want to scratch that itch.

    My experience with handholding the mamiyas is quite different from what Luis reports. I have plenty of printworthy shots on the 6 taken at 1/8 or 1/4 and even slower. There is a simple trick for going to long handheld exposures: use the timer. That removes the finger impulse which permits you to focus on stability. Try it.
     
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  5. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    I have both and wouldn't want to choose one over the other. The M's are much more intuitive and conducive to anticipatory or spontaneous shooting. I also use the Mamiya for street shooting and the larger negative is nice but I tend to use it more for urban or landscape work.

    Having said that, the one thing I really don't like about the Mamiya lenses are the lack of close focussing and lens speed. If I could get down to 20" or so with the 43 and 80, I'd be chuffed. If they were 2.8's, I'd be supremely chuffed. The lenses do produce great b/w images as many will attest to. I also find handholding at slowish speeds to be doable, 1/8 or so is not uncommon.

    Not sure if I would use a Mamiya 7 as a carry around camera because of it's size but ymmv. The Leica would get that vote.
     
  6. Windscale

    Windscale Member

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    yes and no.

    Yes: Bigger film size for larger blow-ups.

    No: I found the lenses of the Mamiya too sharp and contrasty and lacking in shadow details. Not quite the creamy German feel even with lower contrast films such as the Fuji 160S or Kodak 160NC.

    I would, however, do a swap for a Rolleiflex TLR 75/3.5 Planar, Xenotar or even Tessar. But they do mainly standard lenses. You can, of course, get wide and tele lenses too.
     
  7. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    That's fine for static subjects, not for what you'll do with the leica - let's say - in a jazz club with moving targets @ ISO 400, that's my point, other subjects, other rules :smile: BTW, I'm a real nitpicker for sharpness.
     
  8. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Luis, I like motion, that's where I am coming from. I respect sharpness but the dynamic contrast between moving and stationary subjects is what interests me most at this point. For example this, which was hand-braced against a fencepost, at 1 sec or so and shot with a mamiya 6. The feedback I get on that shot is that people seem to like the motion.

    Likewise this and this and this. All handheld (albeit some braced) at exposures 1/20 or longer. Frankly I don't think any of these would have been improved by totally freezing the motion. In the last one I definitely did have the option of freezing the motion- I had an f/1.9 lens on my mamiya 645 and high ISO film... f/1.9 is fast even for small format.... letting the motion come through was a decision that I made and frankly I'm glad that I did.

    To each his/her own, of course. I agree that a faster lens is what you want if you want to freeze motion, but... ultimate sharpness is a rather tired concept in photography, in my honest opinion. And it's also trivial to achieve: you just open up the lens and/or bump up the ISO and/or crank up the shutter speed and voila. Sports photography 101. On the other hand, appreciating the rhythm of the scene and making it work for the composition takes more thought, I believe.
     
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  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Of course you can get better results with the larger format, but there is no free ride. Motion blur (from slower shutter speeds) and film flatness issues can easily counteract any potential benefit from the larger format. If you already do fantastic work in 35mm you may find you need to use a tripod to surpass your present technique.
     
  10. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    I'm not going to fall into, and I haven't pretended even, discussing whatever you (or me for this case) consider a desirable goal for any photographic work, that's mainly on the personal side. I'm pointing that there are technical facts that you can't avoid and makes a difference to someone used to shoot with the M; if you have to have a pin-sharp candid portrait under low light better get your tripod than bracing anything hoping to nail it... given those circumstances without one, I would be pretty sure about 1/15 with the leica and not so sure using the same speed, fstop and film in the 7.

    To be fair, that does not represent a problem to me, but as I moved to Medium Format handheld from the leica, I was pointing only what I found those days trying to use it as if it were an overgrown M6.
     
  11. michael9793

    michael9793 Subscriber

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    I have a M6 and find it to be once in a life time camera. I have a 28 and a 90. this is my street camera. BUT i just got a Pentax 67II and even though it is a little heavier than the mamiya 7 which from my investigation is suppose to be a better camera I got this one. they both have there areas of use but getting rid of one for another isn't I think a replacement. I shoot from 35mm to 8x20 and everything I shoot with has it's own purpose. If I go down to the shrimp boats to photograph with my LF cameras and Ulf cameras you will get a certain % of shots. but a 6x7 will get a whole lot more and I'm not sure that it can't do as good a job.
    So that is my thoughts I hope it helps.
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Jim,

    I would encourage you to use and enjoy your camera more, whether it is the one you have or the one you are thinking about. To have so much invested in such a beautiful camera that you use to shoot your "Life" says, enjoy your life more. Make more things happen in your life or record more of the things that are happening, but not put on film.

    It takes me an hour on average to make my first 7x17 image, but I am shooting more than 24 a month, and enjoying it immensely.

    John Powers
     
  13. cameragearforyou

    cameragearforyou Member

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    What can I say??? I have a M6ttl and a 7II with 80mm and 43mm... Once I got the 7II, it is all I use now. The Leica is great but the 7II is better in all respects except fast lenses.
     
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  15. PVia

    PVia Member

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    I have both cameras...an M2 and a Mamiya 7.

    For me, the Leica feels superior in every way. Weight, heft, build...while the Mamiya is mostly plastic. A beautiful piece of plastic it is though, and gorgeous negatives.

    But then there's that Leica shutter...perfect! Like a kiss!

    The Mamiya shutter is so unsatisfying, like a toy really...enough for me to want to sell my Mamiya 7.
     
  16. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    I had am M3 at one time, and now would give anything to have it back. Am considering a M4-P or M6 one day. Nothing can compare to the beautiful bokeh from a Leica lens.

    I've shot Mamiya 7 on Maui for weddings, and it can indeed be a big pain in the rear. Leica is the only camera to get the most from the 135 format. Nothing else compares. I've dropped 135 altogether, and shoot with Rollei TLRs and recently added a Mamiya M645 Pro (will be adding an M654 TL body very soon) setup as a replacement for the 135.

    You may want to consider the 645 series as it is significantly cheaper than the 7, and just as good. Plus you will have 15 shots on a roll, which you may find easier to go through. As usual, KEH is the place.

    Rolleijoe
     
  17. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    I've never had a Leica but I do have a Mamiya 7 body, and I do think the grips on the 7 are horrible. Sorry can't help with anything else.
     
  18. Jon Butler

    Jon Butler Subscriber

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    I love all my Leica M gear but the Mamiya 7ii and it's lenses do give superb results.
    The big negs are os much easer to print.
    I use the Mamiya most of the time now instead of my Leica's, I get better prints from it.
    My Leica system may have to go when I've finished my stock of Kodak HIE.

    Regards JON.
     
  19. Endo

    Endo Member

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    If your priority is photography, choose Mamiya, if your priority is camera, choose Leica.
     
  20. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    You can club someone in the head with a M6 if you need and put a dent in their skull. You are liable to break your Mamiya if you do that.
    Dennis
     
  21. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I don't think that one promotes devotion to photography over the other, really. Both can shoot great images. You should really think about how it is that you want to work.
     
  22. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I have used 6 Leicas until today and I was feeling joy when I found the Leica Forum. But when I saw the people who shot his refrigirator with 11000 dollar Noctilux and says it was a great lens , I found that real Leica people are rare. They are.
    If you are not a good photographer , your Leica always be bad camera but it is not. If anyone finds Leica is a bad camera , or when you are parking your Mercedes , you hit the garbage can everytime , its time to buy Ansel Adams catalog , few Renaissance painting catalogs , some impressionist and expressionist catalogs and think on them , why people pay 250 million dollars to Van Gogh. When you find the answer , you will start to create better and Leica will become a good camera.
     
  23. Bundesphotograph

    Bundesphotograph Member

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    I did actually swap my Leica M6 for a Mamiya 7II and never looked back.
    Compared to the Mamiya 7,the Leica's viewfinder is like a pinhole!
    The quality of an 6x7 negative is really amazing!!
     
  24. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Depends on what you want to do with the negs. I know that printing M7II negs is about as close you'll ever get to LF quality without going full LF. I know this because I have been printing some 4x5 negatives taken with a Linhof lens and I can't distinguish them at 11x14 from the M7II, maybe if you're lucky at 16x20. For 35mm, the best lens I own prints beautiflly as well, but it's all about taste and what you want to get outta it.

    You can definitively handhold it to obscenely slow speeds. I don't like the shutter button, so I often use a 4" cable release and have shot below 1/30 with very acceptable results.

    Remember, F/4 in 6x7 is more like f/2.8 on 35mm, so DOF is affected, but you just learn to use it differently. You can also shoot ISO 400 and it'll look like enlarged ISO 100 35mm, so speedwise there's no real loss with an F/4 lens.

    Just my .02
     
  25. Dismayed

    Dismayed Member

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    Lack of shadow detail is an exposure problem, not a lens issue. Give your film more exposure.
     
  26. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Inactive

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    Sadly I've never owned a Leica, but I love my Mamiya 7 II, the viewfinder is so bright!

    I was able to focus at night on something that I properly exposed at 30 seconds! (400TX) Even at that dark I could still see the parallax image, I was shocked! It wasn't BRIGHT or anything at that dark, but it was enough to see and use it, I was blown away (I was also on a tripod).

    Borrow one and give it a try.

    ALSO mamiya 7 can shoot 35mm 24mm X 64mm panorama images, so, think of the versatility!


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