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  1. #1
    Ambar's Avatar
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    Hasselblad 500cm vs. Mamiya 7

    So I'm down to either getting a Hasselblad 500cm and a Mamiya 7. Both with their respective 80mm lens.
    I do quite a bit of lowlight photography so my question is.. Will the extra stop make a HUGE load of difference between these two?

    My rationale is based on the fact that the mamiya is a range finder and "therefore should suffers less" with camera shake when firing the shutter.. (Does it? I know theres some technique involved but once you get the hang of it....) Would I be able to gain back that extra stop simply in the fact that I can hand hold it at lower speeds? How does the mamiya's viewfinder fare in low light? The 6x7 format is appealing but not a real dealmaker.

    As for the Hasselblad.. How low can you go (shutter speed) and get printable results on 8x10ish paper?

    I'm also about to endeavor into the world of flash photography.. The Mamiya's hot shoe is a big plus in that respect. How limiting are my options on the Hasselblad for flash? I don't even understand where a flash goes on the 500cm!?
    Any help on that department would also be very welcome!
    Thanks alot!

  2. #2

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    I've got a hasselblad (200 series - close enough) so I may be biased
    The camera vibration during firing is very low for a mirror that big. Sure it's a fairly imposing noise, but not much movement. Also, you can lock the mirror if you're really worried and there is no movement at all anywhere except the teeny-tiny shutter in the lens. The mass distribution may or may not help too; I'd be inclined to say it will help since it has a larger moment of inertia in pan and tilt directions. I have never actually used a mamiya 7 so I can't give a comparison, and I haven't printed that large so I don't want to quote a number. But it's less of a problem on the hasselblad than you think.

    As for flash - I have a grip with a cold shoe on it and use a pc-shoe adaptor when I want flash. It's a pain in the ass and I really wish hasselblads came with a cold shoe somewhere. The lack of one is a monumental design cock-up in my opinion, and I simply don't understand how something so well designed and at the top of the market can have such a stuff-up. A cheap 3/8 screw in grip that I got for free (but would have cost less than $5) does the job just fine. Here is a fancy one that costs all of $19

  3. #3
    jhw
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    I have both... Low light outside, no tripod, I'd take the Mamiya, even though the slower lens is kind of a hassle; for me, it's just easier to carry around in hand and take quick shots. If you're getting into flash photography, follow what postalman says and go Hasselblad...the accessories just make it easier to use as a studio/flash system. Depends on what kind of shooting you're looking to do. (Also, if you go Hassey, just lock up the mirror, and the shutter's just as calm as the Mamiya.)

  4. #4

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    On the other hand, there is no shutter vibration to speak of with the Mamiya. The problem I have had, and you might too, is being used to more shutter release travel and therefore pushing the camera while pressing the button. Once you overcome habit, this is a non-issue.

    I'd go with the Mamiya, but then I already did.

  5. #5
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Both are great. You forgot to throw a Rolleiflex TLR into the mix! The latter great for hand-holding low-light. Hassy to Mamiya the differences in handling are so huge that it's a personal choice for that. I shoot my Hassy a lot in low light but use a tripod. The Mamiya for hand-holding down to 1/15 is much better vs hand-holding the Hassy.
    -----------------------

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  6. #6

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    I would think that one big difference is that generally with the Hassy you will be using a waist level finder whereas with the Mamiya you will be using it eye level. Of course you can get a eye-level finder for the Hassy but due to the weight and shape it is quite a different experience than with the Mamiya. Just a thought.

    One more thing... you are changing two things at once... camera format AND stepping into flash. If it were me I'd experiment with flash before buying another camera to make sure just how important that may (or may not) be to your new format descision. Both are great cameras, but very different.

    Keith Ostertag
    Keith Ostertag
    keitho at strucktower dot com

  7. #7
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    I have both, and I'd take the Mamiya 7 for hand held low shutter speed shots, especially outdoors. The problem with the Hasselblad isn't the shutter, but the mirror. I estimate the Mamiya gives me 2 stops better results than the Hasselblad. For 8x10 output, with an 80mm lens on the Hasselblad I try to keep the shutter speed above 1/60th (ideally 1/125th), but with the Mamiya 1/15th to 1/30th is as slow as I would go. Also keep in mind that you are going to enlarge (and crop) the Hasselblad image more than the Mamiya 7 image for an 8x10.

    To me you should really be looking at how the lens draws it's image. I think the Hasselblad is much nicer when used close to wide open. But the Mamiya 7 is sharper, more clinical looking. I really like both systems.

  8. #8
    Ambar's Avatar
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    postalman - Thanks for the flash info! I've been a little lost in the woods looking at a Hassey and not seeing any flash mount.

    jhw - I don't really expect to be doing any studio flash, but rather a handheld style for more of a snapshot situation.

    degruyl - Thanks for thee heads up..!

    rich815 - I did consider the rollei but I wanted something with an interchangeable system. I have plans to expand this system beyond the 80mm. I've also played quite a bit with medium format already. I've used a borrowed Yashica flex for quite a while and had loads of fun with it.. I've also borrowed an old Ensign 6x9 that I'm fixing up, but the it's time to buy my own stuff! Flash isn't a SERIOUSE thing that i'm looking into.. for now it's more of a curiosity for new possibilities. I just want to be able to do it in a reasonable way.

    L Gebhardt - Thanks for sharing your experience with low shutter speeds! It's very informative, and my suspicions were such. The way the lens draws is in fact a VERY big curiosity of mine.. and I am well aware they are very different from each other.. I've been googling around to try and find Mamiya shots at f/4 but it's really hard to tell if you are looking at the real thing. I suspect that the Hassey will satisfy me more in this regard but this could be the marketing devil on my shoulder. It's complete speculation at this point.


    Thank you all for sharing your experiences!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by postalman View Post
    The lack of one is a monumental design cock-up in my opinion, and I simply don't understand how something so well designed and at the top of the market can have such a stuff-up.
    Where exactly is the hotshoe to go on cube where:
    1. the front has the lens
    2. the top has the finder
    3. the back has the...back
    4. the right side has the crank
    5. the left side is where your left arm is
    6. the bottom is where your hand is to hold it

    Hasselblad, Mamiya RB, Nikonos, Canon EOS

  10. #10
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    BTW, I once forgot my tripod after driving 450 miles into the backcountry of Utah. Crap! I thought.

    But then I remembered how silly perfect the shutter on the M7II is and how even the shutter button is so smooth, I could probably go without.

    Check out my gallery uploads, the Petroglyphs, the Chaco shots, and many other's were handheld down to 1/15th. Go for the Mamiya only if you prefer RF though, since some may not.
    K.S. Klain

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