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  1. #1

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    Mamiya 645E and some general questions

    Hi Folks this is my second post. I have been a 35mm film user (Nikon) forever and I feel that one would need a current digital SLR worth ten grand to get the shots I can with 35mm film. I was recently in London and I only took my Nikon L35AF point and shoot 35mm with me (not my bigger rig) and I'll tell you the shots are very very good.

    I realize that as good as 35mm film is that Medium format is ever better. I have a little experience in a studio with a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II (not mine unfortunately and had help from a pro) and the results are quite apparent when compared to 35mm film. They are in fact jaw dropping.

    I am in London on business twice a year and wanted to plan my next round on photographing the classic icons (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul's etc.). Something I always wanted to do and some of them at night.

    The fact is Medium format film equipment is such a buy right now. I'm kind of biased to Mamiya. I know a good lab in London as well which can be very very hard to find.

    I'm thinking of buying the Mamiya 645E camera with the last version made of their 45mm lens.... in order to do this. Most photos would be taken on a tripod with cable release. Opinions on the 645E for this use?

    My question is in order to use Auto Exposure on this camera one has to press the shutter button halfway (which I have heard can be tricky without fully pushing it in) and then lock the exposure. What if there is a lot of sky in the frame? Do you set the AE on a building in the frame (lets say) and then center the frame back to the photo you want? This seems like it may be difficult and a real pain. Then making sure of razor sharp focus again before releasing shutter.

    Is it that difficult?

    Also in order to hand hold shots without tripod how would the procedure work.

    I haven't used a manual focus camera in some time. In fact since before I needed reading glasses which I now need as I'm 50 years old. Does anyone think this will be a problem?

    I have heard this is a pretty easy camera to use maybe I'm over-thinking.

    Lastly the step up in negative size should provide a noticeable difference from Nikon 35mm and Nikkor glass to Mamiya 645 and Mamiya-Sekor Glass

    Thanks for any thoughts I truly appreciate it.

    Benny K

  2. #2
    CGW
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    Honestly? I'd look into a Mamiya 645 Super/Pro/ProTL body and not an E. For me, among the advantages of these bodies over the E is a swappable film back, allowing mid-roll film changes with a couple backs loaded with different film. AE? I'd rather use a handheld meter, though metered finders are available. I checked out the E but thought the upmarket bodies were better built and less plasticky. Mamiya 645 glass is superb--regardless of the camera you choose.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vifqSekhny4

  3. #3
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I like the 645E - I've considered buying one as a backup to my 645 Pro.

    It is light, and has the built-in diopter adjustment on the fixed prism. It also offers as an option the thumb operated winding grip. And it will be considerably younger than a 645 Super or early 645 Pro.

    I prefer the 645 Pro or Pro Tl for the reasons mentioned by CGW.

    If you get any of these options, most likely you will find that you will need either a left hand grip or a right hand winder or grip in order to use it comfortably hand-held.

    For tripod work, I would use manual metering - either through the lens or with a hand meter. The auto-meter function is more likely to be useful if you are shooting hand-held, in changing conditions.

    The Mamiya 645s (all the various versions) were quite popular with wedding photographers. That may tell you a bit about how they handle.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #4

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    I have one. Love it. Handles just like a 35mm if you have the speedgrip. However the mirror-flap is very loud, but the glass is amazing.

  5. #5

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    Hi....

    I have a Mamiya 645Pro which is similar to E. With my not-so-great eyesight, I actually do have issues focusing correctly consistently. Plus, the quality of negs I get from it is better, yes, but not to the level of jar dropping, compared to 35mm. I print up to 11x14.

    AE is great. In fact, it's like 35mm both in utility and accuracy.

    I don't use mine much anymore.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  6. #6
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    I have used the 645E extensively and find it easy to use. It has a large and bright viewfinder and the diopter adjustment is great to have available.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  7. #7

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    I have an older Mamiya 645 (1000S) and prefer the flexibility of using either the waist level viewfinder or a prism with either a magnifier or right angle viewer. I have "older eyes" and find that the magnifiers (with either type of viewfinder) are quite helpful. A right angle viewfinder attachment (with magnifier) also gives me more flexibility when the camera is on a tripod. Don't know if you can get these for the 645E.

  8. #8

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    re

    Thanks for the replies.

    I think I am going to buy this camera as I can get it with the 45mm lens for less than $500 bucks. I can always sell it later. I've made this decision upon getting a deeper understanding of digital dx and fx sensors. To get medium format film quality you really need an fx full sensor. I have indeed seen jaw dropping photos taken with a Nikon D4, that would literally cost me around $7000 grand for the camera and lenses......so $500 doesn't seem such a risk. Sharpness is what I am after.


    Winding problems ?: I've heard many people on web forums say they have had a problem with the winder getting stuck on this camera. I'm presuming they mean the optional thumb-level speed winder accessory that is almost required of the 645E in order to shoot vertical frame shots?

    Anyone hear this? Also I suppose the common sense of having a fresh battery keeps away a lot of troublesome issues.

  9. #9
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    I don't have any problems using the camera without the grip. I tried the winder several times and found it bulky for my needs and also the diameter a little too big for my hand to grip comfortably.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  10. #10
    fotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BennyK View Post
    ....

    Lastly the step up in negative size should provide a noticeable difference from Nikon 35mm and Nikkor glass to Mamiya 645 and Mamiya-Sekor Glass

    Thanks for any thoughts I truly appreciate it.

    Benny K
    I think it depends. The advantage of a larger negative is a big advantage for real large prints. I used one for some aerial shots that would be enlarged to 20x30 or larger. It handled like a 35, had a fast lens, F:1.9, and had a large negative.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

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