I'm Considering Selling my M7II...talk me out of it
I'm posting this because I need some sort of venue to help sort my ideas regarding this. For the last two years, I've been using the beautiful Mamiya 7 II with the 43mm, 80mm and 150mm lenses. It's done everything I've wanted it to:
-Fantastic, unbelievably good lenses
-Small and compact, super easy to travel
-Built in meter
-Has never once failed me
So in a lot of ways, I am very happy with it. That said, I've never loved the camera. I once owned the Mamiya Press system and I loved it and correspondingly, I took better photographs. Recently, I've been playing with 4x5 and a 6x17 camera, and now thinking of a 8x10 and working on wet plate. Maybe buy an old Super Ikonta 6x9 to keep with the MF world.
Is something wrong? I feel like I searched out the best equipment for my travels to get the best possible negs, but I feel like I'm lacking some sort of quality that is hard to put my finger on.
Anyways, just needed some feedback from other photographers on similar experiences and maybe turn me back in the right direction.
An interesting comment in response on 'The Online Photographer' blog recently when Mike Johnson was discussing 'bonding' to cameras:
" "You need a project, dude. Not bonding to cameras relates to not knowing what to take pictures of. Start torturing yourself over a project that's hard and you'll stop disliking your camera and start kicking your own ass. Works for me!"
Then again, I tried a couple of different medium-format SLRs and never bonded with the mirror black-out. These days 35mm leaves me cold. What I hear you saying maybe is that you like moving slow when you photograph, but the Mamiya doesn't fit this mindset. Maybe the tripod says "I am now going to take a photograph,' while hand-held says, 'I am taking snapshots'?
Well, I think you're right in some respects. I've never actually used the camera for taking "Snapshots". Only on a tripod or handheld like I was a sniper. I think part of the bonding issue was how clumsy the darkcloth and lens changing feels to me. Doesn't imbue much confidence. It just feels so serious. I recently got the Pentax ME with the 50mm 1.4 and find myself having more fun with that! That's never seen a tripod. Hmm, where does that leave me?
I don't own one, but would be kind of sad to lose you as a Mamiya 7II owner. You, Katie and the others are fun to follow! I selfishly say keep it...
But in all seriousness, if you are not attaining the art you strive for....
Only you know your artistic goals....
I understand the feeling, but can't tell you what I'd do.
I feel a bit like that about my Mamiya 645 Pro right now. I always wanted a medium format SLR. I expected it might largely supplant 35mm. I got a good deal on one in great condition, several backs with extra inserts, AE Prism finder, winder grip, three lenses now - and I can't seem to bond with it. It's just too darned big and heavy to supplant 35mm even though the entire kit is comparable to carrying my entire 35mm kit with three bodies and four lenses. When I want medium format I love my little Yashicamat 124. The limitations of the single, not that fast lens and no midroll film changes seem more than fair trades for it being so small and light to carry around, even when I add the not-so-small Luna Pro SBC I use with it. At least it's small and light compared to the 645 Pro which is more like an albatross around the neck. And if I want to shoot stationary subjects off a tripod, I bring the 4x5 anyway.
I can't complain about the results though. The camera works well, handles well, and the lenses (all mine are N lenses) are superb. I just haven't found what it does for me that I want to do with it.
I probably ought to get the RB67 system I am occasionally tempted to get in lieu of shooting 4x5, which would make me appreciate the 645 as small and light (and probably never supplant the view camera for me anyway.)
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Andy, you are too kind!!
To the OP: I know how you feel. The hasselblad and I had that relationship. I wanted to love it, I really did, but just didn't. Now the mamiya 7, I love. I think it's almost perfect, actually! Don't get me wrong, I still mix it up with the bessa, canon 1v, and others. Nobody should be a one trick pony; but the mamiya is for sure my #1 setup.
I do encourage you to persue a project. I'm starting one with the mamiya setup and am really looking forward to shooting more with this camera.
Originally Posted by zsas
What exactly do you not like about it? I've been considering buying one for traveling with.
BTW, I love your signature.
What I mentioned in the earlier post:
-Feels clunky and cheap when changing lenses
-Hate the darkslide/cloth actuation
-Never felt "right" in my hands
Things I love though:
-Lenses lenses lenses---here's an idea of this. You must have heard how awesome Fujinon lenses are. I shoot Velvia out in the Abbey's Country and when I compared the same scenes and lighting side by side from a GW690III and the M7II I was blown away. Contrast, sharpness, colors. UGH!!!
-Compact, super light
-Did I mention lenses?
Some of my favorite shots come from the 43mm which doesn't have that wide look you get with cheaper ultra-wide lenses. It's flat and amazing. The 150mm is equally favorable. I really didn't know you could do that with a mild zoom. Mind blown.
So right? I should love it. Something isn't right. Maybe ya'll are correct, maybe I need a new project. I have roughly 1,000 negatives of archeology sites from the SW, so it's probably time to move on. Suggestions? I know that with the 6x17 I am going to be doing a series on trees. I know that sounds boring, but I think contact printing and then doing large mattes should produce some interesting shots.
DSLR--you're in an amazing spot. Maybe I'll see ya out there?
Originally Posted by Klainmeister
Yes, something about your mind set certainly is not right! You seem to be fighting against a force of negativity that is unfounded, but by the same token, the positives are well founded judging by the list of "Things I love though". If the lenses showcase Velvia as you have seen it with your own eyes, it is a no brainer to ditch the camera, irrespective of "minor nigglies" or design pecularities. Stuff the collectors' items.
Last edited by Poisson Du Jour; 09-11-2012 at 05:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.
To the OP: you sum up my feelings almost exactly. Two years ago I had three M7 bodies and all four lenses (43mm, 65mm, 80mm and 150mm). I have since sold off everything but one body and the 80mm & 43mm. I read all the time about the quality of the lenses, which I concur with, but there is no "magic" for me with the camera. When I use my Rolleiflex 3.5F I am nearly ecstatic; the quality, the look, the feel, the operation--everything about the camera gets me excited to use it. The M7 is an excellent tool, it really is, and I don't mind the lens mounting or dark curtain thing too much, but when I reach for a medium format camera, and I have way too many, the M7 is not my go-to camera. It's not the camera's fault; it's a fabulous piece of gear.
One thing that convinces me it is not the right camera for me is that NONE of my all time favorite images were made with it. I've taken very good pictures with it, and I shot weddings with that set-up for years, but if I put together a retrospective of my personal best it might include one M7 shot, maybe, despite shooting with it for over a decade and a half. That should be telling me something. Not that the gear makes the photo, I know that, but if I am not seemingly at my creative best when using that camera, well....
I read the "Online Photographer" post about bonding with cameras, and I totally get when he means. I have yet to sell off the last of my M7 gear because I suspect that I will miss it when it is gone. Maybe I, too, need a project, a hand-held, shoot-from-the-hip project that even the Rolleiflex can't handle with ease.