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  1. #1
    Max Power's Avatar
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    Some Mamiya M645 Questions...

    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
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  2. #2
    Les McLean's Avatar
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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.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  3. #3
    Rlibersky's Avatar
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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. #4
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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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. #5
    Max Power's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Sorensen
    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.
    Paul.
    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
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  6. #6
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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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. #7
    Rlibersky's Avatar
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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. #8
    Glenn Mathison's Avatar
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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 Glenn Mathison; 05-10-2005 at 05:16 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
    Max Power's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlennSYD
    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
    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
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  10. #10

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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.

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