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  1. #1

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    Picking my first mf camera -- Mamiya 6??

    I am still looking for that first camera to get me into medium format. I've read lots of reviews and checked out a few cameras such as the Pentax 67 and the Hasselblad 500cm and I've kinda settled on the Mamiya 6. The Pentax was just too big and clumsy and loud. The Hasselblad I used with the waist level view finder and that was very hard to focus and frame and also I didn't like the way you have to hold the camera from underneath. I do like the square format and I want to be able to take this camera around brooklyn and shoot on the street so the Mamiya rangefinder seems perfect.
    I would like to know what people think of the Mamiya 6 as compared to the Mamiya 7 besides the square versus the 6x7 negative. Also are the 6's hard to find? i haven't seen too many on the web.. any suggestions?

  2. #2
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    Hi Bryan, I have never used the 6 or 7 although I have handled a 7 and was thoroughly impressed. I'm sure either camera would be an excellent walkabout.The lenses are also superb from the images that I have seen others getting.
    The 6 doesn't seem to be about much I must agree, could be it wasn't that popular....never understood why.
    There isn't much diference in size so it's about whether you prefer square or rectangular images. I would imagine the 6 would be a lot cheaper if you can find one!

  3. #3
    Muihlinn's Avatar
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    I ended buying a 7II after much looking for a late 6. The 6 is very popular, compact and nice; usually they literally fly off the shelf when one appears for sale, specially if it's a late one (due the lack of spare winding gear issue). In fact the prices for used 6 and 7 are quite similar.
    I never looked back as I have other cameras for square format, and yes, it's usable as street shooting camera but it's not as fast (both operation and low-light handheld capabilities) or versatile as a 35mm RF is for that purpose.

    Good luck with the search.
    Luis Miguel Castañeda Navas
    http://imaginarymagnitude.net/

  4. #4
    RH Designs's Avatar
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    I use a 6MF and I'm absolutely delighted with it. It's compact, handles like a big Leica, and all three lenses are superb. I would quite like another body but they are scarce on the used market - probably because their owners won't part with them any more than I'll part with mine Downsides? The built-in meter is I find badly affected by stray light. I routinely shade the meter if I want to use it, although most of the time I use a separate spot meter. And the knobs for closing and opening the blind when changing lenses are fiddly especially if the camera's on a tripod. But overall, highly recommended.
    Regards,
    Richard.

    RH Designs - My Photography

  5. #5

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    A few points here. I like the 6x6 format too- mostly use Bronicas though I do have a mamiya 7ii also for when a slr is just too heavy/bulky/conspicuous or where a square approach just isn't right, or when I need to handhold, especially at low speeds.

    The first is the fact that the Mamiya 6 is a quite elderly camera, discontinued some years ago now. They are as people have indicated, highly rated, but you have to expect that any you find will have done a lot of miles, and you have to know how you're going to get it fixed and get spares. Mamiyas can be quite expensive to mend.

    The second is the fact its a rangefinder. That means benefits in terms of portability and formidable sharpness. But these things don't come free, and you need to be sure that you really do understand the implications of using a rangefinder rather than a slr. You know, the no long lenses, no close focus, no tight headshots, more difficult to use polarisers and very hard to use grads; focussing that some people find great, others especially if used to autofocus, might find kind of hard to get used to. A bit fiddly to change lenses; Primitive metering by comparison with a 35mm slr and where you really will have to learn how to interpret what it says rather than set it to matrix or whatever. None of these are reasons not to get a rangefinder- they're things you need to understand before you do.

    Meanwhile there are prisms for Hasselblads and Bronicas that give a laterally correct image in the finder as well as ( or without) metering. There are grips that transform the handling certainly for Bronica and I imagine for Hasselblad too. You might yet find that you're misjudging the slr's capabilites.

  6. #6
    Bromo33333's Avatar
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    Most every MF is NOT inconspicuous....

    The Mamiya 7ii is huge in size compared to any rangefinder in 35mm - so while it is undoubtedly excellent, the fact that it won't slip into your pocket quickly and quietly the way a 35mm rangefinder might, should be a consideration. I also have a little trepidation toting around a $1500-2500 camera on the back streets of major US cities given the size and bulk of the camera - and the fact that it LOOKs like it should be worth something due to the novelty. Hence a couple of cheaper Russian 35mm rangefinders or my low end 35mm SLR might do the trick in that case.

    My wife, being a long time Hasselblad user, helped me select my first MF camera (I was hooked on the idea of a Mamiya 7ii until I realized the above):

    In order to get your first MF camera - you should get one most compatible with your shooting style, I think, though you have to be mindful of the limitations you will place yourself with due to the larger format and the required bulkiness of any camera.

    Having said that, you can't go wrong with Hasselblad, Mamiya 7ii, or equivalent, though the price tag will be large enough that it should give one pause before taking the plunge - especially if you do street shooting since it is likely to get dropped and posibly snatched if you aren't VERY careful.

    The reason that many folks like TLR's as an introduction, is that they do a lot well, and are plentiful enough that you can get a excellent used one for not very much money (and it becomes a great backup if you get a rangefinder or SLR later!). But, if you have the cash - then go for it.

    I ended up with a TLR (Rolleicord III user) that fits the bill. I ordered a Russian 35mm rangefinders (Kiev 4A) to boot.
    B & D
    Rochester, NY
    ========================
    Quiquid Latine dictum sit altum viditur

  7. #7

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    hi bryan:

    i have a mamiya 6 too, but it was made in the 1940s. it doesn't have interchangable lenses, and is a "basic camera" sold quite cheeply through places like ebay. people don't know much about them, and they have a unique focus system where the film plane moves back and forth, not the lens. great little camera! ( but i am guessing you are thinking of a NEWER mamiya 6, not a relic )

    have fun!
    john

  8. #8

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    You might consider a Bronica RF645 as well. The guys over at rangefinderforum.com seem to love theirs. It's 6x4.5 of course, so that's substatially smaller than what a 7 would give you. Also, the frames are oriented vertically. Those are the reasons I don't own one, but it seems to be popular! Pretty small for a MF camera as well.
    "Technology is a big destroyer of emotion and truth. Opportunity doesn't do anything for creativity. Yeah, it makes it easier and you can get home sooner, but it doesn't make you a more creative person. That's the disease you have to fight in any creative field.. ease of use." - Jack White

  9. #9

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    I have a Mamiya 6MF and like it a lot for all the same reasons everyone above have said. Before I bought it I talked to Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Repair (who does most of my repairs) about the durability of the camera and specifically the winding mechanism. It is his opinion that it is not an issue. He has worked on many of these cameras and found them to be reliable, plus he has parts. I bought mine and have been very happy. It is a solid well made camera, that like any other can break, but it can be fixed if necessary.

    Richard Wasserman

  10. #10

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    I have a Mamiya 7 that needs a rangefinder adjustment. Bought it as part of a few other items thinking I would buy a cheap lense and fix it. So far there are no lenses in the range that I would call cheap. It looks like it had kind of a rough life before I bought it, the paint is very scuffed.

    If anyone in the USA is interested, I could let it go pretty cheap, somewhere I even have some directions on adjusting the finder that I could include.

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