Mamiya 6 Durability?
I travel quite a bit for work and when I do I can't really take either my Hasselblad kit or my Horseman 45 due to their bulk. But I hanker after something bigger than 35mm, so my search for a small(ish) MF continues. I have a couple of old Zeiss folders, and at one stage had a Fuji 645zi which I sold as I didn't like the plasticky feel and the pseudo-zoom. Looking at what is available I could try another Fuji 645 (prime lens this time) or something a bit bulkier and pricier like a Bronica 645 or one of the Mamiya RFs. I have to say that in terms of the specifications, the Mamiya 6 seems very appealing: good lenses, retracting lens mount for compactness, and I like 6x6. I was almost across the psychological rubicon when I read some posts that spooked me - along the lines of the M6 having an under-engineered film wind mechanism that was prone to failure and could not be repaired.
I must say that the prices these things go for are pretty high for something with that bad a problem. Are there any experiences out there that can guide me?
Aside from being a touch smaller, I cannot think of a good reason to get a Mamiya 6 over a Mamiya 7. Will the retracting lenses cutting about an inch off the front to back dimension make much difference to you withwhat you have in mind?
Personally I would go for a Mamiya 7 for general travel if you must have a lens longer than std (and take care to ensure your RF mechanism and 150 can be made to agree) and a RF645 if std and a wide will do you fine. Both are great and currently supported (the rf645 for another 7 ish years I suppose now that Bronica is dead). Neither strip gears that I have heard of. Mamiya 6s can also be really pricey. At least 7 kit is easy to find if you decide to add another lens.
The Mamiya 6 and lens is significantly cheaper than the 7.
Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth
One advantage that the Mamiya 6 has over the 7 is that it is 6x6, which I prefer over 6x7 and that Stewart said he wants. I bought mine lightly used and while I don't use it heavily, I must have run about 200 rolls through it in the last 18 months with no sign of problems. Before I bought it I spoke to a well respected repair person who works on these cameras and he assured me that he has not seen any significant problems, including the film winding mechanism, with the M6. I have ben very happy with mine and find the retracting lens very nice as it does make the camera quite a bit more compact. The only thing I am not crazy about is the meter which tends to underexpose on my sample, so I just use a hand held meter when I have time.
They are cheaper but not by much. The original Mamiya 7 Mk 1s can be picked up very cheaply now on ebay. A good Mamiya 6 + 75 in the UK tends to go for about 500-550 GBP (or more!). A 7 Mk1 + 80 can be had for 600-700 GBP. A used M6 150 is about 400-500; about the same as a m7 150. However, one cannot find a M7 50mm for much less than 750GBP whereas the m6 50 comes in at 400-500; quite a lot cheaper.
Originally Posted by MattCarey
Th deals on new Mamiya 7 IIs are increbible in the UK (Robert White) and US (Popflash).
Not suggesting a Mam 6 is a bad move at all, but unless the square format is critical, a 7 can be had for only a little more.
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The mamiya 6 is a square which makes it somewhat unique. The lenses are really good. As for the Mamiya 7, some find the 6x7 an unremarkable format, but it has most everything the 6 has -- except the very nice retractable lens mount. The six has problems with the film advance which is driving up the price of the bodies.
If you are thinking between 6 and 7, that's a good evidence that you are not in love with either of them...
I have two sets of new Mamiya 6 bodies and 3 lenses. Most of the time I have a 50mm on one body and a 75mm on another. I've read some uneven film advance problems, which are notoriously difficult to get fixed even by Mamiya America technicians. But fortunately mine didn't develop such problems.
At the same time, I may add that with modern films (Fujifilm Acros) and modern developers, I can make grainless 20x24 prints from 35mm negatives pretty easily. Comparing between Canon EF 35mm f/2 and Mamiya 6 50/75mm lenses, the Mamiya still has definite advantage of greater rendition of details at the same print size (using same film and developers for both formats), but that's something only you'll notice.
I recommend new Mamiya 6 over Mamiya 7 if:
* you are a lens fetish (a serious mental disorder) and need some control
* you are a square fetish (which is not the same)
and perhaps less enthusiastically recommend if:
* you don't want to hold a camera in the vertical position.
Last edited by Ryuji; 10-31-2006 at 02:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.
It might be helpful in choosing a camera if you are able to get a 15 day trial negotiated before commiting to purchasing a camera. Not having to turn the camera and having a more secure hold, if that is the way it seems to you, could be very influential in choosing the 6 over the 7.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
I think it's possible to hold new Mamiya 6 at a "vertical" position but the degree of comfort is not like a 35mm SLR with a vertical grip attached to it. I don't know if there's a vertical grip for 7, but I doubt it. If you routinely shoot in vertical position, 645 may be a better choice. I had a Fujifilm GA-645i for some time but it wasn't for me for various reasons, so I sold it and bought second set of new Mamiya 6. No regret in that decision, although I see the guy who bought my GA645i taking lots of good pictures with it.
Another consideration is whether you'll use a flash bracket. I don't know if there's any Custom Bracket or other high quality brackets for Mamiya 6/7 available now, but if you use them, vertical holding needs a bit more consideration. Don't expect Mamiya 6/7 to work with generic brackets, because film spools need to stick out while changing films. Brackets designed for these cameras have holes in those areas, for example, and they also have anti-twist measures. The bracket I use (the name escaped my mind- will report later if interested) works fine with 6 but it'll be a bit more PITA with 7 when vertical position needs to be considered. Custom Bracket would be fine if you can get a proper base plate for M6/7.