I've had the 50 since I bought my Mamiya 7ii several years ago and it is by far the most used lens. Much of this depends on personal taste but for me the 43mm would be used less simply because of the extreme angle of view and the even greater need to hold the camera level to avoid strange perspectives. I have no doubt that had I voted for the 43 originally I'd now have a 4 lens outfit (43/65/80/150) whereas now I'm very happy with the 50/80/150.
A couple of further points. First I find the auxillary finder a tremendous help- although it is just about possible to use the 50 without it and many choose to do so. The finder is great to carry in your pocket to assess opportunities without unpacking a camera and has more natural colours than the quasi-polarised in camera finder. Second it's interesting to see your immediate assessment that a 150 is an obvious next lens. I have no idea what your photographic interests are, but my 150 is probably used for well under 10% of my shots. I find composing to be quite difficult as the image is only a small part of what you see in the finder, and establishing dof with any precision is not easy unless you're at infinity focus. In other respects the lens is as good as the others, but I can't help but feel that the real strength of these cameras lies in std to wide -angle photography.
I bought a Mamiya 7II recently for a special upcoming project. I decided to go with 43, 80, 150. My thinking was that if I need a wide lens, I want really wide ( I will be photographing in tight quarters). I have been using the camera so that I will become familiar with it and have to say the 43mm is a stellar lens and I am very happy with my choice. It is everything people say it is, plus I often use it set at it's hyperfocal distance and it has a bit more depth of field than the 50mm, which I find very useful. I think of it as a 6x7 Hasselblad Superwide with rangefinder focussing. I have never used the 50mm, but I'm sure it's also very nice. I guess it really comes down to personal preference, you can't go wrong with any of the Mamiya 7 lenses they are all excellent. Now if I could get that nagging feeling out of my head that I should buy a 65mm....
The issue of framing is of particular interest to me. Are auxiliary finders necessary for both the 43mm and 50mm lenses? I perhaps assumed that there would be an internal mechanism for adjusting the viewfinder for focal length as in Leica and other high end 35mm rangefinder cameras.
Originally Posted by Early Riser
And of the two finders, which seems to give the best view, the one for the 43mm or the 50mm?
As I say, this issue is of interest to me because I previously owned a Fuji GSW690III (with 65mm lens) and I was never satisfied with the view through the viewfinder. On the other hand, the view with the GW690III with the 90mm lens is close to perfect.
See David Hume Kennerly's book: Photo du Jour. All taken with the Mamiya 7/43mm
Sandy the built in viewfinder can approximate the 65mm pretty well but the 50 and 43 need auxiliary finders and if they're anything like the finders for the 150 or 210, they suck. And finders for teles are usually easier to make. I haven't used the finders for the 43 and 50 so i can't tell you which is better.
Originally Posted by sanking
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The finder for the 50 doesn't suck, IMO anyway though those that dislike auxillary finders in any form might disagree. It won't help you much with tight/precise framing issues but then you've probably realised that from using the 80 precise framing is not a strength regardless. There are marks on the aux.finder to assist with parallax correction for close up use but the view does not shift automatically with focus distance as the main finder does, and neither do the marks help with vertical compositions
Do you need it? Well the view through the entire camera finder with the 50 fitted approximates in very general terms to the view you'll get within the framelines of the 50 finder. But given a tendency to get a little more than the framelines indicate there is no doubt that without the auxillary finder you'll be including in your photographs things you can't see. Neither will you get the benefit of seeing outside your picture area for things about to walk/fly/drive into it. You'll also have a portion of your picture area obscured by the lens which you don't with the auxillary finder.
Using an auxillary finder is much easier when you don't use the camera's metering. With a hand-held meter you don't need to use the cameras viewfinder apart from focussing, and I don't necessarily need to change focus every shot with a wide lens used stopped down.
I'd much rather use the 50 with the auxillary finder than without it.
internal frame lines are for 65,80 and 150 Sandy.
I've had my M7II for a number of years and love it. While obvious, using a rangefinder is quite different than viewing a groundglass on a reflex or view camera. I have made all the classic errors of leaving the lens cap on, forgetting to focus since everything looks sharp in the finder.
I have the 50-80-150. I chose the 50 after concluding that the 43 is just too extreme... for my taste. The finder is ok, I also use it to scout images. Realize you'll get a bit extra and you'll be fine. I can't justify both the 50 and 43 but have been happy with the 50. The 150 is not so terrible to focus in my experience but I almost always use it on a tripod and at apertures of f/8 or smaller. I have the 150 finder and it is helpful, also to scout coverage.
I have adopted the M7 as my hiking camera, since I no longer choose to lug my 4x5 uphill for miles. With my Gitzo 1127 and Acratech head, I am not slowed down by heavy gear. If one does not need view camera corrections, tilt-shift or rise-fall, it delivers extraordinary quality.
Thanks for all the interesting information. A friend has offered loan of the 43mm and 150mm and I will probably take him up on it before making any further expenditures.
I am still fairly certain that the 150 will be the second lens I buy. I have always liked to focus in on parts of the landscape rather than the whole, and the 150 has been one of my favorite lenses with the Pentax 645. Also, I had a Fuji GSW690III for many years and found it much too wide for most of my needs, so I am really thinking that the 50mm will probably work better for my work than the 43.
Course, what I would really like for the Mamiya 7 would be an AF variable focus lens, say from with focal lengths of 45-65-80-150. And of course, with resolution of over 100 lppm at all focal lengths. Now would that not be nice? Like the Fuji GA645Zi, but with wider range.
I have the 43, 65 and 80 and have never felt the lack of the 50. I am not really a telephoto user, so don't need anything longer and am quite happy that the 80 is a bit short for a standard lens on 6x7.