Your comment about preferring the waist level finder is most interesting. I too, would rather use the waist-level finder and hand-held incident meter. It makes the camera (Mamiya 645 1000s in my case) more compact and lighter. I'm new with this camera, so I'll need to practice coordinating my brain and hand movements for vertical (no action) shots, looking from the side. I see better through the WLF.
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould
Compared to the Super/Pro prism viewfinders, the 1000s,J, etc. prisms are not as nice. They are heavy, and a bit dim. Waist level for that camera is a natural, especially since you need something to hold the focus screen in place. I did a lot of shooting on my 1000s without any finder on the top until I finally broke down and got the waist level to make sure that the focus screen didn't fall out while I was using the camera.
Vertical shots and a WLF is a pain in the ass, and the main reason I bought a prism finder (I was working as a part-time pro portrait photographer at the time). But it's a perfect rig for street photography, since most people won't even realise you're taking a picture, and the local thieves will think your camera is too old to be worth stealing (this was very obvious in the bazaar in Cairo).
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
With age etc, 35mm is becoming to difficult to use in the darkroom. I'm tired of dealing with it. I regularly shoot Rolleiflex TLRs for many decades, and am completely happy with them. But try finding a wide angle Mutar when you need it!
After studying the various brands with accessories etc, I went with Mamiya M645Pro (will be adding a 645TL body by October). Everything is reasonably priced from B&H, and changing out film is fast if you use extra film holders instead of buying more backs. Just pop one out and the next one in. Done.
I had used an Mamiya 7 for a while when living on Maui for a few years, but to my eyes, the 645 glass is sharper. Of course, Zeiss is the glass by which all others are judged. I was doing weddings on Maui (3 a week) and the larger negative helps. For personal shooting, I used the Rolleis.
Doing one last wedding in October as a favor for a friend. Majority in b&w, with maybe 1 roll of color. Mamiys 645TL, Sunpak 622 with Lumedyne flash setup for on camera use as backup.
Good luck on your search!
If the lens doesn't read "ZEISS", then it just isn't.
Thanks for your comments.
My problem is that I am trying to do two new things. For years I did landscapes; mostly with 35mm but also on 5 x 4. Now I'm trying to photograph people at work, who have this habit of moving around, and I'm trying to do it with a camera which requires me to look down into a viewing screen. Takes some getting used to.
You mention a Mamiya 7. I was wondering if this could be my solution, as I am very much at home looking through a 35mm type viewfinder. The bigger negative would certainly help to get good quality large prints.
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Get back to it, stop worrying about what camera to use, if you change you won't get better images.
The images are made by you not the camera. You use a 5x4 where the image is upside down & back to front, so come onlooking down at a back to front viewing screen shouldn't faze you. It's no big deal and actually helps composition.
Originally Posted by AlanC
No Problem. But the Mamiya M645 Pro uses an AEPrism, and you use it just like a 35mm. No problem with that at all. It's not a TLR (which by the way I've used for everything from night sports to weddings, using the "sports finder" feature of the WLF. Most people forget it's even there. I prefer WLF, but that's what feels natural for me).
The Mamiya 7 is a rangefinder, so there's that horrid split image focusing to deal with, and the lenses/etc are MUCH more expensive than the 645.
With the 7 you get 9 shots per roll, 645 gives you 15, and it's already MF, so there's no worries about grain.
Look at KEH (not B&H, sorry) website and see the price differences for yourself. I've bought lots of things from them, and have never had a problem. You'll find them highly recommended not only here but other serious forums.
Good luck, and let me know how it turns out for you!
Last edited by Rolleijoe; 07-21-2008 at 04:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
If the lens doesn't read "ZEISS", then it just isn't.
Good lenses, good meter, great ergonomics; handles like a 35mm camera (save for the vertical orientation). I think it is ideal if you are shooting people at work.
You think I'm shilly-shallying around and are kicking me up the backside to get me going! No need to, as I am working hard at this, trying different things; printing, comparing.
The reason I want to get it right is that the photographs from this project- hill farming in the North York Moors-will be going into a specially created archive in the local folk museum. They would prefer A4 size paper, which would be the perfect ratio and size for 35mm format photographs. But they could create a 10 x 8 space, and this size would obviously be better for 645 6x7 and 6x6. They would think it odd if I opted for A4 then gave them all square pictures. So rather than jump in I'm taking my time to think things through.
They have a very nice gallery where some of the photographs would be exhibited, and I would like to do some large prints for this (and maybe other exhibitions) This complicates the issue; otherwise I would do the whole thing on 35mm.
Rolleijoe, you are right about Mamiya 645 prices. Half the orice of Pentax 645. I've just checked. And bigger lens choice than Bronica RF645, mentioned by Micek.
Thanks for your support.
But the farming season is about half over (at least over here). Unless you are going to go 6x7 or 6x9, the cost to get going with what I suggested is probably the cheapest. Draw the lines and start shooting with what you have. Otherwise you could dump a large amount of money into a Mamiya 7II system which a few people claim has some of the best optics ever produced for a camera of that film size. But it is going to cost you to go with this choice as the gear is still a current model, and somewhat expensive because it is somewhat of a niche product.