Swapping Leica M for Mamiya 7 ??
I'm thinking of swapping my Leica M6 for a Mamiya 7. The obvoius gain is in negative real estate but what are the downsides? Has anyone made the switch? How did it go for you? My main use for the M6 is my everyday carry camera to shoot whatever may come, sort of my notebook of my life. It takes me about a month to go through a 24 exp roll of 135.
I pretty much only shoot with a 35 on my M so I was going to go with the 65mm lens and add the 150 in case I need something to get in close.
I'd appreciate any insight anyone can give.
The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance.
The lenses on the Mamiya 7 are slower than lenses for the Leica, so low light photography is harder to do with the Mamiya. You can use 220 format film with the Mamiya, though it can be a little hard on the cameras film forwarding mechanisms, there are a wider variety of films in 120 format. So, in other words, you'll be changing out the film a lot more. And it's a little cumbersome to change it on the Mamiya 7, though with practice it get's easier and more fluid.
That said... your negatives will be stunning! Not that Leica negs aren't, mind you. It's a different, slower way to work.
I have/use both. Different kind of cameras, different pictures, different approachs.
you cannot use the 7 as if it were a overgrown leica, if that is what you're looking for, unless you're under pretty good light. Anything under 1/30 is not useable in the 7 handholding it, with much less DOF in larger apertures. Said that I love as much my 7 as my m6
Jim, let me suggest also considering the mamiya 6/6mf. I have a couple of those and prefer them, ergonomically, to the mammie 7 just because of the collapsing lens mount. The only things I miss on the 6 are the multi-exposure and of course that one superwide lens! Anyway, for photography on the go, these are just wonderful. They handle just like a 35mm... with a giant viewfinder. But Suzanne is right that the lenses aren't fast enough for some available light stuff. Though I can report that pro z shot at 3200 or delta 3200 shot at 3200 are quite nice, if you want to do really low-light stuff, 35mm is going to win on lens speed alone. I have a 50/1.2 and some 35mm bodies that I use when I want to scratch that itch.
My experience with handholding the mamiyas is quite different from what Luis reports. I have plenty of printworthy shots on the 6 taken at 1/8 or 1/4 and even slower. There is a simple trick for going to long handheld exposures: use the timer. That removes the finger impulse which permits you to focus on stability. Try it.
Last edited by keithwms; 10-26-2008 at 09:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I have both and wouldn't want to choose one over the other. The M's are much more intuitive and conducive to anticipatory or spontaneous shooting. I also use the Mamiya for street shooting and the larger negative is nice but I tend to use it more for urban or landscape work.
Having said that, the one thing I really don't like about the Mamiya lenses are the lack of close focussing and lens speed. If I could get down to 20" or so with the 43 and 80, I'd be chuffed. If they were 2.8's, I'd be supremely chuffed. The lenses do produce great b/w images as many will attest to. I also find handholding at slowish speeds to be doable, 1/8 or so is not uncommon.
Not sure if I would use a Mamiya 7 as a carry around camera because of it's size but ymmv. The Leica would get that vote.
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yes and no.
Yes: Bigger film size for larger blow-ups.
No: I found the lenses of the Mamiya too sharp and contrasty and lacking in shadow details. Not quite the creamy German feel even with lower contrast films such as the Fuji 160S or Kodak 160NC.
I would, however, do a swap for a Rolleiflex TLR 75/3.5 Planar, Xenotar or even Tessar. But they do mainly standard lenses. You can, of course, get wide and tele lenses too.
That's fine for static subjects, not for what you'll do with the leica - let's say - in a jazz club with moving targets @ ISO 400, that's my point, other subjects, other rules BTW, I'm a real nitpicker for sharpness.
Originally Posted by keithwms
Luis, I like motion, that's where I am coming from. I respect sharpness but the dynamic contrast between moving and stationary subjects is what interests me most at this point. For example this, which was hand-braced against a fencepost, at 1 sec or so and shot with a mamiya 6. The feedback I get on that shot is that people seem to like the motion.
Likewise this and this and this. All handheld (albeit some braced) at exposures 1/20 or longer. Frankly I don't think any of these would have been improved by totally freezing the motion. In the last one I definitely did have the option of freezing the motion- I had an f/1.9 lens on my mamiya 645 and high ISO film... f/1.9 is fast even for small format.... letting the motion come through was a decision that I made and frankly I'm glad that I did.
To each his/her own, of course. I agree that a faster lens is what you want if you want to freeze motion, but... ultimate sharpness is a rather tired concept in photography, in my honest opinion. And it's also trivial to achieve: you just open up the lens and/or bump up the ISO and/or crank up the shutter speed and voila. Sports photography 101. On the other hand, appreciating the rhythm of the scene and making it work for the composition takes more thought, I believe.
Last edited by keithwms; 10-26-2008 at 03:33 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Of course you can get better results with the larger format, but there is no free ride. Motion blur (from slower shutter speeds) and film flatness issues can easily counteract any potential benefit from the larger format. If you already do fantastic work in 35mm you may find you need to use a tripod to surpass your present technique.
I'm not going to fall into, and I haven't pretended even, discussing whatever you (or me for this case) consider a desirable goal for any photographic work, that's mainly on the personal side. I'm pointing that there are technical facts that you can't avoid and makes a difference to someone used to shoot with the M; if you have to have a pin-sharp candid portrait under low light better get your tripod than bracing anything hoping to nail it... given those circumstances without one, I would be pretty sure about 1/15 with the leica and not so sure using the same speed, fstop and film in the 7.
Originally Posted by keithwms
To be fair, that does not represent a problem to me, but as I moved to Medium Format handheld from the leica, I was pointing only what I found those days trying to use it as if it were an overgrown M6.