I've been a long time Hasselblad user and just won an auction for a Mamiya 7II and a 65mm lens.
What should I know about this camera? What are the quirks?
How about pro's and con's?
1. It's a rangefinder different from an slr type like the hassy
2. 6x7 not 6x6
3. no extra film backs so each roll has to be done individually.
4. It;s addicting and you will forg4et your other cameras for a long while.
5. Start shiooug for extra lenses.
6. Ut;s extremely light weight, similar to a 35mm.
7. Their lens shades are crap. Get somethig like the flarebuster.
congrats for your new conquest :-)
The M7 with a 65 is a great combi. What you should know:
- turn off the main switch in bags
- always take a spare battery with you. The M7 will not release without battery.
- watch the frame counter. There is no lock after 10 pics.
- train yourself to handle the camera without touching the view and range meter windows ;-)
- check if your range meter works correct, i.e. that it machtes the real plane of focus. Take the camera to service otherwise.
A few things you will notice:
If you are not used to a rangefinder as I wasn't, looking through the view finder, everything always looks in focus. However the center focussing part of the viewfinder will soon tell you differently. This took me a few frames to get sorted out. When I was shooting in a hurry, I just grabbed it and shot and sure enough-- not in focus. Pretty stupid, but every other camera I've ever owned, when you look through the viewfinder and it is in focus, you can shoot.
I don't find it very fast to focus and shoot, again, not used to a rangefinder, it took a while.
When changing lenses, you have to trip a curtain to block the light from the film.
I also have a 65 and used I use it a lot. I also have a 150.
It is very slow to change film, for me anyways compared to a Hasseblad. I could reload film in a Hasselblad in about 10-15 seconds. This is a lot more tedious, due to the way you have to be careful not to let any slack in the film as you run it over to the other spool. Also attaching the leader onto the other spool is slow.
I would never take this over a Hasselblad but it is a great travel camera and carry around camera.
All in all it is still a great camera because of it's size compared to negative size. I still have only run about 20 rolls of film through mine so I'm still new at it.
my first 35mm had the same kind of focusing as the mamiya 7. It is hard to focus on dark things. What I did for that was take a flashlight (small one) and light up what ever I was focusing on at the time. then I switched off the flashlight. As for changing film, once you get a system going, it can be done quicker than you think. I am down to about 30 seconds on a change. Once you get comfortable with it and you know what the general settings are in your head for the lighting conditions, (you check using a light meter) you can shoot more rapidly. Mine the only thing that doesn't work with a dead battery is the internal light meter. I never use it, and forget to change the battery quite often. What I forget the most is to unclick the darkslide once I change film. that first shot after I can tell I did because it won't shoot. then you hear me cussing in Danish while tripping the button. I have the 43, 80 and 150mm lenses. Waiting for the close up attachment set to show up as I type.
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thanks for all the advice.
I have a very extensive Hasselblad collection and feel a bit funny about having the M7II. I'm not sure why.
I guess I don't want to get addicted and spend more money on something else.
Oh well. I'll let you know what I think when it arrives.
One good thing about this system is there is not that many thing to buy anyways. It is a pretty small system accessories wise.
I think you'll really like the portability. I always carry mine around and use it as more of a snapshot camera, with the advantage of a big negative.
Michael's, issues with focus and loading may have more to do with familiarity. I started out in MF on box style slr's and I now find the backs and inserts a bigger pain than the Mamiya (6 in my instance). Focusing is similar to some 35 systems (as Aggie states -- very similar to a Nikon FE2) and easier to focus in low light or when compared to an slr lens of the same speed (the fastest lens you'll be able to buy is an f/4).
Changing lenses is a trip, but you’ll never fog any film. You will forget to retract the curtain though.
The ability to use this camera handheld at very slow speeds, eas and speed of focus and portability make this a wonderful travel camera.
I know 2 photographers who use it (or the mamiya 6) for portrait work. Although the inability to shoot wider than f4,5 and the 150mm being a little on the short side are an issue. I have seen it used by many wedding photographers and I know one guy who uses it to shoot fashion. He had to plunk down 1k for an NPC Polaroid back to please the art directors.
The gist is that it can be used for more than a travel camera.
The meter on the 6 is problematic. It is narrow for the 50mm and wide on the 150mm. I find my self using the exposure lock (AEL) almost exclusively. I don’t know if that is an issue with the Mamiya 7. I think I read that it is not.
The other issues with the Mamiya 6, that carry over to the 7, is the lack of close focus, difficulty in controlling DOF and using filters, specifically ND Grads and Polarizer’s.
The items that you will appreciate the most over time are its eas of use and lens sharpness -- at least that is what i love about the 6 and suspect is the same for the 7.
Don't forget about the lens cap removal. And if you do find that you took the picture with the lenscap on, take it off, switch to multiple exposure, wind the film crank, re-take the shot and voala, you saved the frame. This is the only time I find multiple exposure useful.
Well, I've had the M7II now about a week or so and love it. It is easy to use and a joy to carry. And since I only have one lens (for now), there isn't much to lug around.
I've developed a few rolls and the negs are lovely. Plus it's nice to have a built in meter, just in case.