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  1. #1

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    Mamiya 645 Pro - Improvise a Waist Level Finder??

    I've just bought a Mamiya Pro 645 which has the usual prism finder mounted on it. I would like to find a WLF for it and would also be pretty happy with a right angle finder but alas, none can be found. Each one I find seems to be incompatible with my camera. Why Mamiya changed the mount of even the eyepiece is beyond me... (Perhaps I'm wrong...)

    I noticed however that when you remove the prism from the camera you can look down on the focusing screen and see the image. This made me curious as to what the WLF actually is. Does it offer something to the user that I couldn't recreate with a bit of cardboard or thick paper Velcro'd onto the body? Does the WLF have glass in it? Does it brighten the image in some way?

    This is my first medium format camera and I have never used any camera with a WLF so I really don't know what the finder itself offers. I'm well aware that I may be asking a very naive question here...

    Robert

  2. #2

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    Look at the WLFs for Hasselblads and Kievs and such to get an idea of what they look like. Have you checked KEH for a finder? The basic is simply a light shield. But then there is a pop-up magnifier. On cameras like a TLR, these usually are just for focusing- they show a small area, not the full screen. On my Bronica ETRSi, the magnifier is shielded and I can use it as a regular viewfinder, only looking down.

    Realize that as with a TLR, the image is reversed. Some will like that, others will never get used to it. I find the big thing with a WLF is that, as with a ground glass, I am looking at a screen, not looking through a viewfinder at the 'world.' An SLR with prism is like looking through a telescope. A WLF is more like looking at a small LCD (to go completely backwards in history here; LCDs are like ground glass focusing screens, not the other way around).
    Last edited by Dan Daniel; 07-13-2010 at 12:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by topslakr View Post
    I've just bought a Mamiya Pro 645 which has the usual prism finder mounted on it. I would like to find a WLF for it and would also be pretty happy with a right angle finder but alas, none can be found. Each one I find seems to be incompatible with my camera. Why Mamiya changed the mount of even the eyepiece is beyond me... (Perhaps I'm wrong...)

    I noticed however that when you remove the prism from the camera you can look down on the focusing screen and see the image. This made me curious as to what the WLF actually is. Does it offer something to the user that I couldn't recreate with a bit of cardboard or thick paper Velcro'd onto the body? Does the WLF have glass in it? Does it brighten the image in some way?

    This is my first medium format camera and I have never used any camera with a WLF so I really don't know what the finder itself offers. I'm well aware that I may be asking a very naive question here...

    Robert
    Robert:

    The reason you keep finding WLF and right angle finders for only the older versions of the Mamiya 645s is that the newer ones (the Super, the Pro, the Pro-Tl and the 645e, which all are 25 years old or younger) may be more popular now on eBay and the other usual sources for used equipment.

    The WLF adds four things to your camera body:
    1) when closed, a cover for the focusing screen;
    2) when open:
    a) sides that shade the image on the screen;
    b) a pop up magnifier that makes accurate focus much easier; and
    c) a sports finder function (that very few people use).
    Last edited by MattKing; 07-13-2010 at 01:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #4

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    I was wondering about this myself. So... theoretically, I can just construct a box with cardboard, rig a magnifier, and create my own? Is that all there is to it? (for Mamiya M645Pro)
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5

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    I've been searching KEH, Ebay, B&H and Adorama for the right angle adapter or the WLF and have had no luck. Perhaps I'll build the box and carry a magnifying lens with me Eventually one will come onto the market.

    Does the Mamiya 645 Pro go by any other names? It seems Mamiya created about a dozen variants of the 645 over the years...

    Thanks for all the info!

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    There are essentially three types of Mamiya 645 cameras.

    There are the various auto-focus models. They are the most current, and are moving toward digital capture.

    There are models with interchangeable backs - the M645 Super, the M645 Pro and the M645 Pro-Tl. The Pro-Tl was the model most recently manufactured by Mamiya. With very few exceptions, accessories for any of these models will fit the others. Certainly the waist level finder ("Waist Level Finder N") and the right angle finders for these fit all three.

    There are models without interchangeable backs. The 645e is relatively recent (discontinued in 2005?) and has a fixed finder. All the rest are 20+ years old.

    All the manual focus lenses will fit on all the manual focus bodies (and are usable on the AF bodies as well, with stop-down metering).

    None of the other accessories for the older models fit on the Super, Pro or Pro-Tl (although the rapid winder for the old 1000s is reportedly usable on the 645e).

    Do you have the manual for the Pro? It is available on the Mamiya USA website, and includes a system chart with some of this information (check the FAQ section there as well).
    Last edited by MattKing; 07-13-2010 at 01:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7

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    Wow, Thx MattKing! Great info!

    I do have the manual and have been reading through it. It does have a few pages with system options but no mention of an angle finder and the WLF is listed simply as 'Waist Level Finder N' which does not make Google searches easy. As it happens, KEH just added a new WLF to their listing which shows the Pro as a supported model.. so I've scooped it up. It's already gone from their site, talk about getting lucky!

    They also list an angle finder that supports the M645 and 1000s, but I've gathered that the M645 is a different camera than the 645 Pro and hence not compatible, but in your post you call it the M645 Pro. Is it possible that Mamiya made both a M645 Pro, and a 645 Pro? (My head is exploding right now) KEH seems pretty good about listing camera models supported by the various accessories but no one is infallible.

    Mamiya 645 Angle Viewfinder on KEH

    Above is the listing on KEH's site, and at $45 it's not too much that I wouldn't be willing to buy it and find out if it fits or not

    What an amazing wealth of information this place is! Thx so much! This has been incredibly helpful so far!

    Robert

  8. #8

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    Robert,

    The entire series of 6 models are generally refereed to as M645. Within it, there is the M645, 1000S, E, Super, Pro, and Pro-TL. The first two is the older mostly metal body, E is all-in-one-nothing-modular model, and the last 3 are plastic clad newer model.

    Older body:
    **M656 - base model
    **1000S - shutter speed has the new 1/1000 top speed
    Economy model targeting new comers and students:
    **E - non modular model
    Newer plastic outer casing:
    **Super - newer plastic model
    **Pro - mechanism beefed up as Super has tendency to have issues with film advance mechanism
    **Pro-TL - has TTL flash metering

    Does this help prevent your head from exploding?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  9. #9

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    I'm gathering what bits of my head I can find and gluing them all back together. Days of research tied together in few posts. You all are wonderful! Thx very much!

    The film I ordered for the camera arrives tomorrow and I expect I and my 645 will be very happy together. I can't wait!

    Robert

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by topslakr View Post
    I'm gathering what bits of my head I can find and gluing them all back together.
    I still find pieces under my desk sometimes from last time it happened to me. M645 Pro is a great camera. I have one. Stop by at APUG often... you'll be amazed how much collective knowledge there is....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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