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120 / 220 film RF's 120 / 220 format rangefinders including Fuji, Koni-Omega, Mamiya Press, Linhof 6x7/6x9 cameras, Mamiya 6/7 among others, but excluding the 120 folders and the Voigtlander 667 cameras that have their own forums.

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Fear of the Mamiya 6
Old 11-04-2019   #1
froyd
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Fear of the Mamiya 6

I saved up $2000 to spend on a Mamiya 6 (interchangeable lenses version) and 50mm.

It's my new "must have obsession", after having accumulated an F4s, an OM-1, a Contax G, a Rolleiflex, and an M4, in that order.

However, I'm now getting cold feet because my F4's LCD has started to bleed, and while the Contax G is still holding strong, the recent RFF thread on the G2 shutter failure is a bleak reminder of the impending end-of-life for my electronic cameras.

At $200 a pop, I would buy a new Contax in a heartbeat if mine bit the dust, but at $1,000 the Mamiya 6 body is harder to replace.

I think I'd be OK if I could get 8 years of reliable service before something major went wrong with the Mamiya, but I don't have a sense of delicate they are. I heard the film advance can give problems, but I believe it's still repairable. Are there other weak spots?
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Old 11-04-2019   #2
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My 7 had multiple cracks in the body - barely any paint left - and the curtains were very cumbersome. Camera worked fine.

You only live once. Enjoy it when you can.
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Old 11-04-2019   #3
Oren Grad
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Nobody can be sure what's going to be in five or six or eight years from now, but perhaps this will help in thinking about it:

https://www.precisioncameraworks.com/mamiya
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Old 11-04-2019   #4
Greg Maslak
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I've had mine since new from 1992. As you must know, given your desire to own one, it is an astonishingly good camera and lens system. I will never part with it. But, I baby it, especially its notoriously fragile film advance lever. I know mine well and I hope it will last many more rolls, but I don't think I would buy one used today (unless I knew the camera or seller well). As you say, they are too much money for too much risk. It's hard enough to service an old mechanical camera these days. Almost impossible for an electronic one.

On a related note, just yesterday my son and I "unbox" a legendary Nakamichi Dragon, purchased a few years before the Mamiya. (I was single in those days and prone to shopping therapy). The Dragon had been sitting idle for at least a decade. Anticipation was high, but there was no power to the control panel. The channel LCDs and counter light, so hopefully it's just a fuse. But if it's more, there is little I can do about it. Find one that works and they are a small fortune. "As Is", and you can have it for less than the Mamiya.

Without a doubt, a great camera, but be wary of old tech.
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Old 11-04-2019   #5
Oren Grad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Maslak View Post
On a related note, just yesterday my son and I "unbox" a legendary Nakamichi Dragon, purchased a few years before the Mamiya. (I was single in those days and prone to shopping therapy). The Dragon had been sitting idle for at least a decade. Anticipation was high, but there was no power to the control panel. The channel LCDs and counter light, so hopefully it's just a fuse. But if it's more, there is little I can do about it. Find one that works and they are a small fortune. "As Is", and you can have it for less than the Mamiya.
Wow, brings back memories... those who are too young to have been into audio in the '80s won't appreciate how big a deal the Dragon was. Anyway, re service, you might check to see if this guy is still in business:

http://www.willyhermannservices.com/index.html

Getting back to the OP's conundrum: I've owned Mamiya 6 equipment too, sold it in part because of concern about long-term serviceability. My concern is a bit lower since Bob Watkins (linked in my earlier post) established himself as a Mamiya 6/7 specialist, but of course that depends on how long he is able to stay active, and whether a successor is able to continue the business when Bob retires. Thinking about long-term availability of service, I'm still a bit more comfortable with purely mechanical cameras, though there are no guarantees with those either.
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Old 11-04-2019   #6
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I have 4 of them. The camera is not all that fragile. The winder problems are real, but most can be fixed without changing parts. If you take care to wind slowly (this is not an action camera after all!!!) you are unlikely to suffer any new wind problems.
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Old 11-04-2019   #7
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I had my winder replaced by Bob in january this year. hoping for another 20 years of great photos. dont be afraid. life is to short to be scared. If you want it, will use it, and print from it, go get it. Get it to bob for a CLA and if your worried, get the winder replaced now so you dont have to worry about it. its a great system and the results, especially slides, are amazing.



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Bob Watkins
Old 11-04-2019   #8
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Bob Watkins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
Nobody can be sure what's going to be in five or six or eight years from now, but perhaps this will help in thinking about it:

https://www.precisioncameraworks.com/mamiya
My Mamiya 7ii is there right now being serviced for the 2nd time. Bob Watkins is THE expert on Mamiya 6 and 7 and still gets parts from them. He said he still has a large stock of parts and will be servicing them a very long time.

That being said, the Mamiya 6 and 7 are not good build quality cameras. The lenses, however, are unmatched by any other lens I have ever used. Itís worth it if you want the best results you can get handheld. My photos rival my 4x5 large format camera.
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Old 11-05-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Maslak View Post
......On a related note, just yesterday my son and I "unbox" a legendary Nakamichi Dragon, purchased a few years before the Mamiya. (I was single in those days and prone to shopping therapy). The Dragon had been sitting idle for at least a decade. Anticipation was high, but there was no power to the control panel. The channel LCDs and counter light, so hopefully it's just a fuse. But if it's more, there is little I can do about it. Find one that works and they are a small fortune. "As Is", and you can have it for less than the Mamiya.

A friend got my Nakamichi Z7 going again. It had a number of dry solder joints, so no parts needed. Still going!
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Old 11-05-2019   #10
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Another satisfied Precision Camera customer. After years of hard use hiking, the focus of my Mamiya 6 was off. I was a bit reluctant to send both camera and lenses there, but all came back intact and in focus.
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Old 11-05-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froyd View Post

However, I'm now getting cold feet because my F4's LCD has started to bleed, and while the Contax G is still holding strong, the recent RFF thread on the G2 shutter failure is a bleak reminder of the impending end-of-life for my electronic cameras.

At $200 a pop, I would buy a new Contax in a heartbeat if mine bit the dust, but at $1,000 the Mamiya 6 body is harder to replace.
I've felt the Contax frustration as well and I wanted to avoid a similar experience with a medium format camera so I compared the Mamiya 6/7 cameras with Plaubel Makina and want the Makina way. They're simpler cameras and the only thing the battery does is run the light meter, which is optional so if the meter fails the camera still functions properly. (I'm not suggesting you get a Makina which aren't perfect either, just sharing my thoughts when faced with the same decision)

One thing I'd suggest is getting the camera you choose serviced after you verify that everything works. I have two Makinas and between getting the first one and second one serviced the factory stopped servicing them and that stung. Wish I would have gotten that last factory tuneup when I could.
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Old 11-07-2019   #12
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Thanks for sharing your experiences, especially the ones with Precision Camera. Very encouraging.
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