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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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Would you buy a Mamiya 6 in 2019?
Old 06-16-2019   #1
ryca
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Question Would you buy a Mamiya 6 in 2019?

hey all!

HELP! One camera I've always lusted over was the Mamiya 6. I've currently been offered 6MF w/ all 3 lenses. The deal is pretty sweet, but that being said is still ALOT of money for me.

I'm buying from interstate and from what I know the camera in question is in 100% working condition with no issues w/ winding mech or bellows. All lenses are fine also. Pictures I've seen of it match description.

That being said, its a 25+ year old camera and from my research understand the bellows & winding mechs of these models maybe susceptible to eventually going. Can those things even be fixed?

So my question -- am I being overly paranoid or take the punt to buy (via Paypal)?
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Old 06-16-2019   #2
Jhausler
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I bought a 6MF and 2 lenses (and the pano kit) in 2018. It's a sick camera. If you can afford it, and you've always lusted over it, go for it. If the body breaks and you can't find someone to service, the lenses aren't losing value.

I'm sure you can always find a tech in Japan, which is close enough shipping wise from you.
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Old 06-16-2019   #3
Chriscrawfordphoto
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I had one and loved it. If you like to shoot film in square format and can live with just three lenses, the Mamiya 6 is the BEST 6x6 system. The lenses are incredibly sharp, fully the equal of Hasselblad (which I also had for many years), but the system is less expensive, light and compact, easy to handhold.
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Old 06-16-2019   #4
Oren Grad
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FYI, here are some observations from an experienced Mamiya 6/7 technician:

https://www.precisioncameraworks.com/mamiya
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Old 06-17-2019   #5
ka7197
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No, I would never buy a Mamiya 6 ... but that's just because I don't like the square image format. Instead, I acquired a Mamiya 7II a few months ago, with a couple of lenses. Boy, this camera is fun to use!


Due to the large format and the rangefinder principle, there's a few things this camera is not capable of—no close-ups, no medium or long telephoto, no high-frequency bursts of consecutive shots. But for everything else, it's the nicest camera I ever used. It can even do street shooting—in 6×7 cm format no less, and conveniently so!


So if 6×6 cm is your kind of image format then do not hesitate to grab that Mamiya 6 with three lenses!
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Old 06-17-2019   #6
jawarden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryca View Post
hey all!

HELP! One camera I've always lusted over was the Mamiya 6. I've currently been offered 6MF w/ all 3 lenses. The deal is pretty sweet, but that being said is still ALOT of money for me.

I'm buying from interstate and from what I know the camera in question is in 100% working condition with no issues w/ winding mech or bellows. All lenses are fine also. Pictures I've seen of it match description.

That being said, its a 25+ year old camera and from my research understand the bellows & winding mechs of these models maybe susceptible to eventually going. Can those things even be fixed?

So my question -- am I being overly paranoid or take the punt to buy (via Paypal)?
I'd not hesitate to buy one. They're worth having and maintaining, and should last a good long time.
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Old 06-17-2019   #7
Phil_F_NM
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It was the nicest camera system I've ever owned. I sold mine not because of not liking it or it being any less than perfect, but I wanted to put the money towards other things (tuition and car maintenance.) I wasn't using that format quite as much anymore as I'd made the beginning of a career change. All that said, it was and still is one of the best systems you can get and could ever get. The three lenses are incredible. Even the "worst" lens is still better than much of what you can get without going into serious ED/UD/L whatever glass. The 50mm though, that is why I got into the whole system. I actually bought a second body just to specifically mate with the 50mm and not use any other lenses on it.
If it breaks, get it fixed. Send it halfway around the world to get it fixed, it's worth it.

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Old 06-17-2019   #8
tuanvinh2000
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i find the images are incredible but the camera is big and i prefer smaller sized cameras. I also prefer the Rolleiflex rendering a bit more gentle than the technical perfection of the Mamiya lenses. sold mine and look at the images it created with pride but not missing the handling.
if the price is right, you wont lose any money in resale.
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Old 06-17-2019   #9
KenR
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I had some focus issues with mine after being banged around on numerous hiking trips. Sent it to Precision Camera with lenses - they adjusted things perfectly. Don’t hesitate to buy the camera.
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Old 06-17-2019   #10
KM-25
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The camera is nice overall and the lenses are really great. But...I had it and the 3 lens kit and as much as I tried, I just did not care for the RF use of medium format film, prefer to frame more accurately, especially when aligning foreground to background.

I also had bad luck with the batteries dropping below threshold voltage way too early in cold weather and ended up losing too many important shots when the camera became a useless brick in my pack on Winter days. I could warm up the batteries or keep a second set and swap them back and forth if I needed to but it became a rather pathetic exercise with gloves on given how small they are.

I gave it a year, took one hell of a financial hit on it and will never go down that road again.
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Old 06-21-2019   #11
Sal Santamaura
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KM-25 View Post
...I also had bad luck with the batteries dropping below threshold voltage way too early in cold weather and ended up losing too many important shots when the camera became a useless brick in my pack on Winter days. I could warm up the batteries or keep a second set and swap them back and forth if I needed to but it became a rather pathetic exercise with gloves on given how small they are...
Easily dealt with by using the external battery holder and keeping it in one's pocket. There's a convenient plug/socket in the wire to enable putting the camera in a pack while leaving the battery warm where it is inside clothing.
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Old 06-21-2019   #12
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to me it all depends on the developing. If you can send your films to a local shop then its fine, the Mamiya 6 and 7 are amazing cameras but I sold my M7 due to not having where to send my 120 film.
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Old 06-22-2019   #13
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I love my M6 three lens kit. I’ll be keeping it until it, or I, die.
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Old 06-27-2019   #14
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hey all thanks for the replies.. sorry for delay was away for work. anyways, today took receipt of a pretty mint 6MF w/ all 3 lenses! cannot wait to shoot a roll tomorrow.

one thing that got me tho was I didn't know it doesn't fire when NO film loaded and the back closed!!! i thought I got a dud. was firing perfectly w/ back open.. but closed was nothing - new batteries & all! anyhow just read its a "safety feature".. phew.

with that being said Mamiya 6/7 owners... any handy tips I should be aware of?
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Old 06-27-2019   #15
Phil_F_NM
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Just carry an extra battery.
Also, get the BEST ND filters you can buy. I always used Heliopan or B+W because that exquisite glass deserves a good filter.
Phil Forrest
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Metering
Old 06-27-2019   #16
KenR
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Metering

The meter is fooled by big expanses of sky. So when I see that there is a big disparity between metering a neutral area and my planned photo with lots of sky, I lock the exposure on the neutral area and then compose and take my photo.
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Old 06-27-2019   #17
Greg Maslak
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I bought mine new in 1994. It was so intimidating that I left it nearly untouched for 20 years! Now, it is the one camera I would never part with. It is that good. However, treat it with care. As you learned, follow the test firing and cover screen set/release sequence from the manual. Wind the shutter with smooth full strokes. Extended and retract the bellows with the release button. Don’t force anything. These are not “bricks”, “tanks” or Nikon’s.

Last thing, heed KenR’s advise on metering. It is easy to underexpose when relying on the cameras AE.
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Old 06-27-2019   #18
Bill Clark
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Quote:
Would you buy a Mamiya 6 in 2019?
No.

I’m using 35mm film mostly. Little medium format only to exercise cameras. All black & white. And a little bit of gray!

All color with digital. Using my iPad and iPhone. The iPhone is on me most of the time. iPhone does a neat job making panos.
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Old 06-27-2019   #19
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Absolutely. Superb camera
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Old 06-27-2019   #20
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I used to travel with 2 Mamiya 6 bodies with 50/75 mounted. Collapsed they fit into a Billingham Alice bag. Super lightweight. I then got into the SWC and 500CM so something had to go. That was a mistake. (Not the SWC!). I often think about buying another one but in this decade I think about more more practical problems such as scanning 120.
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Old 06-27-2019   #21
ryca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenR View Post
The meter is fooled by big expanses of sky. So when I see that there is a big disparity between metering a neutral area and my planned photo with lots of sky, I lock the exposure on the neutral area and then compose and take my photo.
a lot of people talk about inconsistent metering... this is great advice thank you. just loaded some porta400 for first walk w/ it... wish me luck!
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Old 06-27-2019   #22
ornate_wrasse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryca View Post
with that being said Mamiya 6/7 owners... any handy tips I should be aware of?
Like others, I found the metering did not produce properly exposed images for me. It got to the point that I didn't trust the meter at all and always used my own meter, relying on it rather than the camera's meter. If you have an external meter, I recommend using it when shooting with the Mamiya 6.

All in all, it's a GREAT camera which I dearly love. The results I got with the superb 50mm lens are among the very best film images I've ever shot.

Here's one of my favorite images taken with the Mamiya 6 and the 50mm lens.
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Leica M9, Leica M6, Leica M3 - 21mm 3.4 Super Angulon, 28mm 2.8 Elmarit, 35mm Summicron, Nikkor SC 50mm 1.4, Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm 1.5, CV 75mm 2.5, Nikkor 8.5cm 2.0

Mamiya 6 - 50mm f4, 75mm f3.5, 150mm f4.5

Fuji X-Pro1 - 16-55mm f/2.8, 27mm f/2.8
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Old 06-27-2019   #23
Rayt
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The meter is just a non TTL reflective with a broad angle of view. Definitely use a handheld meter unless the illumination is uniform.
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Old 06-27-2019   #24
ryca
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Oh my... 4 frames in, you guys are right this meter is kinda crazy! Kinda super sensitive to light.


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Old 06-27-2019   #25
Phil_F_NM
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Take a meter reading off a medium gray zone: open sky opposite the sun, a big patch of green grass, a gray card, then transfer the reading to manual shutter speeds. Or use your left hand to shield the viewfinder from the sky, you can get it pretty close. That meter is very sensitive and very accurate but as you've found out, it will get fooled by stray light entering the viewfinder.
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Old 06-28-2019   #26
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Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
Take a meter reading off a medium gray zone: open sky opposite the sun, a big patch of green grass, a gray card, then transfer the reading to manual shutter speeds. Or use your left hand to shield the viewfinder from the sky, you can get it pretty close. That meter is very sensitive and very accurate but as you've found out, it will get fooled by stray light entering the viewfinder.
Phil Forrest
thanks for this!
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Old 07-02-2019   #27
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Re. the meter: The built in meter is completely usable, but you need to be very aware of the way it is fooled by bright skies. So either shade the finder to block out the sky or get in close and take a reading off something that will give you a reliable exposure.

Having said that, I use a handheld meter most of the time. It makes things simple.
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Would you buy a Mamiya 6 in 2019?
Old 07-02-2019   #28
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Would you buy a Mamiya 6 in 2019?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujiLove View Post
Re. the meter: The built in meter is completely usable, but you need to be very aware of the way it is fooled by bright skies. So either shade the finder to block out the sky or get in close and take a reading off something that will give you a reliable exposure.

Having said that, I use a handheld meter most of the time. It makes things simple.


Ok so just got back my first quick test roll i shot last Friday (all w/ internal meter). They came out ok I think.. I used AEL and ensured to meter off shadows or darkest part of frame as advised here. Tried to shoot various situations that day: indoors, outdoors, overcast.. looks ok... maybe could use another 1/3 - 1/2 stop exposure.. but all in all happy w/ it. (M6MF x Portra400)




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Old 07-03-2019   #29
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Congrats on the purchase - you won't regret it. I probably would have given the girls at the inside table an extra stop because they were indoors. The garage looks like the meter underexposed 1 or 2 stops. I would have locked the exposure on the neutral pavement and then taken the picture as the bright lights probably caused the camera to stop things down a bit much.
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