Mamiya 645 1000s Review

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MichaelMcGrath's review of Mamiya 645 1000s

★★★★★

“I would go so far as to place the Mamiya range of...”

Written on: 17/07/2008 by MichaelMcGrath (1 review written)

Good Points
If it is anything like my Mamiya 645, 500th speed max, it handles better than a Hasselblad and produces the exact same quality, for a fraction of the price. It is also tougher, more durable, than it's Haaelblad equivalent. It feels better, balances better in the hand, and is solid metal, no messing. No meter in mine, which I prefer. It's as good as, and a lot lighter than, my Bronica SQA, superb camera and superb lens too. Mine was in a press in a room that went on fire - it survived the massive smoke for hours, still as good as ever, you wouldn't know unless I told you, so much more durable and lasting than the equivalent Hasselblad. It's much sleeker than my "Tank" of a Bronica SQA which must be the most solid camera, M/F or 35mm ever made. These cameras make the latest Canon Eos feel and look like a joke ! You can carry the 645 around no problem, it's actually lightweight and even compact too, certainly compared to that giant Bronica SQA of mine - The Panzer of cameras ! And sorry to depress you, but you'll be dead before either of these cameras are, lol.

Bad Points
This is not a fast shooter ! You must take your time, and thus have time to think out your shot. Too slow for sports or any fast action. Mamiya 645 lenses are still expensive secondhand on eBay - more expensive than the RB /RZ lenses, but this is sheer enjoyment in handling, how Mamiya made it so light for a solid metal body, I don't know ? Composing upright shots can be a problem with the waist-level finder as you have to hold it out to the side to look through the screen, something like the way you use a digital today ! But I prefer the waist-level finder for composition with both eyes, hate squinting through eyepieces ! Finished photos are viewed with both eyes, and you will find that it is therefore best to compose your shots with both eyes too.

General Comments
I would go so far as to place the Mamiya range of their day ahead of equivalent Hasselblads. My friend, with a fabulous High Street studio, uses Hasselblad in studio, but swears by Mamiya too. In the old days when he was double-booked with two weddings at one time, his late wife and partner photographer, always used Mamiya in preference to Hasselblad when out shooting her weddings. Although a millionaire today, he will not change from medium format film to digital, although he sells scores of digital to customers in his Digital Centre shop. That, from one of the recognised best professional portrait photographers in Ireland, indeed in the entire British Isles, speaks volumes for medium format film versus digital ! He is a practicing professional now, outstanding in portraiture since 1996, all of 42 years. His daughter works with the same tools and she top of her game, travelling Stateside to give presentations at U.S. Pro Photographer conventions. And it was her dad himself who inspired me years ago to use Mamiya. He says the Hassie Zeiss lenses are better - but you would want to take a magnifying glass to a 30 x40 print to see the infitesimal difference !!!

(By the way I find the kit lenses on Minolta Dynax better than the Canon EOS kit lenses, for colour and sharpness).

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