Durablility of Mamiya M7 II

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by steve williams, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. I read an article on Ken Rockwell's site that said the M7 II has plastic pieces
    fall off of it. He makes it sound like it's not the most sturdy camera.

    Is this accurate?


  2. I think they are very well made. I'd take anything Ken Rockwell says with a grain of salt.
  3. Mine has been all over the world with me. True, I take very good care of it as I do with all my equipment. I've had it for several years without any problems. And no, nothing plastic or otherwise has fallen off. This is a wonderful, brilliant camera.
  4. Why not email Rockwell and ask him what specifically fell off his Mamiya or what evidence he has for that claim? It's fashionable here to deride him, you could give him the opportunity to substantiate something he has said.
  5. My M7II is going on 3 years old, at least 500 rolls of film, but still looks and behaves almost new! I do treat it with perhaps above average care. Avoiding the obvious perils such as dropping, grit or moisture. I usually case it with a LowePro Stealth Reporter AW. The hardest thing on any camera (beside drowning it in saltwater) is banging it against other cameras slung around your neck. Think of Dennis Hooper, the photojournalist in Apocalypse Now! I Love My M7II!

    I highly respect Ken's adivce (I read him weekly), but would argue against his assertion that EOS-1 aren't 'Pro' quality. I've been using EOS-1 to EOS-1Nrs for 10+ years now, and you could slap a rhinoceros silly with a Canon 1 series. Just as tough as my Nikon F3P or F4s, IMHO.
  6. I've owned and used RZIIs, Mamiya 6-variants and Mamiya 7IIs, all of which have plastic exterior body parts. I've never had a part fall off or even try to fall off.

    Understand, Mamiya could make the M7II out of all metal alloy parts. This would dramatically increase the weight of the camera.

    The swell thing about the M7II is its relatively light weight, combined with its leaf-shutter lenses and no mirror flap. The camera is very hand-holdable.
  7. Like Arthur, mine has been all around the world with me. It has never needed a repair, in
    contrast to my Leicas which are in every year or two for some minor issue or other. Granted,
    the M7II doesn't FEEL as solid, particularly the shutter speed dial, but honestly, it is a non-
    issue. The camera stands up to a lot of punishment. In some ways, I think the plastic
    probably makes it more durable in that it absorbs more shock. And it's metal on the
    inside...the plastic is only the casing. I don't have any negative opinions about its durability
    other than it does not feel rock solid -- first hand evidence has shown me that it is, however.
  8. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I have had repetitive problems with the flimsy handle used to close the shutter curtain when changing lenses. The handle breaks and is too flimsy to take glue. I've now had this replaced by a makeshift metal knob to prevent further breakage. That aside the camera has been used quite a lot since new in early 2001 with no problems, no maintenance. I have mo concerns at all about the plastic body.
  9. I just got back from a three-day, backcountry hiking assignment with my M7II and a carbon fiber tripod and was just thinking what a great camera this is when I saw this post. It's amazing I can do what I do with this camera, and have it be 6x7. Don't worry that it's not heavy, that's part of the beauty. It might as well be titanium - I put it through it through pro paces and it works great, even the rangefinder is still dead-on for me. I don't drive nails with it, but I don't coddle it, either. I use it hard, and it works great. The Nikon D3 can wait, I'm getting an extra M7 body.
  10. He also said that all 7IIs out of the box would need rangefinder adjustments. My images have been razor sharp, rangefinder has been perfect since purchased new.
  11. This is now the official M7II fan club thread! And without one real negative response, you
    must draw the conclusion that the M7II is the best MF camera to have if you could have
    just one. That part is correct. But -- you should never have just one of anything that you
    professionally, or a lot, so the solution is to get a second M7II body. Then you won't
    worry about the plastic -- though isn't bulletproof glass really plastic?

    M7s are popping up at KEH lately too. No problems with mine either, but now I have extra
    bodies "just in case" since I can't stand the though of not having a working M7II with me.

    Interesting item: don't ask me for proof since I did not do the testing. The fine art
    photographer Scott Rosenberg did. Check out his site www.srosenberg.com. Though he
    shoots 4x5 for the movements, his M7II lenses tested out with MORE lp/mm than a 4x5 --
    and though the tonality was a bit less in the 6x7, the 6x7 was sharper than the 4x5 for the
    same sized prints. This may be unique to his lenses, but if not, then the M7II is THE
    camera to take anywhere you don't need movements. It is for me, anyway.

    That said, I'm glad I back it up with a little point and shoot Canon G7 -- last night, in pitch
    black, I took a few shots into an 8-foot hole and got everything -- even a bit overexposed.
  12. Steve, here's what I've experienced. Eight years, one overhaul in second year of
    ownership, exposure to rain, snow, sub-freezing temps (though sparingly) and no
    operational failures, bumped and nudged about a few times. When not in use, it's always
    in a camera bag. The rubber eye piece did come off, but not since the overhaul.

    Is it the most strudy camera ever made? No. Can spectacular images be captured with it?

  13. Thanks for the good info. Here's my dilemma - I have several types of medium format cameras and am simplifying. I was thinking about selling most of them and keeping the M7, but have read some comments here and there about problems, such as durability and focus accuracy. (This is a brand new M7 II kit, with 80mm lens and 50 mm lens, so I thought it would be most of what I would need for landscapes.)

    I'm in a quandary about what to keep. I use MF 98% for landscapes. Now, I'm toying with selling the Mamiya and keeping my Fuji GW690III and GSW690III, since the two would have some similar FOV perspective as my Mamiya lenses, but a larger negative. (I also have a Hasselblad 501CM that I will probably keep, too.)

    So, I'm trying to decide which I want for landscapes and sell the others (Oh - also have a Yashicamat and a Fuji GA645zi. I'll probably sell the GA645zi, too, since I don't need it for landscapes.)

    I guess with every camera, there are trade-offs.

    Thanks for indulging my obsessive ramblings...
  14. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I had mine fall about two feet onto a hard surface in the Central Highlands jungle in Vietnam. The baseplate cracked open and the lens suffered damage to the diaphragm. Cost on my return was $800, fortunately covered by insurance, and Mamiya has excellent service.

    This comment, like all of the above comments, is simply anecdotal evidence. It tells you nothing about the durability of the camera, which can only be determined through statistical data on a significant sample. Nothing you read on this thread really has any validity in determining durability.

    That said, I do think my Canon EOS 1DMk3 is significantly more durable than the Mamiya rangefinder line.
  15. See it broke
  16. "I do think my Canon EOS 1DMk3 is significantly more durable than the Mamiya rangefinder line."

    Ummm ...... your 1DMIII couldn't be more than four or five months old (the camera was just announced at PMA 2007 in mid-February and shipped thereafter). How could you draw any conclusions as to the durability of a few-month-old camera?
  17. Just kidding
  18. I also get sick of hearing about Hasseys lockin up....if they do its operator error. I have dragged mine everywhere no locking up. Some people just don`t know how to use a camera. Just because you have a camera....that does not make you a photographer.
  19. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    How could you draw any conclusions as to the durability of a few-month-old camera?
    Maybe you should take the time to read my whole post. All more time would give me is more anecdotal evidence, which I consider worthless. The Mamiya broke in a small fall that could have happened the week I got it or two years later. When it did fall, I ended up with $800 of damage on a setup I could replace for $1400 at the time.
    What I have observed is that the plastic on the Mamiya is the simple type of plastic that cracks easily, as opposed to a lot of the hybrids that are used in a lot of cameras that are far more durable. There are plenty of statistics on the plastic hybrids out there. My Konica Hexar, a plastic/metal hybrid, fell from about four feet onto pavement and rolled about fifteen feet down a steep San Francisco hill. It was only in a few places that it was even obvious that it had an accident. The EOS1DMk3 has an obviously more solid construction of better materials than the Mamiya. Even a kid can see that.
    This doesn't mean the Mamiya is a bad camera. It's still the medium format camera I would choose if I had to buy something this year. It's just that it's obvious that the materials could be a whole lot better.
  20. Jeff, in this anecdotal, subjective discussion of camera body coverings:

    1. While I didn't sell my Hexar for construction-related reasons, it was the cheapest, most plasticy exterior construction I've seen on any non-P&S camera. If dropping your Hexar leads you to believe its made of super-duper plastic, God bless.

    2. I've owned M7IIs for years and sell the 1DMIII. I've also handled repairs at a store for 26 years and have seen my share of cracked Canon plastic casings. So, it isn't my impression that the exterior plastic materials on high-end Canons are superior to those on M7-variants. [And I'm not slagging Canon- if I win the Mega Millions lottery tonight ($330M), I'll be the next in line to buy a pair of new 1DsMIIIs.]

    3. You note that you dropped your Mamiya 7 cracking the bottom cover plate and damaging a lens' diaphragm. Your insurance company paid $800 for the repair.

    I would suggest that what your insurer was really paying for was to repair internal damage to the lens, which, ironically, is metal-clad. I checked with Mamiya America Parts, which sells the bottom cover assembly to a Mamiya 7 for $15- retail, not wholesale. And replacing the bottom cover assembly on a Mamiya rangefinder is something anyone could do- I replaced the bottom cover on a Mamiya 6MF in ten minutes, and I'm no repair technician.
  21. Ken Rockwell's quite entertaining. But not a reliable source for anything.
  22. I agree that the Mamiya 7 lenses are absolutely the best that money can buy, and they'd want to be at the price. I use 4 x 5 most of the time, but the times when it's not practical I use the Mamiya 7, and find the results are up there with 4 x 5, except for DOF issues. I really love this camera and would never part with it. I admit the build is kind of quirky though. On one hand some elements of the camera's construction are well thought out and strongly built, on the other hand, some things seem like last minute add-ons. I love the ergonomics of the body though, the way it fits snugly and firmly into the hand. Enough from me, you can tell I would never part with it.
  23. I dont baby my cameras, but I do take care of them. It doesn't feel very solid, but its not fragile either. But at the end on the day, which other 6x7 camera can you bring with you on a holiday or long treks/
  24. I've had my M7(11) for a few years and it has been well-used. It has had a couple of problems:

    One of the guide rollers on the take-up detached itself and jammed up a film that I was attempting to wind on. I screwed it back on and the same thing happened again. Eventually, I used Loctite to keep the roller/tensioner assembly retaining screws in place. No problems since.

    The film curtain stuck in the closed position after a lens change and the camera had to be returned to Johnsons Photopia for repair. Can't praise JP high enough. They lent me another body whilst mine was being repaired and re-aligned the rangefinder (which they do as a matter of course with any Mamiya rf that is sent for repair).

    The film wind-on mechanism broke. This is a known weakness. Don't put too much tension on the film with your left thumb when loading a film!

    What I would say about the M7(11), based on my experience of owning one, is that the body is not great but the lenses excellent.

    Which is why I keep it.

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