Getting back into photography

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by john_pluta, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. I am getting back into photography after a 5-10 year hiatus. I still have a Minolta 35mm SLR, that I intend to practice
    with. I used to have a Pentax 6x7 system, so I am no stranger to loud or unexplained noises. I would like to get a
    used MF camera. Leaning to a Mamiya 645E or a Pentax 645. One of the websites had this quote about a Pentax
    645..." The camera makes a rattling noise after the shutter fires, but it works fine." I don't mind having something
    fixed if I get a good deal, but can anyone give me any thoughts about the Pentax noise? I plan to use the MF
    camera for landscapes. Thanks in advance. Also new to site, it looks very good.
  2. Don't risk buying one with a probable issue. There are 645's and 645n's on eBay all the time that are great condition. Pick someone with a million positive feedback with 98% or higher rating, and you'll be fine.

    Or was that site saying all of them had the noise? I hadn't noticed.
  3. Have heard rumors about the little battery that powers the memory in the Pentax no longer being replaceable by Pentax, or anyone else, so you might want to check with Pentax first before purchasing one. But aside from that it is a great camera, very tough, compact and reliable.
  4. John,

    The Mamiya 645e is also a good choice. It's one of the newest manual focus medium format bodies, designed as an
    entry level camera and built with more plastic than the older bodies. It won't take heavy professional use like the
    older metal cameras will, but it does have a few advantages. The body is light weight and comes with a useable
    light meter and aperture priority automation. Because the M645 family has been popular for so long there are
    lots of lenses available at great prices. Even the older M645 glass is high quality and bargain priced.

    The 645e viewfinder is definitely different. It's built into the camera so the finder and focusing screen are
    not removable. It does give a good image and has built in diopter correction. While it looks odd, like a snout
    sticking out the top of the camera, it works pretty well in practice.

    I ended up buying an m645e body after an older M645J died. The Mamiya lenses were too good to leave sitting
    in a closet. It's light enough to travel well with two lenses in a case designed for camcorders.
  5. I don't know about the Mamiya, since I've never owned one, so I'll tell you some of the good things about the
    Pentax models.

    The entire 645 line from Pentax has built in metering (average, spot, and center weighted). Plus, they all have
    motor drive and mirror dampening to reduce the mirror slap. This makes the 645 line more usable for handheld
    shots than many medium format cameras. The 645n and 645nII have autofocus as well, but can still use the old
    manual focus lenses too. With the manual focus lenses, the body can beep / light up a dot when the focus is
    right, which I think is a neat hybrid between manual and auto focus on the cheap -- the feel of manual focus, but
    with more speed and confidence that you got the focus right.

    I wouldn't worry about the battery not being replaceable. If Pentax stops doing it, articles will pop up on
    Internet showing how, and camera shops will probably still be able to do it with a simple printout to guide them.
    Any battery they used, there will be something similar enough to substitute. It's just a certain voltage with a
    certain number of mAh behind it.
  6. I have owned Mamiya 645 and currently use Mamiya 7 and Hasselblad for medium format. Sold the 645 as I could not seem to get the results that I was after but that might have been me rather than the camera.

    Have you thought of a Mamiya 7? They are light and the quality of the lens system is stunning as many other posts on photo net will attest to. For landscape they are ideal.
  7. Pentax i Norway changed the memory battery in one of my two Pentax 645 this spring.
  8. "The entire 645 line from Pentax has built in metering (average, spot, and center weighted)."

    Just a note, the original 645 (ie, not the N or NII) just have center weighted metering... unless there's a spot metering button I've been overlooking on my 645 all this time :p
  9. Steve: You have found all the buttons on your 645. :)
  10. Another vote for the Pentax. I have been using mine for four years and it has been faultless (with no rattling noise!). It also feels very well built, unlike the Mamiya 645E which feels a bit plasticky in comparison. Two people I know used a 645E, one was very pleased with his, the other went through three new examples before he found one he was happy with - if I recall correctly the shutter speeds weren't accurate.

    Before swapping to Pentax, I used Mamiya gear. Lenses for both systems are excellent, although the Mamiya 80/2.8 vignettes a little - the 80/1.9 is a better bet.
  11. The original Pentax 645 expose very well with slide film, and the leses are very good (I use A45mm/2.8, A75mm/2.8 and
    A150mm/3.5). Some yars ago I used Hasselblad with good lenses. The pictures from Pentax 645 are just as good. :)
  12. Thank you all. Both cameras would do me well. I guess price and condition will rule the day and I will have to see what comes along.
  13. As for the back up battery, simply use a spanner type wrench to unscrew the cap, and replace the battery available at
    Walgreens, Walmart. Too simple.
  14. CR1220 which is readily available but available only with difficulty when the P645 came out.
  15. Well I just picked up a pentax 645 manual body. Hate to sound stupid, but I couldn't find an answer in the search function. I know that older manual lenses will work on a new AF camera body, just without the AF function. But if I get an opportunity to get an AF lens cheap will it work on my manual body?
  16. Is there any problems using the Pentax 75 mm lens as a normal lens if I get a good price on it, even if I'll rarely use the LS function?
  17. John--yes, the AF lenses will work perfectly well on the manual-focus-only 645 body. No experience with LS. For what it's worth, you probably would get more responses by starting a new thread asking your questions rather than than piggybacking on the end of an unrelated 5-day old thread.

Share This Page