Mamiya 645 Leaf Shutter Lens Advantages

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by jay_auskalnis, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. I recently purchased a Mamiya M645 1000s with a Prism S finder and an 80mm f/2.8 lens. So far, I really like the
    combination, and I'm having fun using the camera. I do some on location amatuer model shoots and such, and I
    really like to play around with strobe lighting. I haven't done it much with this camera because of the low sync
    speed. I understand that a lot of photographers like to use the leaf shutter lenses so they can use fill flash in
    brighter sunlight, at higher shutter speeds.

    Are there other useful functions of the leaf shutter lenses? I was thinking it might be an advantage using a strobe
    indoors. A lot of times, I get unwanted spill on the background in a smaller room. If I used a leaf shutter lens,
    perhaps I can use a strobe (unmodified...bare bulb, etc) with a shutter speed of 1/500, an light the person, but
    reduce most, if not all of the light spill? Does this make sense? Sometimes, I'm in a bright walled room, and I don't
    want the background to show up. I typically use my flashes off camera, but without a lot of modifiers, it's at times
    difficult to control spill in a smaller room, with light colored walls. Yes...I know, I need a studio :)

    So, based on some of the things mentioned above, is a leaf shutter lens worth the cost for me?
  2. No, a leaf shutter lens is expensive and rare on the Mamiya 645. The shutter requires extensive overhaul after a year of use and easy to have problems. I recommend to stick with what you have for now.
  3. A leaf shutter won't do anything to eliminate light spill from the strobes themselves. That's why you use modifiers and gobos, not to mention black wall paint. Since you can sync at any shutter speed, you can reduce the effect of ambient (continuous) light more effectively than with the rather slow Mamiya focal plane shutter.

    I'm surprised and somewhat skeptical to hear that Mamiya lens shutters need to be overhauled yearly. I have Hasselblad lenses approaching 20 years old that still work fine.
  4. Well I don't think they are THAT expensive, tho certainly more than a non-leaf. My 70mm gives great performance
    and allows for flash synch, as mentioned at any speed, a real plus for fill in the great sunny outdoors. I bought mine
    used, and a few years ago now ... its receipt says $ 105. It's in perfect shape, never failed me and probably will last
    longer than I will. Every situation is different of course; the more complex a part the more likely it will go flooey. I use
    it as my normal lens all the time, to that I've also got a 45, 150 and 210 to complement the 70. As I understand, if I
    recall, the 70 was the only leaf in the M645 lineup. I also use a 1000s and I'm a happy camper. Everyone will have
    their ideas and favorites ... it is a good lens, the expense is for you to determine. I have two 1000s bodies, and two
    RB67 Pro S bodies (and lenses), all bought used. Not one issue with anything except I had to refoam seals a bit.
    Mechanically/electrically no problemos. Now that is durability! Jim M.
  5. I use my leaf shutter 70mm lens for outdoor shots in bright light. You do have to remember to plug the strobe into the lens and set the camera shutter to 1/8 second or slower. I once forgot and plugged it in to the camera. Luckily, the ambient light was good enough to provide a good exposure. Here's one where I forgot to plug in the strobe to the lens, but it was a bright day and the Delta 100 was fast enough.
  6. Yes, the Mamiya 645 leaf-shutter lenses were designed mainly for outdoor fill-flash use. Primarily for the wedding photographer industry before digital took over. The latest ones were the 55mm f/2.8 N, 80mm f/2.8 N, & 150mm f/3.8 N. From the earlier C series, there was the 70mm f/2.8 C L/S lens which I highly recommend. It is very sharp, even wide-open with nice bokeh. But because of its age, you need to make sure you find a good copy without any haze or fungus inside the lens elements. These lenses can be used either in focal plane shutter mode or using its leaf shutter from 1/30 sec. to 1/500 sec. The 70mm was a favorite of mine & I used to take it with me on all the time while on holiday. Here is one of my wife from our trip to the French Riviera. [​IMG]
  7. I have two well-used Mamiya 70mm leaf shutter lenses and a 55m leaf lens. Both the 70mm lenses are superb optically, and all three lenses were bought for very reasonable amounts secondhand. One 70mm and the 55mm have been working quite happily for me for the last five years with no problem and no "extensive yearly overhaul" at all. The other 70mm has a sticky iris blade, but the shutter works absolutely perfectly.

    The sticky iris is due to migrated grease from the focusing mount, and this can happen to any lens if it's left in the sun or otherwise overheated. The lens was in that condition when I bought it, and is perfectly useable, except that the iris takes a short while to open back up after the mirror returns.

    A leaf lens is essential if you want to do any "synchro-sun" or fill flash work. It also helps if you're working in a brightly lit studio and want to minimise the effect of ambient light. It won't set up your lights any better for you though!
  8. Thanks for the responses and examples everyone. I might pick one up on the 'bay, and see if I have use for it. The nice thing about used equipment, if it's working as advertised, is you can re-sell it for usually no loss, and sometimes a profit. :)
  9. I have not had problems with the 70mm L/S and have never had it serviced - I bought it used and have used it for 5+ years without problems so I am unsure about cleaning comments. I find that the 402 Grip with the release makes it easier to use. I just wish there was a place to store the cable when i change lens.

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