[Mamiya 7] Is it difficult to use the 43mm?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by slecoanet, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. Hi everyone!

    I have a question for those who have already shot with the 43mm for
    the Mamiya 7 (II): is it hard to compose?

    I intend to buy one but I'm not sure I'll be skilled enough to use it

    For me the first issue is the use of the finder: could you trust it?
    The other issue is how to guess the result: i fear the subject (or
    what you think is near) will be pushed far, far away.

    I had this perspective problem even with my 65mm, shooting a
    medium/big castle (100m away) with a tiny tree in the foreground
    (10m away). The result was a "huge tree" almost hiding the castle (-;

    I checked afterwards, the f.o.v occupied by the castle was not as big
    as my brain thought,so the 65mm did no trick, but my eye+brain did.

    Maybe I should rent the 43mm before buying it...

    Thank you in advance for any hint and links to sample picture shot
    with the 43mm

    Stephane Lecoanet
  2. The Mamiya 7 43mm is the best ultrawide I've ever owned. Ken Rockwell agrees:


    "Is it hard to compose?" No, understanding that the finder does not have the accuracy of, say, a Nikon F5.

    "Could (I) trust (the finder)?" The finder is certainly better than the current Hasselblad SWC finder, but it still exhibits some distortion and is not parallax-corrected. Like any ultrawide rangefinder finder, it takes some getting used to.

    Should you rent the 43mm before buying? If you can, yes. It is a pricey optic and if you're having trouble with even the 65mm, it may not be your cup of tea.

    Sample; not a great scan, but:


    For better samples, David Hume Kennerly shot extensively with the lens for his book "Photo Du Jour":

  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I've shot with this lens quite a bit. It is very wide, and the finder isn't exact, but practice makes it easy to get what you want.
    Loom, Mamiya 7/43mm Copyright 2002 Jeff Spirer
  4. I have both the 43 and the 65, and I find myself reaching for the 43 for most of my landscape shots. There is actually a bit less of a parallax problem up close with the 43mm viewfinder than with the main finder, since it is attached to the center of the camera directly over the lens, rather than offset to the side. I find the framing of the 43 finder as accurate as the main finder, maybe even more so. The removable finder is handy also for checking composition potential without the need to haul the camera body out. With the 43, depth of field is of course greater than with the 65, and it is easier to handhold the camera and get better results than with the 65. It's a great lens, but I agree that you should rent before you buy.
  5. I had the 43 for a while... optically the lens is absolutely superb. In practice I found it TOO
    wide, and wound up changing to the 50mm... but still used the 65 most often.
  6. db1


    Let me just add another opinion.

    I just purchased a mint 50mm lens with box and finder for $800. This is about $600 +/- less than a used 43mm. But the difference between the 50 and 43 is minimal. With the 50mm, you can get away with using just the camera viewfinder. So, if you don't want to use the external finder, you don't have to.

    I would suggest you do a search for the 50mm here on photo.net to see some other comments, and then start shopping around. ebay is a great place to get this lens for under $1000.

    I can honestly say I have no regrets for buying this lens. It is superb and amazingly sharp.
  7. Hi

    Given the problems you have experienced with moderate wide angle lenses, it is probably worth asking yourself if you really want an ultrawide. As a general principle, the more extreme the lens (tele or wide) the harder it is to get good pictures with it.


  8. Like David B, I also opted for the 50mm instead of the 43mm. It was alot less expensive and nearly as wide. The finder for the 50mm works fine for me. I find the bubble level useful because I have a tendancy to take slanted photos. - Tad
  9. uk


    I've posted this before. I found it much better to leave the finder at home in its box. You
    don't need it. Moving your eye a little off the centre of the main view finder, both ways,
    provides a more accurate view of the sceen than provided by the aux finder.

    Using a tripod, test it for yourself by taking two frames of a buiding by lining up the edge/
    roof with where the viewer shows the edge to be.

    On the move you get to know what is included and can be much more responsive if you
    don't use two viewers.
  10. I use the 43mm on the 7II a fair bit. The finder works fine for me---both framing and the
    relative size of objects are as accurate as I need. I really like this lens. If I could have only
    one lens on the camera, it would have to be the 43 (even though I use the 80 more).

    I expect until you've used it for a while and become accustomed to the perspective, any
    wide angle could be a little mind-bending for you. I'd generally highly recommend renting
    the lens, but I don't expect you'd initially like it (or the 50mm) much. I'd still rent it on the
    off chance you loved it and wanted it.

    I think that if you could discipline yourself to use and get familiar with either the 43 or 50,
    you'd eventually like it quite a bit. There is only one way to find out, and it's pretty
    expensive (in both cash and time).

    Good luck making a decision.

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