Mamiya 7II for night shots... city lights and skylines

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by asimrazakhan, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. Currently I shoot 35mm slide film with a Pentax system. I am considering the Mamiya 7II to add as a system for my travel photography.
    For day shots I always use a hand held light meter to measure incident light and set the aperture and shutter speed manually. But for night shots such as a city skyline or a lit up street I set the camera on a tripod and use aperture priority. The camera decides the shutter speed and it can often go up to 2 minutes with my Pentax LX set at f/11 or f/16.
    I was wondering, with the Mamiya 7II, in aperture priority what is the slowest shutter speed the camera can perform?
    Also, has anyone shot night shots with a Mamiya 7/7II using this technique? Is the metering of this camera in the dark reliable for night shots?
  2. It will do 4 seconds in AE mode. There is a regular threaded cable release and a bulb function that work fine. It is actually a good camera for night work given its extremely good lenses, low battery consumption, and lack of mirror. Meters are rather unreliable for very low light levels anyway, so I would say it does fine. It will give you a reading up to the point where there is a point getting a reading. The only downside here is that it does not actually tell you the reading at very slow speeds. It flashes "LT", low time, but does not say exactly how long it will expose for. In the manual, it says that it will expose in bulb for 3 hours with an alkaline battery, or 7hours with a new lithium or silver oxide battery.
  3. Hi again! I haven't used the 7 for that kind of photography but as far as technical the speed will go up to 4 seconds in any mode. Of course you can always use the B setting. Unfortunately the meter is not very sensitive and only goes to EV3 very far from your Pentax.
  4. I'd suggest that you shoot in 'Manual' so that you can correct for reciprocity failure.
  5. thanks guys for the replies, and thanks again giovanni.
    i guess i've been spoiled with my 35mm Pentax LX which meters off the film with an EV rating of a wopping -6.5. i consider it to be the king of night photography/long exposure photography. in aperture priority mode it actually adjusts the shutter speed during the exposure since it reads the light off the film and not the scene.
    but 4 seconds is sufficient. if not i'm sure i can use the B mode when needed. learning to meter in darker situations is going to be the tough part.
    thanks again
  6. in aperture priority mode it actually adjusts the shutter speed during the exposure since it reads the light off the film and not the scene.​
    Wow, that's very cool. Never heard of that before capability before. At any rate, and FYI, I just got done doing some riverfront panoramic-style nighttime city scapes witha a 7, using bulb and 15-30 second long exposures. The camera worked great.
  7. the later years of Olympus OM cameras also meter off the film. OM 2N, 3, 4. Might've come before the Pentax LX? Longest auto-exposure is likewise 2 minutes I think, though the OM 4T might've be 4 minutes? eithwer way, pretty awesome really.
    Like you I loved that capability, but low-light photography, or infrared or other long exposure -- at some point gets impractical with an SLR. I moved to MF rangefinders, now using an M7II and Fuji 6x9. even Holga :)
    The 7 is great for long exposure, and has a bulb setting unlike the Fuji's T. <sigh>.
    But, as another reply said, you really should use a handheld meter. I use a Sekonic 508 most of the time, and a Gossen Luna-Lux when the light is getting really low.
  8. Hi Asim,

    I am intrigued by your impression that the M 7 reads the light off the film and I wonder from where you have acquired this information, which page of which manual ? As I can not find it in my user’s manual.

    Certainly some of the Olympus models did and the Fuji GX680 does but I don’t use it on the Fuji when using Velvia come to think about it I don’t use it other than as a warning to reshoot because I have cocked up my metering !

    Also, if the M 7 did have film reflection metering it would get in a terrible muddle when the lens cap had been left on, it would not know when to stop the exposure.

    My testing with the M 7 metering indicates that most sensitive area of the meter is south ( downwards ) from the centre box by about the height of the centre box and is about the diameter of the length of the centre box, but in the down direction from there it would appear to be more sensitive than in the upward direction. Which suggests to me that the meter maybe designed for midish horizon general purpose work and possibly landscapes. These comments only appear to be true when the lens barrel is at infinity. I have not tested for the relation ship between the metering centre and the parallax correction, I stopped testing and went back to hand held metering.

    Regards to all

  9. Truly low-light levels are when you need both a long shutter speed and a fast wide aperture. This is negative eV territory.
    For moderately low-light situations, where you do need the long shutter speed but mainly because you are stopping the aperture well down, the M7's meter can cope. You can use Ken Rockwell's trick - set the ISO to 6 stops faster (e.g. ISO 50 -> 3200), take the meter reading (e.g. 4 seconds ), then expose the picture by using B and applying the meter reading in minutes (e.g. 4 minutes ). This works because the difference between seconds and minutes is 60x, which is ~ 64x, which is 2^6.
  10. hi rob hale, i'm sorry you went through so much trouble of trying to find information about the M7 in the manual that isn't there. you mis-read my statement. i didn't say that the M7 had OTF (off the film) metering. i said that the 35mm Pentax LX has OTF metering and an EV rating of -6.5.
    brian, the olympus models that you metion were in direct competition with the Pentax LX in its days. the OM is also an amazing camera and still has a strong cult following... just like the LX and the earlier Nikon F models.
    Ray... thanks for the idea... this is something that i've definately gotta try out. it makes sense too so its a great way to be able to meter night shots.
    thanks to everyone for submitting their input into this thread. i learned a lot from a few simple questions. :)
  11. Hi Asim
    In deed I did !
  12. FWIW, the Minolta CLE also has that cool ability to meter off the film during the exposure and correct for changing conditions in real time, including being able to meter and quench its own attached flash in balance with ambient light. Heh, always liked that little rig! I wouldn't be surprised if some Minolta SLRs could too...
  13. Hi Asim
    This photo was taken few months ago Mamiya 7II + 43mm + Ilford Xp2 Super 400:
    I metered it with Minolta Spotmeter F - F16 @ 1/4
    Great camera for travel and night photography.
  14. for what it is worth.... i regularly use the 7ii with a 43mm lens in low light....well pretty low light with pan F50 rated at 25 or delta 100 rated at 50 and shoot at f16 or f22, both of which put th exposure outside the meter reading display capablility. normally my favorite conditions will call for a 1 or 2 minute exposure without adjustment for reciprocity failure.
    what i do is leave the ISO as i choose to rate it, then open the aperature until i get a meter reading of 1sec. then as i stop back down to f16 or f22 i do the easy math in my head. nice and simple. as for metering i use the in camers meter with the 43mm lens like a spot meter.[​IMG]

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