Mamiya 7II or Pentacon Six TL?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by oliver_bross, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. Hi everyone,

    This is my first post to this forum, however I have been reading it
    for over a year.

    Recently I have enquired Pentacon Six TL, with two lenses (80/2.8
    Biometar CZJ and Flektagon 4/50 CZJ), metered improved prism, bellows,
    few filters.

    I would love to go deaper to MF and thinking about buying Mamiya 7II
    (80 lens), which will grow with me and help me improve my skills.
    On this forum you haven't really discussed Pentacon camera. Please, I
    need your honesty here. Do you think that the step between Pentacon
    Six TL and Mamiya 7II is that great to judge aditional price difference?

    Also I am thinking to go to the school to improve my photography
    skills. Plus the benefit of Mamiya to be much lighter then my Pentacon

    Thank you for your answers and time.

  2. Yes, the differences are very, vary large. To begin with the Mamiya is a rangefinder camera with a leaf shutter, which means it is nearly silent and nearly vibrationless. The Pentacon has a big mirror that has to flap up and then it has a big focal plane shutter that has to move across the film. Then you get to the lenses: the Mamiya lenses are rated as being just about the sharpest lenses ever made for a 120 camera. The Pentacon lenses, on the other hand, even the CZJ multifoated ones, are adequate at best, and awful at worst(in the case of a lot of the Russian lenses). That's optical quality. When you look at mechanical quality, you are comparing one of the best examples of Japanese design and engineering, to one the eastern bloc's best examples of design and engineering. The Pentacon's design is pretty good, but the engineering, the execution of that design, leaves a whole lot to be desired: they stutter, they stop, they break down, they have quirks in loading and using the self-timer and unloading. The Pentacons can and do have problems in every area of operation. So, from my experiences with both Pentacons and Mamiyas (I like the Mamiya 6 better than the 7), I give an unequivocal recommendation to the Mamiya.
  3. Well well well. The lovely Pentacon Six. I had one in 71. Loved the thing and it took great shots. A bit of a tank but who cares. Nowdays you should be able to get all the lenses for next to nothing.

  4. We can still get a reliable Pentacon Six TL and 80 mm lens for less than $200 from cupog on eBay. Soneone recently wrote in one of these forums that it wuld be nice when our camera cost comes out to under $1 per roll run through that camera camera. If you will do 2,000 - 3,000 rolls of film in next few years, the investment may be justified. Otherwise, the Soviet and East German class is not inferior, just different. Pictorial versus the newer ultra-contrasty preference in lenses. There is no finer lens in history than that 80mm Biometar if it is a sound one.
  5. The main difference will be use. I upgraded to a Mamiya 6MF from a Kiev 60. There isn't a great step-up as far as image quality - although I haven't enlarged past 8x8 yet - but as far as useability, my god, they are not even in the same ballpark. Photography using the Kiev was a struggle, now it's near effortless joy allowing me to stay in the moment instead of fiddling with nobs, pulling the camera away from my eye, fiddling with more knobs, etc. End result though, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.
  6. My own experience is that the 80mm Biometer is more than adequately sharp for most purposes and the Flektagon compares well with other 6x6 wide angle lenses. The advantages of the Pentacon are: it's a SLR so no problems with close-ups; the CZ lenses are generally very good and some, like the 120 and the 180, are outstanding; everything is cheap, allowing you to spend more money on film and paper, which is what it's all about.

    The disadavantages are that it's an old camera which has always had problems with its wind mechanism (but they can be largely avoided by obeying the user manual instructions exactly) and, yes, it's noisy. Mirror slap seems to be a problem in the eye of the beholder. It's never caused me any problems that I can point to.

    My advice, then, would be that if money is an issue, stick with the Pentacon.
  7. Hi Oliver,
    I think if I had the choice & could justify it, I'd go for the Mamiya 7ii without second thoughts. I do have the choice, but couldn't justify the cost (photography earns me nothing), so I recently purchased the same Pentacon outfit you have, except for the bellows. For travelling, I'm more likely to still carry my Ikonta, since it has to share the camera bag space with other gear. The Pentacon system doesn't like to share!
  8. Hi fellow photographers,

    I am glad that you have answered all my questions and put your thoughts in this forum.

    I have decided to go for Mamiya 7II as soon as possible. I highly value your comments and I have to agree with all of you. Pentacon has got it flaws. It's not a bad camera, however it's heavy, clunky and got more problems than for example Mamiya cameras.

    All I have to do now is sell my Pentacon kit and rob the closest bank so I'll be able to afford Mamiya 7II. They sell currently for about ?750 on ebay, with standard 80mm lens.

    Does anyone know for how much should I ask for my Pentacon kit (2 lenses, few filters, bellows)?

    Once more, thank you for your contribution, you really make my day.

  9. If you go the P6TL route, I suggest you stick with the major P6TL sellers. Cupog is one and another one who gets high marks on these forums is grizzly bear (or grizzlybear). Expect to pay between $150 and $200 for a P6TL with 80CZJ. The 180 CZJ Sonnar goes for around $200. I bought this set up from Cupog and the transaction went well - camera and lenses were all in fine shape.

    Just make sure you read the instruction manual like 50 times before touching the camera (but, then you may still have problems!) Very finnicky.

    Probably the best part of having a P6 is the inexpensive line of lenses which can be adapted to some 35mm camera brands as well as the Mamiya 645 and Contax 645 cameras. So this purchase can not really be viewed as a dead end. On the other hand, if you find the Mamiya 7II rangefinder doesn't meet your needs, I don't think any part of that system can be adapted to other camera lines. At least it is nice to know the 7II system holds its value very well!

    If you are not aware of these sites, they offer further info on the P6TL.

    Best of luck!

    Oh, by the way, there is a review of the Hartblei 45 T-S Super Rotator at The Luminous Landscape
    This is available in the P6 mount and worth a look.
  10. Oliver,
    Pentacon 6TL is the smallest MF SLR you can have in the world. The mamiya 7II is a fine camera as long as you don't mind losing close-up, head-shoulder portrait or long tele-lenses (let's say 250mm). I want to add that sonnar 180mm has a wonderful bokeh and very sharp wide open. Arast 55mm/4.5 PCS beats distagon 50mm. A good Mir or arsat 45mm/4.5 is on a par with Distagon 50mm when it's stopped down. The color tone of russian or Carl Zeiss jena lenses is very close to real Carl Zeiss lenses.

  11. Oliver,

    If weight wasn't an issue, I think that the Pentax 67 is a true UPGRADE from a Pentacon. It
    is just a better version with a Larger Neg...brighter screen...better lenses without being
    overly modern looking.

    Rangefinder cameras are good for what they do best.....being Portable and Quiet (I am a
    Diehard Leica shooter myself). But when you want to use Long lenses or do closeups or
    selective Focus, SLR's are better suited to the task.

  12. You could get a P76 body, Prism (unmetered), 105/2.5 and 55/4 in bargain cond for less
    than $800.

  13. I switched from Kiev 88 to Mamiya 7, and honestly regretted it. The Mamiya 7 glass is super-sharp, but it lacks character. As others have pointed out the Mamiya isn't good for close-ups, either, and only has a few lenses. That said, the Kiev broke too often - the importer was nearby and fixed it while one waited, but it still got frustrating.

    After a few months I sold the 7 and got a Pentax 67. Nowadays I'd get a Mamiya RB67. The older ones are only a bit more expensive than the P6, and it's likely to be more reliable. You also have a choice of cheap lenses - the "C" series, or the K/L stuff, which is really good, and only a few dollars more.
  14. I think that you should be looking at a Pe tax 67 if you like SLRs experience and want to have better reliability, rather than a Mamiya 7 because of its reputation for sharp and contrasty glass.

    I never got along with rangefinders, despite being lighter, quieter or having sharper lenses. I particulalrly didn't like the fact that you can only focus in the centre and have to reposition for the actual framing. Have you used a range finder camera before?

    It's also a question of what subjects you shoot. Mamiya 7 is less than ideal for portraits (limited close up) but excellent for landscape. If you do both, however, Pentax 67 would be a better option.
  15. I should find this on some digital camera reviews on the net. Im a little interested learning its functions.
  16. Why are these ancient threads being revived for no reason?

    After 12 years + the OP will surely have made his choice!

    And what the **** has a digital camera review got to do with anything???

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