Suggestion for a portable camera. Mamiya 6 MF? Hasselblad?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by bruno_lessen, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Hi,
    I would like to bring with me a camera in my journey (Germany, Sweden). I have a RZ67 with the L-grip but it's too big and heavy.
    My friends are suggesting to buy a Contax G2, but I would like to stay with the medium format.
    I have a broken Rolleiflex, so I could fix it, but I'm thinking about a Mamiya 6 MF with the 50mm or a Hasselbad with the 50mm.
    What do you think about?
    Thank you
  2. Although they are the same format, they are quite different cameras satisfying somewhat different approaches. I can only speak for the Mamiya 6 and a TLR, both of which I use, but unless you have the wide angle Rolleiflex and want the generous field of view of the 50mm, I would use the Mamiya 6 as I prefer the more rapid use of the RF camera compared to TLR and SLR and its ease of application, whether people shooting, architecture or landscapes. Its 50mm lens, no doubt like the Zeiss optic of the Hasselblad, is very fine, sharp and contrasty. If your bent is more for landscapes and tripod use, also practicable with the Mamiya, you may wish the slower process of a medium format film SLR.
  3. I believe Bronica offered a 645 format rangefinder for a while that you might check out. For SLR MF the Mamiya 645 system has some bargains and some affordable lenses. The 645J is the least expensive usually, but it still well-made. You can choose wasit level or eye level prism finders. You can get the prism finder with or without a meter. For lightness, the 645E has a fixed prism finder with aperture priority or metered manual. Quite a bit lighter than the original 645. I shot weddings with a pair of them for several years before going digital.
    If you want autofocus the Pentax 645N usually goes for less than Mamiya's autofocus offering. Added plus: Pentax manages 16 exposures per roll rather than 15 like the Mamiya (or 32 on 220 film)
    If you don't want the 645 format, but rather have 6x6, then I'd look at various Hasselblad models.
  4. The best 120 camera I've had for travel, especially by air, was the Fuji GA645Zi. It has a useful 55-90mm retractable zoom lens, auto focus/exposure/advance, even a pop-up flash. And it gives you 16 exposures per roll. It's a very compact and light camera to carry while traveling and gives excellent results.
  5. The only light-weight, if that's what you mean by portable, 6cm camera I have is my Pilot Super.
    Not exactly state of the art, however. ;)
  6. really depends on use. I have a Rolleiflec 6008 integral, but while it is possible to be handheld, it prefers the tripod.
    On the other hand, the Pentax 645N is so balanced, you really can use it without a tripod.
    Any TLR is good for street use, handheld, and preferable unless you want more lenses and no parallax error.
    So I’m taking one of my TLRs when I’m on a short trip. All of these are capable of very good results. I do not have experience with the Mamiya 6, but I do with the Plaubel Makina 67, which is an incredible performer. But not that much less bulky than a TLR. 6x6 or 6x7 comes into play here too.
  7. I shot a roll of Portra 400 120 on Sunday with a Mamiya M645 1000S. The camera had the motorized winder with the righ hand grip attached as well as a PD-S finder and the 35/3.5 which I recently got. The results came back earlier today and look good. The combination of body, winder, lens and meter prism is quite heavy and not terribly comfortable to use. A Bronica ETRS with a Speed Grip (manually operated), lens, prism finder and back is much more comfortable to hold and use. Advancing the film manually with the Bronica is not much slower than using the Mamiya with the motorized winder. By using the Bronica you lose the top shutter speed of 1/1000 but you are able to synch with electronic flash at any speed. I use both systems and have a 70/2.8 leaf shutter lens for the Mamiyas if I need a higher flash synch speed.
    An ETRS with a 50 and a 105 covers a lot of ground. The 105 was discontinued when the PE lenses came out but can still be found easily. I sometimes carry a 50 and a 100 Macro. A 60 and a 135 can also be a good combination. The 60 is moderately wide and the 135 gives a shorter minumum focus distance than any of the 150s.
  8. If (1) film and (2) medium format are givens, then depending on budget, angle(s) of view desired, and size preferences, maybe:
    Fuji GA645Zi - relatively small and light, not too expensive, zoom lens, fairly automated, but 645 and limited to the built-in lens
    Mamiya 7 or 7-II - light and not too bulky for medium format, excellent lenses covering a decent range, much more common than Mamiya 6, 6x7 format, but relatively expensive
    TLR, be it a Rolleiflex 2.8F or a Yashica Mat - light, some are inexpensive, familiarity, 6x6 format means no rotating to get the shot
  9. Sounds like you want something with a moderately wide angle lens.
    The Fuji/Voigtlander 667W, with its 55mm lens, is absolutely superb.
    I own both the wide and "normal" (with 80mm) versions, and have travelled extensively with them. They've never let me down. They offer superb optics, great portability/user friendliness, discrete (nearly inaudible) smooth shutter release, flat profiles for equally discrete storage, and viewfinders which are on par with those of my Leica M's.
  10. The 667/667W are too expensive for me.

    I'm still undecided: Mamiya 6 + 50mm or Hassy + 50mm.
  11. The ergonomics on the Mamiya are far better to my taste for handheld shooting. It is close to that on the DSLR full format pro bodies. Also, they are relatively faster to load, and low light focusing is easier, due to the RF patch system. Not that great if you like to use PL filters. It has a built in meter that lend to use an AE system. I think the Mamiya 6 is way more portable (close to a FF DSLR), faster&easier to use. Great for casual shooting, snapshot type photos.
    About the Hasselblad, I bet the film loading is not as fast, but much faster in use if you like have spare pre-loaded backs in the bag (I don`t have a Hassel but Mamiya RZ). Ergonomics for hand held shooting are not that great on "box" type cameras (specially with a waist level finder), but in the other hand, it`s a pleasure to use on a tripod; the advantages of framing on a reflex camera are well known (precise framing, filters, DoF preview, etc.), no need on explaining this. To have a built in meter you need a dedicated prism finder (increased weight&size). Great for those who prefer a slower paced, more precise photography.
    This few features differentiate this cameras quite a bit... so you should know what is more important for you.
  12. Ooops, wait; if your journey will be in Germany and specially in Sweden, no doubt you should use a Hasselblad... ;)
  13. I liked walking around with a Bronica GS-1 with winder, AE finder and 65mm lens. Also any of the Fuji 6x7, 6x8 and 6x9 fully manual cameras would work if you also carry a meter (or rely on sunny 16).
    Another possibility is the Linhof 220 hand camera. There is a love/hate relationship to this camera with no apparent middle ground. I am in the love category and have one of last ones made from 1983.
  14. If you want autofocus the Pentax 645N usually goes for less than Mamiya's autofocus offering. Added plus: Pentax manages 16 exposures per roll rather than 15 like the Mamiya (or 32 on 220 film)​
    15 exposures is true of the manual focus Mamiya 645 line...but it changed with the autofocus line, where the HM401 back always takes 16 shots.
    Then came the HM402 back for the autofocus line, which made the choice of 15 or 16 shots selectable. That's a rare and expensive back, though.
    I'm still undecided: Mamiya 6 + 50mm or Hassy + 50mm.​
    For a portable camera, to me this choice is obvious: Mamiya 6 + 50mm, with built-in coupled meter. Reasons:
    1) Hassy + 50mm + meter (either handeld or in a prism head) is much larger and heavier.
    2) Choosing an SLR like the Hassy only really makes sense if you are intending to use more than one lens.
  15. Although the lens range is a bit less extensive than that of the Mamiya 7 (5 lenses), the 6 has three excellent optics (50, 75, 150mm) should you go beyond the well reputed 50.
  16. If you want it light and with quality lenses, the Mamiya 6 and 7's are great. They are rangefinders, but its a very bright range finder. I love mine.
  17. Ask me in a few days, I have a 3 body, 10 back and 8 lens Hasselblad system that is my go-to for most work. But I have needed a much smaller and lighter body for when I am on location shooting digital and still want to shoot some MF film. So the Mamiya 6 is "Out for Delivery", can't wait to check it out although mine will have the 75....
  18. If you can live with the limitation of a very wide view the SWC is probably the most compact, easiest medium format camera to use and gives amazing results. Set lens at hyperfocal distance and shoot away.
  19. Bruno Lessen,

    I'm still undecided: Mamiya 6 + 50mm or Hassy + 50mm.​
    I have/use both the Mamiya 6 MF and the Hasselblad. In actuality, they are about the same size, that's because the Hasselblad is surprisingly compact for an SLR, and the Mamiya is large for a 6x6 rangefinder. If you add a prism to the Hasselblad, then it becomes substantial. I have the 203fe with the build in meter (and AE), and use the waist level finder, so they are pretty comparable from a packing point of view.
    The main difference would be ergonomics - ranger finder over waist level finder. Hand held meter (if you can't $ the 200fe) over AE/built in meter. And that really depends on you.

    I have been primarily shooting the Hasselblad lately, I find the SLR viewing much more satisfying. The end results are, however, similar.
  20. I should mention I also have a Hassy 503 CW and the normal 80 lens. I've rented the 40 mm lens (amazing) and used a 50 all good. I would say there is nothing like a Hassleblad but its not a light camera for carrying around as the the OP stated. Mamiya's are equally sharp I think but have a little different look.
  21. So I ran a test roll of Delta 400 through the Mamiya 6, the 75 is plenty sharp, even wide open and the camera functions
    fine, handles great. While a bit smaller and lighter than one of my 501 CM's with a WL finder and an 80mm CF, it is not as
    much as I was hoping, sure is a lot quieter though.

    So far I like the 6, the AE is a treat, never had that in an MF cam before but the whole size difference compared to a Hasselblad thing seems a bit
    overblown. That said, I think the lenses on the Mamiya 6 are where most of the size and weight is shaved off, it would be
    especially true of the 50 's. Some don't like RF cameras, being a Leica and Xpan shooter I get along well with them so the
    Mamiya handles great in that regard, the VF is huge and the RF patch nice and bright.

    Time will tell if I keep the 6, not being able to swap backs is a big consideration as I often like to shoot TMX and IR on the
    same outings. Often times the shape of a camera will dictate it's pecking order on a particular outing, the Mamiya is very different than the Blad so there is that to consider...
  22. Drifting off-topic I would definitely recommend the Fuji GA645Zi for light weight and excellent results. But a Mamiya 6 will
    certainly not disappoint. I have a Mamiya 7 (which is light but a bit more clumsy to handle than the GA645Zi) and the
    lenses are super! AFAIK the optics are comparable -- if not identical -- between the Mamiya 6 and 7.
  23. FYI: Mamiya 6 MF with 50mm f/4 vs Hasselblad 203fe with 50mm f/4
    As Daniel said, the Mamiya lenses are smaller.
  24. Bruno Lessen , Jul 14, 2014; 07:26 a.m.
    My friends are suggesting to buy a Contax G2, but I would like to stay with the medium format.

    I have a broken Rolleiflex, so I could fix it, but I'm thinking about a Mamiya 6 MF with the 50mm or a Hasselbad with the 50mm.
    If you're not set on square, I suggest you look at the Bronica RF645. It has the best rangefinder I have ever used, and that includes a couple of the earlier Leicas (M6, I think). It has an electronically-controlled shutter with fractional speeds, aperture-priority autoexposure and manual exposure, manual focusing, and runs on a pair of CR2 batteries. It is about the size of a Canon 5D but quite a bit lighter. Interchangeable lenses are available but limited, and they can be hard to find. The standard lens is the 65mm f/4 and their are 45mm and 100mm lenses. I really love using mine.
    There's also the Fuji GA645 series, which have autofocus that I've found to be quite spotty, which was why I returned it. It is a fixed-lens camera but can be bought with a zoom.
  25. The problem is that Bronica RF shapes about taking vertical photos. I'm thinking about a Hassy Super Wide at hyperfocal. I just wonder if old models (50'-60') are good since those ones cost less.
  26. The Bronica RF645 is very easy to hold and use in the horizontal position.
  27. Well I bought the 50 and 150 lenses for the 6, it did well on this 14 mile hike on Saturday, in actual use it is a lot faster and smaller than the Hasselblads...
  28. The telescoping bellows of the Mamiya 6, encased in metal shrouding, accounts a lot for the smaller size of the optics, with the 75 mm being very tiny. I don't find the lack of an interchangeable back a great problem, as the body is so small that I simply used a second body when I was shooting both colour and B&W, always having a functioning 6 body on hand (My mint 2nd body cost about $600 about 6 years ago), but when I found myself shooting mainly B&W with film I often preferred a Fujifilm GSW 690 III for the increased negative area of non square large prints for gallery sale.
    Nonetheless, I have retained one Mamiya 6 and its optics for much of my work. It is a light, quiet and efficient system, with some maintenance points you have to consider if you are using it under rigorous conditions (not my case, fortunately). The only trouble I have experienced with the excellent 50mm optic was mechanical, with the solenoid of the diaphragm failing unexpectedly, although I do not think it is a common problem and the 6 and its other optics have had no issues during more than ten years of (fairly light or moderate) use. Like all electronically controlled mechanical shutters or simple mechanical shutters, exercising of speeds when not in use (month intervals) is good practice.

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