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135 Film Back for Mamiya 645 Super


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Thank you both,and yes, I am familiar with this business of cropping the image. However, I don't feel that the images are really the same, visually... subjectively, even if the same emulsion is being used.


Anyway, I can think of several reasonsto have a 135 back:


1. If you are working in a location where 120 film cannot be developed in a nearby commercial lab. Then being able to shoot off a couple of rolls of 135 and passing it on to a 1-Hr photo-lab can do wonders to please clients. ...and act as a backup to the 120 camera/lens/light/model setup without having to change to a Nikon/Canon etc.


2. Running out of 120 film and only being able to buy 135.


3. Commercial scanning of 135 is much more common.


4. Easier and quicker, to have a set of prints knocked off full frame in 135, than to crop each negative from 120.


OK, so that's four. And perhaps someone will come along to say that, it is all trumped by shooting digital these days, so better to start saving for a digital camera!

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1. Which commercial labs don't handle 120? And if a 1 hr mini lab and a roll of 135 will satisfy the clients then you have clients with very low expectations. Secondly it won't be a backup to 120 since a normal lens in 645 is 80mm and in 135 its 50mm. So unless you have to change the lens to keep the shot the same. If you are on the wide end then you may not be able to get a lens that replicates the shot using 24x36mm frame size.


2. The cost of the back buys a whole lot of spare 120. As my flight instructor used to say, think of the 7 Ps. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pretty Poor Performance.


3. Then use 135. Lenses for 35mm generally outperform MF lenses in LPM and contrast tests. MF only wins overall because the degree of enlargement required is much less. So you are loosing quality, big time, if you only take 25% of the coverage the lens offers.


4. Since you mentioned panoramic specifically in the question then the negative is 13x36. See above about normal lens lengths 35mm vs. MF. For the panoramic format to be much use you need to use a wide lens and then you are only using about 12% of the available lens coverage.


The 135 back is nothing more than a solution looking for a problem to solve.

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You post a question on a public forum. I responded, not with a personal attack but was pointing out that using the back in the manner you describe has a number of consequences, most of which negate the benefits of MF and leaves one with basically an overweight and clumsy 35mm camera with expensive, heavy lenses that have less contrast and resolving power than a good prime for a 35mm SLR.


If I have to go 35mm I'll use dedicated 35mm kit. Any perceived benifits to the back can IMHO be acheived in other ways that do not cause these other problems like different negative aspect ratios and normal MF lenses being short telephotos with the 135 back and loss of resolution.


If you were afraid to hear something that you didn't like then you shouldn't have posted. It seems you had already made your mind up to use it and are now insulted when someone disagrees with you.


There is no right way and no wrong way to the art. There is no "Peoples Photography Committee" to yank your permit to carry a camera. I am no more right or wrong than you are, we just have a different opinion.


If you can live with 25% or 12% of the coverage of an MF lens and get quality that is acceptable to you then fine. For me, it's not fine, I don't find 11x enlargement for a 11x14 from 35mm acceptable compared to 7x from 645. Your milage may differ. But don't take it personally because someone disagrees with you.

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  • 3 years later...

Nothing wrong with a bit of discourse. Everything is subjective. But I have just picked up a 135 back for a mamiya 645 pro. As an amateur my reasoning is;

1. The back was 50 pounds GBP and for quiet a complex back a bargain.

2. 120 film is more expensive to buy than 135.

3. From discount film suppliers there is a greater range of 35mm film available.

4, On a day out with my 645 I can shoot a lot more on 35mm and therefore attain more experience with the camera.

5. 2008 in the UK and 35mm processing and digital scanning is both more available and cheaper.


Obviously the point of a 645 camera is to get the benefits of the larger neg or tranny but versatility is also great and the fact the Mamiya has that versatility is fr me a real benefit.

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  • 14 years later...
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