Which Mamiya 645 to choose?

Marit

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Hi all! I’m new here but have been quietly reading along absorbing all the great advice.
Currently checking my options for the jump from 35 to 120 and would like to consult your advice. I’d like to shoot 1/1000s so that rules out the M645 and M645J. I like the Super for its lightness and price range, but I read about a common issue with the mirror which I’m not fond of (it should be noted there is now a 3d printing pattern available that allows you to have this fixed more easily). Then I felt the Pro might be a better option (slightly more expensive and bulky), but I realized the same mirror issue occurs as frequently with that model as well. So newer is not better. The 1000s seems to hold up well, but it’s also the heaviest of the series. I’ve only held a M645 in my hands and I’d say that would be around the max weight for a camera I would swing around my shoulder for a day out.
Looking forward to hear your thoughts! Thanks in advance!
 

Derrel

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In for a penny, in for a pound. Get the 1000s and do not worry about the weight. A camera that does not work is not worth having. Have you checked into the weight of the lenses for this camera?

If you wish to reduce the amount of felt weight, I would urge you to check into the neoprene straps made by OpTech.
 

Soocom1

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Second that.
Plus though plastics are popular, the intrinsic vibration is absorbed more with a metal body and mass.
Even with a MLU system, you have the shutter movement.

Plus overall build quality is more a concern.
 
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Marit

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In for a penny, in for a pound. Get the 1000s and do not worry about the weight. A camera that does not work is not worth having. Have you checked into the weight of the lenses for this camera?

If you wish to reduce the amount of felt weight, I would urge you to check into the neoprene straps made by OpTech.
Thanks, taking this advice! I had not heard of OpTech yet, definitely getting one of those. I’ll stick with a standard 80mm 2.8 lens and try to get used to the WLF (although cumbersome for portraits). I was thinking to use my compact digital camera for light metering (Sony RX100) and overexpose 1/2 stops on Portra 400. Does that sound like a good plan? Thanks!
 
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cgw

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Sorry but the heavy metal 645 models suffer from various age-related problems, like light seals that aren’t easily restored.They’re clumsy to hand hold. For every tale of woe about the plastic bodies-often parroted by non-owners—there are others whose cameras just keep on ticking. My second-hand Super is one of those. A motor grip vastly improves the otherwise awful ergonomics of the Super/Pro bodies. Interchangeable backs, too, which the oldies lack. The lenses-early through late—are nice. Just skip the WLF and get a plain prism finder or a busted metered version. Budget for a basic incident meter and skip the camera.

Straps can be problematic on these due to their proprietary strap lugs and clips.
 

pendennis

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I've owned the 645J, 645 1000s, Super, and Pro TL. I have the Pro TL (AE finder), and have long gotten rid of the others. I have glass from 35mm, up to 500mm for it, power grip, along with a number of backs and inserts.

I've read of the mirror problems on the Super and Pro models, but have never had any issues with mine, and the Super was a primary wedding camera for 10 years with 1000's of frames shot. The 1000s was my back-up camera and it worked flawlessly.

As CGW wrote, the newer Pro model is the one to own.
 

Soocom1

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My attitude isn't some "old school" issue.
The plastic bodies of the Supers and Pros are no slouches at all. In fact I have contemplated them as part of my GAS collection.

I do not disparage them at all because of the performance of them are quite a bit higher than the old Kiev 88s.

But coming from a background where the family has been engineers, artists and the like as well as crafts folks of every stripe, I long ago learned that the tools performance and construction must exceed the output of the final product in quality.

The older 645 models do not have an interchangeable back and ergo.. no digital unless you monkey wrench the thing.

The Pros and other 645's and RB/RZ series are more than capable to do the job in every way. Of that I do not disparage.
Light seals and mechanics can be serviced and its par for the course that it needs to happen.
Same with again the Kiev 88's Salyut, etc. The Russian cameras are not the best, but in qualified hands can become solid performers.

Not advocating them per se here. Just a point. Seals can be replaced as well as the individual parts. eBay has tons of "For Parts Only" camera bodies that can be cannibalized, or if you prefer; 3D print them.

There are ways around every wall... Its really up to the individual how much time energy and gumption they want to put into something.
 
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Marit

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Interesting comments, thanks for all of your input! I guess what it comes down to is the decision between a €500-600 price tag on a Super (which is restricted to film and could still be serviced in case of repairs - right?) or dive a bit deeper into my pockets for a Pro (with possibility to upgrade to a digital back). Besides that is there any noticeable difference in quality between a Super and a Pro?
The thing is I don’t know if I’ll ever need a digital back, as I’m just starting out with 120. My initial reaction is ‘if I want a digital image I’ll just shoot with a DSLR’ but of course no DSLR gets that shallow depth of field MF users seem addicted to ;) I guess I just need to get started...!
 

cgw

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Sorry but digital backs for old MF cameras are a bit of a mirage. Less politely put, WTF? Get an older 24-36mp DSLR and scan your negs for way less $$$ and fewer headaches. My take on what's available in the MF market is to buy the newest/best condition gear you can afford. Repairs range from impossible to pricey and remote in 2020 with little in between.
 

Soocom1

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Well, that's fine..

But to some of us, its like putting (aghast...) a Tuned port injected turbo charged RAMJET 502 into a 1972 Chevelle..
What's the point?
 

jcdeboever

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I have the super and it is a fine kit. I was able to get a good one for a song along with a 45, 80, 150, and 300 lens. All fine glass and adapt well on my Fujifilm GFX50R. I seem to recall some weirdness with the mirror lock up but attributed it to my lack of knowledge using it. I purchased a motor winder for it and it greatly improved the ergonomics. I got it mainly for my love of film, price, and ability to adapt the glass to my medium format digital. I have the AE prism and it has exceptional metering.

FB_IMG_1565393835327.jpg
 
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Marit

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Thanks for all of your input! I just got my hands on a Super with the AE viewfinder, 80mm 2.8 lens, 120 and polaroid back and a stack of film. Price €750. I’ve been lurking around eBay but this is just the price they go for if they’re in good condition. The camera looks brand new! I opted for this one for its weight, even though metal is sturdier, it’s quite a hefty thing for someone who’s used to 35mm SLR and this version is the lightest of the bunch. The Pro goes for about €300 more in the Netherlands/ Europe, so I figured this is a good start and I can always upgrade if I want to :)

For anyone debating these same options, this is a nice overview I found to be very helpful, it has all the compatibility suggestions and specifications.
http://www.photo-phil.org/Mamiya.pdf
 

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