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Mamiya M645 1000s

German Silva , Jul 04, 2006; 05:12 p.m.

Hey,

what's the story with the Mamiya M645 1000s cameras? are they good for weddings and portraiture? or, is there something in them that does not make them useful/good for said purposes?

I am looking for an inexpensive MF camera but I don't want to be stuck with something that would lack useful features.

Please advise.

Best,

G. Silva

Responses

Randall Ellis , Jul 04, 2006; 05:50 p.m.

There is no reason not to use one of these for wedding photography. You can get 220 inserts as well as all the other standard camera add-ons that any other brand can use. Perhaps if you stated what 'useful' features you are looking for, we can tell you if the m645 has them...

- Randy

Nolan Ross , Jul 04, 2006; 06:17 p.m.

Mamiya 645 pro and pro TL (older models also) have a flash sync of 1/60th. With a leaf shutter lens you can sync up to 1/500th. I do not know about the availability or cost of a lens like that. Check that out before you plunge into it. The Pro TL was just discontinued and the company was recently sold. I would think parts would still be available for a good while. I am sure many wedding photographers are living with a flash sync of 1/60th but it is certainly not ideal. Maybe another model might be better. The Bronica ETRSi has a flash sync of 1/500th which is great but there is no support or parts for the camera's as they are out of business, The Pentax 645N has a slow flash sync also.,,,,,,,Nolan

Pete Andrews , Jul 05, 2006; 05:11 a.m.

The 1000s is an excellent camera for weddings, and indeed most other professional photography. I've been using Mamiya 645s for about 10 years now, and found them extremely reliable and competent cameras.

There were at leat three leaf shutter lenses made for the Mamiya 645 range. A 55mm focal length, a 70mm, and a 150mm. All of them allow flash synch up to 1/500th of second, albeit with some loss of convenience in use.

I was lucky enough to find the 70mm and 55mm leaf lenses at a really good price, and can recommend the 70mm especially. It's a nice sharp lens that's not too short for half-length portraits with fill-in flash, but you'd probably want to go for the 150mm lens for head-only shots.

Mamiya gear is dirt cheap at the moment, but don't let that put you off. With luck your 1000s will carry on working for many years to come. I've had no trouble with my 645s at all, apart from some of the sealing foam going a bit crumbly. This isn't a major problem. The foam is easily replaced.

The newer 645 super and proTL are a bit plasticky for my liking, but they do offer the slight advantage of interchangable backs if you want to "upgrade" later. The lens fitting is exactly the same. If you do go for a Super or ProTL, make sure that the magazine back(s) fit(s) properly onto the body, with no gaps. It's one weakness of the Mamiya 645 system.

Oh, one other thing. Make sure you get a prism finder with your 645, otherwise you'll find it very awkward to take portrait format pictures.

Good luck German.

Jean-Louis Llech , Jul 05, 2006; 08:05 a.m.

I have been using a 1000S for several years. It is an excellent camera, reliable, with very sharp lenses. I had the 45mm, the 80mm f/1.9 and the 210mm.
The only drawback of this camera is the lack of interchangeable magazine.
But, if you don't need to alternate B/W, color and trans, or to change the film speed in mid-roll, the pre-loaded inserts are very well made, and allow a very quick reloading for 15 exposures (30 on 220 film).
If you make the comparison between reloading a 1000S and a Pentax 6x7, you will appreciate these inserts.

About accessories, you must have a prism finder (the SPD Prism Finder with TTL metering is the best, very accurate), because vertical framing with a waist level finder is a true pain.

Take also a look to the right hand power-grip. For quick shots, like weddings, it will be an invaluable help : it automatically cocks the shutter and advance the film. And the grip is excellent, you focus the lens with your left hand. Film inserts and power grip together are very useful features of the 1000S.

With this link, you can download the Mamiya 645 1000S users manual, and see how it works.

Anthony Oresteen , Jul 05, 2006; 03:56 p.m.

Ditto to what's been said.

While I ihave two prisms for my 645 1000s (Plain & AE), I use the WLF with the 35mm lens most of the time. For the rare vertical shot I make with the 35mm lens, I just use the WLF sports finder after focusing horizontal to make the vertial shot. It's a guess as the sports finder shows the 80mm frame.

For use with the 80mm I always seem to have a prism on the camera.

Cortonio Beals , Jul 07, 2006; 02:19 p.m.

I've been using the Mamiya 645n for a number of years and had tremendous success with beautiful wedding photographs and portrait work. The metering system in the PD Prism is extremely accurate and will ensure great exposures in most instances. I higly recommend using a tripod to prevent blurring if you intend on using film such as Portra 160nc. The weight of this camera is probably my only criticism. Nonetheless, it's a great camera for weddings and portraiture. I use the standard 80mm for most shots, and a 150mm for portraits (head shots)...both with great results. The camera has a lot of nice features and are very inexpensive to purchase on ebay.

Good Luck, Cortonio.

Andy Sommer , Nov 09, 2007; 11:16 a.m.

I found one on craigslist that I am interested in purchasing, does this particular model support a digital back??

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