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Submitted by PerPlunk a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2004
Strengths: - Size and weight are very manageable for hiking.
- Very rugged.
- Great Mirror-lockup lever.
- Very solid interchangeable system that works with a lot of the newer 645 pro stuff.
- Good timed shutter from 1/1000 - 4 seconds.
- Great spot meter in AE eye level prism.
- Beautiful optics with 80mm f/1.9
- Hands free DOF.
- Accessories are pretty cheap, including a basic cable shutter release.
- Well balanced on a tripod.
- Very secure neck strap.
Weaknesses: - Electronic shutter, so bring an extra battery, but the camera still does allow for a constant 1/60 even without any power.
This as well is a review of the 645 Super. All in all it's a wonderful camera. I take mostly landscape and wildlife shots and having come from using mostly an older Nikon F system, this thing has everything I don't get with the old Nikon F, as well as with some the other Nikon pro cameras. Right off the bat it has an excellent mirror-lockup lever. To me this is one of the most important features as most of my landscape shots are taken at dawn and dusk @ f/22 for around 1 second to 1/60 of a second. The only lens that I have for this thing currently is the 80mm Mamiya-Sekor f/1.9 C, and it produces some of the best images I have ever taken with great contrast and perfect sharpness. Right on par with some of the very capable older Nikkor primes. The other feature that I highly value is the DOF preview. These are built into the lenses and work perfectly, but they can be a bit tricky to activate, especially with gloves. But, unlike the buttons on the Nikon system, once these things are engaged they stay engaged hands free allowing better alignment of filters and composition. I also use the AE metered prism and love how big and bright it is, as well as the built in spot meter that I find to be a lot more useful then the center-weighted meters that I am used to on the older Nikons. Coupled with a grid focusing screen with a 45 degree split center micro prism, composition and focus are made a lot easier. The multi-exposure switch isn't something that I use a lot, but it's nice to know it's there. I also use the manual winder crank even though I do have the motor crank. I just don't have a need for a motorized film advanced and can't justify the extra bulk. Though I am used to manual cranks on the Nikon F, so a manual crank to me is just natural... The only real complaint that I can have about this thing is the electronic shutter. While it operates flawlessly it does remind me that I do need to carry at least one extra battery while traveling, and the shutter release is a bit more sensitive then I am used to on the mechanical Nikon F. Though this is hardly a complaint as the camera does have a built in ability to a 1/60 manual shutter release even without a battery... The last thing I want to mention is that even though it does seem to be very plasticky, it also seems to be bombproof. Shortly after getting this thing I had to watch as the entire thing fell off a shelf about 5ft to a concrete floor. Except for a few new scratches in an already pretty scratched up used camera, the thing had no damage. Great to know that it can take a beating and keep on kicking.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $500.00
Purchased At: E-Bay
Similar Products Used: Nikon F.
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by jpp a Professional
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2004
Strengths: M645 Super (pre 645 Pro model)
*Excellent lenses available
*Good build quality
*Surprisingly compact system
Weaknesses: M645 Super (pre 645 Pro model)
*Not wise to connect power winder, apparently
*No TTL Flash capability
This is really a review of the Mamiya 645 Super. The predecessor to the M645 Pro.
The main difference that I am aware of is It lacks TTL flash capability and apparently the film winding mechanism isn't really upto using a motor drive. The M645 Pro has improved film advance gearing, so I am told.
I tend to use this camera as my main SLR, even in place of my 35mm kit. Even fully assembled with left hand side grip, Metz flash, AE Prism, and lens of choice it is still remarkably portable.
The lens quality is superb and if you are thinking about producing large prints (16x20 upwards) 6x4.5cm is really the minimum negative size to use. 35mm and digital cameras in a similar price range just can't compare (as of JAN 2004!!!).
Build quality is good. I have run many films through the camera and swapped film backs a lot with no problems occuring. Day to day durability is also excellent with no bits falling off.
I am, however, a careful person. Some of my colleagues would no doubt have worn the camera down to its internal windings by now!
I have only used the manual winder on my M645 Super and have had good reliable service from it. Others tell me that if you connect the power winder to it and use it heavely, it wears out the internal winding mechanism. I am told that you can have this replaced at a service centre with a heavier duty internal winding mechanism.
Overall, I rate this camera system highly.
When it is time to upgrade my 6x4.5 SLR outfit, It is going to be very difficult to decide between Bronica and Mamiya!
Price Paid: $800.00
Purchased At: Charles Waldron
Similar Products Used: Bronica ETRSi
Type of photography: Fine Art
Submitted by defraggedMike a Casual
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2003
Strengths: Availibilty of very reasonably priced lenses and accessories (I paid 150 bucks for a used prism finder and a motor drive together in Miami). The machine is rugged and well built, a rotating back would only add to the complexity and cost. The price to results ratio has got to be the best deal in photography.
Weaknesses: It doesn't say "Hassleblad" on the front, but I'd like to compare my pictures with some taken on the Hassey.
One reviewer of the Pro TL asked who really needs the TL feature/ I have to agree with that comment.
I wanted to comment on the build quality of the Mamiya Pro, and its relevance in todays market IMHO.
i was walking down wet stone steps in the rain in Baniass Israel in awe of excavations in the Palace of Agrippas II. I slipped and the tripod hit the stone steps, breaking the small plate that attaches the tripod camera mount (Manfrotto 141 head). The camera really took a shot, impacting on the non AE finder, the back and the front of a 50mm shift lense. At first I didn't much care for the "plasticky" build of the camera and was concerned about durability. I have to say that the camera and lense has survived with some paint scatched off the front of the lense, I am so happy, and relieved. The camera can take a bone headed stunt like that. It faired much better then my elbow and the huge bruise on my butt. this machine is still relevant in the market. For the price of a Sekonic meter, 2 backs, 3 lenses and a 2X TC, I have a system that is perfect for my use and so much less expensive then a new system. A 300 ULD, 50mm shift, a meter, 2X TC and an 80 2.8, 2 backs for less then 2,500 bucks. I am really happy, my f4s sits gathering dust.
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $600.00
Purchased At: Tel Aviv
Similar Products Used: none, I'm new to MF
Type of photography: Other