Mamiya 645E Medium Format

Mamiya 645E Medium Format 

DESCRIPTION

The Mamiya 645E offers a level of professional quality in an affordable system that’s perfect for taking the step-up to enhanced image creation. It has the basic tools that make medium format ideal for going beyond simple snapshots, packaged into a camera that’s easy to use, yet capable of growing with you as you hone your photographic capabilities and creative sense.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 25  
[Nov 11, 2009]
katherine
Expert

Strength:

It's lightweight, has a built-in light meter, easy to use.

Weakness:

I don't like the eye-piece moving. I don't use it, and it's kinda annoying.

I enjoy this camera a lot. I've been using it with the generic 80mm lens, but thinking about investing in a 55mm. I have used manual focus since the beginning, so that wasn't an issue. I can't hand-hold it under 1/125th generally. Though I have gotten away with 1/15 once. On my 35mm camera, I can usually get away with 1/60th. So that was a change for me.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 29, 2007]
jazzworkerbee
Intermediate

Strength:

Affordable
Beautiful optics
Solid metering

Weakness:

The shutter and mirror are a bit noisy and I would love to have seen a more modular design. I like the silent, manual advance, but wish I had spot metering. I considered the Pro TL but there is no option for silent operation other than with the crank advance which is a bit difficult to operate.

Though a little heavy and hard to keep stable for long periods, the camera is very solid and dependable. I have taken it to Asia and on my fieldwork in Louisiana. It makes beautiful images! There are a ton of lenses to choose from. It is a great piece to earn on, though an expensive one with film and processing. It's a shame that it has been discontinued because it is a great, affordable MF camera.

Customer Service

I needed a knob for my bellows and was completely ignored by Mamiya

Similar Products Used:

Kiev 88 and various 120 box cameras

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 27, 2005]
outdoorscenics
Intermediate

Strength:

Great value at today's depressed MF prices, good basic camera. Has all of the essential functions for professional quality work from a tripod (AEL, MLU, ability to bracket in 1/3 EV increments). Bright viewfinder with 80mm f/2.8N or 55mm f/2.8N lenses and adequate with 150mm f/3.5N lens. Split microprism fixed (i.e., non-removable) focusing screen (two ways to focus manually - either the split image method or the circular microprism ring around the center split). Amazing dioptric correction range (-5 to +5).

Weakness:

Not a particularly rugged camera for field use but hey if you want that get a Pentax 67 II metal brick albeit with a significant weight penalty (why overall rating of 4/5). Dust easily gets into the mirror box and onto the focusing screen. Hard to see all the way into the viewfinder when wearing eyeglasses (i.e., not great eye relief).

After shooting fully automatic 35mm SLRs for several years I decided to step into the world of medium format (MF) photography, as my primary application is shooting outdoor scenics for calendar and editorial purposes on a part-time basis and I was competing with pros using 4x5 large format and 6x7 MF. For me, going from 35mm to 4x5 was too big a step up, and 6x7 meant a significantly heavier camera (e.g., Pentax 67 II) and more expense (10 frames/120 roll for 6x7 vs. 15 frames/120 roll for 6x4.5). However, a 6x4.5cm MF camera is roughly the equivalent of having a 16-18MP professional digital camera at a fraction of the cost (lets face it, who wants to take a $7,000 DSLR into the field). With the new Fujichrome Velvia 100 Professional (RVP 100; not to be confused with Velvia 100F which is a lot more like Provia 100F) 16x20s are easily achievable, and 20x24s are said to be possible with hi rez scanning and lightjet printing. This is why I gave it a value rating of 5/5. Although my initial choice was the fine Pentax 645N II, I couldn't justify the significantly higher cost, weight and AF. The Mamiya 645e always appealed to me as the most lightweight 6x4.5 cm camera and it had all of the basic functions (MLU, AEL, ability to bracket narrow latitude transparency film in 1/3 EV increments). I purchased the "Rapid Pro Value Pack" and immediately removed the grip, as I do all of my shooting from a tripod and don't mind advancing roll film via the standard hand crank (yes folks film advance is manual, as is focusing and setting aperature). Although it came with a normal 80mm f/2.8N lens, I quickly added a 55mm f/2.8N and 150mm f/3.5N lenses. This lightweight kit easily fits into a day pack, and isn't unduly heavy for day hikes, although it is certainly heavier than a 35mm SLR with equivalent focal length lenses. My 645e has almost always functioned flawlessly, and the few times it didn't I could usually point to something that I did wrong. The meter is pretty accurate (within 1/3 ev) when metering land, but tends to need +2/3 EV compensation when water is in the lower half of the image which is normal for a centerweighted pattern. The MLU procedure is straightforward (you depress the shutter 1/2 way using cable release while in AEL mode then swing up the mirror) but it can be a bit of a bother having to hold it until ready to shoot (which can take some time if people are in the way, it is blowing, etc.), although you can hold it this way for far longer than most exposure lock buttons would retain the shutter speed value. Bracketing in 1/3 increments only works with AEL, but manually bracketing in 1/2 EV increments using the aperture ring is easily reproducible). All-in-all, a basic but competent entry level 6x4.5cm MF camera that sadly in today's mad consumer digital was recently discontinued.

Customer Service

I've called Mamiya a few times with questions and they were very friendly and helpful.

Similar Products Used:

None.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 21, 2005]
photocolorado
Professional

Strength:

Bright view finder even in dim Easy to use controls. Uses most standard 645 accessories. Lightweight works well if you are carrying the camera all day for a wedding. It's lighter means I can use a lighter tripod. I like that for location shooting. I've dropped from a tripod, boy was I lucky, it still functions well says something about its construction.

Weakness:

Feels a little "plastic" cheap. Doesn't feel substantial like other Mamiya 645's. I've had the film door pop open mid roll. Not sure why. I bought the rapid winder used from Adorama and it works ok, it's better than using the standard film advance, but the fact that one motion doesn't advance it one frame is a drag. It takes several movements to advance one frame. There's the cheap feel again.

For the price you can't beat it, especially if you have an investment in Mamiya 645 lenses. Good basic solid functioning camera. Takes great photographs. Positives outweigh the negatives. I keep using it. I didn't truly appreciate it until I went back to my M645 and then appreciated it more.

Customer Service

KEH Shipped quick and the camera was the rating that was listed. This is not the first purchase through KEH.

Similar Products Used:

M645, M645J

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Mar 04, 2004]
ras1500
Intermediate

Strength:

Great optics Lots of features for relatively low price

Weakness:

Awkward handling Loud mirror slap

All of the great features have been cited in the previous reviews and I have to agree with most of them. However, I initially found this camera a bit awkward to handle. I'm used to holding 35mm cameras in my left hand with my thumb and forefinger manipulating the lens controls and my right hand working the shutter. This arrangement really didn't transfer to the 645e. I acquired a left side Vivitar handle grip with a built in cable release. Although this added considerable weight and bulk to the package, in my opinion this made the camera much faster to handle. For tripod work, this camera is great as-is right out of the box.

Customer Service

none required

Similar Products Used:

Minolta Autocord

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 04, 2004]
Expert

Strength:

Fantastic optically quality Very accurate metering- means you don't need a polaroid back. Easy to use Light enough to hand hold.

Weakness:

Makes you buy M/F lenses and 120 film.

I picked this camera up second hand because I wanted big prints but the price of M/F digital and the 1Ds is just stupid. I'm totally happy with my purchase at this stage. The camera has one positive after another. It's light enough to hand hold, has bang on built in metering, super sharp optics, its easy to use, has a big bright viewfinder, has Aperture priority exposure etc etc etc. The 645E really is a powerful little medium format package for the money. If you are looking at medium format for not too much money this is DEFINATELY the camera to get.

Customer Service

Not used

Similar Products Used:

First M/F camera

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 03, 2003]
x77x
Intermediate

Strength:

Price, First rate optics, light weight, easy to focus

Weakness:

For my purposes, aside from the loud mirror slap/ shutter operation, none really.

I was searching for a medium format slr to replace my Mamiya tlr. After much research, it was clear that the Mamiya 645e was the best value for my needs at the time. I have discovered that this camera excels at people photography. In fact, this is my 'people' camera. It's light, easy to focus, and has enough automation for relatively quick snap shots. I use it with a Vivitar 283 on a bracket and diffused with a Lumiquest soft box. That combo always yields perfect, natural looking flash exposures. Generally, I don't employ it for landscapes because I prefer to compose over ground glass- But hey, that job goes to the 4x5 camera. For the price, I can't really fault its limitations. Sure a waist level finder would be great. Removable film backs would be nice too. But you compromise those features for its low price. In the end, all that matters is the final print. If you desire professional quality, stunning prints, this camera will deliver.

Customer Service

none needed-

Similar Products Used:

Mamiya C3, C220, Rolleiflex MX EVS, Yashica EM

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 22, 2003]
socrammtz
Professional

Strength:

It's medium format! Great lens! Super sharp pictures even when you enlarge them to 20x24 Manual, but still easy to use.

Weakness:

Rapid winder has to be cocked twice No interchangable backs

I have shot many weddings with 35mm Canon camera. I just shot my first one with my new Mamiya 645E. The diference is undescribable! These are by far my best wedding photos to date. I already threw away my 35mm (JK, I'm using it only for back up now). It's all manual so you have to make sure you have everything set correctly, which makes you a better photographer. The camera might come in a cheap plastic body, but the results are what count. And they are awsome results.

Customer Service

Calumet has great service

Similar Products Used:

Mamiya 645 Pro (Rental) Canon 35mm (Doesn't compare)

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 18, 2003]
Marcus Ingram
Professional

Strength:

-Easy to use -Nice feel and lightweight -Looks apart from the other cameras

Weakness:

-Using the crank, looking into purchasing the Rapid Wind Grip.

Great MF camera! I have shot several weddings/model shoots and the photos are crisp and clear. I use the 80mm portrait lens 90% of the time and use my 150mm the rest. I recommend this camera to anyone. Price very affordable right now, I'll probably pickup another for a backup. My purchase of this camera was a good decision. My love for photography is appreciated by the Mamiya 645e.

Customer Service

None

Similar Products Used:

I have Hasselblad, Nikon F100, Minolta 3xi, Pentak k1000, & Minolta 5000

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 09, 2003]
Doug Johns
Intermediate

Strength:

- mirror lock-up - good selection of lenses and accessories - good construction - eye level view finder - built in meter

Weakness:

- noninterchangable viewfinders - view finder display will only read down to 1 second.

I highly recommend this camera. The price is very good, one can buy this camera new for the same price or less than some other used MF cameras. The Rapid winder grip is a must, not so much for the two stroke winding but for the improved handling and greater access to the cable release socket. With so many features and a great price, it's hard to go wrong! I've since picked up the 45f2.8 and the 210f4 lenses to go along with the standard 80 f2.8.

Customer Service

never needed

Similar Products Used:

Mamiya C330 & bronica etr

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 25  

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