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Thread: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

  1. #1
    tokengirl
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    Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    What should I do?

    I've been wanting a film camera for a while now. Originally I had the idea to get a used Canon EOS film body so I could use my existing lenses (I may still do that at some point as they can be had for as cheap as $25). But a 35mm negative isn't very sexy...

    Let me back up a little here and give some additional info: There will be no darkroom, just a changing bag and some s.s. tanks to develop B&W film in the kitchen sink. Film will be scanned with an Epson v750, and if something turns out that I REALLY like, I can have it drum scanned.

    So back to the camera part. I've decided I want to go MF, and 6x7 is the format I prefer. If I had a money tree in my back yard, I would get a Horseman SW612Pro and the additional 6x7 back and the 47mm Super Angulon, because having shift would be awesome. Alas, there is no such money tree and anyways spending that kind of money on what is basically a personal experiment is just silly.

    So it's either a Mamiya 7 with either the 43mm or 50mm lens, or a Pentax 67 with a 45mm lens.

    The Pentax is way cheaper, but as I understand it, the pentaprism viewfinder only covers 90% of the image area, and I'm not sure using a WLF when I'm standing up to my thighs in water is practical?

    The two issues I have with the Mamiya 7 are 1) I've never used a rangefinder camera before, and 2) the minimum focusing distance is about 1 meter, which seems like a really long way away with a WA lens to me. I can overcome #1, but feel really uneasy about #2.

    So what say ye, and why? Please tell me the good, the bad and the ugly.

    FYI, I am not interested in 6x6 format as an alternative.

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Hi,

    I have a Mamiya 7, which at time when I bought it was as complement to DSLR. I now no longer shoot dslr but also MFDB, 617 and 4x5.

    My experience of Pentax 6x7 is nil, except I have seen it and read about it.

    A very key difference: Weight. Look at weight.

    For Mamiya 7 I have 43mm and 80mm. This is as compact of a camera you can go in 6x7. Lenses are stellar sharp.

    Rangefinder? I now prefer it, because smaller and less weight. This said it is not that difficult to learn. It is a simpler camera than a dslr, but one need accept that it is different. What you see in viewfinder is not through the lens. Parallex is adjusted for my 80mm. For my 43mm I use a separate viewfinder to compose and the internal viewfinder to focus. It works.

    If you are willing to go all manual, I can recommend Fotoman 617 or 612. Please note that while the international part of Fotoman have stopped business the Chinese part keeps going and sell international. Here is old webpage of international (in English) http://fotomancamera.com/, here is Chinese http://www.fotomancamera.com.cn/tuijian.asp, or for contact at top here http://www.fotomancamera.com.cn/server.asp.

    Charlie is the one who heads Fotoman China and who per my understanding originally developed the cameras and has been responsible for the fabrication. I bought my 617 directly from him in China. It is excellent. The only downside is that it is heavy. With a quality lens the image quality is nothing short of superb, and... Fotoman 617 is cheaper new than a used Linhof and Fuji. This said, it is all manual and require an external meter. The format of 617 and 612 is also different, yet can be very powerful.

    Think about it, with 617 and 612 one get a pano with a single shot. See here for examples http://www.fotomancamera.com.cn/zuopin.asp. My own preference is 617 with 90mm lens. This is all I have. However, 612 with 65mm or 617 with 180mm are also very nice perspectives.

    Fotoman aside, I now do not use my Mamiya 7 much, but... I do not want to sell it. It is a superb camera that is very versatile and easy to carry walking around alike to tripod.

    Regards
    Anders

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Unlike Anders, I have no experience with the Mamiya 7 but I have used a Pentax 67 for 20+ years. I know that both cameras will produce outstanding images (hard to go wrong with those big 6x7 negs), so much depends on your requirements. I've never found the weight of the Pentax 67 to be a problem for me, but your needs may be different. I would think the key difference to consider is rangefinder vs SLR. It would be good to get your hands on these cameras and try them out, if at all possible. The Pentax 67 is built like a tank.....in 20 years of use, I've never had a problem. Although I mostly use the prism finder on my P67s (I have 2 Pentax 6x7 and now a 67II also....which is definitely the camera to buy), I like having the option to use the waist level finder or rigid magnifying finder when the mood suits me. Want to do macro photography with a 6x7? The Pentax will handle it (there is an excellent 135mm macro lens and the auto bellows unit). Need a leaf shutter lens for flash photography? The 90mm and 165mm lenses are available in leaf shutter versions. In other words....the Pentax 67 is a true system camera. Unfortunately....it is a camera that is no longer in production. Fortunately, there are many available on the used market in excellent condition AND an investment in Pentax 67 lenses might pay off someday if you'd like to mount them on the Pentax 645D in the future!.....something I hope to do.

    I think the lenses of both the Mamiya and Pentax cameras are excellent. By all accounts, the Mamiya 43mm is superb with very little wide angle distortion. I do think the results from my Pentax 45mm are pretty good too.

    If you ever do need longer focal lengths, the Pentax 67 has some advantages in that regard.

    Either way....big negatives and transparencies are the way to go! 6x7 is a great choice.

    Gary

    Pentax 67 and 45mm lens


    Pentax 67 and 300mm EDIF lens
    Last edited by bensonga; 8th April 2010 at 20:25.

  4. #4
    DougDolde
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Just a thought....an RZ67 kit can be had for very little money from KEH.com. It's heavy for sure but very high quality. Lots of accessories like both waist level and prism finders and a rotating back.

    And of course it can take a digital back where the other two can't. If you were considering a digital back in your future the Pro II or Pro II-D would be the best option.

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    If you're concerned with the Pentax viewfinder coverage you'll hate using a rangefinder. It's just not that accurate.
    The Mamiya 7ii is my all time favourite camera but it's not an all rounder. If you like to focus closer than 1m (or 1.5m with the 150mm) or you like to use telephoto lenses, you're better with the Pentax. I've owned and used the Pentax but sold it because of its weight and insanely heavy mirror slap. I found it impossible to get truly sharp photos at shutter speeds of 1/125th and below. I, and it, just shook too much. The 67II is better in this regard by popular account.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    I frequently shoot at shutter speeds lower than 1/125th with my Pentax 67s but ALWAYS use the mirror lock up function when it is mounted on a sturdy tripod. I've never had a problem getting sharp photos when I've worked with these constraints....but I rarely use it for hand held shooting. For hand held shooting....the Mamiya 7 is probably much better. I agree the RZ67 would be another good choice...I wish the P67 had the rotating and removable back capability, but then, it wouldn't be a Pentax 67 (ie with the form factor of a large 35mm SLR).

    Gary

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    There's a short, but very informative review of the Pentax here:

    http://luminous-landscape.com/review...ntax67ii.shtml

    He discusses the mirror/shutter slap problem in particular.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Yes, that's an excellent summary of the Pentax 67 pros and cons. Since I've mostly been shooting with lenses 105mm or wider and typically use that heavy duty Berlebach wooden tripod, I haven't experienced the problems he mentioned re sharpness when using light weight tripods and longer focal length lenses. A person can get sharp pics with the longer focal length lenses (such as my 300mm EDIF), but only with due care etc.

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 8th April 2010 at 21:26.

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    Just a thought....an RZ67 kit can be had for very little money from KEH.com. It's heavy for sure but very high quality. Lots of accessories like both waist level and prism finders and a rotating back.

    And of course it can take a digital back where the other two can't. If you were considering a digital back in your future the Pro II or Pro II-D would be the best option.
    Always loved using the RB/RZ67 cameras, but their weight and size means that for me they were always a studio camera, like the Mamiya C330 before them. The Pentax 6x7 is still a tank but it's much more mobile.

    A friend had the Mamiya 7 and loved it, I preferred the Mamiya 6 myself as I preferred the square format and 12 exposures per 120 roll. Is why I ended up with Hasselblad at the end of my MF film days, although my last MF film camera was actually a Pentax 645.

    Nice cameras. Can't get into shooting film any more, does nothing for me, and I've not yet got the business that needs a medium format digital yet.

  10. #10
    tokengirl
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Thanks for all the replies.

    I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the Pentax. I'm not sure I want to buy into a "system", I already have that with my Canons, covering all focal lengths from 16 to 400mm including macro and tilt/shift, and I am very happy with it.

    The thing that appeals to me about the Mamiya is the weight and hand-holdability. I think ultimately I could use it in more ways than the Pentax because of that.

    I just want a film camera to go make pictures with. I swear, if Holga made a 6x7 format camera, I would get one.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    If lower weight and hand-holdability are important, then the Mamiya 7 is the clear winner between these two cameras. You will love those 6x7 transparencies!

    Gary

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    If lower weight and hand-holdability are important, then the Mamiya 7 is the clear winner between these two cameras. You will love those 6x7 transparencies!

    Gary
    Indeed, but... it is always good to think... what if?

    Here http://www.gt-photography.com/articl...7%20Review.pdf

    This said, even if my Mamiya 7 does not get much use, it is truly superb. The 6x7 is truly magic with its pleasing proportions, same proportions as 4x5 film.

    35mm = 36x24mm
    6x7 = 70x56mm
    612 = 118x56mm
    617 = 168x56mm

    and... while 612 is a half of 4x5, 617 is a splendid slice of 5x7

    Regards
    Anders

  13. #13
    tokengirl
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Anders,

    The Fotoman (or any 6x17 option) is definitely sexy, something I might even want at some point down the road. But right now I think it would be a little overwhelming for me. Before considering something like this, I should probably spend some time fooling around with stitched panoramas with my Canon to get a feel for this type of composition.

    For now I just want a fairly simple way to get back into film (without sacrificing quality by going with a 35mm option).

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    Anders,

    The Fotoman (or any 6x17 option) is definitely sexy, something I might even want at some point down the road. But right now I think it would be a little overwhelming for me. Before considering something like this, I should probably spend some time fooling around with stitched panoramas with my Canon to get a feel for this type of composition.

    For now I just want a fairly simple way to get back into film (without sacrificing quality by going with a 35mm option).
    The Mamiya 7 is a simple step in regards to that it has a meter. However, you need to get to know how that meter functions, which is simple.

    Regarding panoramas though, they are ALOT simpler to make with a Fotoman than with a dslr, simply one shot. Not only that, you will use a viewfinder to compose the entire image and see the image as you shoot.

    Above, simply two different cameras for different formats. The Mamiya 7 simpler to hand hold. Also simpler transit from dslr per say, but... the Fotomans are honest very simple.

    I would advise look at what format you prefer of 6x7, 612, 617 and even 6x9. As I stated, and indeed many elsewhere before me, the proportions of 6x7 are same as 4x5 and viewed as very pleasant. 617 and 612 is perhaps more strong, or... specialized. Albeit should as such not be brushed away. It all depends... preference.

    Wish you sincere best of luck!

    Regards
    Anders

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Thanks for the link to that interesting review Anders. I've been intrigued by the 6x12 and 6x17 formats ever since I picked up a copy of "New York Vertical" by Horst Hamann (B&W photos, I highly recommend it).

    I wonder if the Fotoman is still available in the USA. I checked their website and there are two US dealers listed (Badger Graphic and Midwest Photo), but neither of them has the Fotoman listed on their websites.

    Gary

  16. #16
    tokengirl
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    I would advise look at what format you prefer of 6x7, 612, 617 and even 6x9.
    Definitely 6x7 is what I'm interested in. The only reason I brought up the Horseman 612 in my original post was because you can put a 6x7 back on it.

    Any chance you could post some samples of what you're doing with the Fotoman? I think it's a fascinating format.

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    Definitely 6x7 is what I'm interested in. The only reason I brought up the Horseman 612 in my original post was because you can put a 6x7 back on it.

    Any chance you could post some samples of what you're doing with the Fotoman? I think it's a fascinating format.
    Hi, I would be happy to but I am afraid I do not have any scanned.

    While you wrote that you will do B&W, I would suggest to also try some rolls of Fuji slides. For landscapes the colors of Fuji Velvia 50 is magic and THE classic for landscape photography. For people I can recommend Fuji Provia 100 or 400.

    Regards

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Thanks for the link to that interesting review Anders. I've been intrigued by the 6x12 and 6x17 formats ever since I picked up a copy of "New York Vertical" by Horst Hamann (B&W photos, I highly recommend it).

    I wonder if the Fotoman is still available in the USA. I checked their website and there are two US dealers listed (Badger Graphic and Midwest Photo), but neither of them has the Fotoman listed on their websites.

    Gary
    Gary,

    In USA you can contact Paul Drulok in regards to any last inventory items from his and his partners side of the business, see here http://fotomancamera.com/Specials.asp. Paul and his Canadian partner has been running Fotoman outside China but gave up on "fabrication" last year.

    The correctness though is that while he and his Canadinan partner stopped their side of the 3- partner business, Charlie Li their former Chinese partner continues the China side and is also selling cameras and accessories directly overseas. Since I live in Asia, Hong Kong/Malaysia, I bought my camera directly from Charlie and visited him in Shenzhen China. He speaks fair English but they still have not updated their website. The cameras from him are of same quality as the ones that have been sold under Paul, and Charlie appears to be the one who has been fabricating them, and also who came up with their first camera. You can contact him per top here http://www.fotomancamera.com.cn/server.asp

    Regards
    Last edited by Anders_HK; 9th April 2010 at 18:28.

  18. #18
    tokengirl
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Well, things have changed quite a bit. I crossed paths with a lovely little girl with a red dot on her forehead, and decided to invite her home with me. She is in need of an eyeball though. Once I get her squared away, I will post a picture.

    Thanks for all the help with this, I still see a Mamiya 7 in my future. It's just not imminent anymore.

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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Unlike Anders, I have no experience with the Mamiya 7 but I have used a Pentax 67 for 20+ years. I know that both cameras will produce outstanding images (hard to go wrong with those big 6x7 negs), so much depends on your requirements. I've never found the weight of the Pentax 67 to be a problem for me, but your needs may be different. I would think the key difference to consider is rangefinder vs SLR. It would be good to get your hands on these cameras and try them out, if at all possible. The Pentax 67 is built like a tank.....in 20 years of use, I've never had a problem. Although I mostly use the prism finder on my P67s (I have 2 Pentax 6x7 and now a 67II also....which is definitely the camera to buy), I like having the option to use the waist level finder or rigid magnifying finder when the mood suits me. Want to do macro photography with a 6x7? The Pentax will handle it (there is an excellent 135mm macro lens and the auto bellows unit). Need a leaf shutter lens for flash photography? The 90mm and 165mm lenses are available in leaf shutter versions. In other words....the Pentax 67 is a true system camera. Unfortunately....it is a camera that is no longer in production. Fortunately, there are many available on the used market in excellent condition AND an investment in Pentax 67 lenses might pay off someday if you'd like to mount them on the Pentax 645D in the future!.....something I hope to do.

    I think the lenses of both the Mamiya and Pentax cameras are excellent. By all accounts, the Mamiya 43mm is superb with very little wide angle distortion. I do think the results from my Pentax 45mm are pretty good too.

    If you ever do need longer focal lengths, the Pentax 67 has some advantages in that regard.

    Either way....big negatives and transparencies are the way to go! 6x7 is a great choice.

    Gary

    Pentax 67 and 45mm lens


    Pentax 67 and 300mm EDIF lens
    I have no experience with the pentax but have heard wonderful things about it. I have had, still have, and so long as there is film will always have the Mamiya 7II. The lenses are all extremely good except for the 43mm which is truly phenomenal. You have to work with one to believe just how good. I do agree that at the telephoto the Pentax has stronger offerings going longer and the Mamiya 150mm is the weakest link in their lens chain.

    All in all, you can't really go wrong with either.

    Woody

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    My Mamiya 7II is probably the only camera that I really miss from my film days. As Woody mentioned, the lenses are superb although you do need to understand the meter and the effect that lens focal length has on it (centre weight --> spot) and also the optimistic DoF scales. However, a superb system that I trekked around with for quite a while.

    Confession: I miss my XPan too

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    Senior Member viablex1's Avatar
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    Re: Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 ???

    well if you want to do macro the mamiya and fotoman aint the one!! just a thought but that mamiya 7 man oh man what a camera and I have a fotoman 6X9, 6X12 and got a 6X17 coming really killer cameras

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