Tag: Mamiya

CCR Review 82 – Mamiya 645AF-D III

CCR Review 82 – Mamiya 645AF-D III

It only makes sense that the iconic Mamiya m645 grew up, and ended up being a perfect camera that blends the traditional film and modern digital photographic market. I am of course talking about the Mamiya 645 AF-D III. The AF-D III is by far the newest and most advanced camera I’ve had a chance to review in these blogs and well worth the wait. The camera is the medium format camera for the 21st-Century hybrid shooter as it can accept both traditional medium format film and digital backs. The penultimate iteration of the classic wedding photographer workhorse that will pay for itself if you care to invest in the system and a joy to work with. Thanks to James Lee for loaning this beauty out.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Dirt
Make: Mamiya
Model: 645 AF-D III
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Medium Format (120/220), 6×4.5
Lens: Interchangeable, Mamiya 645 AF Mount
Year of Manufacture: Post-2001

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Good
Like the Nikon F4 bridging the divide between auto-focus and manual focus professional 35mm SLRs, the 645 AF-D III bridges the divide between film and digital in the professional medium format market. The camera features few menus, opting for buttons or dials operations of all the major functions and the camera controls are well laid out and easy to figure out what does what without too much referencing the manual. The camera has an amazing metering system and autofocus that is snappier than I expected. While the optics aren’t anything special, they are decent for the job. And the camera is well balanced and fits well in hand and handles well; I could shoot the camera all day at a wedding and not get tired. But the one thing that sells me on the camera is that it uses proper magazines, you can swap out mid-roll, you could even go right from shooting film to shooting a digital back without blinking. Plus when shooting film, you get the full 16-shots on a roll unlike the m645, and the magazines accept both 120 and 220 film with just switching around the pressure plate. And a final bonus feature is the imprinting of the exposure data in the rebate area of the film, you can also find this on newer Pentax 645 cameras.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Bad
I always try to come up with a couple of poorer points of a camera but in this case, I can only a few little tiny annoying feature. First is setting the ISO settings on the film magazines it a bit fiddly with the small buttons that you need to use a fingernail to operate and the fact that the film back requires a battery as well it a bit annoying. I also think the placement of the strap lugs could be moved to be parallel to the darkslide so that the camera hangs on the chest with the bottom flush instead of having the back fo the film magazine against the chest with the camera sticking out awkwardly. But if that’s all I can come up with, then you have what I like to call a near perfect camera.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Lowdown
If I did a lot more professional work, or photography was my primary source of income, then this camera system would be one that I would certainly invest in. First off the system is still supported by Mamiya/Leaf/PhaseOne and a 22 megapixel digital back is more than enough for anything you need to do these days, plus the option to still shoot film makes the camera very attractive. While rare on the used market, when you do come across them, the price is reasonable, a kit might set you back about two grand, which is certainly cheaper than a Hasselblad digital system. Which makes it a camera system that will last you for a while and keep on pumping out quality images with the right person behind it.

All Photos Taken in Milton, Ontario
Mamiya 645AF-D III – Mamiya 645 AF 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 8:00 @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 37 – Baby It’s Cold Outside

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 37 – Baby It’s Cold Outside

ccr-logo-leaf

We’re in the midst of a cold snap here in Ontario but that’s no reason to always stay inside. So the gang brings up their best and worst choices for cameras out in the cold weather! We also discuss the weird things we do to film in shooting and processing.

Cold Weather Cameras – The Best
What are our cameras of choice when out in the cold? Well everyone has a different approach to why they pick certain cameras when heading out for some cold weather shooting.

Mamiya m645 – When it comes to usability outside, a camera that relies on a battery and electronics may not be the best choice. But to Alex, part of usability in the winter includes the ability to use the cameras with gloves on. And with the m645 being a professional workhorse, it’s large controls makes it easy to operate even with mittens on! Plus he’s never had an issue operating the camera even in close to -30C weather over the Christmas holidays.

CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645

Camera Specs
Make: Mamiya
Model: m645
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6×4.5
Lens: Interchangeable, Mamiya m645 mount
Year of Manufacture: 1975

CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645
CCR:FRB - Review 02 - JCH StreetPan 400 - Roll 02 (TMax Developer)

Hasselblad 500c/m – John’s first pick for his winter camera is the reliable Hasselblad 500c/m, even in the winter wearing gloves he doesn’t have an issue with the exposure control on the lens. Although a large focusing lever does help!

Camera Specs
Make: Hasselblad
Model: 500c/m
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6×6
Lens: Interchangeable, Hasselblad V mount
Year of Manufacture: 1975

Fuji GSW690II – When it comes to winter there’s something to be said about capturing the beautiful winter snowscapes especially when it’s on a 6×9 negative. That’s why the GSW690 is James’ pick for a winter camera. Not to mention with a nickname “Texas Leica” it’s big enough to use with those winter gloves.

CCR - Season 4 - Recording Session 1James with his newly aquired GSW690II

Camera Specs
Make: Fuji
Model: GSW690II
Type: Rangefinder
Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6×9
Lens: Fixed, EBC Fujinon-W f=65mm 1:5.6
Year of Manufacture: 1985

Nikon FM2n – When it comes to winter photography, Bill’s choice is out of both need for something that works in cold weather, and is compact enough to pack when he’s out skiing. And the vertical shutter on the FM2n is his choice as it has yet to fail even deep into the -20s.

CCR - Review 16 - Nikon FM2n

Camera Specs
Make: Nikon
Model: FM2n
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Nikon F-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1983

Abandoned Caledon Farm House TwoReally Cold on Wortley's Wiggle

Canon A-1 – Despite what Bill says, Donna’s main choice of winter cameras is the Canon A-1, it’s compact enough to fit in a pocket and has the needed size to be handled even in gloves.

Fade To Black

Camera Specs
Make: Canon
Model: A-1
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Canon FD-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1978

Canon Elan 7ne – The best way to handle cold weather, easy, get a camera with eye-focusing and a great program mode. For Mike that’s the Elan 7ne, with one of the best eye-control focus, the camera tracks his eye movement across the frame and adjusts, if that’s not good for gloves, then we don’t know what is!

Canon EOS Elan 7NE

Camera Specs
Make: Canon
Model: Elan 7ne
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Canon EF-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 2004

Contax N1 – When it comes to cold, there’s no better choice than the biggest, baddest camera you can get your hands on. And for Trevor, that’s the Contax N-1, built by Kyocera and features some amazing Zeiss lenses. But don’t go out looking for one, your wallet will hate you for it.

CCR - Season 4 - Recording Session 1Trevor showing off the Contax N1

Camera Specs
Make: Kyocera
Model: Contax N1
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Contax N-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 2001

Film Abuse
We’ve all done some crazy things to make film do what we want. From extreme pushes and pulls, cross-processing, and odd developing methods. But sometimes you just have to do what you need to get the results you want. Or just because you want to see if you can! Not to mention tales from the deep jungle and hockey arenas across the country there are plenty of ways that you can abuse film and make it give you the results you want!

Country CharmAlex’s favourite, the Panatomic-X trick,
take TMax 100, expose at 32 and soup in Rodinal or Xtol


Kodak TMax 400 pushed rather far and souped in Diafine

Polypan @ 1600Who says you can’t take a 50-speed film up to 1600, Mike sure can with Polypan F

Night AlleyAnd you can’t deny that Tri-X you can do pretty much anything you want with it and it’ll spit out great results

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). Out West there’s The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), buyfilm.ca (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival or even Twitter @ccamerarevival

CCR Review 78 – Mamiya m645

CCR Review 78 – Mamiya m645

There are many cameras out there that hold iconic status, others that carry a cult status, however, when it comes to the Mamiya m645 the camera holds neither but remains an essential camera to many a wedding photography. The m645 is a workhorse, designed to take a beating and keep on getting photos, and there’s a strong chance that if you got married when medium format was king of the wedding market, or you’re of a certain age where school photos were still taken on film the m645 was the camera in the hand of the photographer. And while the m645 has evolved and changed over time many originals are even shooting strong.

CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645
The Dirt
Make: Mamiya
Model: m645
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6×4.5
Lens: Interchangeable, Mamiya m645 mount
Year of Manufacture: 1975

CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645

The Good
As a camera, the m645 is compact robust and easily operated in any situation. Without a grip, the camera can be carried in almost any camera bag without too much trouble. A side grip or motor drive will make it wider but doesn’t do much to add any weight. The controls are well laid out and are easy to operate with either an eye-level (ELF) or waist-level (WLF) finder. As a bonus, if you are using a WLF a secondary shutter release on the top of the body makes it easy to release the shutter. Even without a grip using an ELF the controls are easy to find and operate, but adding a grip (such as the Deluxe L-Grip) does make life a touch easier. The optical quality of the glass is decent, it’s no Carl Zeiss, but they aren’t too bad, the 35mm ultra-wide is soft at the corners, but the 150mm and 45mm are excellent lenses to get. However, the crown jewel is the 80mm f/1.9 a lens that is fairly magic. As for the cost of getting into the m645 system, it’s fairly inexpensive as there are plenty in good working order, but the best part is the cost of the lenses most of the optics are decently priced most under 100 dollars, of course, the 80 f/1.9 does carry a higher price tag as does the WLF accessory. The best part about the camera, however, is how easily it operates in the winter, I can easily shoot and operate the controls even with gloves on. Which, as someone who lives in Canada, is a big deal, even the electronic nature of the camera doesn’t seem affected by the deep freeze we’re currently under.

CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645

The Bad
The big issue with the camera is age, the m645 is from the mid-1970s and is electronic. While you may never have an issue, if something does go wrong, finding someone to repair them could be difficult, and it does use a non-standard battery to power everything. If you’re on an extended trip, you might need to carry a spare and be sure to get the silver-oxide version of the battery as it lasts just that big longer though alkaline does work. The second biggest issue with the camera is the lack of a leaf shutter, though it may have helped keep the price of the lenses down having a fixed shutter speed of 1/60 for flash sync would be a hindrance for operating the camera with strobes. The biggest issue in my case is two-fold, the first is the lack of hot-swappable film backs, like the Pentax 645, the m645 uses a film insert. As a result, you cannot switch part way through which could be a problem for wedding photographers, and the second is that because of this you only get 15 shots per roll of 120. Both these issues were resolved in the next version of the camera.

CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645

The Lowdown
The m645 is a polarising camera among photographers there are those who love them, and there are those who hate them. You’ll find both in many photography groups on Facebook. Because if a person is looking for an inexpensive way to get into Medium Format, many out there will roll out the parade for the m645 and immediately get flamed by those who dislike the format. I am neither of these, taking a firm middle-of-the-road grasp rather on the camera. If you have a chance to get an m645 go for it, but be warned, like that old Police Interceptor Crown Victoria the camera like the car probably saw heavy using in a previous life. I would not blindly go into purchasing the camera through eBay; you certainly want to have it looked over first and ensure it works especially the lens. The 80mm f/2.8 does have issues with oil on the blades and the aperture spring, at least you can get a new one for a low cost. Another note on the optics, stick to the newer lenses, those marked with N. I do have a good recommendation for the m645; it is a solid, inexpensive, decent quality camera to explore the world of medium format, just be a little cautious and make sure there are no major issues before you pay.

All Photos Taken in Belfountain, Ontario
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Bergger Pancro 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 9:00 @ 20C

A Winter’s Walk

A Winter’s Walk

What do you do when you have a morning to kill and your clients cancelled their Christmas photoshoot? Why you gather up your fellow podcast hosts and hit the streets!

CCR - Hosts Only WalkCCR - Hosts Only Walk

It’s always fun to hit the streets to test out a new camera and lens combo like the Mamiya m645 plus the stupidly wide 35mm lens. The quick morning walk was exactly what I needed to clear my head and hang out with my awesome co-hosts, John, James, Mike, Donna, and Bill. And despite having shot through the old section of Oakville many times, it’s always good to make a return to see if your eye catches anything new.

CCR - Hosts Only WalkCCR - Hosts Only Walk

I also had the chance to hit up two local spots, Tribeca Coffee and the new location of Bru. Both of which are well worth the visit. Good Coffee, Good Food, Good Friends, you can’t ask for anything better to kick off the Christmas holiday season.

CCR - Hosts Only WalkCCR - Hosts Only Walk

Be sure to check out Bill’s photos from the walk as well! He got to test out his newly repaired Rokkor 58mm f/1.5 lens!

Technical Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiyia-Sekor C 35mm 1:3.5 N – Kodak Tri-X Pan @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 47 – Mamiya Universal

CCR Review 47 – Mamiya Universal

To say the Mamiya Universal is clunky and hard to use is an understatement. But it is not completely un-useable, you just need to find the flow of the camera. The Universal isn’t a bad camera, underrated, hard to use yes, but a good camera. The whole Mamiya Press/Universal/Polaroid 600SE had one thing in mind, replace the large format press cameras with roll film. The trouble with them is that they took too much out of the large format handbook than the roll film handbook. Special thanks to John Meadows for loaning out this camera for this review!

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal

The Dirt
Make: Mamiya
Model: Universal
Type: Rangefinder
Format: Multi-Format, back dependant
Lens: Interchangeable, Mamiya Press Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1969

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal

The Good
The best part about the camera is that it is a true modular system, like the 35mm system SLRs, the Universal can be completely customized to suit whatever you need it to do. You have plenty of options for the film medium 120/220 (in the same back to boot) in all the major exposure sizes for medium format film (6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, and 6×9). You can also mount a 2×3 sheet film back and a ground glass screen for focusing or a Type 100 Polaroid film back. For this test I shot with a 6×9 back, I feel that the camera would operate much better with a 6×7 back as it gave the photographer the same aspect ratio of 4×5 through a smaller negative size it brings the camera back to its roots of being a press camera. The Universal is also backed by a solid line of optics, after shooting with Mamiya-Sekor glass when I reviewed the RB67 I found the optics to be sharp and spot on. And the camera is a lot more portable than the average 4×5 press camera and the grip on the side helps with a trigger to fire off the shutter.

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal

The Bad
The one major issue that I alluded to in the introduction was the overall design of the camera. It’s as if Mamiya wanted to attract large format press camera users with a smaller form factor camera that offers all the steps of a 4×5 in a roll film camera. Personally, if I had the choice, I’d just throw a roll film back on my Crown Graphic and not look back. Let’s break it down; the Univeral is much more like a 4×5 camera than a roll film camera for the following reasons. There’s no dark slide interlock; you can shoot a whole roll of film and have nothing on your film because you can still trigger the shutter even with the dark slide in the film back. Advancing the film you have to disengage a safety catch, pull the film advance slightly release the catch and advance away (2-3 pulls), if you keep the catch disengaged, you will advance too far. Advancing the film also does not cock the shutter you have to do that in a separate step. Composing your images is difficult, now I’ve used plenty of rangefinders before but in this case, Mamiya could easily put the rangefinder/viewfinder closer along the sight line of the lens and run with it that way. And finally, you really need a steady hand with this camera, even shooting at 1/60″ I got noticeable camera shake even at 1/125″ you have to treat it like a sniper rifle, exhale and pull the release.

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal

The Lowdown
Mamiya had the chance to design a great camera, the Universal and Press models could have been a major player in the press camera market, but they got too much of the design wrong. Instead of making it easier to operate so that press photographers can pull off more images, they pandered to the large format market making the camera more familiar. If I want to shoot 4×5, I’ll grab my Crown Graphic and enjoy the long process of composing, exposing and setting up the shot. If I’m shooting roll film, I want a little more speed. I don’t know yet, but maybe the Koni-Omega will be a better camera (once I get mine fixed).

All Photos Taken at Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, Ontario
Mamiya Universal – Mamiya-Sekor 1:4.5 f=127mm – Fuji Acros 100 @ ASA-100 – FA-1027 (1+14) 9:30 @ 20C