Mamiya 645 Super – First Thoughts
Medium Format Film Camera – Matthew Osborne Photography
I recently bought myself a Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera. When I wrote the last post “Contax 645 vs Mamiya 645” (link below) the camera had not yet arrived. Now I have had chance to run a roll of film through it what do I think?
My first observation is the 645 format is in horizontal orientation in the camera rather than vertical. As a portrait photographer I tend to shoot in the portrait orientation. For anyone used to a digital camera such as a DSLR you might think so what? Well I bought this particular camera as I wanted a waist level viewfinder (“WLF”). To focus you look down at the top of the camera and it will show a horizontal image on the glass. To take a portrait photo I have to hold the camera on it’s side and it is not quite as easy to compose when working quickly. You don’t have this problem with say my Rolleiflex SL66E or a Hasselblad as they are 6×6 format. I don’t have the issue with the Mamiya RZ67 either as it has a rotating film back. That said the WLF makes the camera smaller and lighter than with a prism view finder so I am happy to compromise.
The modular design of the Mamiya 645 Super means I can remove and replace the film back. For wedding photography it is good practice to have multiple film backs, for both speed and efficiency but also so you can load perhaps one film back with colour film and one with black and white. For that reason I bought myself a spare 120 film back.
The Mamiya 645 Super comes with a Mamiya Sekor 80mm f2.8 lens as standard. It is small and lightweight but the reason I bought the camera was to make use of the fast Mamiya Sekor C 80mm f1.9 lens. I have this lens as it came on my Mamiya 645 1000S (link below) so the first task was to transfer it onto the M645 Super camera.
I bought the camera to use for analogue wedding photography as I can get 15 photos per roll and the 80mm f1.9 lens lets me photograph in low light conditions. I now plan to use it alongside my Leica M3s and other cameras for film photography weddings.
My first chance to use the Mamiya 645 Super was in my Coventry studio for model photography with friend and model Roisin. Above is an iPhone photo of my first 645 Mamiya negatives drip drying above the bath. Below are a few samples of the resulting photos once the negatives had been scanned.
- Mamiya 645 vs Contact 645 – https://mrleica.com/2014/12/14/contax-645-vs-mamiya-645/
- Mamiya 645 1000S – https://mrleica.com/2014/10/28/mamiya-645-1000s/