Mamiya 7 35mm Review (No 35mm adapter required + with adapter) + YouTube Review

After enjoying shooting 35mm film in my Mamiya 7 (6×7 medium format camera) I thought I’d put a brief Mamiya 7 35mm review together with some sample images.

Mamiya 7 35mm film

Mamiya 7 35mm adapter kit

Firstly it is good to know that you don’t actually need to spend additional money on a Mamiya 7 35mm adapter kit. Yes the Mamiya 7 adapter helps for composition but there are cheaper options.

35mm to 120 film adapter (cheap version)

The cheaper way to shoot 35mm film in a medium format camera (like the Mamiya 7) is to use a 3D printed 35mm to 120 film adapter. They can usually be found cheap on eBay and will fit most medium format cameras.

Mamiya 7 panoramic photos

When I first got the Mamiya 7 camera I didn’t fall in love with it. A year or so later I decided to load the camera with 35mm film for fun and I really enjoyed the process. I often struggle with the “wasted space” in many of my 6×7 Mamiya images (*I usually prefer 6×6 vs 6×7 format) . The Mamiya 7 panoramic photos seem to let me capture just the good bits!

Mamiya 7 210mm Photo (Testing!)

Hasselblad XPan vs Mamiya 7 35mm

The obvious question would be why shoot Mamiya 7 35mm photos when you can just buy a camera built for the job, the Hasselblad XPan! I’m lucky enough to have a Hasselblad Xpan but I’m still enjoying using the Mamiya 7 instead, even with just the basic 35mm to 120 adapter and no Mamiya 7 35mm mask.

Advantages of the XPan vs Mamiya 7

For the cheap 35mm to 12o film spool setup that I use in the Mamiya 7, the Hasselblad XPan offers a few advantages.

  • XPan – 21 photos / Mamiya 7 – 15-16* photos (per 36 exp roll film)
  • Xpan & lenses – small compact setup / Mamiya 7 & lenses – bigger
  • XPan – Panoramic or standard 35mm / Mamiya 7 – 35mm pano only
  • XPan – Accurate 35mm frameline composition / Mamiya 7 – less accurate
  • XPan – Can load/unload film easily & quickly / Mamiya 7 – slow to load film and requires a dark bag (changing bag) to unload film

Advantages of the Mamiya 7 vs XPan

  • Mamiya 7 lenses – 43,50,65,80,150,210mm / Xpan – 30,45,90mm
  • Mamiya 7 – offers 6×7 + 35mm panoramic / Xpan – 35mm only

Mamiya 7 35mm panoramic photos

I’ve not been using the Mamiya 7 35mm set up long enough to include masses of example images of pretty models but here are some of my panoramic test photos so far. (I will add more example images as I take them).

Vertical Mamiya 7 pano portrait cropped down –
Mamiya 7 35mm Portrait
Standard horizontal format Mamiya 7 panoramic images –
Mamiya 7 65mm Portrait
Mamiya 7 35mm Review
Mamiya 210mm f8 Pano
Mamiya 7 35mm film
Mamiya 7 210mm f8 lens
Mamiya 7 35mm
Mamiya 7 35mm Panoramic
Mamiya 210mm lens

35mm film in other MF cameras

Prior to shooting 35mm film in a Mamiya 7 camera I had experimented with 35mm film in other medium format cameras. Using the same 35mm to 120 film adapter here is 35mm film examples from a 645 film camera and a 6×6-6×7 camera.

Fuji GA645 35mm photos
Fuji GA645 + Vision3!
Sprocket Holes
Fuji GA645 Pro - Test
Fuji GF670 35mm photos
Medium Format Camera + 35mm Film
Fuji GF670 + 35mm BW400CN
6x7 Format 35mm Film

Mamiya 7 35mm Summary

If you already have the Mamiya 7 camera and you fancy doing some panoramic images then the Mamiya 7 35mm adapter might appeal to you. For those of you that are not expecting to use this set up a lot buying a simple 35mm to 120 film adapter will let you get the same results, just with a bit more faff. If you already own a Hasselblad XPan it is probably easier to just use the XPan. With the cost of fresh film continuing to increase, getting 21 photos per roll of 36 exp vs. 15-16* photo with the Mamiya 7 could be a deal breaker. Especially if you plan to shoot say Fuji slide film where the cost is now getting almost too much to consider. I will continue to enjoy shooting Mamiya 7 35mm photos for now until the novelty wears off. (If!)


Mamiya 7 hack! (35mm film)

I’m a simple guy and like the common sense approach to most scenarios. The problem I was faced with was the Mamiya 7 camera only gave me 15-16 photos per roll of 35mm film. The 5-6 wasted frames are just those used to equate to the same length of backing paper found on 120 film. To recap on 120 film, the start of the film roll is only backing paper then as you wind on the film the camera senses when the actual film starts (rolled within the backing paper). So for 35mm film even though all the film in a roll is useable the first section is wasted as equivalent backing paper length. Hopefully you can follow that!

DIY film hack

So if you tape a length of additional/ old 35mm film to the start of each new roll of film this section of film is used as the backing paper length. All the new unexposed film can then be used for photos which should give 22 photos per roll! 1 more than the Xpan! To discover the length of additional film needed I tore off the backing paper where the film started on a few rolls of B&W 120 film.

Did the Mamiya 7 hack work?

Yes but not fully. I managed to get 18-19 photo per roll when using my DIY film hack but not 22. The camera still wastes the first section of film even with extra film added to the end, just less of it. The good thing is the DIY film leader can be reused each time if you just tape it to the new film each time. I have used the same DIY film leader 3-4 times so far without issue.


Update! I bought the Mamiya 7 135 adapter kit

After planning a photo trip and wanting to be able to rewind the film in camera in daylight. To do that I needed the proper adapter with rewind mechanism. I kept checking eBay and managed to find myself an official Mamiya 7 135 adapter kit. It is well designed and works well. (See example photos below using adapter).

Mamiya 7 35mm adapter – eBay prices

These adapters are not that easy to find outside of Japan but if you keep your eyes open you can sometimes pick them up in Europe (which works for me). You can check the latest eBay prices / listings here –

35mm Panoramic adapter for Mamiya 7 – photos

The following photos were taken with the proper Mamiya 7 135 adapter kit and the Mamiya 7 50mm lens. The photos probably look better than those shared above in part due to less developing marks. (*The marks on the first set off images are due to developing and no the adapter).

Mamiya 7 35mm Pano Adapter
Mamiya 7 35mm adapter
Mamiya 7 35mm film Pano
Mamiya 7 35mm Panoramic
Mamiya 7 35mm adapter

..Or just shoot 6×7 with 120 film and crop after!

Another simple option if you want to shoot panoramic images with a 6×7 camera is to just crop your 6×7 negative! This is cheaper than buying a 35mm film adapter if you only plan to create occasional Xpan style crops. One “issue” I found is it gave me too much freedom! See example below – original photo and two different crop “ideas/ attempts”. I quite like all of them!

Mamiya 7 50mm Landscape
Mamiya 7 Crop

35mm film vs 120 film

To conclude, one further benefit of loading 35mm film is it gives access to a much broader range of film stocks. Many 35mm films are not made in 120 format, sadly. Also some of the cheapest films are 35mm format for those wanting to shoot panos on a budget.

YouTube: Mamiya 7 35mm adapter & 35mm to 120 adapter

YouTube: Mamiya 7 vs Leica M6 vs Mamiya RZ67

Related film blog posts

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!

  • My portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • My portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

20 thoughts on “Mamiya 7 35mm Review (No 35mm adapter required!)”

  1. Hi Matt, I’m not sure if you will reply this, but I really wanted to ask this question as I am debating if I should invest in the original panoramic adapter. Do you have to rewind the film in a dark room with a 3D printed adapter? As far as I know, the 3D printed adapter only fits in the camera but would NOT rewind (\unless I’m wrong). In addition, there is another problem. I have shot a roll of 35mm film in Mamiya 7 with the 3D printed adapter, but whenever I advanced the lever, the new shot wouldn’t “register”. In other words, the number in the exposure counter may or may not advance as I advanced the film, depending on the angle at which I held the camera. As a result, I only shot 5 photos in a roll of 35mm film (and I had to rewind in the dark because using a coin wouldn’t work).

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      HI Thomas, apologies for the slow reply. Yes using a DIY setup like I use or you by the sound of it has the problem where (1) you have to unload in the darkroom (changing bag), 2 it wastes a lot of film. As you say it skips past frames giving a small number of photos per roll. I’ve not used the setup for a while so I can’t remember exactly but for a few rolls I definitely had a lot of film wasted. The other option to the adpter is an Xpan but they are not cheap! I’m almost scared to break mine now! 🙂 The adapter might be the only option if you plan to shoot pano a lot. Matt

      1. Thanks for the reply and for confirming my thoughts, Matt! I am going to get an adapter soon. The OEM adapter comes with take up spool that pushes the film firmly against the axel, so the exposure counter will always advance –> no film wasted! The cassette holder can also be rotated by a coin from the bottom of the camera, so I won’t have to rewind in the dark. It’s not a cheap thing to buy nowadays but I feel it will be worthy.

      2. matthewosbornephotography

        No problem. Yes it will be a great addition if you like your panos!

      3. Hi I have used the 3D printed adapter on my Mamiya 7II and had many similar challenges:
        1. The film needs to be rewound in the darkroom. I can live with that – can do it at night in the bathroom for example.
        2. The film is not completely flat, nor is it quite centered. I do notice a bit of warping on one side of the image and the shots on the film are lsightly off compared to the framing in the viewfinder.
        3. The camera does not register every time the film advances. The first test roll only yielded 4 shots! I do have a hack with the Mamiya 7II body though. Whenever the shutter does not work after advancing the film, I simply switch on the multi-exposure lever and wind again. That way I managed to get 10ish shots on the second test roll.
        4. Now comes the most challenging issue. The space between the frames increases as the film advances. The gap becomes larger and larger as the film on the take-up spool gets fatter and fatter. Eventually the empty space is as wide as about 11 perforations. That’s a huge waste considering how darn expensive films are nowadays.
        Overall it is fun to shoot panoramic photos and I love the format. However it seems the original 135 adapter is the way to go if I will shoot a lot of 35mm on the Mamiya.

    2. matthewosbornephotography

      Thomas I too later bought a pano adapter. I will put something together for YouTube once I have more example photos 🙂

      1. Oh sounds awesome! The adapter from either Mamiya 6 or 7 should work fine. Hope you will like it! However, some folks mentioned that, without the film mask, 35mm film may not be entirely flat. Though, I haven’t noticed any of the issue. Do you have any idea on how to test this out?

      2. matthewosbornephotography

        Thanks.. yes I would say look across an images and subjects the same distance from the camera should be in focus / not in focus. I was going to do this device as my gear of the week video on Patreon soon – if you are interested. (Yes basically what they say might be true as one photo of mine I looked at seemed to be out of focus with a 50mm at f11 where I would have expected it to be in focus… It wasn’t too bad but it may be true especially when using shallow DOF. To test it shoot maybe a wall with lines on a tripod and then check if even focus across image and if lines are parallel.

      3. Yes I agree. Given the nature of panoramic format and my 80mm lens, I had to place subjects very far anyways. So far I haven’t noticed anything that’s obviously out of focus. Will do a test shoot as you suggested! Thanks for the advice!

    3. Hi Thomas, your message here is interesting to me because I am experiencing something similar right now – I have a Mamiya 6 MF, and I’m trying to load 35mm film using a cheap 3D-printed 35->120 adapter. The film counter is not engaging because I think there is not enough pressure on the film against the roller. Did you come across any cheap way to solve this issue without having to buy the expensive Mamiya kit? Thanks!

      1. matthewosbornephotography

        Hi Colin, just my 2p worth. With the 7 the camera wasted the first section of film thinking film wasn’t loaded/ thinking it was 120 backing paper. I did it with my Fuji GF670 but not sure I ever tried with Mamiya 6. Either way it’ll cost too much in wasted film I think so you end up buying the adapter as I did.

      2. Hi Colin, there is no cheap way to obtain the same results. Pressing the 135 film against the roller tightly is the key in making sure the counter advances. The kit is specifically made for that, and it fits perfectly inside the tiny space between the take-up spool and the roller.

    4. Hi Thomas, I have tried a 3D printed adapter on my Mamiya 7 II and ran into many similar challenges.
      1. Rewind the film in the dark. This is totally acceptable for me as I can rewind the film at night in the bathroom
      2. Center the film. The cheap adapters when mounted have quite a bit of play, hence the film is not centered and even at a slight angle. So the actural framing in the viewfinder does not truly reflect the final image. I guess this is fine too.
      3. Flatten the film. I do notice a bit of warping on one side of the film, pretty much on every single shot, but on a low to medium resolution scan it seems quite okay.
      4. Register each wind. My first roll of film with the cheap adapters only yielded 4 shots! I do have a simple hack with the Mamiya 7II. Now whenever the shutter does not fire after winding the film, I simply switch the multi-exposure lever and wind again. The shutter usually works that way. I managed to get 10 shots on the second roll.
      5. Now here is the most annoying issue! The space between frames are so inconsistent. It goes larger and larger after each shot as the film on the take-up spool gets fatter and fatter. I end up having a gap bigger than a normal 35mm shot! about the width of 10 or 11 perforations.
      The last issue really made me hesitant to shoot with the cheap adapters, as films these days are so darn expensive. It’s a shame to be so wasteful. Overall it is fun to shoot panoramic though. I have been loving the proportion.

  2. Is it possible to get panoramics with the GF670? I’ve tried to no avail. It keeps overlapping images, which makes me think that camera uses the mass of the 120 width to determine image spacing. I find that odd because I can pull panoramics with the Pentax 67 easily.

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Hi, sadly the camera is too smart so often recognised the extra film so it still wasn’t perfect. It was a while ago but at least 20cm , whatever I wrote in the post, if i did (measure the packing paper on 120 film before the 120 film starts. That’s how I did it).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: