Mamiya 7 35mm Review (No 35mm adapter required!)

Mamiya 7 35mm Review (No 35mm adapter required!)

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!)
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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
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Mamiya 7 35mm film
Mamiya 7 210mm f8 lens
Mamiya 7 35mm
Mamiya 7 35mm Panoramic
Mamiya 210mm lens
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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. If you 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!)

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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.

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

Author: matthewosbornephotography

Coventry, UK studio based Model and Wedding Photographer offering both Medium Format Film and Digital Images. 1-2-1 Photography and Lighting Tuition also available.

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

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

      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. 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 – https://www.patreon.com/mrleicacom 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!

  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.

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