Medium-Format Photography Using
a Mamiya 645 Camera
Founded in May 1940, Mamiya first produced the Mamiya-6,
a square-format folding camera for medium-format 120 roll-film.
In 1948, they introduced a flash-synchronized twin-lens reflex for
the same format, called Mamiyaflex.
Their first rangefinder 35 mm camera was the
Mamiya 35-I (1949).
In 1975, Mamiya introduced the 645 format with their
series of manual all-metal cameras, whose best variant
was the M645-1000S (1976).
The Mamiya 645 Super was a major upgrade released in 1985, with great looks
and a modular design allowing film-backs to be swapped mid-roll.
(2015-06-23) Mamiya 645 1000S vintage system:
I bought the basic outfit on eBay for $467, on June 23, 2015.
The seller (Allen P. Boston) had enjoyed for 10 years
what he described as "probably the most complete outfit that you'll find",
with lenses in excellent condition:
The camera body w/neck strap.
AE Prism Finder.
Left-hand pistol grip.
4 film inserts (one 220) w/cases.
3 rolls B&W 120 film.
Auto extender ring (for close-ups).
Close-up lens set, +1,2,4, w/case.
Dedicated TTL flash unit (Albinar).
Rubber lens hood.
Lens, 80mm Sekor C, f 2.8, caps.
Lens, 55mm Sekor C, f 2.8, caps.
Lens, 210mm Sekor C, f 4, caps.
Kenko 2X Teleconverter Lens , w/case, caps.
58mm Cokin filter holder w/polarizing filter.
58mm filters in pocketed cases
(UV, Yellow, Blue, Orange, Red, Green, 81B).
Carrying case for all the above.
Initially, I wasn't really serious about buying this system, after procuring a
brand new digital system just a few weeks earlier.
Nevertheless, I put a $100 bid which wasn't matched by anybody.
Understandably, the seller wasn't pleased and put his system on the block again.
I then made a low offer ($240) which was declined,
with the explanation that this really was a system in top shape.
I thought about it for a few days and decided that I should try to
acquire it by making a serious offer ($467)
which would be final, win or lose
(as I now understand, eBay wouldn't have allowed another offer beyond
that point anyway).
The seller came back with a "counteroffer" for the same price which I accepted,
knowing that he had just discovered that the self-timer wasn't working properly.
With shipping costs, I paid $488.25.
To compensate for the lack of a self-timer, temporarily or not, I procured
immediately a good old-fashioned cable release.
Thus, my entry ticket into the world of high-quality medium format was just a little bit over $500.
(2015-06-24) Mamiya-Sekor C Lenses
Interchangeable lenses for the Mamiya M645 and compatible cameras.
Stolen:Mamiya-Sekor C 110mm f/2.8 Serial No. 19351 The first lens discussed below was apparently stolen from me upon delivery, on July 6, 2015.
If you spot it on eBay or elsewhere, please help!
To fill the gap between the normal 80 mm and the
210 mm, I procured a recent copy of the Mamiya-Sekor C 110 mm f/2.8
at auction on eBay.
Wide-angle lenses are typically much more expensive, even if they are flawed.
Having gone this far, I went over the top and spent the rest of my limited budget on a flawless
35 mm ultra-wide from the UK, at 6 am the next day
(2015-07-03) completing a balanced collection
of five of the original 12 lenses in the original Mamiya lineup, as highlighted below:
61.5 / 80
78 / 80
71 / 70
70mm f/2.8 shutter
50 / 76
59 / 75.5
47 / 70
80mm f/4 macro
75 / 79
60 / 70
90.5 / 70
137 / 70
164 / 70
358 / 114
I found the 110 mm f/2.8 particularly attractive for a variety of reasons:
It has the same filter size (58 mm) as the other lenses in my new kit.
This short portrait lens can be used for
headshots or full-body shots.
It's essentially the widest possible portrait lens with 58 mm filters.
With 5 elements in 5 groups, it forgoes cemented lenses
Almost same focal length as the Brownie, which launched 120-film.
This last point makes a 645 frame match the central part
of a Brownie shot, including subtle issues regarding depth of field
(645 is to Brownie what Nikon DX is to FX).
I'm looking forward to a side-by-side comparison.
The Mamiya M645 uses one 6.2V silver-oxide battery
0.99'' in height (25.2 mm)
and 0.51'' in diameter (13.0 mm)
which is variously identified as 4SR44, S28PX, PX28, 4G13 or 544.
Mamiya once quoted the following outdated compatibility list:
Eveready or UCAR 544.
Mallory PX28 or equivalent.
Alkaline battery 4LR44 (in a pinch).
There are now three mercury-free types of the former PX28 batteries:
PX28A : Alkaline battery (6.2V) = 4LR44 (stack of four LR44).
Alkaline batteries can be more readily available than the other two types but they're not as good.
Lithium batteries have the longest shelf life, which makes them ideal
for cameras which can sit idle for many months.
Otherwise, the flat discharge curve of silver-oxide batteries makes
them the best power source for the light-meters of vintage cameras
(as suggested by the engraving on the battery compartment of the M645).
Formerly (before 2004) all silver-oxide batteries contained up to 0.2% mercury
incorporated into the zinc anode (to inhibit corrosion).
This represented a hazard when they started leaking or were improperly disposed of.
That practice is now abandoned.
The shelf-life of a mercury-free silver-oxide battery is about five years.
It seems the Camelion 4SR44 (145 mAh, $5.50)
can't be ordered anymore. Dealers mail out the 4LR44 substitute without even a word of apology.
Here are a few sources for proper silver-oxide batteries:
Black Diamond ($1.46).
Made in China, undated (probably 2012).