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M645J Medium Format Camera


Mamiya

Categories: Reviews: Equipment : Cameras : Other Film Cameras : Medium Format

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5 Reviews  

Average Rating: 4 out of 5

4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/25/2006
4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Mamiya M645j is a great entry level camera into the world of medium format photography. This camera was first produced in 1975 as an affordable system for those who did not want to pay the price of a Hasselblad. It is also considerably smaller and lighter than its high end cousins. There are limitations to this system that we will get to later.

The camera body has a three lug bayonet lens mounting chassis that accepts Sekor C lenses which range from 45mm to over 200mm in length, including a wide variety such as shift lenses for architecture, leaf shutter lenses, and so on. The shutter is depressed by a button down and to the right of the lens mount on the same front face of the body and also features an exposure safety lock mechanism preventing accidental firing of the shutter, which I am sorry to say is easy to do. The shutter button has the standard remote cable screw mount for cable release. However air bulb releases with the larger fittings do not fit with the wider lenses (45,55mm etc.). The thinner cable release fittings fit along side the wide lenses with ease. Normal to telephoto lenses, no problem.

Moving right around the camera, the shutter speed dial has settings from 1 second to 1/500 of a second and 'B'/bulb for timed exposures. X-sync speed is 1/60th of a second. And there is a vivitar style sync plug for flash synchronization when not employing a hot shoe.

The back of the camera opens to receive film chargers and uses 120 and 220 sized roll film. There is also a place to put notes or the film box end to keep track of the film you are using.

Further on, the film is advanced by a film winder crank that is located opposite the shutter speed dial. The exposure counter is also located on this side of the camera. 'S' is the position of the counter when a fresh film charger is inserted and as the photographer winds on the counter moves up to '1'for the first exposure. A roll of 120 roll film will render 15 exposures and a roll of 220 film will render 30 (220 roll film is basically 120 roll film without the paper backing which allows more film to fit onto the spool.) This camera also has a multiple exposure switch on the same side as the winder and the photographer can easily change between modes.

The bottom of the camera has a standard 1/4'x20 thread tripod mount and to very small cylindrical notches to either side that is typical of Mamiya MF cameras of the time and with Mamiya tripod adapters these notches aid in camera stability by further anchoring the camera to the tripod when inclining the camera to the side.

The top of the camera body has the viewing screen of which there are about five different focusing models available. There is also the battery test button. Press the button on the right and the green light lights up on the left to indicate battery power. Many different types of viewrs can be attached to this camera. Waist level finders. Standard prisms. Metering prisms. Hot shoe mounts. You name it, it can be found.

This cameras shortcomings are few but it does have them. You cannot change film backs in the middle of a roll as the film is mounted onto film chargers that actually fit inside the camera for light tight conditions. It does not have a mirror lock up feature. But the affordability and mobility of this camera far outweigh its perceived faults.

2/15/2008 10:08:07 AM
 
Jeff Hansen

member since: 1/2/2005
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Truly an awesome camera. Only limitation is it is a film camera. The quality of prints or slides is remarkable, as well as the variety of lenses available for it.
11/22/2005 7:43:51 AM
 
Norman Fortin

member since: 1/1/2004
4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4 out of 5
I have been using this camera off and on for the past few months since I got it used. I have shot about 30 rolls so far. Without the optional power drive handle or "L" handle installed ,I found it a little bulky and hard to handle, especially with a flash attached. Pictures come out fantastic. Much easier to examine to find out where you need improvement, such as in focusing, or in minor exposure adjustments. This camera does use both 120 and 220 film, but a seperate film cartridge must be used for each. The lock ring for the shutter release is difficult to turn if you have big fingers, and even more so with the optional handles attached. Overall, I find that this camera is a great medium format camera for breaking into medium format.
7/24/2004 12:12:04 AM
 
Karla A. Stansfield

member since: 6/13/2004
4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4 out of 5
This is a great camera. Offer great quality. A bit too heavy for candid and snapshots. I prefer a 35mm for that!
6/13/2004 2:09:12 PM
 
Terry L. Long

member since: 2/12/2004
3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Likes: Size of format; Fully manual; Relatively inexpensive to other cameras of same format; Availability of accessories. Dislikes: No film magazines. If someone would've explained the process of changing film and the unavailability of film magazines I might have opted for a camera with magazine backs.
1/12/2004 6:30:54 AM
 

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