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The Mamiya 6

by Tanner Robinson.

If you like rangefinder cameras, listen up. If you don’t, you should, because you don’t want to miss out on this camera. I’m not talking about a Leica… I’m talking about the handsome Mamiya 6

Making its debut in 1989, the Mamiya 6 is a beautiful 6 x 6 medium format rangefinder. It can shoot both 120 and 220 film and has three different options when it comes to lenses: 50mm f/4, 75mm f/3.5, and a 150mm. Good luck choosing which one is best, because they are all sharp as a tack.

Since I began shooting film, the Mamiya 6 has been on my radar. Recently I had the opportunity to use one and took it out for a spin.

The first thing I noticed about the Mamiya 6 is that it is simply a comfortable camera. Everything is in its right place. Seeing as this camera is over 30-years-old, I’ll be the first to tell you that its age does not show. This work of art looks and feels like it could’ve been made yesterday. It functions just as well.

This mighty camera doesn’t really let you mess up. Powered by two tiny SR 44 batteries, the internal light meter is spot on and will encourage the user to adjust shutter speed if needed. There are also indicators in the viewfinder that let you know if the curtain is up or if the lens is not extended, and it won’t even let you take a photo if anything isn’t in place. With one exception…the lens cap. Luckily, I only burned one exposure by leaving my lens cap on #rangefinderproblems.

The Mamiya I was using was adorned with the 50mm f/4. I LOVED it. The viewfinder feels as big as a large screen TV and as clear as crystal. The bright viewfinder and clear frame lines make composing your image incredibly easy.

I am used to shooting medium format with a Mamiya RB 67, which, compared to the Mamiya 6 is an absolute tank. The Mamiya 6 is just the perfect size. Being able to shoot a 6 x 6 negative on a camera nearly the same size as a modern DSLR doesn’t seem possible, but it is, it really is.

This characteristic alone makes it a perfect candidate for travelling or hiking, or really anywhere you don’t want to lug around a huge camera whilst not sacrificing image quality.

Loading the film is a breeze especially if you are used to loading film into a 35mm SLR. User-friendly indicators make it nearly impossible to mess up.

I have zero complaints about the Mamiya 6, it’s easy to use, compact, a beautiful camera, produces incredibly sharp images, and it is medium format. What more could you ask for? If you find yourself with an extra pocket full of cash then I would highly recommend finding one of these…you won’t be disappointed.


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