5 frames with...

5 Frames with the Mamiya M645 1000s and Mamiya-Sekor C 55mm f/2.8 – By Wyatt Ryan

My dive into medium format film was hard and fast. Less than two months after I started shooting film again, and after buying a Leica M3, I found this beauty of a Mamiya M645 set up on eBay. It originally came with the 80mm f/2.8 but I wanted to go a little wider. The 55 f/2.8 offers a full frame equivalent of about 36mm. This lens has barely left the camera, and allows me to hand hold most shots at 1/60th of a second with ease.

The lens itself is small and decently light for being mostly metal and glass, where as the body weighs at least two and a half pounds with the metered prism attached. It’s a honker, that’s for sure. The body is solidly built, the mirror is massive and claps loudly when either of the shutters is pressed. The 1000s has a mirror up lever (highly suggested for slower speeds) and a multi-exposure opposite of the mirror up. I haven’t experimented with how many exposures are possible, but I imagine it could go on endlessly if necessary. Shutter speeds range from 1/1000th of a second to 8 seconds. The multi-exposure lever could be utilized for astrophotography if need be. It’s not my favorite camera to lug around, but it certainly gets used the most.

It produces 15 images when 120 film is used, 30 with 220. Each negative is 56mm by 42mm, so not quite 6×4.5. Since the shutter button located on the front of the body is rather touchy, I would highly recommend locking it after each carefully curated shot. Film in general slows you down, but medium format does so even more.

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Here’s to making those 15 shots count.

Velvia 50 – Lanesboro, MN

Ektar 100 – Badlands National Park

Velvia 50 – Lanesboro, MN

Ektar 100 – Badlands National Park

Velvia 50 – Lanesboro, MN

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21 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Isa Maidan
    December 20, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Fantastic photos that have that amazing medium format look.

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      Reply
      Wryan214
      December 20, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      I really appreciate that, so thank you!

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        Reply
        Isa Maidan
        December 20, 2018 at 4:15 pm

        No problem at all. Can I ask, do you scan at home or get a lab to do it?

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          Reply
          Wryan214
          December 20, 2018 at 4:22 pm

          All of these shots were scanned by a lab, I believe North Coast Photo in California. I have since moved to scanning at home with a V750 I snatched up.

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    Reply
    David
    December 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    LOVE the Badlands David!

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      Reply
      Wryan214
      December 20, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      I’m actually not sure how the title said that, as I wrote the article, it should be updated now though?

      • Avatar
        Reply
        Hamish Gill
        December 22, 2018 at 3:22 pm

        Sorry my bad 🙂

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    Reply
    Aivaras
    December 20, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Good set of pictures, first one is my fave – first rays of sun on frosty trees makes good colour contrast with cold blue ground. As for the camera – its fantastic!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Wryan214
      December 20, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciate that! It would also be my favorite if it was actually in focus, but people are still wanting prints of it so what do I know…

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    Reply
    Dennis196
    December 20, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    So BEAUTIFUL! I just got my 545 and 80mm lens. Do you happened to know how to clean the PD viewfinder?

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      Reply
      Wyatt Ryan
      December 20, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      I honestly have no idea, I’ve tried to take it apart but it seems to get rather complicated very quickly once you try and remove the glass. It seems to be well contained. I’ll probably try and give it another go after my road trip this weekend!

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    Reply
    Anthony Oresteen
    December 20, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Welcome to the dark side! Wonderful photos! I bought my 1st Mamiya 645 in 1977. I currently have 3 M645 1000s and 1 original M645 bodies. Long story about how I got so many bodies but I use my 1000s all the time. My favorite lens is the 35mm f/3.5. Get one! It pairs well with the 55mm (which I have) and look for the 110mm tele or the 150mm if you want a tele that’s a bit longer. The 210 is a gem as well.

    I use the 35mm with a waist-lever finder as I never use it for a vertical shot. Reduces the weight of the 645 kit a lot. Down side is that the waist-level finder is a bit scarce and sells for $100 or so which is more than a prism is usually. I recently bough a 55mm – 110mm f/4.5 zoom as they are so cheap. I haven’t used it yet but if it is a s good as the other M645 lenses are it will reduce my standard kit to the 35mm & the zoom.

    Keep a spare PX28 SILVER oxide batter on had at all times. It powers the camera AND the metered prism heads. You usually have to ordered them or pay a huge price difference to buy it locally, if they have them in stock. While an alkaline PX28 will do in a pinch if fresh, you really want a silver oxide spare battery in your kit bag. I keep two spares on hand at all times.

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      Reply
      Wyatt Ryan
      December 20, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      I currently have the 210 f/4, 55 f/2.8, and 80 f/2.8! I’m actually going to be selling them all to downsize to a different camera, so if you are interested in another body and some spare lenses let me know :p

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    Reply
    Charles Higham
    December 20, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    What an appealing camera, even though it’s a fair size and weight. And nice shots too. It’s one I’ll keep in mind if i decide to go medium format. I liked the Badlands shot too.

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      Reply
      Wyatt Ryan
      December 20, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Well if you’re interested in buying one, I will be trying to sell it before I go on my next long road trip!

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    Reply
    Flavio Colker
    December 21, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    It´s an iconic pro camera. It was cheapest 645 around and being Mamyia, quality is there. Too bad it does not have a leaf shutter like Rolleiflex, hasselblads and Bronicas, a must when using flashes.

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    Reply
    D Evan Bedford
    December 22, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Perhaps my most memorable case of seller’s remorse was with a M645 and its shift lens. But I still have the collection of Provia shots sandwiched in Gepe anti-Newton glass holders, which might just entice me back.

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    Reply
    Taylor
    December 26, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Great shots! I just bought a Bronica ETRS and I’m excited to dive into medium format.

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      Reply
      Wyatt Ryan
      December 26, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      Thank you! It’s an exciting and even more expensive medium lol

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    Reply
    Lori Brooks
    December 27, 2018 at 2:58 am

    I love my OG M645. It’s solid as anything and weighs a ton. I just took it on a road trip last October and was rocking it like a 35mm point-and shoot! Got some fantastic pictures of the Grand Canyon and I got this awesome shot of a polar bear at San Diego zoo … https://www.instagram.com/p/BpdlWtPAi9U/

    I rotate between this and my Bronica SQ-A when I’m in a medium format kinda mood. I like both camera’s but this one is a lot less complicated to use — probably because there is less faffing with dark-slides and camera backs

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      Reply
      Wyatt Ryan
      December 27, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      We’ll see how long I keep mine around after I get my new camera in the mail this week… It is definitely the most solid camera I’ve ever held in my hands though!

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