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.
Here’s to making those 15 shots count.