“Peter, as you know I have been a Leica M shooter for most of the past 15 years….. until the past three years, when I have been wrestling with the (as of now somewhat false) promise of portable mirrorless digital (the Hasselblad X1D). Back and forth, it has been a struggle to decide between the wonderful image quality and color fidelity of the Hasselblad with the obvious handling, fluidity and OVF advantages of the Leica.
Anyway, I have neither now, as I await an X2D equivalent, and I’ve found and am using what I pray every night for exactly in digital – the Mamiya 6, along with its 75mm and 50mm lenses (approx. 50mm and 28mm equivalent).
For any Leica M enthusiast, the Mamiya 6 (or 7, if you want to shoot 6×7), is a wonderfully familiar experience: a big nice optical coupled rangefinder, compact design for its 6×6 image size, a collapsible lens mount, and quality, lightweight lenses with sharp and characterful rendering. I have also always wanted to shoot square natively, and it is a simple joy in a square, uncluttered viewfinder – never having to turn the camera takes one more variable out of the composition equation.
The accompanying photo was taken with the 6, the 50mm and Ektar 100 on a recent trip in United Arab Emirates, and shows the Mamiya excels in the most key area – an instantaneous shutter that allows its owner to precisely capture the moment.
All in all, it is an experience of pure photographic bliss…… just be mindful of the limits of 12 shots per roll! 😉”
aaron c greenman
Aaron, thank you for your thoughts, which I’m sure will be helpful to photographers out there contemplating getting the Mamiya 6. As an aside, I never thought I’d see you shooting film, and it’s nice to see you indulge in some colour photography! Keep up the great work.
For my part, I have really wanted to get back to film (and almost did so recently) but the constant announcements of film stock discontinuations and ever-tightening shipping restrictions on chemicals for developing have made me hesitate to (re-)commit. It’s images like this, however, and what I see over at Mark’s site that keep the idea of film photography alive for me.
Lastly, regarding your comment…
“…it has been a struggle to decide between the wonderful image quality and color fidelity of the Hasselblad with the obvious handling, fluidity and OVF advantages of the Leica.”
…much like you, my ideal camera would be designed like a Leica M with a proper (OVF) rangefinder, but would contain a medium format sensor, in a body no larger than a Mamiya 6 (or Hasselblad X1D).
Leica, if you’re interested, we can help you do it!
(one can hope…)
5 thoughts on “[Guest Post] Aaron C Greenman and the Mamiya 6.”
Great work Aaron—but where are the other 11 shots??
If only the Mamiya 6 (and 7!!) were still being made…unfortunately the used market prices (and overall condition) remain generally unfavourable.
Many thanks for the shout-out and support, Peter.
All the best to you both,
Had 2, Mamiya 6 bodies, & eventually one, Mamiya 7. Always preferred the Mamiya 6 (over the 7). If a similar sized digicam rangefinder were released, I’d buy in a heartbeat. Small form factor, super sharp lenses, love the square format.
There’s a chance that the ProFormat sensor can fit in the M. And by ‘fit’, I mean fit and be useable. I’m probably the only person who believes that the SL was always designed to take three sensor sizes, and that includes ProFormat (that’s why the lenses are so big – get it?). If the bigger sensor can fit in the SL, then it can fit in the M.
I’ve wondered about the SL taking a “mini medium format” sensor too, since its throat is considerably bigger than the E-mount. And the Summilux-SL 50mm is so ridiculously sized its coverage has to be quite big. Nonetheless the SL throat is actually still a lot smaller than GFX or the Hassy X mount, and it’s also smaller than Nikon mirrorless.
It should be possible to mechanically mod a Mamiya 6/7 and stick a digital back on it, but nobody has done it. The digital back would protrude and probably force the user to use his or her right eye to focus.