RF.SG logo

Gear Reviews: Mamiya 7ii, The Biggie Medium Format RF

Mamiya 7ii gear pictures courtesy of Christopher Chen, Click! Photography.


An illusive type of camera has eluded me for all my life in photography. The rangefinder style camera focuses slightly different from the regular SLR / DSLR style camera which uses the mirror to reflect the image through the prism to our eyes. Rangefinder uses what we called a rangefinder coupling. Perhaps a bit too technical for me to explain so I recall a rather excellent compilation of this in a whole as this site here, credits to Cactus Jack for his compilation and initiative efforts.


As Leica has been in the main spotlight commonly associated with rangefinder due to its long history I couldn’t find myself committing to one due to various reasons. To name a few, cost of lenses which almost certainly rises every year, prone to rangefinder coupling misalignment if not carefully handled (more of a common rangefinder issue) and also the “Premium” price for Leica parts and replacements as well as repairs. An active community of gear head trading did facilitate free trade in the world, however escalation in such demands to almost ridiculous levels were seen more recently with the introduction of its digital equivalent, i.e. the Leica M9.


I guess one of the more prominent reasons for owning a Leica would be for its excellent workmanship, behind made in Germany – Some made in Canada and even Singapore, its excellent optical performance for resolution (very important) and other optical qualities as well as its operational quietness.


My decision to not go the Leica way though deeply dream of having to do so one day, later, was partly influenced by a shooting buddy of mine who emphasized shooting styles and mode rather than the camera and its lens equivalents. However, resolution and details remains something which I always look out for – Partly my reason for going Medium Format (Hasselblad) earlier last year (2010) and ultimately Large Format (4×5).


Wanting something smaller, lots of R&D was done in fact to find a potential candidate. A few actually came out, Such as the Hasselblad Xpan – Ah… Another dream camera for the longest of time, however living for almost close to 3 years in Singapore made me realised that shooting wide – Xpan Wide, may not be entirely practical all the time. Next was the Fuji GSWIII which was build like a tank and sharp like a razor and its 6×9!! Just imagine the image quality which that baby can produce and its going for bargain prices. However the size of this and a limited focal length (its non interchangeable) cancelled that option out.


Last area, Mamiya 6 and 7. I went for the Mamiya 7ii partly because of its shutter feature which is inbuilt to the lens resulting in an even lesser amount of vibration created at the press of the shutter. Imagine this, hand holding to close to a second without hesitation. Picture quality otherwise, its this confidence which gives you or shall I say boost your mode for a better picture IMHO, of course I can always do that with my DSLR by uppppppping my ISO to 6,400 :p


Oh, did I mention the large than life viewfinder? ITs like looking through a window compared to other rangefinders, to name a few commendable ones which I have the opportunity to try was like the Leica MP and Zeiss Ikon.


Now after owning the Mamiya 7ii and 2 lenses – 80mm and 43mm !!!, and shooting with roughly 20rolls of film, I am fairly satisfied with my decision.


Here’s are some pictures to share. Of course this is a crappy post with tiny picture and more can be seen at my Flickr site.


Lets see how the Mamiya combo tackles street photography! 10shots per roll is a challenge, but less talk and more photos now.



Review contributed by Tang Yiming


This entry was posted in Gear Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.