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Author Topic: Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama  (Read 17014 times)

kiah9318

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« on: December 09, 2006, 11:39:47 am »

Hi,

I am interested in buying either the Mamiya 7 II or the Xpan for taking panoramas photo.
I am new to these two system.
Could somebody tell me which is the best pick among the two system?

kiah
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Rob C

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2006, 01:28:32 pm »

Quote
Hi,

I am interested in buying either the Mamiya 7 II or the Xpan for taking panoramas photo.
I am new to these two system.
Could somebody tell me which is the best pick among the two system?

kiah
www.pbase.com/kiah
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Kiah - these are quite different systems and you shouldn't be thinking of buying into either until you understand the differences and, then, figure if film will be available long enough to make either viable in the long or even medium term.

Rob C

DavidRees

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2006, 05:34:18 pm »

Kiah,

I own several Mamiya 7 camera bodies, and most of the lenses for the system, and use them extensively for landscape work. I do own, and have used, the 35mm panoramic adapter, which gives you 24x67mm images on 35mm film. It works quite well, though there are a few quirks, the main one for me being that the dedicated rewind crank has to be fitted to the base of the camera, and indeed screwed into the tripod socket, to rewind each roll of 35mm film. Given that I keep Kirk L brackets on each body, this is pretty inconvenient. I have found that a small coin will allow me to rewind the film without removing the L bracket, so I have a work-around. It is slow, however, esp. compared to the motordrive in the Xpan.

All in all, the panoramic adaptor does work, but it is a little kludgy, and I cannot give it a 100% recommendation. It might suit your style of working, but only you can answer that. It suffices for me when I want panoramics, or if I want to use an emulsion not available in 120 format.

The plus points for the Xpan are:
a) motordrive;
b) ability to take both panoramic and normal images on the film;
c) smaller, and lighter (I assume);
d) availability of a 30mm (M7 lens set only goes as wide as 43mm);
e) Speed of film load/unload

Plus points for Mamiya 7:
a) Longer lens available (150mm);
b) Can also use 120 film.

I really like my M7s, and they get a lot of use. Reasonably robust, but not built to take real abuse. Lens quality is first-rate. Camera bodies and lenses are available 2nd-hand, and sell easily, so expermenting with an M7 system, and selling it on again if you don't like it, won't cost the earth. The same is of course true of the Xpan, so you can explore both alternatives pretty easily.

Good luck with your choice!

P.S. I doubt that 35mm film, or 120 for that matter, is going to become unavailable in the next decade. Emulsions may come and go, but in general, I'm sure, some B&W, colour neg, and colour slide, will remain for us to use. But then, I'm primarily a film guy, and shoot 35mm, 120/220, and 5x4, so I would say that!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 05:38:04 pm by DavidRees »
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kirmo

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2006, 07:48:34 am »

For Mamiya 7 and 7II there is also a 210 mm f8 lens.

You can always use 120 film and make a 135 pano slide from it. I have 7II and didn't see the need for the panoramic adapter. I can aford to "waste the film" in the rear cases where I only need this smaller portion of the 6x7 frame. I believe enough film will be around for my needs for the next 20 years.

Nice camera to carry but not suitable for all needs.


Kirmo

Quote
Kiah,

I own several Mamiya 7 camera bodies, and most of the lenses for the system, and use them extensively for landscape work. I do own, and have used, the 35mm panoramic adapter, which gives you 24x67mm images on 35mm film. It works quite well, though there are a few quirks, the main one for me being that the dedicated rewind crank has to be fitted to the base of the camera, and indeed screwed into the tripod socket, to rewind each roll of 35mm film. Given that I keep Kirk L brackets on each body, this is pretty inconvenient. I have found that a small coin will allow me to rewind the film without removing the L bracket, so I have a work-around. It is slow, however, esp. compared to the motordrive in the Xpan.

All in all, the panoramic adaptor does work, but it is a little kludgy, and I cannot give it a 100% recommendation. It might suit your style of working, but only you can answer that. It suffices for me when I want panoramics, or if I want to use an emulsion not available in 120 format.

The plus points for the Xpan are:
a) motordrive;
 ability to take both panoramic and normal images on the film;
c) smaller, and lighter (I assume);
d) availability of a 30mm (M7 lens set only goes as wide as 43mm);
e) Speed of film load/unload

Plus points for Mamiya 7:
a) Longer lens available (150mm);
 Can also use 120 film.

I really like my M7s, and they get a lot of use. Reasonably robust, but not built to take real abuse. Lens quality is first-rate. Camera bodies and lenses are available 2nd-hand, and sell easily, so expermenting with an M7 system, and selling it on again if you don't like it, won't cost the earth. The same is of course true of the Xpan, so you can explore both alternatives pretty easily.

Good luck with your choice!

P.S. I doubt that 35mm film, or 120 for that matter, is going to become unavailable in the next decade. Emulsions may come and go, but in general, I'm sure, some B&W, colour neg, and colour slide, will remain for us to use. But then, I'm primarily a film guy, and shoot 35mm, 120/220, and 5x4, so I would say that!
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Rob C

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2006, 12:11:42 pm »

Hi - I hope your predictions about the future of film are proven correct, but I'm holding on to the F3 for two reasons: I'm an incorrigible romantic; I still have a freezer full of film even if it hasn't been touched since the D200 came into my life.

But I doubt that film will be around for long. I can't see Kodak waving paper away if it has a future and Ilford's own future has been so fraught these past few years that I wouldn't hold my breath... let's face it - Ilford's films and papers were as much part of the pro's flowline as Kodak's ever were and even X-ray materials seem to be going the way of the dodo now, so where's the incentive to manufacture? Altruism? Forget that one straight away! It's all bottom line.

You could say that film might remain incarnated as transparency material even if b/w dies, but then why are dedicated film scanners becoming an endangered species too, and why have most of the professional film processing labs folded?

Ciao - Rob C

Gary Ferguson

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2006, 05:31:13 pm »

An XPan is the only dedicated film outfit that I've kept and regularly use. As a travel camera it's got a lot of advantages, and with medium/slow speed black and white film it still delivers a quality advantage for panoramic shots versus my Canon 1Ds MkII.
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kiah9318

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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2006, 04:39:46 am »

Quote
For Mamiya 7 and 7II there is also a 210 mm f8 lens.

You can always use 120 film and make a 135 pano slide from it. I have 7II and didn't see the need for the panoramic adapter. I can aford to "waste the film" in the rear cases where I only need this smaller portion of the 6x7 frame. I believe enough film will be around for my needs for the next 20 years.

Nice camera to carry but not suitable for all needs.
Kirmo
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Hi DavidRees and Kirmo,

Thanks for your inputs.
I have decided to buy the Mamiya 7 II.
Apart from the camera body, i can only afford to buy 2 other lenses, which are the 2 lenses that you recommend to start with?
I will use it mainly for landscape photography

Kiah
www.pbase.com/kiah
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DavidRees

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2006, 06:21:40 am »

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Apart from the camera body, i can only afford to buy 2 other lenses, which are the 2 lenses that you recommend to start with?
I will use it mainly for landscape photography

Kiah
www.pbase.com/kiah
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Kiah,

When I bought my first M7, I got 3 lenses to go with it: 43mm, 65mm and 150mm.  I have subsequently added the 80mm to my system.

The lens I use the most for landscape is the 65mm, followed by the 150mm. Then the 80mm, and finally the 43mm. So if I were choosing a 2 lens system (and if I'm backpacking, I do) I pick the 65mm and 150mm. Both are wonderful lenses.

However, your own style may dictate a different choice. If you are exclusively a wide-angle person, the 50mm and 80mm might be better choices for you.

As to the 210mm mentioned earlier in this thread, I had completely forgotten about it. Since it is not coupled to the rangefinder, I would find it difficult to use, and therefore have never really considered it. If I need that sort of focal length, then I switch to my Wista 5x4, use a MF 6x9 back, and put a 210, 240, 270 or 400mm lens on the front. By using a view camera, I get the opportunity to use movements to alter the plane of focus, which with such long focal lengths, is pretty useful for landscape work.
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kiah9318

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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2006, 06:52:09 am »

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Kiah,

When I bought my first M7, I got 3 lenses to go with it: 43mm, 65mm and 150mm.  I have subsequently added the 80mm to my system.

The lens I use the most for landscape is the 65mm, followed by the 150mm. Then the 80mm, and finally the 43mm. So if I were choosing a 2 lens system (and if I'm backpacking, I do) I pick the 65mm and 150mm. Both are wonderful lenses.

However, your own style may dictate a different choice. If you are exclusively a wide-angle person, the 50mm and 80mm might be better choices for you.

As to the 210mm mentioned earlier in this thread, I had completely forgotten about it. Since it is not coupled to the rangefinder, I would find it difficult to use, and therefore have never really considered it. If I need that sort of focal length, then I switch to my Wista 5x4, use a MF 6x9 back, and put a 210, 240, 270 or 400mm lens on the front. By using a view camera, I get the opportunity to use movements to alter the plane of focus, which with such long focal lengths, is pretty useful for landscape work.
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Hi DavidRees,

Your pick is similar with my selection (65mm and 150mm).


Kiah
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markhout

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Mamiya 7 II or Xpan for Panorama
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2006, 01:21:33 pm »

I first got the 65 mm plus the 43 mm, many years ago on a Mamiya 7. Then the 150 mm.

I found that I wouldn't use the 150 mm b/c I couldn't rely on the rangefinder focusing (it appeared later that the rangefinder needed adjustment), so I sold the 150 mm.

I sold the 43 mm as recent as last week, b/c I needed the $$$ (it's still worth $1000) and I have been spoiled by the brilliance and sharpness of the 65mm. Some regard the 43mm as one of the best wideangle medium format lenses, on par with the Biogon, and I may well end up regretting the sale.

BTW, in the digital age I'm only shooting b/w with the M7, on HP5+ in Pyro.
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DavidRees

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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2006, 03:02:13 pm »

Focus accuracy on the M7 bodies does drift out of alignment sometimes. My first M7, new, was out of adjustment, so I got it fixed under warranty. My second, bought 2nd-hand, was slightly out of registration in the vertical, not the horizontal, so focusing with it was not too difficult. Eventually the horizontal registration went too, and so I sent it away to a Mamiya service agent for tweaking -- returned just fine. My third body (again 2nd-hand) was out of adjustment when I checked it in the shop, so I arranged for them to get it sorted (at their expense) before I took possession of it.

Looking at the above, it's a 100% failure rate! However, for my style of landscape photography, it doesn't really matter 9 times out of 10, I focus using the lens scale, not by using the rangefinder. I use the lens markings to assess the hyperfocal length (using the markings 2 stops wider than the actual aperture used), and set the lens to that.

Also, the focusing errors normally only show up on the 150mm lens, which has (inevitably quite shallow D.o.F.). SO it's not something to get too worked up about.

A while ago, I came up with a method to verify correct focus on my bodies: I picked up a 2nd-hand ground glass focusing screen intended for a 6x9 view camera. Using small fridge magnets, I can keep this glass in the film plane, and can verify that what looks focused in the rangefinder matches the actual focus on the ground glass. Needs the G.G., a good loupe, and a couple of small magnets, but it works really well. As a side benefit, it opens up the possibility of doing macro work with my M7s, with the aid of a good quality diopter on my 150mm lens -- but that's for another thread!
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j-land

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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2006, 04:14:18 am »

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I have both Mamiya 7 and Xpan. Both have some problems. Both are now on my decoration shelf.

Occasionally I can focus right with Mamiya, but most of the time I have to rely on the focus depth, but it only works OK when set to hyper focal. i.e., focus to infinite.
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Focusing to infinity is not really "hyperfocal". Hyperfocal focusing is setting the infinity mark on the lens at the far dof mark for the aperture being used, based on calculated parameters that everything from the near dof mark to infinity will then be in "acceptable" focus. To achieve acceptable focus for me with the Mamiya 7 lenses (for prints to approx. 16x20"), this means using the dof marks for 2 stops less than my set aperture, i.e. if the lens is set at f16, I use the dof marks for f8. After some trial and error, I found it to be a reliable technique that yielded the results I wanted. If your rangefinder is well calibrated, there's no reason to have inaccurate focus. Definitely, "visualizing" focus with a rangefinder is more difficult than on a ground-glass, and some people can't get used to it.
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