Mamiya 6 Buyer’s Guide

Assuming you’ve decided that the Mamiya 6 is the best medium format camera, the next step is to focus your search and decide what features and focal lengths are important to you.

Quick Links to Used Mamiya 6’s for sale

Item Ebay KEH
Mamiya 6 https://bit.ly/2TBcaVx https://bit.ly/3vwwk08
Mamia 6 MF https://bit.ly/3q28hoX https://bit.ly/3gsZ6uu
50mm Lens https://bit.ly/3vBaQPM https://bit.ly/3q17jJj
75mm Lens https://bit.ly/3wxcOSL https://bit.ly/3gunw6E
150mm Lens https://bit.ly/3q0HCZq https://bit.ly/2S3I78H

 

In the following article we’ll try to reason through the purchase process.

What condition Mamiya 6 should you buy?

Let’s start by discussing the camera body then expand on lenses in a later section.

  • Looking for a “daily shooter” for film photography and travel?
    • If you want a daily shooter to travel with then it makes sense to focus on the mechanical condition of the camera and kit.  A like new example with no service history may not be as important as camera body with a few cosmetic issues with a recent CLA from a reputable repair technician.
    • If you plan to use the camera and travel it doesn’t make as much sense to pay a premium for a used body/kit with all of the boxes, printed instructions, brochures, etc
  • More interested in collectibility?
    • Won’t even begin to venture a guess on future collectibility of the Mamiya 6.  However, the counter argument to boxes and paper work is reasonable to assume.  If you are willing to pay a premium for a like new in box example then a requiring a CLA is less critical.

Which model/s to focus on?

  • What features are you most excited about?
    • Shooting Medium format in 6×6 square images?
      • If the 6×6 square format is a priority then the best quality Mamiya 6 body or system is your best bet.
    • Shooting medium format in 6×6 and 35mm with exposed sprockets?
      • The ability to shoot different formats is a benefit with a few caveats.  First being that you will need the 135mm adaptor to make this work.  Otherwise you have a viewfinder full of extra lines.  The adaptors can be difficult to find and prices vary.  Second consideration is cost.  The upfront premium for an MF body, the cost of an adaptor, and the ongoing film costs.  When you use 35mm film in the Mamiya 6 MF the first 4-5 frames are not exposed.  You can expect 12-14 shots on a roll of 35mm film depending on how you load it.  If you added a dummy leader to the beginning of the roll you can minimize the waste. The other cost for the pano 35mm shots is that they might incur extra costs for scanning.  For example at The Darkroom there is a $10 premium on top of any development or scanning costs.  Other labs will not even attempt to scan the 35mm pano rolls.  It’s best to check with your lab first.  If you scan film with a DSLR that may not be an issue.

Should you buy a complete system or build it over time?

  • Consider building your own kit if the upfront cost of the complete system is out of your budget.
  • Similar to the advice you may receive about other camera systems: “Buy good glass”.  That advice applies here too.  A pristine 75mm lens would work on a Mamiya 6 and a Mamiya 6 MF.  A body might be beyond repair but you can take that lens and build around it.
  • What lenses are you interested in?
    • The 75mm is the “default” lens.  Collapses down smallest for travel.

 

  • Mamiya 6
  • Mamiya 6 MF

 

All in one or

 

In my experience the 50mm’s are rare but typically in good shape. They’ll run $600 on Ebay. The 75’s are more common but hard to get a good one. It ends up being $600 for a good one with no glass/dust/fungus issues. The de-lamination is a killer. Can’t be serviced according to PCW. The 150’s are pretty easy on eBay and even had luck on keh. The close-up adapter isn’t my favorite and only works with the 75.

If you have someone to calibrate the lenses to the body then great. Consider building your own kit. Otherwise kind of sucks to get a new lens that doesn’t quite line up at infinity. If the 75 is one then the others are usually on.

Ebay search link

https://bit.ly/2UakonW