Contax or Mamiya? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Thanks for everyone's helping me decide on MF or LF. I have chosen MF. I have been considering the Contax 645, but have just found a Mamiys 645 1000S complete outfit w/case on e-bay. Which is better? Is anyone else leary about buying used equipment? Contax or Mamiya?

-- Sharris Brown (, September 28, 1999


I think the Mamiya probably has more accessories available, and is probably cheaper as well. Both have excellent lenses. I buy almost exclusively used now, and have never had a problem (knock on wood). I would pass on a heavily used camera, as you will more likely need repairs sooner than with one which has seen use by an amateur.

-- Ron Shaw (, September 28, 1999.

I would suggest considering a used Hasselblad outfit. I've found that working with a square neg. allows me to compose either horizontal or vertical images without rotating backs or turning cameras sideways. Occasionally I even like using a square image! The Hasselblad is an elegant system that, once learned, will help you accomplish your work with minimal confusion. The market is rife with good used equipment and the design is so stable in concept, there are minimal compatibility issues even with components that span 20 years or more. Oh, and by the way, the optics are wonderful. I finished a project not long ago that was done with the Hasselbald and a 4x5. I was able to use the same emulsion and developer throughout the project with little detectable difference between prints done with one or the other. Check out for a look at the results.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, September 28, 1999.

If I was leary about buying used equipment I wouldn't own about 90% of the equipment I have! All of us poor but serious photographers are greatly blessed by those rich dabblers who see an Ansel Adams exhibit, run out the next day and buy $10,000 of LF equipment, can't reproduce AA within 2 weeks, don't touch the equipment for 2 years, and finally put it in the Recycler or the Pennysaver and sell it for 20 cents on the dollar (to me). It's almost unfortunate for guys like me that eBay was invented because it introduces more efficiency in the marketplace and the seller gets better prices. Oh well!

-- J.L. Kennedy (, September 28, 1999.

Sharris, You can read more feedback from users on

-- Paul Schilliger (, September 30, 1999.

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