If you read my post on "Dealing with G.A.S." I wrote about acquiring my Mamiya 7ii in early December of 2017. Since that time I've put close to 30 rolls of film through the camera and use it as my everyday camera, especially when traveling or for "street" photography. It's definitely a conspicuous camera, but it's quick manual focusing and silent shutter makes up for it.
All Mamiya 7 N lenses have built-in electronic shutters, which means that if I choose to shoot with off-camera flash I can expose the film at 1/500th of a second. Most film cameras will only allow you to use off-camera flash at 1/60th of a second. That's important when you want to shoot at a wider aperture (for blurring the background) in bright daylight and minimize the sun's brightness, but I haven't tested that functionality as of this post. The three Mamiya 7 N lenses I own are the:
Mamiya 7 N 80mm f/4.0: Equivalent to a 40mm lens on a 35mm camera. Good for Street Photography and Environmental Portraiture
Mamiya 7 N 150mm f/4.5: Equivalent to a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera. Good for Portraiture
Things I've Learned About Using the Mamiya 7ii Rangefinder
- Taking A Picture: The Mamiya 7ii is a Rangefinder camera, which means that when you look through the viewfinder you are seeing an approximation of what your lens is seeing, that also applies to focusing with the Mamiya 7ii. With SLR cameras, when you look through the viewfinder the light coming in through the lens is reflected onto a mirror, up to a prism and then redirected to your eye. So why is this important? The number one reason is that you can take a picture with the Mamiya 7ii and not realize you left the lens cap on. Yes, I have done this once and only on one exposure.
- Metering: The Mamiya 7ii has two automated Modes: A Mode for Aperture Priority and AEL Model for Auto-Exposure Lock. I tend to use AEL Mode when doing street photography and when using my handheld light meter is readily available. Metering is calculated by a small rectangular patch in the center of the viewfinder. Placing the patch on the important area (subject) will display the suggested Shutter speed for your set Aperture. When shooting Landscapes, or where I'm not in a rush to take a picture, I will put the Mamiya 7ii in Manual mode.
- Using Lens Filters: Depending on the type of film I'm shooting, I'll use an assortment of Lens Filters to alter the light that enters the lens and hits the film. Each filter's light-blocking strength (Exposure Value measured in 1/3rd Stops) should be considered when calculating your exposure, especially when shooting in one of the two Mamiya 7ii's Auto Modes. Again, why is this important? When you meter your subject, the metering is done by the camera and not through the lens. The camera has no idea if you are using a filter, or have the lens cap on. I photographed a landscape on black and white film with a Red Filter on the lens. The image came out very dark because I forgot to compensate for the Red Filter (+2E/V). I've only made that mistake once on two back-to-back exposures. If you're interested in the "easy" workaround, Comment Below and I'll post the workaround.