Why the Mamiya 6 Is the Best Medium Format Camera You Can Get

The Mamiya 6 is a fantastic camera for all the right reasons!

I’ve owned a large variety of cameras. And for a long time, lots of companies made great ones. Some swear by the Mamiya RB67. Others adore their Pentax 67. And there are cults around Hasselblad’s cameras. But after using them all, I only stuck with one. The Mamiya 6 is hands down the best medium format camera you can still get today. And there are lots of great reasons for that.

First off, there’s a cult of photographers that say that anything smaller than 6×7 is a waste. I recognize and understand your arguments. But I think it’s a toxic mentality to have and doesn’t acknowledge what’s possible with the 6×6 format. Square format is arguably the hardest to compose for. And that’s what the Mamiya 6 is. The 6×6 square format and the collapsible lens system make this camera perfect for travel, but it also makes you think harder. Lots of folks complain that film only gives you so many photos. But the 6×6 format forces you even harder to not take a shot if you don’t feel it’s worth it. Best of all, they’re pretty affordable.

And if you shoot it, then you’re wasting film!

These cameras are also very lightweight. They have a plastic body, but they still feel solid. They’re not weather resistant, so I’d be careful with them. Their light meters work, but the shutters are electronically coupled, which puts a damper on reliability. Still, you can’t go wrong with a camera like this. A camera that forces you to think in a new way makes you grow. We’re used to seeing in rectangles, but when you put emphasis on what’s in the center, you can operate better in square format.

The square format is also about symmetry. There needs to be balance. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, then you’ll appreciate the square format. But don’t just listen to this post. Here are quotes from other posts we’ve done.

“Matt first gave a rundown of the noteworthy features of the Mamiya 6, including the averaging meter, the leaf shutter (and how flash sync works at all speeds), a maximum shutter speed of 1/500th sec, and exposure compensation. He also notes that, since it’s a leaf shutter camera (the shutter is in the lens and not the camera body) you need to place a dark slide when changing lenses so the film won’t get exposed. ”

From Why the Mamiya 6 Is a Great Medium Format Camera for Travel

In this post, we show the Mamiya 6 next to a few other, more famous medium format rangefinder-style cameras.

And most importantly, is our own review. We state:

“The Mamiya 6 uses a rangefinder that is modestly bright. It focuses in low light, but you really have to be careful, slow, and thorough. Plus, I wouldn’t really use this camera for zone focusing and street photography unless you’re determined to look through the viewfinder and get the focusing perfect. Otherwise, it just isn’t really worth it. However, that still means that the Mamiya 6 is great for documentary work providing that you can go slow and careful when shooting with it.”

A quote from our Mamiya 6 review

Lucky for you, the Mamiya 6 can be found for really solid prices on eBay. And you won’t go crazy on lenses, as there are maybe only around three. But grab one of these and load it up with your favorite 120 film. You’re not going to go wrong if you’re careful.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.