Why the Mamiya 6 Is So Perfect and Can Make You a Better Photographer

Very few cameras capture my heart like the Mamiya 6.

I was going to start this post by saying that if you’re bored and looking for a new camera, go grab a Mamiya 6. But the truth is that there’s no good reason not to grab a Mamiya 6. Is it pricey? Yeah, but it will be a fantastic learning tool for you. If you’ve never shot film, you’ll learn to get it right in-camera. If you’ve never composed using the square format, you’re in for a treat. It can change the way you look at all your scenes. Eventually, you’ll learn to appreciate the work of Wes Anderson so much more. And better yet, you’ll learn to shoot with a rangefinder. Rangefinder shooting forces you to either predict what’s going to happen or approach the world in a more creative way. Best of all, you’re manually focusing. And by doing that, you’re creating photos with intent. So here are other reasons why the Mamiya 6 is so great.

“I’ve been on the search for the perfect medium format film camera for me for years now. This, the Fujifilm GW690 III, and the Mamiya RB67 Pro S are amongst my favorites. I prefer to have a multitude of formats and cameras that can handle different situations accordingly. But of any of those, the Mamiya 6 seems to offer the most versatility. I can use it for documentary work, studio work, landscapes, portraiture, and so much. It’s just meant to be a damned good professional film camera.

And for that reason, the Mamiya 6 gets my absolute highest recommendations.”

A quote from our Mamiya 6 review.

Lots of photographers think they’ll be happy with a Leica. And if you’re one to scoff at the price, then look at the Mamiya 6. At a more affordable price, you’re getting a larger format than 35mm. You’re not getting the build quality or the lens selection, but you’re stepping up for sure. Best of all, you can easily bring it with you everywhere. The Mamiya 6 is small. And the lens system folds down to become even more compact. So pack this and some of your favorite color or black and white film. You’ll get results that you’ll love. It just fosters very careful shooting. And if anything it will make you realize your own flaws. If you’re a photographer who sits back passively and just captures models in front of you, get ready for a rude awakening. This camera will teach you to think ahead of what your subject is doing. But then you’ll waste film. So to preserve the film, you’ll work with them to make every single shot the best.

Can you do this with digital? Sure. But here’s the hard truth: in 2020, there is no photographer living that’s been able to get it done like someone that’s shot film. Very few photographers are that meticulous. They’re always saying they’ll fix it in post-production. I say to hell with that. Am I condemning post-production? No. I’m telling everyone that the Mamiya 6 can genuinely make you a better shooter.

A big part of it is the square format. Composing for the square format is a bit tough. One could say that it’s easy by making everything symmetrical. Or you can always center your subject, but that gets boring. You’ve got only so many areas and you have to find a way to make the most of it. If the image isn’t making your jaw drop, then forget about it.

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Chris Gampat

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