The Mamiya 645 Pro-TL is an all-around great medium format camera for those in search of a something customizable, compact, and affordable. It’s not just me saying it.
In this video, Nick Carver sits down with a gimlet to talk through what he says is his most frequently used camera — his Mamiya 645 Pro-TL. My favorite part of the video is Carver breaking down his camera into each of its components to demonstrate the modular (i.e., customizable) characteristic of the camera. I’ve found that for photographers who are used to traditional 35mm film cameras, this can be a foreign concept and not particularly easy to comprehend until it’s broken down and pieced back together.
For those unfamiliar with Carver’s work, his reviews and kit include the Mamiya 645 Pro-TL from this video, a Fujifilm GA645Zi (younger cousin to the GA645), and the Mamiya RZ67 (the younger, more sophisticated brother of the RB67). For those unfamiliar with my kit, it is quite similar to Carver. With that said, I don’t always find myself seeing eye to eye with the people on YouTube when it comes to reviews or opinion pieces but for a camera I love so much, I appreciate another photographer having an appreciation for it and agree whole heartedly that it is a great camera.
At the time of writing, the going rate for this camera has gone up considerably from where it was when I bought the camera. I would expect spending at least $500 for a basic kit. Because of the modular nature of this camera, it’s difficult to give an accurate “base kit” price since there is no such thing as a base kit for this camera. Some will have the power winders, some will have the AE-capable prism, some will have better (or no) lens – there’s just too many options. I would say that if you can get your camera outfitted exactly how you like and one lens (sans the 80mm f/1.9) for around $650-$700, you’re doing well.
Have you ever owned or used a Mamiya 645 in any of its variations? If so, what are your experiences? What were your favorite lenses?