Mamiya 7 Vs Mamiya 7Ii: How Do These Medium Format Cameras Compare?

The Mamiya 7 and Mamiya 7II are two highly-regarded rangefinder film cameras known for their compact size, modular design, and exceptional 6x7cm images. But what exactly sets these medium format cameras apart?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Mamiya 7II builds upon the original Mamiya 7 with added features like a hot shoe, electronic cable release, and parallax correction guide lines. It’s a worthwhile upgrade for photographers needing these extras.

Overview and Background

The Mamiya 7 and Mamiya 7II are two highly regarded medium format cameras that have gained popularity among professional photographers and enthusiasts alike. Both cameras offer exceptional image quality and are known for their portability and ease of use.

Brief history and specs of the Mamiya 7

The Mamiya 7 was introduced in 1995 and quickly became a favorite among photographers who favored medium format film cameras. It is a rangefinder camera that utilizes 120 and 220 roll film, allowing for 10 or 20 exposures per roll respectively.

The Mamiya 7 features a 6x7cm frame size, providing a larger negative than traditional 35mm cameras and resulting in sharper and more detailed images. Its lightweight and compact design made it a popular choice for photographers on the move.

The Mamiya 7 is equipped with a high-quality 80mm f/4 lens, known for its exceptional sharpness and clarity. It also offers interchangeable lenses, allowing photographers to adapt to different shooting situations and styles.

The camera incorporates a built-in light meter, ensuring accurate exposure readings, and offers a variety of manual controls for fine-tuning the settings.

Summary of the Mamiya 7II release and updates

The Mamiya 7II was released in 2000 as an upgraded version of the Mamiya 7. It retained many of the features that made its predecessor popular while introducing a few significant improvements. One of the notable updates is the introduction of an improved automatic exposure mode, which provides more accurate metering and exposure settings.

The camera also features a built-in motor drive, allowing for faster film advance and a higher shooting speed.

Another important update is the inclusion of a larger viewfinder with a higher magnification ratio, making it easier to compose and focus the shots. The Mamiya 7II also introduced a new lens lineup, including a wider 43mm lens and a telephoto 210mm lens, expanding the creative possibilities for photographers.

Shared features and functions of both cameras

Both the Mamiya 7 and Mamiya 7II share several key features and functions that make them highly desirable cameras in the medium format film photography world. Here are a few of the shared features:

  • Lightweight and compact design, making them ideal for travel and on-the-go photography.
  • Excellent image quality thanks to the use of high-quality lenses and the large 6x7cm frame size.
  • Interchangeable lenses, allowing photographers to choose the right focal length for their specific needs.
  • Built-in light meter for accurate exposure readings.
  • Manual controls for full control over the camera’s settings.

It’s important to note that both cameras have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between the Mamiya 7 and Mamiya 7II ultimately comes down to personal preferences and shooting style. Photographers who prioritize the latest features and improvements might opt for the Mamiya 7II, while those who value simplicity and a more affordable price tag might choose the Mamiya 7.

For more information about the Mamiya 7 and Mamiya 7II, you can visit the official Mamiya website at

Image Quality Comparison

Image characteristics including tonality and sharpness

When it comes to image quality, both the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II excel in capturing stunning photographs. These medium format cameras are known for their exceptional tonality and sharpness, which results in incredibly detailed and lifelike images.

The large negative size of medium format film allows for greater dynamic range and smoother tonal transitions, resulting in images with a more three-dimensional feel. Whether you’re shooting landscapes, portraits, or street photography, both the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II will deliver outstanding image quality.

Coating, lens and film contributions to IQ

The Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II both feature high-quality lenses and coatings that contribute to their impressive image quality. These cameras are equipped with Mamiya’s renowned lenses, which are known for their exceptional sharpness and minimal distortion.

The lenses are also coated to reduce flare and improve contrast, resulting in images with rich colors and excellent clarity.

Additionally, the choice of film can greatly impact image quality. Both cameras support a variety of medium format films, allowing photographers to choose the film that best suits their desired look and style.

From the vibrant colors of Fujifilm Velvia to the timeless black and white tones of Ilford HP5, the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II offer versatility in capturing different image characteristics.

Similarity of IQ between models

When comparing the image quality between the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II, it’s important to note that they both produce exceptional results. While the Mamiya 7II does offer some advancements in terms of autofocus and exposure control, the overall image quality is very similar between the two models.

Both cameras utilize the same medium format film size and lens system, resulting in comparable levels of sharpness, tonality, and overall image rendering.

Ultimately, the choice between the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II should be based on other factors such as autofocus capability, exposure control, and personal preference. Regardless of the model you choose, you can expect outstanding image quality that will satisfy even the most discerning photographers.

Mechanical Differences

Viewfinder and parallax correction

When comparing the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II, one of the key mechanical differences lies in their viewfinder and parallax correction capabilities. The Mamiya 7II features an improved viewfinder design with built-in parallax correction for more accurate framing.

This allows photographers to compose their shots with greater precision, especially when shooting at close distances. On the other hand, the Mamiya 7 does not have built-in parallax correction, requiring photographers to make adjustments manually to compensate for the parallax error.

This mechanical improvement in the Mamiya 7II offers a significant advantage for photographers seeking precise composition in their medium format images.

Flash hot shoe and PC socket

Another mechanical difference between the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II lies in their flash capabilities. The Mamiya 7II comes equipped with a built-in flash hot shoe, allowing photographers to easily attach external flash units for additional lighting options.

Additionally, it features a PC socket, which enables the use of off-camera flash setups. These features provide photographers with more flexibility and creative control over their lighting setups. In contrast, the Mamiya 7 lacks a built-in flash hot shoe and PC socket, limiting the options for flash photography.

Photographers using the Mamiya 7 may need to rely on external flash brackets or sync cords for off-camera flash setups.

Electronic cable release

The Mamiya 7II introduces an electronic cable release option, which offers photographers a convenient way to trigger the shutter remotely. This can be particularly useful in situations where the camera needs to remain stable on a tripod, minimizing the risk of camera shake caused by manually pressing the shutter release button.

The electronic cable release provides added flexibility and convenience, especially for long exposure photography or when working with subjects that may be easily startled by the sound of the shutter.

In contrast, the Mamiya 7 requires photographers to manually press the shutter release button on the camera body, limiting the options for remote triggering.

Other minor mechanical changes

In addition to the major mechanical differences mentioned above, there are also a few minor differences between the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II. These include improvements in the film advance lever design, which offers a smoother and more ergonomic feel on the Mamiya 7II.

The Mamiya 7II also features a revised exposure compensation dial, providing photographers with easier access to adjust exposure settings on the fly. These minor mechanical changes may not significantly impact the overall performance of the cameras, but they do contribute to an enhanced shooting experience for photographers.

Shooting Experience

Handling, weight and ergonomics

Both the Mamiya 7 and 7II are relatively lightweight and compact for medium format film cameras. The Mamiya 7 weighs just under 2 lbs, while the 7II shaves a couple ounces off that. The angular grip and rangefinder-style body make them easy and comfortable to hold.

The controls are conveniently positioned for fluid one-handed operation. Overall, both offer superb handling for a portable but powerful 6x7cm shooting experience.

Ease of changing lenses and accessories

The Mamiya 7 series has an integrated lens mount and focusing helicoid, so lenses can be quickly mounted and removed by twisting into place. Accessories like external finders and pistol grips also snap right into place on the accessory shoe.

The 7II adds a dedicated exposure compensation dial for quickly adjusting brightness. So both cameras allow swift access to lenses and custom accessories for versatile shooting.

Similarities in operation and output quality

Despite some minor cosmetic differences, the Mamiya 7 and 7II share the same manual mechanical operation and have identical image quality. They both produce exceptionally sharp 6x7cm negatives with the characteristically rich tonality of medium format film.

The full modularity, big negatives, and leaf shutters capable up to 1/500s make these ideal for both handheld snapshots and tripod landscapes. Either model is a perfect choice for the medium format experience.

Verdict: Which is the Better Buy?

When it comes to choosing between the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II, both cameras have their own unique strengths and features that make them great choices for medium format photography. Ultimately, the decision of which camera to buy will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Worthwhile upgrades of the Mamiya 7II

The Mamiya 7II offers several upgrades over its predecessor that may make it worth considering for some photographers. One notable improvement is the autofocus feature, which can be a game-changer for those who prefer the convenience and speed of autofocus.

Additionally, the Mamiya 7II has a built-in light meter, making it easier to achieve accurate exposures without the need for an external light meter.

Another significant upgrade is the increased film winding speed of the Mamiya 7II. This can be especially beneficial for photographers who frequently shoot in fast-paced environments or need to capture multiple shots in quick succession.

Remaining strengths of the original Mamiya 7

While the Mamiya 7II has its fair share of improvements, the original Mamiya 7 still holds its ground with its exceptional image quality and compact size. The Mamiya 7 is known for its razor-sharp lenses and the ability to capture stunningly detailed images.

It also has a simpler and more intuitive manual focus system, which some photographers may prefer over autofocus.

Furthermore, the original Mamiya 7 is often available at a lower price point compared to the Mamiya 7II, making it a more affordable option for photographers on a budget.

Recommendation based on budget and needs

If budget is a significant factor for you and you don’t necessarily need the autofocus or built-in light meter, the original Mamiya 7 could be a fantastic choice. Its image quality and compact size make it a favorite among many photographers.

On the other hand, if you value the convenience of autofocus and the added features of the Mamiya 7II, and your budget allows for it, it may be worth investing in the newer model.

Ultimately, both the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya 7II are exceptional medium format cameras, and your decision should be based on your individual preferences, shooting style, and budget constraints.


While the Mamiya 7II brings a handful of useful upgrades, the original Mamiya 7 still holds its own as a modular medium format camera capable of exceptional image quality.

For most photographers, the more affordable Mamiya 7 will meet their needs. But professionals who require advanced features like a hot shoe may find the Mamiya 7II’s upgrades worthwhile.

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