Mamiya 6 lenses versus 35mm SLR lenses: clarification, please

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Dean Taylor, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Dean Taylor

    Dean Taylor Member

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    hello--

    A noted photographer commenting upon RF lens characteristics, writes:

    "The fact that these are rangefinder lenses and can be designed without having to work around the rear lens extension interfering with an SLR mirror allows the Mamiya 6's lenses to outdo the SLR systems."

    For a newcomer to photography, please clarify the statement..

    Best,

    Dean
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Dean:

    If you think about it, something like a simple 43mm lens, which has a nodal point in the middle of a single element, would have to be only 43mm away from the film in order to focus to infinity. That would get awfully close to the moving mirror in a medium format SLR.

    For that reason, those who design lenses for SLRs are forced to make them retrofocus type lenses - which means that the glass elements in those lenses are actually ahead of the nodal point in the lens. Retrofocus lenses force the lens designers to make some serious compromises.

    In comparison, a rangefinder body is much easier to design for, because there is no mirror in the way.
     
  3. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Retrofocus = inverted tele not really wide angle lens designs in the purest sense of the word. A good retrofocus design is not much worse than it's non retrofocus sibling but it's a much more complicated design and more things can go wrong at the assembly or later stages. The Mamiya 6 is a superb camera its 6x7 sister is supposed to have the sharpest MF lenses in existance, since it's mostly used handheld this advantage is often lost. The advantage of the RF ends at the Normal focal length, some Normal lenses for SLRs are way sharper than their RF cousins. Another often stated advantage of the Mamiya RFs is the lack of Mirrorslap which can cause vibrations = less sharp results.

    Compared to 35mm SLR lenses the Mamiya is sometimes better and some 35mm Slr are better than the Mamiya. MF lenses usually have less resolution than their 35mm counterparts since the neg needs less enlargement.
    A Zeiss, Leica, or some Canon and Nikon lenses certainly have more sharpness and resolution than the Mamiya lenses.

    The bigger negative makes up for these shortcomings though and overall the Mamiya will create sharper images with better tonality.

    Dominik
     
  4. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    the opstatement verifies my experience with my mamiya 6 exactly.the optics aren't 2nd to anything i've seen, including carl zeiss optics. i do't knoww how much that has to do with the fact that they don't needed to be calculated as retrofocus optics, since there is no mirror.
     
  5. Pasto

    Pasto Member

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    The sharpest lens I've ever owned is the Nikkor AFD 50mm f1.8. A $25-50 lens used nowadays. The Mamiya 6, 50mm is very close but not quite there. Of course, when I print at 19 inch x 19 inch from the Mamiya it is spectacular. I've never been satisfied with anything larger than 5x7 from 35mm negatives (after I saw what the mamiya could do).
     
  6. John cox

    John cox Member

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    To be fair the hasselblad SWC biogon is optimally designed (non retrofocus) and is distortion free (+ cuts titanium:cool:).
     
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    sorry cutting titsniumis not one of the requirements i have in cameras.