Mamiya RB67 Sekor C 180mm for landscape?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by fmajor, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Hi all,

    I've *just* bought a Mamiya RB67 Sekor C 180mm and am wondering the best way to use it for landscapes? If i've read correctly, this is more of a portrait lens, but it's all i'll have for awhile and i really like landscapes.

    What say you?
     
  2. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Well the RB67-180mm lens is about 90mm in 35mm camera size and can be useful at times for landscape work when everything would look too small using say a RB 65mm lens.

    Wouldn't work for me though in this shot, when testing 10 plus year old film

    RB67-65mm lens
    [​IMG]

    RB67-180mm lens
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    This is not really my expertize, but I, and the many that have viewed your question may be having trouble deciding what the question is, but I will give it a go if nothing more than to start a conversation. I would think a 180mm lense is certainly usable for landscapes, although maybe not the best. I think I would search for the small areas of a landscape that are interesting rather than thinking of a whole wide area. Perhaps a small waterfall with a few people near it would be the first thing to come to mind. With a wider lense you would be thinking of the possible path on one side of the water fall and viewing deck. I guess I would find that small area and then round up a few friends to have them stand 'here' while I burn some film. I like to paste pictures together and find no more than three suits me. So also think of using it to take two or three pictures side by side. Oh, you might invest in a polarizer filter too. (Just fight the tempation to crank it all the way to the dark side. The main thing to do is...have fun. Ric.
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I read somewhere that you will notice your landscapes improve when you start using a tele.
    I tend to agree unless you are specifically going for near/far compositions.

    That 180 is superb and one way to think of it when you are in the field is make 'portraits" of plant life or like Ric mentioned pick out details in a scape and feature it rather than always going for wide vistas.

    just my take. hope it helps a bit.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I geuss you could use the 180 for landscape. I use it sometimes. It's a great lens!

    Jeff
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Better question, why not?
     
  7. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Whatever focal length is required to get the image you want is the correct lens. Living in Colorado, most of my mountainscapes are with telephotos because you need some distance between you and the mounting to get the necessary scene compression. When hiking with the Bronica GS-1, I take my 50mm and 200mm, and if I'm feeling extra strong that day I'll haul the 100mm and 150mm, too.
     
  8. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Thanks everyone - i really appreciate the advice!

    I'm hoping to learn more about the DOF being compressed with the "longer" focal length of the 180mm at wider apertures (realizing that i'll tend toward stopping down a bit?). This approach, as compared to the "sweeping vista" more characteristic of say the 50mm (or 65mm for that matter), is at the heart of my question.

    Sorry to reference a smaller format, but it's my 'frame of reference' ;-). On 35mm format, the FOV of a 24mm is almost too much for what i like to see and honestly for what i can capture well given my pathetic skill level. I have a superb 24mm f2.8 lens in Minolta SR mount, but it's approaching too much width whereas my 35mm f2.8 is just about perfect for what i usually "see". I also have the 28mm f2.8 "in-betweener", but for some reason (user error probably) it's just not there for me - knowing that i can simply move to alter what's in the frame.

    Thanks again - this is all so new to me - i greatly appreciate your responses and look forward to learning more!
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Just a couple of observations here - they aren't intended as criticisms.

    Your reference to depth of field is a bit confusing.

    For a given subject image size (on the film) and f/stop, different focal lengths will give the same depth of field - because in order to get the same subject image size with a longer lens, you need to move farther away.

    The factor that changes with focal length (for a given subject image size) is perspective - to get the same subject image size with a longer lens, you need to move farther away, thus creating more depth "compression" in your image.

    Sometimes, with landscapes, we tend to pay more attention to field of view than perspective. By that, I mean we tend to strive to get the entire vista in, and therefore lean to the shorter focal length lenses. Sometimes this ends up in a disappointing result.

    There are an infinite number of landscape subjects out there that will benefit from a longer focal length, just not all of them.

    If you have only one lens, you are going to have to choose appropriate subjects anyways.

    As for your "frame of reference", don't discount it, because it is important!

    There is at least one long and interesting thread her on APUG where the question is asked: "What do you consider to be your 'normal' lens?" (I'm paraphrasing the title). It is interesting, because it highlights how different people are most comfortable with different "frames of reference". So, subject to a couple of considerations, I would suggest that you trust your experience with 35mm when you consider what to do in larger formats.

    What are those considerations?

    First, the aspect ratio of an RB67 is close to 6x7, rather than the 2x3 aspect ratio of 35mm. To me, 6x7 looks less wide than 35mm when using lenses with equivalent "wide" angles of view. Most likely this is because the format is less rectangular.

    Second, the differences in handling (bigger! camera) and viewing (bigger! view screen) seem to subtly affect my perception, and thus affect my photographic choices as well. I cannot really describe why this happens, but I'm sure that at least some of this is due to the fact that I only use a WLF on my RB67, whereas my 35mm (and 645) cameras are almost invariably used with an eye level prism.

    FWIW, my favourite lenses on 35mm are 35mm, and on 645 are 55mm. For my 6x7 work, I really liked the 58mm on the Koni-Omegas I just sold, and find that the 50mm on my RB67 is very satisfactory, although the 90mm gets a lot of use too.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Matt, 6x7 cm cameras produce images that are 4x5 ratio (55.6x69 mm for my GS-1).
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Tony:

    I used "close to" because there seems to be a fair amount of variation across models and brands - as an example my Mamiya RB 220 back that is closest to hand features an image size of 57mm x 67mm.
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It is not a landscape or a portrait lens, and if anyone says stuff like like, be highly suspect of any information they have to offer. Those terms are ridiculous. It is just a lens, of a specific focal length for a specific format, as are all lenses. The way you figure out how to use it is to put it on the camera and look through it, then move the camera around until what you see (and I mean ANYTHING you see, be it a person or a turd) in the viewfinder pleases you!

    The lens is a moderate long lens. It is double the focal length of the "normal" 90mm lens for the system, so it will show you about half of what you see with a normal lens.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2010
  13. macrorie

    macrorie Member

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    Long lenses can be very effective in photographing coastal landscapes.
     
  14. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    What 2F/2F said. I took just this lens (well, the RZ edition, which should be very similar) and a 110/2.8 to Cambodia for a couple of weeks and it worked wonderfully. Admittedly the 110 got 80% of the use but the 180 was certainly valuable.

    In terms of tips, note that you will struggle to get everything within your DOF, particularly if there is foreground and background with any meaningful separation. However, it should have good bokeh when focused up close, so make good use of that - there is no rule that says landscapes must be entirely in focus, just (IMHO) that there shouldnt' be a lack of sharpness in parts of the image that look like they should be focused. In other words, get it all in focus or don't but don't have stuff just a little bit blurry.
     
  15. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    These replys are excellent - thanks so much!

    Thanks especially to polyglot/macrorie - your responses are *exactly* the type of information about DOF/FOV relationships i most need help with and continue in my need!

    I'm really excited to get my lens and "see" what i can do with it! I'm sure some of my answers will come simply with mounting the lens and getting used to the focal length/DOF/FOV, but i know when i started with 35mm there were some great little tidbits of info about focal length and DOF that would've been nice to know beforehand. I'm hoping some of it will carry over to MF, but ignorance is being blind - and i'm *very* blind!!!!
     
  16. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    No problem! Go for it!. Crank your lens and start looking; you'll soon find your subject. Cartier Bresson bought a Tele at the end of his life to photograph landscapes; so, you are in great company.
     
  17. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Oh pumalite - you're killing me!!!!

    There's only a few differences btw me and 'ol Henri - i'm younger than him, i want to use a 6x7 camera, HE HAD HUGE TALENT AND WAS DEDICATED TO HARD WORK - i'm too lazy and haven't developed the vision!