Mamiya RB67 - Should I get the 250mm or 360mm (or both)?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Augied, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. Augied

    Augied Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusett
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hello there,
    I've been struggling with this decision for a while now, so I thought I'd ask for some advice. I currently have the 65mm and 140mm lenses, and I'm trying to decide what comes next. The 250mm is cheaper and more readily available, but it is also shorter and I wonder if it's too close to the 140mm to be worth it. The difference between the 140mm and the 360mm is definitely significant. However, it is also slower, more expensive, and much more rare.

    So here are my questions:
    1. If I only get one lens which should it be?
    2. Are they different enough to be worth eventually getting both?
    3. If I do get both, which should I get first?
    4. All my lenses are from the C series. I have heard bad things about the quality control of the original non-C line, especially the 50mm. Does anyone know anything about the non-C 360mm? Should I trust it?

    Thanks in advance for any advice,
    Augie
     
  2. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

    Messages:
    173
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    NJ
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have never shot the 140mm, but I do own the 250, and love it. I suppose it all depends on your finacial status right now.
     
  3. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Pac/NW
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you get the 360mm, make sure it comes with the support bracket.

    The bracket is harder to find on the used market then the lens itself.
    New price on the bracket is $179 dollars-US.
    There are three lenses/focal lengths in the RB/RZ line that need support brackets;
    the 100-200mm Zoom, the 350/360mm Telephotos, and the 500mm Telephotos.

    Don't listen to anyone telling you that these lenses can be used w/out a bracket.
    These are some of the same people selling cameras with stripped focusing gears, and bent rack-rails.

    I have the 350mm APO, for RZ. Nice lens, but I really don't use it enough to justify it's cost.
    I have the 1.4 tele-converter. Using that with my 180mm, gives me a 252mm, a focal length I use often.

    Unless your are constantly shooting wildlife, (bird watching), spying on your neighbor's wife, (different kind of bird),
    or shooting the moon, the 250 focal length for RB,
    will probably be more useful for you [everyday] than the 360mm.

    Currently on the big auction site, there is an abundance of NOS or LN, RB 250mm K/L lenses for sale.
    About $200 dollars-US, (give or take), and no bracket required. Look at KEH, also.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2011
  4. Maris

    Maris Member

    Messages:
    840
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    Noosa, Queen
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I shoot the original non-C 360mm f6.3 telephoto on my Mamiya RB67 ProS for landscapes and occasional portrait work. I'm continually astounded how sharp the negatives are even at full aperture.

    Of course the camera + lens combo is on a solid tripod, the mirror-up facility is engaged and the subject isn't moving around. Importantly, the camera isn't bumped about and the focussing rack has no trouble carrying the 360mm f6.3 without any help from a support bracket. Looking through my old Mamiya price and equipment lists I find the support brackets for the 100 - 200mm zoom, 350mm apo, and 500mm apo were listed as accessories rather than standard equipment. I'd recommend them as essential for any robust work or even in cases where multiple extension tubes are used.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,932
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would go for the 360.

    Jeff
     
  6. mickster

    mickster Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What are you going to use the lens(es) for? Not sure how anyone can advise you without knowing this first...:wink:
     
  7. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

    Messages:
    681
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey .
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have the 360 C without the bracket. I haven't noticed a need for the bracket. Here's a shot with the 350 C.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanklein2000/5278861993/in/set-72157625476289859/

    I am using a heavy tripod. I also have a 180, 90 and 50. All are C for coated except my 90. I bought my 350 new years ago. I can probably get all my equipment now for half the price I paid for just the lens back then. So whatever you pay is a good deal. I can't comment on which is best for you, 250 or 350, although I admit I didn't use my 350 as much as the others. You might consider a lens hood too.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like the 250 non C that I have...though I can only use it wide open because it has a busted diaphragm with one lame blade. It's sharp enough for me. And I like the way the pre-C glass looks for many things. It is no modern APO lens, but I like its "delicate" character. Very much like the Mamiya C series glass IME.

    I think I would prefer the 360, personally. But I am not you. Either lens could be very useful for a wide variety of things. It will come down to your stylistic preferences, I think. Do you prefer the look you get by moving back from the subject a bit, or the look you get by moving back more than a bit from the subject?

    I also do not think that the 250 is too close to the 140. Nor do I think that the 360 would be too close to the 250.

    If I had both, I would use both. If I had to pick one, I would pick the 360.
     
  9. Augied

    Augied Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusett
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you everyone, these are some great answers. Please keep them coming.

    I can't really pinpoint a specific use. I don't have a long lens at the moment, and I'd like to get one.

    I didn't realize that the 360 needs the support bracket (are at least that it's debatable.) Are the brackets for the 360, 500, and zoom all compatible, or would I need to be sure to find the right one?

    Incidentally, I started my first college photo class last week, and I actually just developed my first roll of film earlier this evening. Feel free to congratulate me.

    Augie
     
  10. Neil Grant

    Neil Grant Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Location:
    area 76
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I dont think there ever was a bracket for the original 360mm f6.3. The lens itself is a lot more manageable than the early wasp-waisted 250mm - which also didn't have a bracket. I've used both C and non-C versions of this lens and the C is definitely better - especially shooting into the light - though the non-C was OK. Depth of field is very shallow, even with objects that you might regard as being at infinity, and tripod, mirror up use is pretty much mandatory. Just be careful with it. Probably best not to transport camera in bag with lens attached.
     
  11. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Pac/NW
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Of the three (3) aforementioned lenses, each one requires their own lens-specific bracket.

    The outside physical dimensions vary between the RB and RZ bodies, with RB bodies being slightly larger, IIRC.
    If you were to place both a RB body, and a RZ body on a flat surface, then measure the distance from that flat surface, up to the center line of the lens opening, (on the face of the lens board), the RB measurement would be greater, by about 3/16 of an inch, (4mm) (aprox).

    Therefore, using a RZ dedicated bracket on a RB, would result in forcing the lens to far upwards, actually bending the focusing rails in the opposite direction than what the bracket was designed for in the first place,
    (stopping undue stress from sag).
    In the reverse, using a RB bracket on a RZ, the support stanchions on the bracket would not even contact the lens barrel, missing the lens barrel by about 3/16 of an inch.

    It appears that only the bracket for the 350/360mm lenses is now offered with dual body adaptability;
    RB and/or RZ, facilitated via a machined-step at the stanchion end; upper step for RZ, lower step for RB, IIRC.

    The 100-200mm Zoom's, and the 500mm Telephoto's, require not only their own lens-specific bracket,
    but a body-specific bracket as well.


    http://www.adorama.com/searchsite/default.aspx?searchinfo=lens+brackets+mamiya+rz/rb
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2011
  12. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Congrats...you will become an addict very soon!!
     
  13. picker77

    picker77 Subscriber

    Messages:
    122
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma, US
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use a 90mm C and a 250 C with my Pro-S, but also have a 2x converter, so actually have available 90, 180, 250, and 500mm focal lengths. :smile: This grouping has worked out well for me and I have been pleasantly surprised by the sharpness obtained using the big 2x converter, especially considering the poor performance I've experienced in the past using converters in smaller formats such as 35mm. I do want to add something shorter one of these days for occasional gigantic scenery shots, and have been looking for a good deal on a clean 50 C. FWIW, I shoot only outdoors in available light, and mostly in B&W.

    Unless you're on retainer with National Geographic, I'd go with the 250 C and maybe look for a 1.4x converter for it, and forget the hassles and expense of the 360.
     
  14. Augied

    Augied Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusett
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's a really interesting suggestion, I just might do that. I see that there are converters from few different brands available. Is there a brand I should look out for? Any I should avoid? Did Mamiya ever make their own?
    Thanks,
    Augie
     
  15. picker77

    picker77 Subscriber

    Messages:
    122
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma, US
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Augie, I realize you can't tell much about sharpness from an online image, but for object size comparison here are some images without and with the converter from last summer. First one is 90mm, second is 90mm + converter, third is 250mm, fourth is 250mm + converter. The white birdhouse in the center was the focal point. Even from this online image if you jack up the size of the 250+2x shot you will see that sharpness is not really a major issue with this converter, at least for my purposes. Maybe I just got lucky and got a good one? Last photo is my "road kit" to show the relative size of the converter vs other lenses.

    FWIW, this 2x converter is branded "RB Super Cambron 2X Auto Teleconverter". It's a heavy sucker, about the size of a 90mm lens, and weighs 1 lb 5 oz. Locks up tight on both ends. The white label on it is a reminder to my feeble brain to add 2 stops when I use it, which BTW makes my 250mm an f/8 lens, the only real drawback. Doesn't bother me, might be a problem for some folks. More convenient to use and FAR cheaper than a big super tele, though, and gives me 500mm vs 360. Nyaa, nyaa, nyaa!

    I have no idea whether Mamiya ever made RB converters. There are none shown on my Pro-S system chart.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2011