Mamiya RZ - what's your experience

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by robbalbrecht, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. robbalbrecht

    robbalbrecht Member

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    I'm dumping my dig**al gear and getting another MF camera. I have a Bronica SQ and I wanted to go bigger than 6x6 so I settled on 6x7, yeah not much bigger I know but I like the aspect ratio. I kept coming back to the Mamiya and I think I've settled on the RZ67 Pro II. I shoot a lot of portrait/fashion stuff, some landscapes, and old buildings, mostly in black and white.
    The outfit I've built is the RZ67 Pro II, AE prism, two 120 backs, a polaroid back, a 50mm lens, a 110mm lens, and a 150mm lens. I'm feeling pretty good about everything after reading a bunch of stuff on other sites but I'd like to hear from APUG too. What's everyone's thoughts on the build of the camera, the lenses, getting an RZ serviced if needed, and the reliability of the camera over all?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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  3. phirehouse

    phirehouse Subscriber

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    I love this set-up. I really enjoy the 50mm.
     
  4. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Agree with Andre, the 127mm and 180mm are my two favorite focal lengths for the RZ.

    That being said, I love my SQ, and if I had to choose one camera for the rest of my life, that would be the one. Advantages: lighter, crop to verticals if needed for portraits, and two extra frames per roll, which happen to fit easier into a binder sleeve.
     
  5. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    I almost prefer the Bronica GS to the Mamiya. The RZ/Rb kit is just so darn big that it's almost like trucking a 4x5 around, without any of the benefits of movements. Just my .02c
     
  6. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    I have a RZ67II with the 65mm and 110mm. I've also liked the 50mm for something a little wider. I also think the 250mm is a killer portrait lens especially for outdoors. You can take head shots at F16 and still get a creamy background.

    That being said, it's not a walk-around camera. It stays in my bag until I see something I like. Then I take it out and stick it on a tripod.

    As far as the AE Prism, I thought about it and turned it down. And actually I like seeing the image through the WLF. You can view your composition with both eyes which I find very nice.

    As far as reliability, I've had no issues thus far. I image it will need a new battery at some point, but the camera is still light tight.
     
  7. segedi

    segedi Member

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    I have almost the same kit, but a 180mm instead of 150mm. And the 350mm as well. I had a very nice Hasselblad kit but sold it in preference of the RZ. I like how it focuses, the rotating back, the ae finder... And i much prefer the bellows focusing. It's such a nice system, I should really use it more!

    It is a tank however, so hikes see me with the Mamiya 7 or Bronica rf645 as the weight savings is huge.

    Good luck with yours and please post some photos when you can.
     
  8. robbalbrecht

    robbalbrecht Member

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    Thanks for the replies, guys.
    I guess my main question is RB or RZ at this point. Some of the bells and whistles on the RZ are nice but I can get another lens if I go the RB route.
    I don't mind the size and weight so much since I'll have it on sticks 99% of the time.
    I like the idea of a rotating back for my portrait work. The bellows focusing seemsi interesting, I'd like to try some close up shots at some point.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2012
  9. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I owned a Mamiya RZ67 for a few years. I never had a problem with it at all. I owned the 110mm, and 180mm. I tried the 150mm but preferred the 180mm focal length. Both are great lenses, however.

    I highly recommend the Mamiya flash bracket even if you never put a flash on it. It makes the camera handle so much better! As for the AE prism, well I hated it. It makes the all ready heavy RZ heavier. I preferred using the waist level finder anyway.

    I used the camera entirely for portraiture. I owned a 6x6 Bronica EC for everything else. I ended up selling the RZ to help fund the purchase of a 4x5 outfit.
     
  10. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I would recommend the RZ over the RB. Sure you may find a used RB a little cheaper. The fact that it doesn't use batteries is nice.

    While using RZ lenses with an RZ when you advance the film it also cocks the shutter. Yes, I realize cocking the shutter is no big deal.

    OK, here's a big one! With the RZ you have the choice of using both RZ lenses and RB lenses. Of course you have to cock the shutters on the RB lenses.

    The 110mm standard lens for the RZ is fantastic plus Mamiya has a floating element 50mm wide angle for the RZ if you like wide angles.

    Just something to think about! :smile:
     
  11. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I had an RZ and loved it. As a plus, you could throw it and hit someone in the head, and then pick it up and photograph their dead body.
     
  12. rhcgn

    rhcgn Member

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    I am using an RB ProSD and can highly recommend it. There are lots of nice former backup bodies in mint condition on the market, it doesn't need a battery, and the K/L Lenses are the same as the RZ lenses, except for the 110mm 2.8 and the 50mm I believe. In the long run, such a mechanical camera can always be repaired by a skilled technician, whereas a fried RZ will probably stay dead due to a lack of spare electronic parts.
    Of course the RZ is a tad lighter and you don't have to advance the film manually (which you won't have to do with the motorized back for the RB either), but the motion to do so becomes second nature, like shifting gears when you drive. If you go for the RB, take a ProSD and K/L lenses only (make sure the revolving adapter is ProSD too, so that you can use 6x8 format if needed), it will be up to 20 years younger than many of the regular RB bodies on the market. Same goes for the ProSD backs, they don't have foam light seals, so you will never have to worry about changing them. Both the RB and the RZ can be used digitally with a ZD back adapter+back, which have become quite affordable recently.

    I actually bought the two lenses new on ebay via the link that was provided here, I am very happy with my purchase.
     
  13. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    I personally love my RZ67. Such a great little camera, I was a little weary of the size/weight before I bought it but trust me it is NOT as bad as people say. I hand hold mine 99% of the time (well it's on a strap and slung over my shoulder) but you get the point. I have the 110 lens on it and I bet you will love it.

    If I were you I would skip the prism finder and go with the waist-level finder. I've heard the prism finder adds a good amount of weight to the camera.

    Finally, heres a thread I started before I bought my Mamiya I thought you might get some pointers from it too. I would stick to the RZ instead of the RB since you can use RB lenses on an RZ but cannot use RZ lenses on an RB.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum51/104662-mamiya-rz67-bronica-sq-ai.html
     
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  15. robbalbrecht

    robbalbrecht Member

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    Thanks again for all the insight, guys.

    I think I'm leaning more towards the RZ right now. Although that's if my budget allows for it. I'm sure I'm going to be happy with which ever one I get.

    Thanks for the link, tron_

    J Brunner, so I can use it for home security too? Awesome!
     
  16. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've shot with an RZ for close to 30 years now and my only complaint is that it's too heavy. Love the format of the film. For the most part, the lenses I have are pretty sharp. You can also use RB lenses are you probably know. As for reliability, I have one film back that has a stripped gear that causes uneven frames.
     
  17. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    I use both. The RZ is a beautiful camera and fun to hold and use. However, two word of caution: circuit board, electronics.

    + Reasons for RZ: 50mm ULD lens, 110 f2.8 lens, and electronically shutter speeds in 1/2 increments. Also easier to find the highly rated 65mm lens for the RZ.

    + Reasons for RB: Mechanical reliability. 150 SF soft focus lens, 127mm portrait lens, availability of 6x7 + 6x8 motorized film backs. The 6x7 and 6x8 motorized back are of superior mechanical quality to what you will find in the RZ.

    If you shoot large format and like the action of the mechanical Seiko shutter, maybe the RB's sensibilities will appeal to you more.
     
  18. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    Have you had any problems with camera malfunctioning due to electronics? Just wondering.
     
  19. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Andre mentions that there is a 150mm soft focus lens for the RB. Mamiya also made a 180mm soft focus lens for the RZ similar in design.
     
  20. jjphoto

    jjphoto Member

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    I've used the RZII with 50, 110 and 210APO for many years. I stopped using it professionally in about 2005 but I can't bear to part with it. I think it's a brilliant setup except for the weight but the waist level finder is great and is much lighter than the prism. I prefer to use the waist level finder as the 2 dimensional image aids composition even when reversed (IMHO).

    The only problem I've had with the RZ is overlapping RFH's which I have never been able to have serviced properly by the local techs! The RZ is built to be used by pro's so is made to last.
     
  21. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Get the RZ, if only because it means you can use the 110/2.8 - the smallest, lightest, fastest lens in the system. Don't bother with prism initially unless you do a lot of headshots and don't want pictures of nostrils, otherwise use the waist-level finder. If you get a killer deal (i.e. free) on an RB lens, you can still use it on the RZ body.

    As for batteries, quit whingeing. A 4SR44 lasts for many hundred rolls and you can shoot probably 50-100 rolls while the "replace battery" warning is showing; the cheapest 4LR44 is good for probably 200 rolls and you can keep a spare in the corner of your bag, it's the size of two peas. I would trust the reliability of a quartz electronic timer far beyond any clockwork shutter, especially when it comes to wear and timing accuracy. An electronic shutter will never drift or be inaccurate. Electronic metering can be flakier due to bad contacts in the backs and the prism, but you don't get that at all with RB.

    The only good argument I can see for the RB is the 70mm back but I think you can get an adapter to permit its use on an RZ anyway. And 70mm film and development gear is hard to come by now.
     
  22. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    There is an adapter to use rb backs on rz, which includes 70mm back.
     
  23. robbalbrecht

    robbalbrecht Member

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    Thanks again for the replies everyone. I'm not too bothered by the electronic shutter on the RZ. All of my film cameras are electronic and I just carry a spare battery in case one dies.

    Polyglot, the 110 lens is exactly why I'm looking at the RZ.

    So my one remaining question is about the Polariod backs. There seems to be two of them? The one I can get in the kit I built is the Quadra72 which is a 4x5 back. Is, say, Fuji FP100c considered a 4x5 film? Just wondering if the Fuji FP films will work with the Quadra back. I know nothing about instant photography but it looks like it would be fun to try.
     
  24. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    The quadra back is somewhat rare, and 4x5 fp100c is rather rare now too. Get a regular polaroid back for it and you can use the common and cheap smaller size fp100c.
     
  25. europanorama

    europanorama Member

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    There is no 70mm-argument for the RB. with rz-g-adapter it can be used. 70mm films are available and one can develop them ourselves. with jobo 2517-reel in testdrum(10x40cm printtank-only 500ml)or in 2500-tanks. I dont know yet how cut-down perforated 70mm will work in the lab. it will show remaining perforationswhich could damage the machine. xkaes on ebay has slitters of any size-combinations or can produce them.
     
  26. robbalbrecht

    robbalbrecht Member

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    Welp... I did it.

    The Nikon d300s is gone and a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II is on it's way to me. I got the camera with the waist level viewfinder, 50mm, 110mm, and 180mm lenses and two 120 backs. If UPS tracking is accurate it should be here on Monday. This is going to be a long 5 days, I can't wait to run a roll of film through it. :cool:

    The Nikon was my last digital camera too so that means I'm now 100% film!