Planning a Mamiya RZ kit

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by AbbeyFoto, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. AbbeyFoto

    AbbeyFoto Member

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    I am thinking of putting together a Mamiya RZ kit, maybe three lenses. I have in mind a 65mm and 180mm and one of the "standards" 90, 110 or 127, but curious about the 140 macro. I am still trying to feel my way around the various versions of lens available for the RZ. The kit would mainly be for landscapes, but some close ups and maybe portraits. I'd welcome advice on putting together a good quality kit. Apologies if this is a well worn question.

    Chris
     
  2. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Annie Leibovitz loved the RZ 140mm lens. She used an RZ for quite some time.
     
  3. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Here's what I use

    If you can only have one lens, the 110 is the one to have.

    Here's some thoughts:

    65 L/A, 110 and 180 is a nice kit. Reasonably priced, but still great.

    next step up might be 50 ULD, 110, 210APO. Add the 65 L/A for even more versatility.

    140 macro L/A : This is on my list to get, I haven't yet but it should be a versatile lens for portraits and macros. (note: nearly any RZ lens will do close-ups pretty well).

    Personally, my kit is 37 fish, 50 ULD, 65 L/A, 110, 210APO, 250APO, 350APO, Also the 1.4x. I had the non-ULD 50 and 180 4.5 W-N - both great lenses but I later sold them.

    on my list to consider: 75 Shift (or SB + T/S adapter possibly), 140 L/A macro, 500/6 APO.

    -Ed
     
  4. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Chris, All of the lenses in the RZ line are nice, and everyone speaks the highest praise of the 50mm, 110mm, 140mm Macro, and 210mm APO.
    The 65mm, and various versions of the 180mm, receive very high honorable mentions.

    I have the 110mm and 90mm. I find that I get more use from my 90mm.
    I live in a small house, and many of my friends and family live in small houses. I just like the slightly wider perspective of pictures taken with the 90mm in these settings. And remember, the 90mm is only [slightly] wider than the 110mm. IIRC, in the very early days of the RZ, the 90mm was the standard, the 110mm an option. Don't rule out the 90mm till you get a chance to try one, though the 110mm is faster at f:2.8, compared to the 90mm at f:3.5. There is also an older f:3.8 version of the 90mm.

    Continuing along the small house, small studio theme, the 140mm is a great all-around short telephoto. It renders portraits in smaller spaces very well, can be used as a long-normal or short telephoto, and then there is it's Macro function. For Macro with most of the RZ lenses, I found (in hind-sight), that to start with, buy the longer 82mm, of the two extension tubes. I get more use with the long tube when trying to keep my kit-bag light weight.

    I have the 127mm, (and it too, is a nice lens) but now that I have the 140mm I don't use it much. The 140mm Is Nice!

    My version of the 180mm is the SB (short barrel) for use with the tilt shift adapter. I don,t have the tilt adapter, but I do have the short barrel tube. So, in actuality, there are three extension tubes in the RZ line; 27.2mm SB spacer, (which is actually just a very short extension tube), then the 45mm and 82mm extension tubes. The 180mm focal length on the RZ is also great for portraiture, and with that length you're truly stepping into the beginnings of the RZ telephoto territory. Great lens to have in the kit bag, and they're dirt cheap.

    I don't have the 210mm APO. I read about it, but for now can only dream of this lens. Someday!
    Then I have the beast, the 500mm. It's the f:8, not the nicer f:5.6. I don't use it much, but I got it for a song. It's nice for the occasional bird watching session, both feathered, and non.

    I am currently trying to get my mitts on a RB/KL version of the 250mm. Hopefully.
    RB, KL lenses are much less expensive than RZ lenses, and almost identical in quality to the RZ lenses.
    So, depending on your budget, don't rule out RB lenses for the RZ.

    You will not have any of the auto exposure features of the RZ with the RB lenses, but keep in mind, you won't have auto exposure with RZ lenses either, unless you get an AE (auto exposure) prism. The less expensive PD prism will give you meter readings in the view finder, in either shutter or aperture priority, but you have to transfer those settings to the lens aperture and camera body shutter speed selector manually.

    I think a lot of people don't realize the value of the PD prism, and especially for the slower paced shots like landscape work, TTL metering for a lot less money, only it's not Auto TTL, or ETTL. Still, very useful when using different filter combination's. Remember also, no matter which prism you get, there is no ETTL metering with a RZ. You have to work-out all of your exposure's for flash (torch), strobe, and studio lighting, manually.

    To round out your initial kit, I might suggest a L-grip handle. The RZ does not lend itself well to hand held work without a grip. I basically keep the grip attached to the camera, especially when I'm out with my mono-pod. If you don't have a mono-pod, get one, or use your tripod. The RZ is a lovely machine, but a heavy beast. Everyone speaks of the famous photographers that used these cameras (useless name dropping), but remember, most of the work done by these photographers with RZ camera's, were done in studio, on a tripod, (not all, but mostly).

    The RZ has a big mirror, and with that comes a fair amount of mirror-slap vibration. Get a cable release so you can do critical shots with MLU, (mirror-lock-up).

    If your budget will allow the 110mm and the 90mm, I think you will not regret having these two focal lengths, even if they are very close together, and 90mm's are also, dirt cheap.


    This is a link to some RZ lens specs. I include these because you mentioned the 140mm Macro.
    http://www.visualgenomics.ca/sensencw/Photo_Notes/Mamiya_RZ/Mamiya_RZ_closeup.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2010
  5. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    I had the 65LA, 110, and 180. Switched to 50ULD, 110, 180. If money were no option, I'd switch the 180 for 210APO.

    The 110 is indispensable, the 50ULD is great because I love the perspective, and the 180 comes out only occasionally.
     
  6. ContaxRTSFundus

    ContaxRTSFundus Subscriber

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    There's such a wide choice of great lenses to make up a basic kit but I'd go with the 65 L/A, 110 and 100-200 zoom. I have a couple of these zooms and you can't tell the resulting image from one shot with primes from within that range (excepting the 110 when you need the extra stops). At the moment, they are incredibly cheap - about the same price as a 180 W-N - and give you greater versatility because of the zoom range. Downside is that they're heavier (almost as heavy as the 75 shift lens) but they focus conventionally so the bellows don't need to be extended unless shooting macro at which point you'd be wide to use the lens support that should come with it.

    The 140 Macro is an oustanding lens and the early W type (8 elements in 4 groups) and recent L-A type (7 elements in 4 groups) both have floating elements and you won't regret buying either lens. The W version is usually considerably cheaper than the later one and you'd be hard pressed to tell the results apart. The edge definition of the later version is slightly better so if you plan to shoot macro, full frame and blow up the entire image, the L-A would have to be the one; otherwise, save your money and buy a #2 extension tube. I'd certainly make a 140 your next choice.
     
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    On my RB67 I use the 50, 90, and the 180. One day I would love have the 37 fish eye lens and the 140 lense.

    Jeff
     
  8. AbbeyFoto

    AbbeyFoto Member

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    Marc B

    Many thanks for your extended input, I found it very useful.

    Chris
     
  9. AbbeyFoto

    AbbeyFoto Member

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    ContaxRTSFundus

    Thanks for your input. I decided to go for a 140 as first lens as I do like do some macro.

    Chris
     
  10. vlasta

    vlasta Member

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    In that case add 65 and 210.
     
  11. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    macro

    The 110 actually does more "macro" (e.g. more magnification) than the 140, although the 140 is probably better corrected at or above 1:1.
     
  12. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Chris, Welcome to the wonderful world of the Mamiya RZ. Now that you have chosen the 140mm lens, you will have to pay a bit more for that beauty of a lens. This may financially limit your choice of a standard lens; 90mm, 110mm, or 127mm.

    If you think you can't afford the 110mm, not to worry. The 90mm can be had very economically these days, about 95 GBP, or 115 Euro.
    You may find the slightly wider 90mm able to render landscapes with a more preferable perspective than the 110mm.
    That's a personal call though.
    The 127mm, for now, would be to close of a focal length to the 140mm, (not enough variation/difference).

    The 100-200mm Zoom is an acceptable lens, but of all the lenses in the RZ line-up, it is less than stellar. When I only had one other lens for my RZ, the Zoom filled a gap and was useful at that time. In hindsight, I think I might choose to skip that lens, unless you can get the Zoom for less than 300 GBP, with the support bracket.

    There are three focal lengths, (five lenses) that require a support bracket in the RZ line: The Zoom, (there is only one version), the f:6-360mm, the newer f:5.6 APO-350mm, the older f:8-500mm, and the newer f:6-500mm. Please do not use these aforementioned lenses without each of their accompanying support brackets. To do so places severe strain on the camera body's rack focusing rails. There are (3) separate brackets: the Zoom, the 350-360, and the 500's.

    I actually used my 350mm without the bracket, but I supported the lens and camera on a pillow, on top of a board, (small bread-board size piece of plywood), fastened to the top of a tripod. Sort of like a sheet-music stand, but turned into a flat/level table, not tilted. This is how I still, (on rare occasions) use my Zoom with extension tubes, and sometimes my 350mm with tele-converter.

    Pillows, or more appropriately, bean bags and/or sand bags, can go a long way in supporting any camera, and especially the heavy RZ, for almost no money at all.

    Take the lower legs of a pair of worn out children's jeans, or sleeves from a wind- breaker jacket. Sew or tie one end shut, fill the pants leg/sleeve full of dried beans or rice, then sew or tie the other end shut. Rice can be a little dusty; just put the volume of product necessary inside a zip-lock baggie first, then into the pants legs. I prefer the rice, but either works well. Navy beans better then Kidney beans.

    Don't get too anxious about buying 220 size film backs for the RZ. The available variety of emulsions in 220 continues to dwindle. You will find far more use in having two or three 120 backs, before even considering a 220 back. Your shooting style, and film availability may vary.

    If you want a Polaroid back, do not buy any backs that are marked 545 or 545i. These are not for Polaroid "Instant" photography of today. These backs are for single-sheet, "conventional film" sleeves, of which few are made today. These are the backs you will see having a large silver toggle lever on them.

    ***The 545/545i backs are totally useless for "instant" photography today!***

    For instant photography, you will want a film-pack style of back (most will be Polaroid branded), but these will accept Fuji FP100**, and FP3000** series film, (the FP100** "45" series is for larger 4X5 view camera backs). There are ten (10) sheets a pack, which is still being manufactured by Fuji, and is widely available. Good film, and only about $10-$12 a pack on my side of the pond. About a buck a shot, (one dollar), not bad at all. Less than a quid per shot for you.

    The larger 4X5 backs were Polaroid 550 backs. The smaller medium format size Polaroid backs (for your RZ) were 405 backs.
    Even though the film is 3.25 X 4.25 inches, you will only expose a spot equal to your camera's format size, which is 6 X 7cm, with formatting masks, or about 72 X 72mm square, without masks. The masks are like a dark slide with either a horizontal 6 X 7cm, or vertical 6 X 7cm hole cut out, as the Polaroid back does not rotate. The masks are seldom included with these backs, but make sure it comes with a functional dark slide.

    The link below shows how to load a pack film holder with instant film. Too many people try to over complicate this first step, only to ruin many exposures. In this video, they are loading a 4X5 pack film holder for use on a view camera, not the 3.25 X 4.25 inch film holders available for medium format cameras, but the loading is the same. Don't worry about trying to feed film tabs through the rollers or any thing like that. The process is very simple. Put the film pack into the back, close and lock it, then pull the black tab. The first white tab is automatically drawn through the rollers, ready for your first shot. The Fuji film pack is just slightly larger then the Polaroid packs, but with just a little extra force the Fuji pack fits, and delivers excellent results in a Polaroid back.
    Oh, make sure your dark slide is in place.
    Read the temperature and time chart to determine how long to wait before you peel apart the film.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd4yREiHogg

    Here is another, this time loading a pack film holder for medium format

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ComB9GmNlKg

    And another, this time on a RB

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAC2tEQEgFI&NR=1
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2010
  13. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Very cool! I assume that most of the advice here also applies to the mechanical RB67? I am looking at that model since I shoot outdoors in the cold here and the 6v batteries temporarily 'die' pretty quick when out in subzero temps.

    Looking at a 2x120 back plus NPC Polaroid back (is that one still usable today?), 65, 90, 180 lens kit with prism finder and grip this afternoon. Hopefully it looks as good in person as in the little pictures in the ad...
     
  14. ContaxRTSFundus

    ContaxRTSFundus Subscriber

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    Cold battery solution

    You don't need to worry about the problems of battery drain in cold weather because Mamiya made an external battery holder for the 645 which also fits the RZ67. It is quite easy to find (they regularly appear on ebay but check under Mamiya 645 as they're usually listed with that camera in mind) and not expensive.

    You simply remove the 6v battery from the camera, insert the business end of the adapter in its place and put the battery in the container at the other end of the cable and pop inside your clothes. Nice and warm so no drain and plenty of cable so you can move your arms freely. I had a number of these with my old Contax 35mm gear and used the battery-dependent camera in temperatures of -25/35 in Finnish winters. No problem though the oil had to be changed!

    I've used the external battery holder on my RZ and it's a gem of an item.

     
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Your plans sound good, but I would go for a 210 or 250, as opposed to the 180.

    I would go for the 110 as a matter of course. IMHO, one should always have a fast normal lens for every camera one has. They are very versatile and usually very inexpensive and provide outstanding image quality. Many will come with the 110 anyhow, and it will not add much to the cost of a kit. If you think you will shoot people a lot, the 110 is good for a normal focal length, and the 140 in addition will be good if you think you will shoot highly intricate details of things a lot (including landscapes). You can get a little bit more magnification with the 110, but the 140 is purpose made for excellent image quality high magnifications, while the 110 is not. I would definitely get the 110 if you want to shoot hand held. Having a sharp f/2.8 at your disposal is a great thing with a hand-held RB/RZ.

    For the wide, I like the 65 and the 75. The 50 is a bit much for me, though lots of people do like it.
     
  16. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Too late, I got the RB67 with 65mm, 90mm, 127mm and 180mm last night. I like mechanical systems. It is very heavy!
     
  17. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I have a kit with 3 bodies, prism finders and a bevy of lenses. I'm pretty happy with the 140 Macro but the lens I use most is one that everybody seems to sell short...the 100-200 zoom. I love this lens, it can do closeup, the focus ability of the lens combined with the bellows draw allows lots of extension, and I get good, sharp photographs. My kit's similar to Ed's, but I also have the 180SF which I use a fair bit, the tilt shift adapter (never use it) and a 500 which I leave on a body full time. I think the 65 and the 100-200 would be a great kit to start with...Evan Clarke
     
  18. AbbeyFoto

    AbbeyFoto Member

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    Many thanks for the additional information from you all; I am cheered by the enthusiam. My kit is appearing bit by bit. Will report back when it's all up and running. Chris
     
  19. AbbeyFoto

    AbbeyFoto Member

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    Kit slowly comes together - just awaiting batteries!

    Just to check: do I need an adaptor to use RB lenses on the RZ. As I read it I don't. Am I correct? Chris

    Chris
     
  20. AbbeyFoto

    AbbeyFoto Member

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    Hi guys

    By the way - anyway the RZ ProIID I have can be used without batteries? I suspect not but please tell me if I am wrong, Chris
     
  21. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    RB lenses on RZ: no adapter needed. They will usually focus past infinity though, so extend bellows a bit. (unless you already have RB lenses, there's no reason to get them to use on an RZ, the RZ lenses are better in all regards).

    It will fire without batteries, but only on the 1/400 setting.

    -Ed
     
  22. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Chris, attached is a thread that will give you a little more info about the differences between the original RZ Pro and the RZ ProII, relating to certain accessories for the RZ Pro that [can not] be brought forward to the RZ ProII.

    http://photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/00Xt60