RB67 versus C330

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by BetterSense, May 12, 2011.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Between Mamiya C330/C220 and RB67, which one has better reliability and sharper lenses?

    I have some folding cameras, but now I'm looking to buy a MF system that I can use instead of LF for travel. In order to be versatile enough for this, I need at least a wide angle and a normal lens, and the ability to focus closely would be good too. I also want a waist-level finder.

    Rangefinders are out because they don't focus close, don't have WLF, and some don't have interchangeable lenses (or I can't afford to buy multiple lenses).

    Pentax 6x7 doesn't have a WLF, but is otherwise tempting.

    I could buy a mamiya or bronica 645 SLR and it would be compact and I could get lenses for it, but 645 isn't that big, and I don't know how close they focus. Some of them also need batteries. Pentax 645 has no WLF. I could buy a Hasselblad, but they are expensive, especially if you need wide lenses.

    RB67 has WLF, lenses are cheap, and it looks like it focuses pretty close. It's also cheap. It's a big camera though.

    Mamiya C330 looks pretty good...wide and normal lenses are fairly cheap, has WLF, focuses close. It seems like it's just as good as RB67 only somewhat smaller and with parallax. What's the difference between the C220 and C330?
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If reliability and sharpness of lenses are your only criteria, then either will be great.

    But there are far more huge differences between the systems to discuss.

    I have both, and use each for different purposes, sometimes overlapping (such as for landscapes and traveling).

    In short, the RB/RZ system is the more capable and "modern" system. Of the two, it is what I would suggest almost anyone start with, unless he or she really wanted a TLR. But the C series is great, and I would feel comfortable doing most of my medium format shooting with one if I had to. It would just take longer to do it, and it would be harder to shoot moving subjects and close ups.

    C220 and C330 are basically different "trim levels" of the same camera. (It is the same with the C22/33 and C2/3.) Models that have a "3" in the name have more features, such as automatic shutter cocking and moving parallax indicator bars. The "3" models are quicker and more convenient to use, but the "2" models are just as capable in the end.

    With the C system, a Paramender is a must IMHO, if you plan on working on a tripod and shooting anything closer than 10 feet or so. It is the only way to keep the camera from being swept entirely under the table by the RB/RZ. With static objects, the Paramender allows WYSIWYG (which is what you always get with the RB/RZ).

    The lenses on the C series don't go very wide or very long. The range is 55mm to 250mm (similar to 35 to 180 on 35mm cameras, only looking at horizontal AOV of the 35mm frame). It would have been nice if they had given us a 45mm in place of the 105mm IMHO (though the 105 is a wonderful lens...just very close to both the 80 and the 135).

    My favorite lens in the C system is the 180mm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2011
  3. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    I've been shooting with the RB for at least 30 years,and I love the beast. The lenses are tack sharp, and give me stellar results in both tonality, and contrast. I also perefer the 6x7 fomat over the 6x6. I know there are alot of photogs who love the square format, but I guess I never really got the hang of it. One thing to remember (as you mentioned) the RB is a big beast, and can get real heavy, real fast. Specialy when you hang the 250mm on the front. So a good tripod is pretty much a necessity. I have the 50mm wide angle, and it is a great lens. As far as close focusing goes, with the built in bellows, and the 127mm lens, I can focus down to just around 9, or 10 inches, and with an accesory kit of closeup lenses , even closer. And macro work with that big negative, gives you some very impressive enlargements.
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have a RB67 and a Rolleiflex 2.8 and if you throw me into a corner I would chose the RB67.

    Jeff
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Adding to 2F/2F's take, I'd suggest taking a look at the Bronica SQ series for 6x6--a smaller, lighter SLR alternative to the Mamiya TLRs. They're not mechanical but the battery in my SQ-B has lasts a long time. Good lenses, too. I love my RB 67 Pro S for 6x7. It's not petite but isn't quite tank many(often non-owners)complain about. It gets lighter when I see a nice 6x7 chrome or a print from those huge negatives.
     
  6. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Both the TLR C and the RB/RZ systems have the same Mamiya DNA--very durable professional cameras, excellent lenses, a wide range of accessories, and a bellows for close focusing and long lens capability. I've been getting into the Mamiya TLR system lately with C33's and now a C330--and they're a pleasure to use. The quietness of the shutter release makes the TLR nice to unobtrusively shoot around people and you can shoot a stop or two slower than an SLR and retain sharpness. If you don't love the square, the RB would be a better choice--it's a waste to carry that much of a camera around and end up routinely cropping. I also think the RB is king in the studio.
     
  7. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    The Pentax 67 does have a waist level finder option. I do not know if it is any good or not.
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Change your mind? :wink:

    I have, and use, both the RB and a C220. The RB is my principle camera. However, the tlr is much lighter and I prefer it for travel. In fact, the only reason I kept the tlr and all the lenses after I moved to the RB system was for hiking. To me, the RB is one of those "if it's more than X distance from the car, it's not photogenic" cameras.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hands down best small medium format SLR in my book, all things considered. I would say Hassy if price was not considered. But I assumed the OP wanted to only talk about Mamiyas with bellows.
     
  10. John R.

    John R. Member

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    I have owned both in the past. To me the RB is heavy for street work, I've done it. You may as well use LF gear except the RB will be quicker to use. A TLR like a Mamiya is much more convenient to use but you then don't have the system diversity. I have used the Mamiya C330f for environmental portrait work and it is a nice camera, as well as the 220. Although, if I were going the TLR route I myself would go with a Rollei because of the optics and build quality. I have a Rollei with the 2.8 Planar and it provides amazing image sharpness. You might look at Rollei SLR's too. Having said that, for street work in medium format I really like my Hasselblads, they are very diverse and compact for what they are. The lenses can be heavy so a "kit" in a backpack or shoulder bag can wind up very hefty. For an example, If I go out to shoot some nature stuff I generally may take a 500C/M, a 350mm, a 50mm, a 150mm and a 500mm, PME3 prism, two backs and a Polaroid back, Luna Star F2 meter, film, tripod quick release with Wimberley base plate, filters, hoods and misc small stuff I am really lugging some weight. Overall, in my opinion the Hasselblad is tough to beat when considering format size, bulk, system diversity, quality, and operational simplicity. It is my recommendation but it can add up in weight. Medium format is all about compromises.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have and use both systems.

    The TLRs are fairly compact and reasonably light, especially when you get into a two or three lens kit. The lenses (including their built in shutters) are particularly compact. I can fit a body, two lenses, WLF and a hand meter in a small camera bag (like one might use for a 35mm AF camera with a kit zoom lens).

    The RB67 is not compact and definitely not light. The lenses, in particular, are large and heavy.

    I use both handheld, and on a tripod. If you are going to shoot them handheld, the C330 and the RB-67 share the same left hand trigger grip, and I find it really useful.

    I have a C220 as well. As the C220 doesn't have the second, "trigger" shutter release, the trigger grip doesn't work with it. It also requires you to manually cock the shutter for each photo, so it isn't as fast to use as the C330. It is, however, a bit lighter and a bit more compact than the C330.

    IMHO, the Mamiya TLRs are the best cameras for shooting infra-red film (no need to view and focus through an incredibly dark filter).

    I don't find the parallax issues to be much of a problem - at least for distances of five feet and farther. I do have and use the paramender though.

    On the other hand .......

    The 6x7 negatives from the RB67 are really nice to print from.
     
  12. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    The main points being discussed are: reliability and sharper lenses. I have only used a Mamiya C330, so all I will say about the RB67 is half-observation, half-hearsay.

    In terms of sharpness, there are three lenses worth considering for the C system: 55mm, 105mm D or DS, and 180mm. The 135mm is also capable. You can get equal quality with the RB system, but I've heard that some of the latest optics (the K/L series) can have an edge.

    At any rate, the latest and greatest SLR lenses from Mamiya are for their RZ system.

    With respect to reliability, bear in mind that a Cxxx TLR is likely to be older (although both were produced concurrently for a while), while you can still get a new RB. Parts are not a problem for either if you have a good camera repair man in a large-ish city.

    My C330 was bought in EX condition from KEH, and it still required a fix because the gears inside the body did not advance the film properly. The 55mm I bought from someone who "repaired" still needed a shutter fix. But once that was done, no troubles whatsoever.

    AFAIK, many lenses for the RB67 and the TLR series are near-equivalent (same optical formulas), and they share some accessories (grips), so beyond that it boils down to your preference for SLR v. TLR, and the usability.

    With the RB system, film advance and shutter cocking are separate; on the C-series, they are simultaneous. The RB finder will black out after exposure; not on the TLR. With the RB you can switch backs; not with the TLR.

    The RB is handholdable if you want; the TLR is equally at ease on the tripod or in your hands. I find that its parallax indicator is very reliable, and for the rest I have a Paramender (seldom used).

    Although I have recently bought a Rolleiflex (Tessar), I have not put away my C330 because it's a very solid, very flexible TLR. In fact, if you like the TLR style, it's the most versatile camera you can get. The Rollei has in comparison the important advantage of being tiny and light. Lenses are in the same league, but different styles.

    Finally, the reason why I have 6x6 systems is that my enlarger stops there, so unless I buy a new one (or finally get the rare condenser kit for 6x7), I won't be going to the RB system, but it's such a cheap option, that I wish I could give it a try!
     
  13. ke6igz

    ke6igz Member

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    There is a WLF for the Pentax 6x7. I have one for mine.
     
  14. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I don't know yet. But I just bought an RB67 with 55 and 180mm lenses, so I may find out.
     
  15. blockend

    blockend Member

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    If you're familiar with 5 x 4 a hand held MPP is lighter and more compact than an RB. A quality roll film folder is as compact as a 35mm. I had a C330 and it was a great camera but light it wasn't.
     
  16. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I've owned and used both cameras and while the RB is a very capable camera, it's also more involved. The TLRs are lighter ( a basic C330, 80mm and WLF weighs about the same as my F5!). There's less fuss composing; it's a one movement wind-on and there are less moving parts - therefore less to go wrong. The lenses are pretty good too.
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    In addition to the lenses MHV listed, I also think the 80 is stellar.
     
  18. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    While I like what comes out of all my C- lenses, the 80 seems to be about about 1/2 stop brighter than the others (105, 135, 180) at the same settings.

    My decision was also influenced by already owning a 6x6 enlarger
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The silver shutter in my 80 runs a bit slow, so I either uprate films a hair (one EI) when I use it, or overexpose a half stop, as suggested by my camera repair guy. Same thing with one of my silver Mamiya Press shutters.
     
  20. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    I agree--the 80 is very sharp. The camera would never have been so successful without its normal lens being high quality. It softens a touch in the extreme corners, but that's a minor quibble. My shutter may also be a little slow, because my first negs were denser than expected. I just got a 65mm with dinged up filter rings and some internal haze for $35 shipped. The haze cleaned right off and I may able to straighten the threads. I hear conflicting stories about the performance of the 65mm--so we'll see how mine performs.
     
  21. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Glad to see you've come to a decision. I made a similar decision as well - though i already had a TLR to satisfy my initial WLF desire. I am delighted w/my RB67 (Pro-S) and 65mm C/180mm C lenses. I appreciate the close-focus i can have w/o needing a special lens to accomplish it. The revolving back is an added bonus as are the interchangeable backs (aka interchangeable films!!!).