Rollei vs Mamiya (TLR)

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Rollei vs Mamiya screen brightness

    I have a Mamiya C220 and now I'm thinking about a Rollei.

    1) How do the screens compare? I don't have much trouble with my Mamiya but I'm wondering if the standard screen on the Rollei is any worse. I'm not sure if a later, more expensive, model interchangeable screens is something I want.

    2) How do the lenses compare?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2011
  2. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    I don't have any experience with a Rollei but I have compared the 80 2.8 Planar on my Hasselblad to my 80 2.8 on my Mamiya C330. I can say that the difference in sharpness and contrast is marginal at best. I processed 2 rolls of T Max 100, one shot in the Hasselblad and one in the Mamiya. There ain't much of a difference. What was really surprising was how good the Mamiya (non blue dot) optics are. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Dr.Pain-MD

    Dr.Pain-MD Member

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    Having had both, I can chime in. I first had a Mamiya C-33 with a blue-dot 80mm f2.8 and I now have a Rolleicord III with the Xenar 75mm f3.5. I also sometimes use a C-220 too. The screens on the Mamiyas are very bright, considerably brighter than my Rolleicord. Now, I don't find the dim screen to be a big problem, but a lot of people seem to. I also think that the screens in later Rolleis are brighter than in my earlier model. As for the lenses, they are all very good although I'm not someone who pays a lot of attention to that. If you're concerned about sharpness, I don't think you will be at all disappointed because all Rolleis have very sharp lenses (be it a Xenar/Tessar or Xenotar/Planar) as long as the Rollei is properly calibrated. I find that my old Mamiya had a bit of a "rigid" look compared to my Rollei which has a more "organic" look to it. That's the best way I can describe myself haha. To me, what made me switch was the fact that my Rollei is more than two or three times lighter and is much more portable and ergonomic. I do miss my C-33 all the time though, the bokeh on that thing was pretty darn good.
     
  4. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I've had both the C220 (the last version) and various Rolleiflexes and 'cords and I can say that the C220 had a very nice bright screen, while the original screens of the older Rolleis often are dim, unless you get something like a Rolleicord Vb, Rolleiflex T or something newer than those.

    It is possible to change the screens of course, and in the last few Rolleis I have had, I've done that, shifting out the original for a cut-down Mamiya RB/RZ screen.

    I think that the Mamiya C220/C330 with a 80/2.8 is a downright bargain, compared to the Hasselblad and especially the 2.8 Rolleis, at least around here. Prices and opinions may be different elsewhere. :smile:
     
  5. Frank C

    Frank C Member

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    I can't speak for the Mamiya, however I do own and use a near mint 1955 Rolleiflex MX-EVS and the screen is extremely bright. Dim screens usually are the result of dirt and need cleaning or replacing. If purchasing a Rollei I would opt for either a f2.8 Zeiss Planar or a Schneider Xenotar lens if your interested in sharpness right to the edges, ie landscapes. Otherwise, the Tessar or Xenar lenses will fill the bill nicely. Rollei's tend to cost more due to the collector's market. However they are extremely well made and very durable cameras, easy to operate. I would look at places such as KEH as they usually have a good selection of Rollei's and accessories at reasonable prices. Just like any older camera you can end up paying more for repairs than a camera is worth if your not careful. I prefer to deal with a dealer myself as you usually get a 30 day return and better service. Good luck on whatever you choose.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Newer Rolleifleses have good screens and brighter screens arten't too expensive either. I've used both Mamiya C3 series cameras C3, C33 and C330 and now use a Rolleflex 3.5E with a Xenotar.

    Lens wise the Sekor 80mm lenses are excellent optics on a par with the Xenotar's and Planar;s, all better than the Xenar ot Tessar

    There's advantages to the Mamiya's in their interchangeable lenses but then the camera's are much bulkier and heavier. These days I prefer my Roleiflex (and Yaschicamat 124) because I tend to use them alongside my LF cameras. You need to decide whether you want a great camera like a Rolleiflex or a good systen like the Mamiya's.

    Ian
     
  7. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    MS,
    Keep the C-220, save some money and retain a more versatile (inter-changeable lenses) camera/kit.
    If you haven't tried it already, get hold of a "180mm Super" lens for your C-220.
    Next to the every-day, useful/quality focal length of the 80mm, the "180-Super" is a stellar lens.
    Maybe the best lens in the whole series of lenses for the Mamiya TLR's.
    Darn near (my opinion), world class!

    Marc
     
  8. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thank you all for your replies! So it looks like the main benefit of getting a Rollei is in the ergonomics/size/weight. I have the 80mm f2.8 and the 135mm f4.5. I love the 80mm but I do find the camera a bit builky, but it is a steal compared to the Rolleiflex's. The prices on these lenses are pennies compared to the Rolleis and Hassy's so I'll keep this camera as a system and aquire some more lenses and maybe a Rolleiflex 3.5, Rolleicord, Yashicmat, Autocord, when I want something lighter and smaller.
     
  9. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    The condition of either camera and how well it's been cared for will be way more important than comparing lens performance in these babies. Any of these dialed in right with a recent CLA will be a top performer. I do not have the Mamiyas though I've held them and I just feel they are too heavy and bulky for how I like my handling of such cameras and what I'd use them for. I love my 6-7 Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords and any of them, Tessar, Xenar, Planar, Xenotar, 2.8 or 3.5 are all top notch. As for screens all can be replaced by a new modern screen which is much brighter than stock one. If you like how your Mamiya feels and handles keep it, tune it up and get a new screen.
     
  10. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    I have owned Mamiya's TLRs since the early 70s (C3, C220), and still have a C330f. I also have a Rolleiflex with 2.8 lens and Rolleicord. The Rolleicord is a lighter camera than either the C330 or the Rolleiflex. The C330 and Rolleiflex viewing screens are similar, both of them are brighter than the Rolleicord.

    Neither Rollei's can match the versatility of the Mamiya, that is being to focus closely without adding close up lenses, interchangeable lenses, etc. I also find the image quality about the same for the C330f and Rolleiflex. The C220 and C330 would have the same image quality because they have the same lens.

    The Rolleicord does a good job, but the lens is smaller than my Rolleiflex. The Rolleicord also fells cheap when compared to the C220, and especially to the C330. I would keep the Mamiya unless you could find a really good Rolleiflex 2.8 for the money.
     
  11. dikigoros

    dikigoros Member

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    I own a Mamiya C3 and a Rolleiflex T. The Rolleiflex (980 gr) ist about half the weight oft the Mamiya with lens (1850 gr.). I like and keep both, but if I go to stroll around and to look for interesting subjects I take the Rolleiflex. But for portraits and closeups the Mamiya ist unbeatable because it seems to me that its bokeh is not so harsh as the one of the Tessar.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I've been using a pair of Mamiya C330Fs and the 55,80,135, and 180mm lens pairs for about thirty years and have never hankered after a Rolleiflex because it only has a standard lens, to be as versatile as a Mamiya TLR you would need to carry three cameras, a Tele Rollei, standard Rollie, and a Wide angle one, and I can get a camera body and three lenses in a very small camera bag.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2011
  13. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Rollei invented the TLR in the '20s, NOTHING beats Zeiss glass (although I do like the look that comes from a Schneider Xenotar). Rolleiflexs are light, versatile, built like tanks, quiet, and I've had no problems with the brightness of the screens. The responses I read up to this point, seem to be only from Mamiya users with either little or no practical experience with a Rolleiflex.

    Rolleicord is a completely different model, less features, sometimes lower quality lenses than the Rolleiflex models, because they were made to be more affordable to the photographer who wanted to get into a Rollei, but were on a tighter budget. That being said, the Rolleicord Vb seems to be their best model overall.

    Rolleis are higher priced, because they're worth it, (not down to collector B.S.) and are like money in the bank. They're the Mercedes Maybach of cameras. I've been using Rolleis for over 30 years, and actually prefer my 1945 Tessar model over the 1955 Planar (although each have their own look and purpose. I can shoot a frame in less than 45 seconds (usually less than 30sec as long as there's no people to ruin the shot). So, speed is no problem, and the sport finder makes shooting movement(s) a snap.

    I've used a mate's C330, and hated just about everything about it. The optics let me down, the weight was a nightmare, as was the system for changing lenses. Now, I'm not completely off Mamiya, I use a M645ProTL as a replacement for 35mm, but the Sekor optics do require a bit of trial/error to find the proper film to try and get the most out of them. The Maco/Rollei films give me the best results, especially the Ortho25. Simply beautiful results, as well as Rolleipan 200, and 400-S.

    Tried the TMY-2 when I received 2 trial rolls from Kodak, and while better than the horribly picky to work with T-Max films, the beauty & tonal range of the Maco films just isn't there.

    So there ya go, my 2¢ of advice. Once you shoot Rolleiflex, you'll forget completely the C330, and wonder why it took you so long to switch to the real thing.
     
  14. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    +1
     
  15. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks Pumalite!
     
  16. Gunfleet

    Gunfleet Member

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    I have a Rolleiflex T and a Mamiya C330. Other people have said the Mamiya weighs more, but I also think you can't discount the ergonomics of the Rollei, which makes it a walking about camera. It's just so comfortable. And the tessar is sharp as hell. Of course I originally bought the Mamiya for the interchangeable lenses (also sharp), but I don't use it much now and seem to swap between my Rollei and a Mamiya 7II with a 50mm lens on it. THe 7II is also comfortable in the hand, so I think the ergonomics is more important than we usually allow.
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I wouldn't trade my Mamiya TLR system for any Rollieflex.
     
  18. Thingy

    Thingy Member

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    I have used a Rolleiflex, Microcord & Mamiya C330f. Whilst I like the lightness and portability of the Rollei & Microcord (my only English made camera) I do like the versatility of the Mamiya's ability to allow close-up photography using the standard 80mm lens.
     
  19. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I own both a Rolleiflex MX-EVS and a Mamiya C330 (with the best lenses: 55mm, 105mm DS, and 180mm. Plus a 135mm.)

    My main gripe with the Rollei is the actual focal length. 75mm is on the widish side (actually it's a closer to a "perfect normal"), and it always takes in a bit more than I would want. But that's about it. Otherwise it's all taste and usage differences.

    The Tessar on the Rollei is absolutely excellent, great colour rendition (and I even got the CC filters for slide work), pin sharp, very nice character. The Mamiya lenses make colours a bit more saturated (better coatings probably) and have a slightly more modern look.

    I prefer the Rollei for carrying around. I like to call it a "notebook" camera, the light one you keep to shoot whatever comes across. The Mamiya I like for its interchangeable lenses, its ability to take 220, all the accessories and grips, paramender, and obviously the much better screen. For slide work I have a slight preference for the Mamiya; for B&W, it's a toss up, and other factors will make me choose either before lens considerations.

    You can't go wrong owning both.
     
  20. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Member

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    There's no question that the Rollei has the reputation as a great camera with great optics. No Rollei owner every has to claim "my lenses are as good as Mamiya". If you own the Mamiya you will at some time claim, the lenses are as good as the Rollei, and you will have some photos to back that up.

    Despite both being TLRs, they are really very different critters.

    I've been using the Mamiya TLRs for nearly 30 years. I had a Fuji rangefinder for a few years, but outside that, the Mamiya has been the only medium format system I've every owned. Few will call it the ultimate for everything, maybe not for anything, but it does a lot of things very well.

    The photographer is more important than the camera.
     
  21. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    "Few will call it the ultimate for everything, maybe not for anything, but it does a lot of things very well."


    Mike, Well said !
     
  22. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    +1 I too have had a Mamiya C TLR system for around thirty years and it's the only medium format gear I have ever owned have never felt that not owning a Rolleiflex TLR with a fixed lens has held me back creatively, on the contrary the versatility of being able to attach a wide angle or a telephoto has enables me to take pictures that would be impossible with a Rollei, and because it has bellows the ability with the 55mm wide angle lens to shoot 1:1 life size close ups without any accessory s is unique.
     
  23. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    I use both a Rollei "T" and a C330S. both are excellent cameras. The Rollei is a great "out and about" camera for general photography, particularly for black & white and colour neg. I prefer the C330's for colour trannie, the lenses are slightly less contrasty than the Tessar on the Rollei, making them ideal for use with Fuji Velvia or Provia, both rather punchy, contrasty films, or for portraits on any film with the 135mm lenses.