Why is a Mamiya MF Rangefinder better for Landscape?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by fmajor, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Hi All,

    I am frequently reading that folks are advised to use a Mamiya 6 or 7 (i'm thinking these rangefinder cameras) over an RB/RZ67 for landscape photography b/c they're better in this application.

    Is this true? Why? What makes a rangefinder better if both are on sturdy tri-pod and the SLR is employing MLU?

    By better, i ultimately mean higher IQ.
     
  2. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    The Mamiya lens are renown for there quality, although having no experience with them I'm not going to stick my head up and say there better than anything else.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A MF rangefinder is a lighter and more compact camera to take into the field than an SLR, and rangefinder lenses don't have to be retrofocus in the wide-to-normal range, so they are usually sharper corner to corner than SLR lenses, but that doesn't mean you can't schlep an RZ wherever you want to, if that's the camera you like. Some of us carry much larger cameras than that.
     
  4. Seabird

    Seabird Member

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    "Landscape photography" also often entails carting your gear around. Given a choice between carrying an RB/RZ system and MF RF system, I know which I'd choose!

    Otherwise, in real world terms, there is probably little to distinguish between them in terms of optical performance etc.

    Cheers

    Carey Bird
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~cbird/index.html
     
  5. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I think you have to go beyond a certain print size to even start to see any differences (11x14 and up). But then again, there's always some gnome that's going to tell ya he can sniff out a Xenotar from a Planar in total darkness. Invariably those gnomes always knows the secrets of the famous Leica glow, too. :wink:
     
  6. atlcruiser

    atlcruiser Member

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    this is right where my head is at!

    I currently have both a 645AF and a Mamiya 7.

    If all were equal I think the mamiya 7 would take slightly sharper pictures used on a tripod as a landscape camera. I just dont use it that way.

    The 645AF I mount on a tripod for most uses. I like seeing the entire VF exactly as it will expose on film. I find the SLR takes more time and makes me think a bit more about the shot, compisition, exposure etc..... With the Mamiya 7 I just frame and shoot.

    Part of it for me is I love RF cameras and use them often and quick :smile: not always a good thing with landscape photos!
     
  7. Gearoidmuar

    Gearoidmuar Member

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    I actually have a Mamiya 6 outfit, which I've used a good bit, though not lately and a Mamiya RB67 which I've used little.
    The RB67 system is comparatively awkward and MUCH heavier. It can be used handheld, but is better as a tripod camera.
    In my experience, both are superb, but the Mamiya 6 lenses are the best I've seen in any camera.
    I must start using them again. It's been all digital recently :blink:
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    The Mamiya MF rangefinders might be lighter, but since I have only the RB67, I ain't got much of a choice but to sweat it out! One of these days I'll get me one.

    Jeff
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well, first of all, define "landscape"....

    If landscape = front-to-back sharpness with wide to normal fields of view, then indeed these RFs are fabulous. I would say that the Mamiya RFs are especially powerful for travel and for documentary work, as they are extremely compact and handholdable. A Mamiya 6 body is about the same size and weight as a 35mm camera with a vertical grip.

    Where they really don't excel is whenever out-of-focus elements play a major role (due to edgy bokeh and also composition is obviously not TTL), whenever you need swing and tilt, when you need longer focal lengths e.g. to compress a foreground and background, and when you need a pano aspect ratio.

    The contrast and level of detail delivered to the film by the Mamiya RFs lenses is beyond exceptional; a reasonable case can be made that they are the very best at what they do. But... the lenses are not fast, nor are they revered for bokeh, and the longest lens (a 210) can only be scale focused.

    The Mamiya RF formats are 6x6 and 6x7. The negs/slides can be credibly cropped to obtain results similar to xpan output, but in that case you are typically not going to enlarge nearly as far as you might with a gw/gsw 690 or a 612 or 617 camera or comparable back on a 4x5. I am not complaining; I love squares. But many people do not favour squares for landscapes, so that is something to consider.
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If you don't have a Mamiya 6 or 7, then whatever you have is better by default. But the Mamiya 7 optics are scary sharp. A friend has one, and his landscapes rival anything I've seen in 4x5.
     
  11. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I have 2 Mamiya 6's with all three lenses and have owned the Mamiya 7 before as well as other MF SLR systems (Bronica, Mamiya, Hasseblad). I can tell you that the lenses on my Mamiya 6's are sharper than any SLR camera I've ever owned, including a Hasselblad. Rangefinder cameras have no mirror, which means the lens can be put up closer to the film plane, which is a more ideal placement for a lens. Also means less bulk, since there is no mirror, no prism, and no camera built around both. This leads to a light weight camera with super sharp optics. I would recommend both the Mamiya 6 or 7 any day. I also have the Bronica RF645 that I'm tickled to death with too.

    I absolutely love my MF rangefinders. I wouldn't give them up for anything. But there are times when I wish I had an SLR system: close focus, telephoto lenses, tight portraiture, exact framing. But those times are rare.
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The recommendations are coming from photographers who cannot afford Hasselblads or Ebony view cameras. :D

    Steve
     
  13. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I'm not versed in Mamiya rangefinders, but in response to Steve's comment

    a Hasselblad setup can be put together for under $1000 with some intelligent buying, I've not seen a single Mamiya 7 kit go for less than $850, and often times for $1200-1500.

    so this 'affording a hasselblad' stuff is nonsense, I would know, I'm a sophomore in college and I have a small 500EL/M kit.

    and I would imagine, as the others have said, that the Mamiya 7 is desirable for its weight and reputable lenses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2010
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  15. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    I think it's more about understanding Steve's humor :smile:
     
  16. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Thanks for so many great comments!!!

    To sum things up to this point, i'm seeing:

    1) The Mamiya rangefinder lenses are sharper than the RB67 lenses
    2) Portability for the rangefinder is much more convenient
    3) the bokeh delivered by the RB67 would be better than the rangefinder
    4) Steve has a strange sense of humor

    Alot of info to take in, but it gives me something to think about having choose the RB67. Given that i want to do more with landscape/nature photography and portraiture i hope i made the right decision in the RB67 with both Sekor C 180mm and 65mm lenses.

    If there's more to the discussion, please add your thoughts!
     
  17. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    The Mamiya RFs are much nicer to lug around for landscape photography, but as David Goldfarb said many of us lug much bigger systems around photographing the landscape. Depending on circumstance and my mood I will either take my two Fuji RFs, or a Calumet Cadet 4x5, three lenses and 14 holders, or a Kodak 2D 5x7, one lens and 10 holders.
    I think it all comes down to what system is enjoyable to use (all three for me) and do they give you the results you desire. If you enjoy using the RB and like it's results, it is the right choice.
     
  18. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Don't overlook the mirror in the RB/RZ. It is huge and will play havoc with image quality at slower shutter speeds every time it fires, even on a good tripod. I have had an entire roll ruined because I forgot this fact. One way to overcome this issue is to use mirror lockup and a cable release. This helps a lot!
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    You broke the code! fmajor, you are a fast learner! :smile:

    Steve
     
  20. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

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    Oh, and as you've decided on an RB67, if you do use mirror lockup ALWAYS reset it back to normal mode on the lens at the end of a shooting session; otherwise you will be shooting blanks in the next one and won't realise why.

    You will, of course, forget to do this but only once...
     
  21. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Because I would rather carry a 4x5 camera than a RZ into the field.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    My comment was also meant to point out that landscape [or other] photography is not limited to Mamiya MF cameras.

    Steve
     
  23. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    Each system has its advantages and disadvantages. I own both the Mamiya 7II and the RZ67. I shoot the 7II 90% of the time in the field. The reason is simple, the 7II is easily carried, the RZ is not. In a small bag, I can carry a body and three lenses. For general, B&W landscape, I prefer the 7II. But, the camera has limitations not found in the RZ. First, it is much more difficult to use polarizers and split ND filters with the 7II. The 7II is terrible at macro or close up--minimum focus distance is 1 meter with the 80mm lens. The lenses on the 7II are excellent--but there is a limited range, 43, 50, 65, 80, 150 and 210. The RZ has a much broader range. With extension tubes, the RZ is an excellent camera for macro work.


    If I did more color work, I would probably lean toward the RZ. But, I also agree with BetterSense. If I'm going to carry that much weight, I might as well carry the 4x5.

    One big advantage of the 7II, you can use a smaller, lighter tripod than you can with the RZ. So not only do you save weight with the camera, but also with the accompanying gear.
     
  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    For Sirius work, I have my Hasselblad and 4x5s in the car. If I am carry the cameras, which is done with a back pack, I decide before whether the photographs will be taken with the Hasselblad or the 4x5s before I start walking.

    Steve
     
  25. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    While not untrue, it's more a matter of a strange person with a sense of humor.:wink:

    Being one myself, I can spot another a mile away!:D
     
  26. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I read a article at German Photo Technic magazine compared to Mamiya to M6 to Hasselblad Planar.
    They had been printed two pages prints and result Hasselblad Planar was the sharpest , than mamiya than M6.

    But they pointed out a very interesting point. They had been taken a giant imperial garden pictures with both cameras in the giant excellent garden and they had been zoomed the positives.

    At the back of the garden , back of the palace , there was a hidden concealed red painted iron work structure.

    Hasselblad Planar had been seen it black ! There was two papers of article duscussing this.

    Mamiya was farwayay weaker at the sharpness side but the structure seen as pure red.

    I visited Leica Expert site www.imx.nl and there were two lenses comparison.
    Summilux and Distagon from 2009.

    Distagon was sharper but Leica was faraway colorful. And Zeiss reds was tends to darker and blacker.

    I saw this at my only camera Rollei 35S Sonnar 40 mm.

    But all common thing of these photographs tends to taken at sunset , dim light.

    I saw the strongest colors at pure light with my Sonnar.

    This could be interest you.

    Umut