Why is the RZ so popular?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Prime, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. Prime

    Prime Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    I have noticed that the Mamiya RZ (and RZII) appears to be the camera of choice among many magazine and fashion photographers. Anybody know why it would be more popular than other MF cameras?
     
  2. bmac

    bmac Member

    Messages:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    The RZ and RB totally kick booty. The 6x7 film size combined with their excellent line of lenses are a winning combo.
     
  3. Wim van Velzen

    Wim van Velzen Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Location:
    Katwijk, the
    Probably because they are so expensive in the States ;-).

    They are not that popular in at least Germany and the Netherlands (don't know about the rest of Europe). Hasselblad is more in use here.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    They're solid and have good lenses, use a convenient format for many purposes, and it's easy to rent lenses for them in large cities. I think the RB also really captured the market early on for photographers who may have been accustomed to the Graflex RB SLR, and wanted similar frame proportions and operation using rollfilm in a smaller, more compact package.
     
  5. mystique

    mystique Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Location:
    West coast
    Ok, ok..don't kill me here...but I had the Bronica GS-1. OMG!!!! It was the BEST!!! Sooo much lighter than the tanker Mamiya's...tack sharp lenses..flash sync at any spd..with any lens (don't have to do the pricier LS)..many, many accesories, their 110 macro is outta this world. I did wish it had a rotating back, but that was it. To me the trade off for weight/ rotating back, heck, no comparison. I loved that camera! Actually if I could get another reasonable like, boy I would jump on it. In a sec!
     
  6. jowillie

    jowillie Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2002
    You sold me! Now where, in your experience would be the best place to get an RZ Pro II--new or used?
     
  7. bcphoto

    bcphoto Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    New MAC equipment is 'Fair Trade' priced so it's generally advertised at the same price by all of the authorized dealers ... try B&H or Calmet and you might get one for a few pennies less.

    KEH in Atl always has RZ eq in stock on the used side ... welcome to da club!

    BC
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If you don't absolutely need a U.S. warrantee, check out www.robertwhite.co.uk, which often has much better prices on Mamiya, Toyo, Gitzo and a few other brands than U.S. dealers.

    The price difference is often significant enough to justify the possible cost of shipping the camera to the UK for warrantee service.
     
  9. Johnny V

    Johnny V Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    I had the opportunity to assist many photographers in NYC for many years. Worked with all kinds of cameras and equipment. Hassys would always jam on shoots and I was never really impressed with the sharpness of the Hassy lenses - except for the 120mm. Also focusing the hassy was so hard with the dim viewer. Worked with shooters using RZs and was always impressed with the sharpness of lenses and the ease of focus - also ease of focus means more sharper images too. Yes the camera is big and is not for street shooting - but works well for landscape photography also. I have drum scanned Velvia chromes and printed to 24x18 inches and it's razor sharp and has so much detail that it could easily be doubled in size.

    Best bet is eBay! Last year I purchased two RZs bodies, three lens, three backs, Polaroid back and Lightware case for $1250. The deals are out there. Since many people are going digiital medium format cameras are going for cheap. But digital is not there yet for medium format quailty - price wise that is!
     
  10. docholliday

    docholliday Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Amongst the
    Hmm, Johnny V, "assist many photographers...Hassy's always jamming..." ????? Usually, jamming Hassys means 1 of two things: 1) inexperienced users or 2) under maintenanced equipment.

    After owning RB and RZ's, I traded in for a Hasselblad. In all these years, I've never had a jam. AND, I shoot a lot. Weddings, model portfolios, etc. A lot. No matter how fast I shoot, I never get a jam.

    "Dim viewer..." ???? What, were you shooting with an old 500C??? My 503s and 200s are a lot brighter than my RZ with a brightscreen in it. Lens sharpness?? My 100CF planar is a ton sharper than any of the lenses I've got for the RZ, including the APO lenses...were you using T-Non-* single coated C lenses?

    Though you say you've assisted a lot of photographers, it doesn't sound like you've actually worked with the cameras that much.

    Not an attack, but I do get tired of people burning Hasselblad. Usually, it's because people can't afford one, or bought a cheap one which was never maintenanced and it broke on them, so they got pissed...
     
  11. Johnny V

    Johnny V Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    Geez...my second post...what nice friendly forum.

    >Though you say you've assisted a lot of photographers, it doesn't sound like you've actually worked with the cameras that much.

    You are right! I only did about zillion lighting set-ups and a zillion test shots for some of the most hottest shooters in NYC. I'm not even going to name drop as you might pee your diaper and tell your mommy.

    Also an excellent photo assistant knows the camera systems they are working with inside and out. When I was assisting I was turning down work as I was so busy.

    >Usually, it's because people can't afford one, or bought a cheap one which was never maintenanced and it broke on them, so they got pissed...

    I wasn't pissed at all...just disappointed over and over again and wanted something better.
     
  12. docholliday

    docholliday Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Amongst the
    Don't worry, I was being friendly...and go ahead, drop some names, I'd like to hear who has had problems with Hassys. It keeps me up on the world and how it reacts to problems...

    BTW, welcome!
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Apr 16 2003, 12:16 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Don't worry, I was being friendly...and go ahead, drop some names, I'd like to hear who has had problems with Hassys. It keeps me up on the world and how it reacts to problems...

    BTW, welcome!</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Well ... I thought that you were a bit intense ... but, after being on APUG for a while, I've learned that the participants here have a great tolerance for intensity. I can see where a "newbie" might think that something like a death knell was being sounded... I know, and I can assure Johnny V, that it was NOT.

    I'd like to WELCOME "Johnny V" to this uniquely tolerant place.

    I use and "cleave to" Hasselblads too. I've heard a great deal of negative comments about them ... In fifteen years of using the 503Cx's, I've encountered one (1) unacounted for jam, where I couldn't trip the shutter, couldn't re-cock the shutter, couldn't remove the lens or the back - couldn't do a damn thing with one of them. A trip to my friendly Hasseblad repair tech - one unusual bit of torque (more that I would have dared) to the lens mount in the right direction, and all was solved - never to repeat itself.

    I have my own rebuttal to some of the negative comments: One, I **LIKE** the square format - for *my* aesthetic reasons. True, I do crop often ... I don't like the idea of being bound by any particular format - but, if I was FORCED to choose just one for my finished work - it would be the square. Two - I don't consider it a "waste of film" to print on standard 8" x 10" paper. Conversely, the 6cm x 7cm format "wastes" a great deal of the field of the lens - most of the lens fields I know of are circular - I'm STIL trying to envision a lens design that would give a rectangular field... and a slightly smaller format allows slightly faster lenses... and I get twelve (12) exposures to a roll of 120 instead of ten (10). Three ... I enjoy the idea that ther are no "verticals" in the square format - and I don't have to struggle with really strange camera positioning or the added weight of a rotating back.

    The only real drawback I've learned to live with is the awkwardness of loading the film in the magazines. I know a fair number of Hasselbald photographers that will *NOT* allow an Assistant to load their backs - they'll always load their own.

    Lens quality ... I can't ever remember a complaint about the quality of Zeiss lenses.

    All this is written in support of *my* choice of a camera. I love 'blads - but I'll admit that they take some "getting used to" ... they are nothing like a "Point and Shoot".

    I am not, and will not "knock" someone else's choice ... I might as well sit high on some rock, and declare, thuderously, that "Nikons are Better than Canons" ... that would be no more than stupidity on my part.

    The photographer is the only one who can decide the relative importance of the advantages and disadvantages of each camera.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Ed,
    I second the welcome to Johnny Z as well. Ultimately one's choice of equipment is just that a...personal choice.

    It would seem to me that one's priorities might benefit from examination when the first priority is on the equipment rather then the images that the equipment creates.

    I am really glad that I haven't encountered the "intensity" of which you speak at any time on this site. Tolerance is a wonderful attribute. That is what sets this site apart from the other site which shall remain unnamed.
     
  16. docholliday

    docholliday Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Amongst the
    Ed, everybody...

    I wasn't knocking anybody's choice of camera. Remember, I too, own RB and RZ's. I was just mention how tired I get of hearing people trashing Hasselblads & Zeiss. I too, know of quite a few photographers who won't allow assistants to load ANY camera back. Period. They only load backs on their own. And, they shoot about 50 rolls a day of 120.

    Plus, I wasn't pushing equipment choice on anybody. Again, again, again, I just was just preventing unfair and (usually) biased charges against Hasselblad. I'd do the same if somebody was unjustly charging an RB/RZ.

    Since I have friends at quite a few camera shops, who often tell me occurances of Hassy mishaps, the conclusion commonly seen is that jammed Hassys are usually the cause of 1) un- or mis- maintenanced equipment or 2) unexperienced / beginner stage user problems with the equipment.

    Also, I've never heard of a 20x series every jamming. And, I've never seen any 503CXi/CW jam with winder. I take my 503's hiking in rain, sand, snow, etc and never have a problem.

    Not to mention that RB/RZ has it's own problems too. One of my assistant was picking up my RZ by the prism and bumped one of the prism locks. Ooops. Prism in hand, camera on floor. Then, there is the changing film while the back is still on camera...the insert sticks to the shell, then falls out onto the floor as the film unspools a bit. Or, the drive shaft under the bellows gets a bit of sand in it and grinds to a halt while tripping the shutter in the field with full extension.

    Again, a bit of maintenance fixed all of those problems. It's like buying an old Craftsman or some antique hammer from flea market with a chunk missing out of the handle: instead of getting a new handle for it, some people just use the old-*ss thing until the head breaks off and cuts them wide open one day. Then, they'll complain for years to the note of "those junk things will break and leave a gash on your ____ like this (showing cut)...

    Yep, it's a tool. And just like any tool safety/user warnings should be posted: "If broke, fix it. If not fixed, don't complain when it doesn't work".

    (BTW, a friend of mine who has been shooting for over 35 years just commented that: "just because somebody may know a camera inside and out, doesn't mean they know how to USE it or fix it.)

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. Johnny V

    Johnny V Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    >BTW, a friend of mine who has been shooting for over 35 years just commented that: "just because somebody may know a camera inside and out, doesn't mean they know how to USE it or fix it.

    GrassHopper! I think your friend should attend a course in logic or philosophy or just stick with taking happy snaps!

    The only way a person will know a camera system inside and out is to work with it in hand every day. There they will find the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Based on my experience with the Hassy, as mentioned, I went the RZ route and never looked back and so did many other pro shooters. I became very proficient at unjamming lens and bodies during many advertising shoots.
     
  18. Johnny V

    Johnny V Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
  19. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Apr 17 2003, 04:42 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Plus, I wasn't pushing equipment choice on anybody. Again, again, again, I just was just preventing unfair and (usually) biased charges against Hasselblad. I'd do the same if somebody was unjustly charging an RB/RZ.
    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I know that ... I was just trying to bring that to the attention of Johnny V - and anyone else listening.

    I was trying to defend our freedom to BE "intense". Without intensity, and its sister, passion, our work would be ... a collection of wimpy, lifeless and (grit teeth) *inoffensive* blandness...

    I've heard a lot of Hasselblad bashing, myself, and deep inside I've often wondered at some of the rationalization that goes into some of it. Some people seem to be driven by some sort of vendetta ... Those two sentences should contain enough references to "some" so that I'll have covered my gluteus maximus.

    I've had one other problem with the Cx's. The link between the off-the-film flash sensor on one body seemed to "go south", resulting in one roll of badly exposed film. After investigating with a flash meter, there was another trip to my friendly Hasselblad repair tech. This time part of the body was diassembled and the flash contacts cleaned. Ten minutes of work. A total of two instances in fifteen years.

    Incidentally, that flash system, with the ProFlash ... I could describe it as a manually set OTF system, can produce *spectacular * figure studies with sunsets as backgrounds. Meter the sunset, set shutter speed and aperture; and turn on the ProFlash. Wonderfully exposed, both for subject and sunset background - as long as the subject is in the area of the frame covered by the sensor.

    I've got to do more of those.
     
  20. Johnny V

    Johnny V Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    >I was trying to defend our freedom to BE "intense". Without intensity, and its sister, passion, our work would be ... a collection of wimpy, lifeless and (grit teeth) *inoffensive* blandness...

    I understand...but when people start attacking my skills and 25 plus years in photography it shows a lack of class and is worse than all the blandness that you are avoiding!

    A person can defend their camera system without having to resort to personal attacks.
     
  21. Johnny V

    Johnny V Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    I'm glad someone else thinks this is thread has turned into bull-crap! I have never been personally attacked in any forum that I have posted too...until joining this forum.

    >Hmm Johnny the name apug stands for A= Analog, P= hotograpers, U= users, G= group.

    Hmm...I shoot film using the Zone System, drum scan my film and print digital. Maybe I don't belong here.
     
  22. docholliday

    docholliday Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Amongst the
    BTW, Ed, I picked up a couple of years ago a "PC socket wrench/cleaner". I keep it in my bag, and right before every shoot, I clean the sockets on my lenses to be sure that atmospheric corrosion doesn't affect anything...

    Though PC stands for Prontor/Compur, it should stand for pretty crappy...
     
  23. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Johnny V @ Apr 17 2003, 07:37 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I'm glad someone else thinks this is thread has turned into bull-crap! I have never been personally attacked in any forum that I have posted too...until joining this forum.

    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I was trying to make the point that you were NOT under personal attack. What was written was just the manifestation of a passionate affection for a certain camera.

    I have been on *numerous* other forums... and some of the slightest deviations from the accepted "norms" (I do *NOT* pay homage to "Camera Club Judges") have brought the roof down on me.

    I have even been threatened physically -- "I'm going to drive up to Ipswch and beat the crap out of you..", for suggesting that there are no concrete "rules" for judging the merit of photography - or any Art - that make any sense.

    I didn't take those comments as a PERSONAL assault ... only a passionate expression of opinion.

    The emotions we feel in photography... whatever they are ... In my most humble opinion ... are certainly NOT "bullcrap".
     
  24. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,454
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary AB,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    can we just let this go, or maybe take it off line.
     
  25. Ellen Rennard

    Ellen Rennard Member

    Messages:
    142
    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Location:
    Groton, MA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Wow, I'm new to this forum (actually pretty new to APUG) and Eric's right. Let it go! I landed here on this forum b/c I'm a Hasselblad shooter (I really like my Hasselblad a lot) but have been thinking about trying an RZ. Why, you might wonder, especially since there might be a lot of dust in your eyes from having just left the combat zone in the last few pages. Because: A. Format. I love squares. I love rectangles too. And B. Lens differences. All glass is different. And C. The RZ is relatively cheap.

    I was talking to someone last night at the Griffin Museum, a guy who prints for Palm Press, who said it like this. On the scale of romantic to scientific, Rolleiflex is the most romantic, Mamiya's in the middle, and Hassies are the most scientific. As an English teacher, I'd say it's a range from poetic (the Rolleiflex) to prosaic (the Hasselblad). But here's the thing: there are prose poems. So, the real deal is, it just depends on what you are shooting and what effect you want.

    Some people like one camera, one lens, and they stay there forever and do great work. Cool. My ADD and inability to commit prevent that; I like to try new things. Right now I'm on a Hasselblad tear. I'm thinking of selling my Leica. I'm dying to get an X-pan. You just have to find what works for you. That's all.

    As for equipment problems, well, stuff happens with just about every kind of camera, but probably we all have certain systems that work better for us, just like Mac works better for some people (and how PC works better for others is beyond me, but it does).

    Sorry this is long but I think the basic topic is interesting, just that there's been some digression.
     
  26. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

    Messages:
    467
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Arlington, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You guys are acting like the digerati. Anyone want to debate the merits of Nikon and Canon?