Mamiya TLR lenses:how good are they?
Ken Rockwell said that Mamiya TLR lenses were the only med. format lenses that he ever used that were "less than spectactular". I have 6 of them (& a 330f), and a shot of a white house brightly lit bt the sun and framed by a dark fence in shadow was ruined by flare. Would using a multi-coated filter mitigate against this? Thanks, Chip
Are yours older (silver) or newer (black) lenses? Personally, I've never noticed any significant resolution or flare issues with my Mamiya lenses, but I've never used another brand of TLR, so can't comment on comparisons. The one lens resolution comparison chart I've seen on line showed Mamiya TLR lenses as adequate but nothing like a Rollei.
I wouldn't give too much credence to what Ken Rockwell says, the Mamiya Lenses might not be as good as the latest Carl Zeiss or Mamiya 7 lenses but they are not bad lenses. Using a multicoated filter to overcome flare or coating problems enhances the problem one more glass surface means stronger possible flare and a contrast reduction. A lens hood helps much more against flare than any filter. Also check out if your lens is clean (free of dirt and scratches) and free of fungus both can enhance flare and severely reduce the sharpness of the lens.
I am religious about using lrns hoods and my lenses are spotless.
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I have had several of these cameras over the years and all of the lenses up to the 180. The 55mm was ok when stopped down to about F11, anything wider was poor at the edges and quite a way in. The 65mm was a bit better but not brilliant. The 80mm was fine. The 105mmm with the dual diaphagm One on each lens) was also good, perhaps the best of the bunch. The 135mm was fine to good and the 180mm was good also.
These were all black lenses.
The 55mm did have a reputation of being variable quality whilst some were good mine wasn't. I called it my Friday afternoon lens (where the workers were less interested in work and looking forward to the weekend).
Having said that I could make a decent 12x16 from any of them.
To answer your 2nd question, by using a multicoated filter on the front of the lens would not affect the flare created within the prime lens. It may even make it worse because it has another layer of glass to pass through.
A good lens hood would probably help more but not eliminate flare unless the light was direct. Can I suggest also that you do check these lenses for fungus inside, these seem to be more than usually susceptible
Last edited by BMbikerider; 05-15-2013 at 02:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.
a) Ken Rockwell is a goober. Keep this in mind at all times.
Originally Posted by chip j
b) multicoating on filters will reduce flare due to the filter, not any other flare. All they can do is make the filter less-bad; there does not exist any filter that will give a less-flared image than with no filter. If you want to reduce flare, use a lens hood to make sure there is no direct sun landing on the lens.
If the contrast of the scene is so high that you can't record both shadow and highlight, then yes maybe the lens is poor or insufficiently clean. Or maybe you're just imagining that you can capture a greater dynamic range than is really possible - a white house in sunshine is about EV17 and a dark fence in shade could be EV5 or lower, which is a ridiculous dynamic range. Even with a perfect and flare-free optical system you're going to struggle to capture detail in both the fence and the house even on the best modern negative film. And you won't be able to print it without a massive dodge/burn.
chip j, the older black lenses are single coated and the newer ones are multicoated. Do you know which ones you have?
+1 to everything that polyglot has said.
My own view is that you have to get rid of all haze, fungus, finger smudges etc that might cause a reduction in contrast. Even if the scene isn't high-contrast, it will just take the edge off every image you make if it is there. If you want to take hazy pics of models, then you can apply vaseline to a filter which can be easily removed afterwards. Lens hoods help a great deal if the issue is direct light striking the front lens element. But it will help nothing if the issue is internal flare or ghosting, especially when the sun is behind the camera. I should add, I own a lot of Mamiya MF gear, but no TLR (apart from a Yashica D). So my comment is generic, not related to your particular lens. I'd be very, very surprised if the TLR lenses are so badly coated that the issue is the coating rather than something on the elements. But as polyglot has said, 12 stops DR is stretching it, even for a state of the art lens and film combination. If the highest and lowest values are adjacent in the image, then you can expect difficulty to some degree. And if you insist on photographing every difficult scene what that same camera despite knowing better, then you obviously have to live with the consequences.
Which lens, of the (7) seven, separate focal lengths available, gave you the flare problem?
As mentioned, some people have had good things to say about the 55mm, others...not so much.
I consider myself fortunate...my 55mm is a great performer.
Most folks have mixed or poor feelings concerning the 250mm, too.
I also have a copy of the '180 super.' A stellar performer...and one of my favorite focal lengths for MF portraiture.
I have two versions of the 80mm. Both are black, but one is the latest, Black 'S' series...multi-coated.
Again...another good performer. My other 80mm is wholly acceptable.
When it comes to lens hoods...I hate (make that...loath), the Mamiya lens hoods.
They're too expensive, inadequate (too short), too clunky or cumbersome, and most will mar the lens barrels.
For all of my Mamiya, TLR lenses, I use step-up rings...from 46mm or 49mm...stepped-up to 52mm.
I then use inexpensive, easily sourced, 52mm, round rubber lens hoods.
Similar to this example: http://farm1.staticflickr.com/210/47...c084e115_z.jpg
$4-$5 for each step-up ring, and another $3-$4 for each of (3) three, rubber hoods, (wide, normal, and long).
Only a very small, (mostly unnoticeable), bump-of-a-shadow, appears in the bottom of the viewfinder from this combination.
Lens flare in my lenses, (or images) has been noticeable reduced using this trick with the cheap hoods.
Also...I too, take many of Ken Rockwell's comments with a grain of salt.
Last edited by Marc B.; 05-15-2013 at 04:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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