Mamiya TLRs can't make sharp 16 x 20s?
That is the opinion I get from a Bob Shell book on Mamiya equipment that I just got & research on the web. I have a C330s & 6 lenses which I haven't used much to date, but my all-black lenses are said to have been formulated to be "softer" to please wedding & portrait photographers! I do have a few 8 x 8" prints my friend made w/a Negatrans from tripod shots, and the sharpness is indeed underwhelming.
It is hard to imagine you wouldn't be able to make nice 16x20's from Mamiya negs. Still, I always noticed the difference between these lenses and something like Hassleblad. I ended up buying a Softar when I switched to Hassy from Mamiya tlr. And I guess it is possible that they went for a particular look with these lenses. I remember being skeptical of the claims for the Mamiya 6 system lenses when they came out, and stunned when I actually tried them.
But it takes a pretty poor lens to be lacking in sharpness when stopped down. Are the earlier lenses claimed to be better, or worse. I always thought the later all black lenses were better at large aperture. My earlier versions seemed to need a bit more stopping down for real sharpness.
Last edited by Mark Crabtree; 11-14-2014 at 08:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
About 25 years ago an acquaintance of mine was employed as an official Police photographer. At that time his department used Mamiya C330 cameras and lenses for almost all general photographic work. Considering that his prints could be used as Court evidence for anything up to homicide cases, I don't think the lenses could have been that "soft" !
I did weddings and portraits, among other things, back in the days when the Mamiya TLRs were new and I assure you the last thing I wanted was a soft lens. It is ridiculously easy to make an image look soft without buying a bum lens. I used those TLRs, along with the Hassey, Rolleiflexes and so on and the lenses were fine. You should think about the age of your camera and lenses and what might have happened to them all these years and not be dragged along by folks who tell tall tales.
I've been using a Mamiya C330F for about 25 years with the 55, 80, 135,and 180mm lens pairs and have had many 20"X 16" exhibition prints from it, that I have been very happy with, don't confuse resolution with contrast because apparent sharpness in many modern lenses is due to them being made high contrast to give the impression that they are sharper than they actually are in terms of actual resolving power.
Last edited by benjiboy; 11-14-2014 at 08:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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before declaring the lens the problem, run a roll with the camera on a tripod and the lens at various f-stops. A lot of lenses get a titch wonky wide-open but sharpen up nicely when stopped down a couple of stops. Even Leica lenses.
but I also smell urban myth -- the photography market is too broad to have your whole system aimed at only one narrow slice of it. As snapguy says, there's way too many ways to make an image soft without buying bad glass. Whack the enlarger halfway through an exposure, there you are.
I'm sure your Mamiya lenses are better than my Yashica-Mat EM which is pretty average compared to my RB lenses, but still should make 16x16's to 20x20's just fine given the amount of detail I've scanned off of it (flextight not flatbed) using a sharp film.
Logically I have no choice but to agree with this.
Originally Posted by summicron1
I mean, by design it's already multiple-lens camera system, right? So why wouldn't they have simply designed an additional separate soft-focus lens, if the market needed one? Or an additional set of such lenses, if the market needed that?
I can't see them, or any camera system designer, intentionally compromising their entire range of lenses for only one type of pictures. That would be the exact opposite of the goal of selling more cameras.
"They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."
— Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs
Any lens that won't make a sharp 16x20 from a 6x6 negative (cropped to roughly 6x4.5 for a 16x20) would, in a word, suck. I seriously doubt the lenses suck. Yours in particular, well there could be something with the camera and focus point maybe if they all are "underwhelming."
Mamiya is certainly capable of making fine glass. The RB/RZ system is known for excellent lenses and I certainly have zero complaints about my 645 Pro ones.
But they can make sharp 20" x 20" prints.
Will that do?
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2