The Mamiya lenses are excellent, but if you're looking for something more portable than the Bronica, that rules out the Mamiya - the C2x/3x series of cameras are pretty big and bulky, especially if you start carrying around more than one lens set. Look at a Rollei, or a Minolta Autocord.
I am able to carry a Mamiya C220 with prism finder, a 65, 80, and 135mm lens, and a Soligor (Adorama branded) one degree spot meter in a Lowepro Micro 100 backpack which is the smallest backpack they make I think....it's damn light anyway. The lenses are quite good. All the recent pics in my gallery were made with the 135mm. I doubt the web is a fair arbiter of lens quality, but you can take a look if you want to.
I can not say which is the sharpest. However, as mentioned by Roger, my Rolleiflex 3.5F Planar is exceptionally sharp.
Below is a hand held shot taken with my Rolleiflex 3.5F Planar 12/24 camera.
Some suggest that the Xenotar lenses are sharper than the Planars. This is an ongoing debate.
But TLRs aren't portable. And if you're going to shoot handheld tremor will beat any increase in sharpness you might gain by going to a better(?) lens. If you want light, get a Fuji fixed lens RF.
Originally Posted by Joshua_G
You might want to look here http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/MF_testing.html
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Roger is right.
Wear may make a difference, as will f/stop actually in use.
Above f/8 many have a hard time spotting the Rollei from a Yashica (flare in the Yashica will always reveal it, though).
Because someone has to make an inane comment, I will also suggest the Mamiya 6 rangefinder as a lightweight high-quality 6x6
No argument at all from me.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
In real-world terms (i.e. differences you will actually notice) an older coated Tessar-type lens will have slightly higher contrast and worse edge definition compared with an older Planar/Xenotar. Older f3.5 Planar/Xenotar more contrasty than older f2.8. Newer Planar/Xenotar more contrasty than older.
In practice, you are unlikely to be disapointed by any post-war Rollieflex with a coated lens which is in good order (a dirty screen and a tarnished mirror can make a Rollei very unpleasant to use). Yashica/Minolta cameras can offer good optical performance but not the mechanical reliability of a Rollei - at today's prices, why bother?
As others have said, MF rangefinder cameras arguably are more portable and easier to use than a Rollei - Rolleis were designed as fast-working portable miniature cameras, but our definitions of these terms have changed since 1928!
Finally, if I wanted the best optical quality, without regard to portability or cost, I would buy a new or late-model Hasselblad. As I already have Mamiya RB67, which I consider optically virtually equal, I am not going to switch to Hasselblad just to save a few hundred grams!
TLRs are portable. As Dan suggests, much of the lens sharpness may be lost handheld depending on the situation. How large do you want to enlarge the neg/tran? - up to 10x10 I doubt you will see a difference between Rolleiflex 3.5, 2.8, Mamiya C lenses etc. I have a Rolleiflex 2.8 (1959) and my Voigtlander Brillant (Skopar 4.5, from about 1938) is its match in many circumstances (up to 10x10).
If I were you I would focus on the ergonomics - which feels better to you? The Rolleiflexes for me are the best handling cameras.
Rolleicords are smaller, simpler and lighter and come with Tessars and Xenars. Great carrying-around cameras and cheap. I have a IV with the Xenar and the 16x20's look great. And I agree with John Voss than the Mamiya c220 is alot lighter and a good bit more compact than a c330.
Holga: if it was any more analog, you'd need a chisel.