Why is a Mamiya MF Rangefinder better for Landscape?
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu
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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 not always a good thing with landscape photos!
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
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.
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.
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.