Planning a Mamiya RZ kit
I am thinking of putting together a Mamiya RZ kit, maybe three lenses. I have in mind a 65mm and 180mm and one of the "standards" 90, 110 or 127, but curious about the 140 macro. I am still trying to feel my way around the various versions of lens available for the RZ. The kit would mainly be for landscapes, but some close ups and maybe portraits. I'd welcome advice on putting together a good quality kit. Apologies if this is a well worn question.
Annie Leibovitz loved the RZ 140mm lens. She used an RZ for quite some time.
Here's what I use
If you can only have one lens, the 110 is the one to have.
Here's some thoughts:
65 L/A, 110 and 180 is a nice kit. Reasonably priced, but still great.
next step up might be 50 ULD, 110, 210APO. Add the 65 L/A for even more versatility.
140 macro L/A : This is on my list to get, I haven't yet but it should be a versatile lens for portraits and macros. (note: nearly any RZ lens will do close-ups pretty well).
Personally, my kit is 37 fish, 50 ULD, 65 L/A, 110, 210APO, 250APO, 350APO, Also the 1.4x. I had the non-ULD 50 and 180 4.5 W-N - both great lenses but I later sold them.
on my list to consider: 75 Shift (or SB + T/S adapter possibly), 140 L/A macro, 500/6 APO.
Chris, All of the lenses in the RZ line are nice, and everyone speaks the highest praise of the 50mm, 110mm, 140mm Macro, and 210mm APO.
The 65mm, and various versions of the 180mm, receive very high honorable mentions.
I have the 110mm and 90mm. I find that I get more use from my 90mm.
I live in a small house, and many of my friends and family live in small houses. I just like the slightly wider perspective of pictures taken with the 90mm in these settings. And remember, the 90mm is only [slightly] wider than the 110mm. IIRC, in the very early days of the RZ, the 90mm was the standard, the 110mm an option. Don't rule out the 90mm till you get a chance to try one, though the 110mm is faster at f:2.8, compared to the 90mm at f:3.5. There is also an older f:3.8 version of the 90mm.
Continuing along the small house, small studio theme, the 140mm is a great all-around short telephoto. It renders portraits in smaller spaces very well, can be used as a long-normal or short telephoto, and then there is it's Macro function. For Macro with most of the RZ lenses, I found (in hind-sight), that to start with, buy the longer 82mm, of the two extension tubes. I get more use with the long tube when trying to keep my kit-bag light weight.
I have the 127mm, (and it too, is a nice lens) but now that I have the 140mm I don't use it much. The 140mm Is Nice!
My version of the 180mm is the SB (short barrel) for use with the tilt shift adapter. I don,t have the tilt adapter, but I do have the short barrel tube. So, in actuality, there are three extension tubes in the RZ line; 27.2mm SB spacer, (which is actually just a very short extension tube), then the 45mm and 82mm extension tubes. The 180mm focal length on the RZ is also great for portraiture, and with that length you're truly stepping into the beginnings of the RZ telephoto territory. Great lens to have in the kit bag, and they're dirt cheap.
I don't have the 210mm APO. I read about it, but for now can only dream of this lens. Someday!
Then I have the beast, the 500mm. It's the f:8, not the nicer f:5.6. I don't use it much, but I got it for a song. It's nice for the occasional bird watching session, both feathered, and non.
I am currently trying to get my mitts on a RB/KL version of the 250mm. Hopefully.
RB, KL lenses are much less expensive than RZ lenses, and almost identical in quality to the RZ lenses.
So, depending on your budget, don't rule out RB lenses for the RZ.
You will not have any of the auto exposure features of the RZ with the RB lenses, but keep in mind, you won't have auto exposure with RZ lenses either, unless you get an AE (auto exposure) prism. The less expensive PD prism will give you meter readings in the view finder, in either shutter or aperture priority, but you have to transfer those settings to the lens aperture and camera body shutter speed selector manually.
I think a lot of people don't realize the value of the PD prism, and especially for the slower paced shots like landscape work, TTL metering for a lot less money, only it's not Auto TTL, or ETTL. Still, very useful when using different filter combination's. Remember also, no matter which prism you get, there is no ETTL metering with a RZ. You have to work-out all of your exposure's for flash (torch), strobe, and studio lighting, manually.
To round out your initial kit, I might suggest a L-grip handle. The RZ does not lend itself well to hand held work without a grip. I basically keep the grip attached to the camera, especially when I'm out with my mono-pod. If you don't have a mono-pod, get one, or use your tripod. The RZ is a lovely machine, but a heavy beast. Everyone speaks of the famous photographers that used these cameras (useless name dropping), but remember, most of the work done by these photographers with RZ camera's, were done in studio, on a tripod, (not all, but mostly).
The RZ has a big mirror, and with that comes a fair amount of mirror-slap vibration. Get a cable release so you can do critical shots with MLU, (mirror-lock-up).
If your budget will allow the 110mm and the 90mm, I think you will not regret having these two focal lengths, even if they are very close together, and 90mm's are also, dirt cheap.
This is a link to some RZ lens specs. I include these because you mentioned the 140mm Macro.
Last edited by Marc B.; 12-12-2010 at 03:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I had the 65LA, 110, and 180. Switched to 50ULD, 110, 180. If money were no option, I'd switch the 180 for 210APO.
The 110 is indispensable, the 50ULD is great because I love the perspective, and the 180 comes out only occasionally.
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There's such a wide choice of great lenses to make up a basic kit but I'd go with the 65 L/A, 110 and 100-200 zoom. I have a couple of these zooms and you can't tell the resulting image from one shot with primes from within that range (excepting the 110 when you need the extra stops). At the moment, they are incredibly cheap - about the same price as a 180 W-N - and give you greater versatility because of the zoom range. Downside is that they're heavier (almost as heavy as the 75 shift lens) but they focus conventionally so the bellows don't need to be extended unless shooting macro at which point you'd be wide to use the lens support that should come with it.
The 140 Macro is an oustanding lens and the early W type (8 elements in 4 groups) and recent L-A type (7 elements in 4 groups) both have floating elements and you won't regret buying either lens. The W version is usually considerably cheaper than the later one and you'd be hard pressed to tell the results apart. The edge definition of the later version is slightly better so if you plan to shoot macro, full frame and blow up the entire image, the L-A would have to be the one; otherwise, save your money and buy a #2 extension tube. I'd certainly make a 140 your next choice.
On my RB67 I use the 50, 90, and the 180. One day I would love have the 37 fish eye lens and the 140 lense.
Many thanks for your extended input, I found it very useful.
Thanks for your input. I decided to go for a 140 as first lens as I do like do some macro.
In that case add 65 and 210.