Mamiya TLR tele experiences?
I'd like to get either the 180mm or 250mm for the Mamiya C330, preferably the 250mm. I was looking for experiences from other users of either lenses. I'm wondering about sharpness, weight, if the f/6.3 on the 250 is limiting. Photos taken with these lenses are welcome too!
The 180 f/4.5 is my most-often-used lens on my Mamiya TLRs. I have a silver shutter version that is named "18 cm," as opposed to "180 mm." This means that it is probably an early '60's or late '50's lens. Unfortunately, it will not mount on my C33, but it fits my C220. Seems odd that it fits the newer camera even though it is an older lens. The Mamiyaflex C and/or C2 and C3 must have had a slightly larger opening in the body for the taking lens, because the rear of the lens just plain will not go into the hole on the C33.
It is very sharp in the areas that are focused, and very beautiful in the areas that are not. Like all of the Mamiya lenses of that period that I have used, it manages to be sharp as a tack without being heavy-handedly bold over all. I would call it a sort of delicate sharpness, as opposed to an in-your-face biting sharpness. A highly subjective statement to be sure, but I notice enough difference to use the 80mm over my Rollei with the Xenotar just for this reason.
Drawbacks are major parallax error starting when focusing closer than about 10 or 12 feet (which is where this lens' focal length works best for what I tend to shoot with it). Unfortunately for me, this makes using the C220 a pain, as parallax compensation is tougher on it than on the C33 (no moving parallax indicator in the viewfinder on the 200-series C cameras, not to mention no auto shutter cocking). I have become used to using the bars etched into the viewfinder automatically when working at certain distances, however.
On a tripod with the Paramender, the problem is much more easily, quickly, and accurately remedied. But I shoot with it hand held probably 75 percent of the time. I put it on a tripod mostly for landscapes, not for people.
I also use it with the 3.5x/6x chimney finder all of the time. It makes my focusing precision much better than with the stock WLF.
It also has some easily visible barrel distortion, so it is not the best for precisely-aligned geometrical compositions, i.e. making straight lines near the edges of the frame look straight.
I don't find the size or weight to be an issue when hand holding, though the 250 looks like a bit more of a honker, and it is slower by a stop or so.
Hand held I can shoot it at '125 pretty reliably if I am super careful, but not at '60. '250 is sharp without any major effort, but I always try to use '500 if I can.
In short, great optically, but slow to use in the way that will give you the beautiful shallow-DOF results; also, try to get a newer version that will mount on a C33 or C330 body, so you can take advantage of the parallax indicator bar and auto shutter cocking (not to mention that the later black lenses are easier to set the aperture on, easier to have serviced, and less likely to need service IME).
P.S. I almost always use a lens hood with it.
P.P.S. It is more than good wide open and at f/5.6, if the subject is not right in the corners.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 02-07-2011 at 07:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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The 250 will not interconnect with the auto shutter cocking on a C33 or C330 - due to the physical size and configuration of that lens.
The 250 is quite large (for a Mamiya TLR lens) so well I've considered it on a number of occasions, and handled it in a few camera stores, I've never bought one.
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I have a 180 chrome, and use it on a tripod or hand held with strobe all the time for portrait work, A great lens for portraits, and handy for close ups when shooting landscapes. The 135 might be a bit better for portraits in small places, but one has never come my way at the right price.
I'm with Matt as to have resisted the 250mm lenses. I did not know about the 250 not auto cocking on the 330, but it seems too big a beast in any case.
If I need a telephoto I can usally live with the trade off that 35mm has, and go to my long lenses and 35mm camera rig.
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I've got the 180 Super. It's one heck of a lens. Very sharp, excellent contrast. I've sort of fallen out of love with my C330f since getting an RB67, at least as far as portrait work, but the 180 TLR lens is indeed capable of some beautiful results.
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The 180mm lenses have extension arms for cocking and releasing the shutter. The 250mm only has the shutter release extension. In view of the distance from the shutter to the lens panel on the 250mm I have always suspected that the stress was too great to have an extension arm.
If you are working on negative stock the difference between a 180mm Super frame enlarged and one from the 250mm may not be that great (grain aside). The f6.3 aperture is very slow, so you are up against the usual trade offs.
I have a 250mm, but I admit I don't use it much unless I know I might want the extra length and the light is decent. The 180mm is a better general purpose lens.
The 180mm lenses are the ones that seem to have the most trouble on later bodies. there are several issues - physical mating with the lens board, shutter trip arms not aligning or having the wrong throw. This is really bad with Seikosha-MX shutters. All-black lenses should not have any issues.
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Thanks guys for the responses. Looks like the 250mm may be too much a beast. I may look into the 180, but I have a 150 for my Mamiya 6 and might just stick with that.
I used to have the 250mm. It was OK but I found the results a bit soft. I never used it enough to determine its 'sweet spot' aperture-wise, but I always used it on a tripod at f16 (ish). The results were OK but not what I would call pin-sharp - unlike my 135mm. Can't speak for the 180mm because I never owned one.
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I have the 135mm blue dot and the 180mm Super I bought them both new when they were still current about twenty three years ago, I use the 135mm lenses mainly for portraiture particularly indoors where space is restricted the closest focusing distance of the 135 lens pair is approx 82 cm and is equivalent to 88 mm in 35mm in focal length this is my prefered portrait lens, whereas the 180m/m lenses closest focusing distance is about 120 cm, and is equivalent to a 119 m/m lens in35mm, I tend to use the 180 Super for tight head shots for which it excels
A sample taken with a 180mm
I too have considered the 250 mm option but the max aperture of f6.3 is too bad. A negative can always be cropped...