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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    RB67 versus C330

    Between Mamiya C330/C220 and RB67, which one has better reliability and sharper lenses?

    I have some folding cameras, but now I'm looking to buy a MF system that I can use instead of LF for travel. In order to be versatile enough for this, I need at least a wide angle and a normal lens, and the ability to focus closely would be good too. I also want a waist-level finder.

    Rangefinders are out because they don't focus close, don't have WLF, and some don't have interchangeable lenses (or I can't afford to buy multiple lenses).

    Pentax 6x7 doesn't have a WLF, but is otherwise tempting.

    I could buy a mamiya or bronica 645 SLR and it would be compact and I could get lenses for it, but 645 isn't that big, and I don't know how close they focus. Some of them also need batteries. Pentax 645 has no WLF. I could buy a Hasselblad, but they are expensive, especially if you need wide lenses.

    RB67 has WLF, lenses are cheap, and it looks like it focuses pretty close. It's also cheap. It's a big camera though.

    Mamiya C330 looks pretty good...wide and normal lenses are fairly cheap, has WLF, focuses close. It seems like it's just as good as RB67 only somewhat smaller and with parallax. What's the difference between the C220 and C330?
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    If reliability and sharpness of lenses are your only criteria, then either will be great.

    But there are far more huge differences between the systems to discuss.

    I have both, and use each for different purposes, sometimes overlapping (such as for landscapes and traveling).

    In short, the RB/RZ system is the more capable and "modern" system. Of the two, it is what I would suggest almost anyone start with, unless he or she really wanted a TLR. But the C series is great, and I would feel comfortable doing most of my medium format shooting with one if I had to. It would just take longer to do it, and it would be harder to shoot moving subjects and close ups.

    C220 and C330 are basically different "trim levels" of the same camera. (It is the same with the C22/33 and C2/3.) Models that have a "3" in the name have more features, such as automatic shutter cocking and moving parallax indicator bars. The "3" models are quicker and more convenient to use, but the "2" models are just as capable in the end.

    With the C system, a Paramender is a must IMHO, if you plan on working on a tripod and shooting anything closer than 10 feet or so. It is the only way to keep the camera from being swept entirely under the table by the RB/RZ. With static objects, the Paramender allows WYSIWYG (which is what you always get with the RB/RZ).

    The lenses on the C series don't go very wide or very long. The range is 55mm to 250mm (similar to 35 to 180 on 35mm cameras, only looking at horizontal AOV of the 35mm frame). It would have been nice if they had given us a 45mm in place of the 105mm IMHO (though the 105 is a wonderful lens...just very close to both the 80 and the 135).

    My favorite lens in the C system is the 180mm.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 05-12-2011 at 10:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #3
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    I've been shooting with the RB for at least 30 years,and I love the beast. The lenses are tack sharp, and give me stellar results in both tonality, and contrast. I also perefer the 6x7 fomat over the 6x6. I know there are alot of photogs who love the square format, but I guess I never really got the hang of it. One thing to remember (as you mentioned) the RB is a big beast, and can get real heavy, real fast. Specialy when you hang the 250mm on the front. So a good tripod is pretty much a necessity. I have the 50mm wide angle, and it is a great lens. As far as close focusing goes, with the built in bellows, and the 127mm lens, I can focus down to just around 9, or 10 inches, and with an accesory kit of closeup lenses , even closer. And macro work with that big negative, gives you some very impressive enlargements.

  4. #4

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    I have a RB67 and a Rolleiflex 2.8 and if you throw me into a corner I would chose the RB67.

    Jeff

  5. #5
    CGW
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    Adding to 2F/2F's take, I'd suggest taking a look at the Bronica SQ series for 6x6--a smaller, lighter SLR alternative to the Mamiya TLRs. They're not mechanical but the battery in my SQ-B has lasts a long time. Good lenses, too. I love my RB 67 Pro S for 6x7. It's not petite but isn't quite tank many(often non-owners)complain about. It gets lighter when I see a nice 6x7 chrome or a print from those huge negatives.

  6. #6
    Barry S's Avatar
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    Both the TLR C and the RB/RZ systems have the same Mamiya DNA--very durable professional cameras, excellent lenses, a wide range of accessories, and a bellows for close focusing and long lens capability. I've been getting into the Mamiya TLR system lately with C33's and now a C330--and they're a pleasure to use. The quietness of the shutter release makes the TLR nice to unobtrusively shoot around people and you can shoot a stop or two slower than an SLR and retain sharpness. If you don't love the square, the RB would be a better choice--it's a waste to carry that much of a camera around and end up routinely cropping. I also think the RB is king in the studio.

  7. #7

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    The Pentax 67 does have a waist level finder option. I do not know if it is any good or not.

  8. #8
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    To me, photography can be grouped into "tripod photography" and "handheld photography". If the camera is on a tripod, it might as well be large format. If it's being handheld, you might as well just use 35mm. The domain of the medium format camera is in high-volume studio portraiture, which I don't do.
    Change your mind?

    I have, and use, both the RB and a C220. The RB is my principle camera. However, the tlr is much lighter and I prefer it for travel. In fact, the only reason I kept the tlr and all the lenses after I moved to the RB system was for hiking. To me, the RB is one of those "if it's more than X distance from the car, it's not photogenic" cameras.
    David
    Taking pictures is easy. Making photographs is hard.

    http://www.behance.net/silverdarkroom

  9. #9
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Adding to 2F/2F's take, I'd suggest taking a look at the Bronica SQ series for 6x6--a smaller, lighter SLR alternative to the Mamiya TLRs. They're not mechanical but the battery in my SQ-B has lasts a long time. Good lenses, too. I love my RB 67 Pro S for 6x7. It's not petite but isn't quite tank many(often non-owners)complain about. It gets lighter when I see a nice 6x7 chrome or a print from those huge negatives.
    Hands down best small medium format SLR in my book, all things considered. I would say Hassy if price was not considered. But I assumed the OP wanted to only talk about Mamiyas with bellows.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  10. #10

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    I have owned both in the past. To me the RB is heavy for street work, I've done it. You may as well use LF gear except the RB will be quicker to use. A TLR like a Mamiya is much more convenient to use but you then don't have the system diversity. I have used the Mamiya C330f for environmental portrait work and it is a nice camera, as well as the 220. Although, if I were going the TLR route I myself would go with a Rollei because of the optics and build quality. I have a Rollei with the 2.8 Planar and it provides amazing image sharpness. You might look at Rollei SLR's too. Having said that, for street work in medium format I really like my Hasselblads, they are very diverse and compact for what they are. The lenses can be heavy so a "kit" in a backpack or shoulder bag can wind up very hefty. For an example, If I go out to shoot some nature stuff I generally may take a 500C/M, a 350mm, a 50mm, a 150mm and a 500mm, PME3 prism, two backs and a Polaroid back, Luna Star F2 meter, film, tripod quick release with Wimberley base plate, filters, hoods and misc small stuff I am really lugging some weight. Overall, in my opinion the Hasselblad is tough to beat when considering format size, bulk, system diversity, quality, and operational simplicity. It is my recommendation but it can add up in weight. Medium format is all about compromises.

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